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How To Clean Aquarium Glass White Residue In Easy Ways | Ways & Preventions

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You always wanted a crystal clear aquarium that would adorn your house with its effortless transparent tint. But alas! you begin to notice that weird white substance all over your aquarium. Hard Water Alert!


Hard water is a preferred habitat for certain fish species. Unfortunately, it isn't so great for your fish tank. That white haze on aquarium glass looks so terrible that you can have a great temptation to use home cleaning products to remove it. Resist that urge! As even the smallest residue can be fatal to your fish. Wondering how to clean aquarium glass white residue in the most convenient and safe ways?

The best remedies are:

  • Plain white vinegar

  • Razor-blade or algae scraper

  •  Safe aquarium cleaner

What Comprises of the White Residue on the Glass?

Wondering what causes hard water and ultimately the white residue? Well, calcium and lime are your real culprits!

Limescale commonly identified as the white, chalky residue comprises minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Calcium deposits form into a crust or develop into streaks on the glass walls. Limescale can build up on the inside of your aquarium's glass, causing the finest setup to appear unsightly.

How is the white residue/limescale formed?


Hard water can make your aquarium glass cloudy, streaky and hard to see through. How irritating! Isn’t it? If you live in a house with hard water, it is most probable that you have white, chalky residue buildup around your aquarium glass, bathtub, sink, taps, and shower-head.

The white buildup is caused by minerals present in "hard" tap water. As the mineral-rich hard water evaporates, it leaves behind those minerals in the aquarium glass as a residue. They tend to adhere to the glass, leaving behind a coarse, white stain.

Did You Know?

Ipswich, a city in Australia has the highest levels of calcium carbonate in its water.

Easy ways to clean aquarium glass white residue

Calcium deposits, Limescale, water stains, and salt creep are all the same thing. Regardless of their exact composition, getting rid of  these stains involves the same steps. Let’s get started!

1. Vinegar

Plain white vinegar can help you get rid of white residue in your aquarium. It’s a natural disinfectant that dissolves the lime deposits. It is an inexpensive available in most of the households.

  • Remove fish from the aquarium and place them in a temporary holding tank.

  • Lay-out a towel on a flat surface to avoid spilling.

  • Add some white vinegar to a spray bottle that has never been used for other cleaning products.

  • Place the aquarium on its side, and spray the limescale deposits with the vinegar.

  • Keep on spraying multiple times for large deposits.

  • Take a damp towel and wipe the residue off.

  • Allow your aquarium to dry properly and then put your aqua-pets in.

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2. Razor Blade or algae scraper

If you have a stubborn patch of build-up, you can use a razor blade or algae scraper to gently scrape it away. However, it is not advisable to use a razor on plexiglass or other types of acrylic tanks as it may scratch them.

  • Take a razor blade and rub it gently against the white residue.

  • If there is a large amount of limescale, prefer shifting your fish to a temporary tank.

  • Once you're done, rinse the tank thoroughly before you fill it. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times from each side to get it all off.

  • Since rinsing takes time, utilize it to sterilize your aquarium rocks or gravel by boiling them while you wait for the tank to dry up.
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3. Safe aquarium cleaner

Do not clean your aquarium with regular detergents as they may be fatal for fish. Instead, use an aquarium cleaner. If you are wondering how to clean aquarium glass outside, this method is suitable for you.

  • Get an aquarium cleaner from your local pet store which does not harm your fish and plants.

  • Shift your fish to a temporary tank. This applies even if the limescale is on the outer glass walls.

  • Use the aquarium cleaner on the aquarium’s glass walls.

  • Continue until the buildup starts to fade.

  • Once the limescale comes off completely, rinse the tank thoroughly and let it dry.
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How To Clean Aquarium Glass White Residue might not be as big a query to you as it was before reading this article. You can that me later coz there’s more for you!

Preventive measures against the accumulation of White Residue

Prevention is better than cure and when it comes to aquarium white residue, this proverb fits the best. Let’s save you from the tedious cleaning. Yes, it’s possible!

Here’s how to prevent hard water stains in the aquarium

1. Testing tap water


To prevent calcium buildup in the aquarium, you must test your tap water before putting your fish in. If you are unsure how to do it the right way, get it tested professionally.

Pro Tip

Check the pH of your tank with a pH kit to make sure the pH is at an acceptable level for your specific type of fish. Make necessary adjustments to return the water to the appropriate pH.

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2. Consider using rain water

Want a chemical-free, natural alternative? A good option is rain-water. If your area has industries, avoid it.

3. Get a starter

For a new tank or after a complete cleanout, you can use a "starter". The starter removes unwanted chemicals from the water. Some of them even add good bacteria to help the filtration process going.

4. Use a water conditioner

At places, with good water available, a normal water conditioner should be enough if you have a good amount of plants in your tank.

5. Detect the mineral

Still not sure how to remove calcium buildup on the fish tank? Well, find out the mineral that is too high in concentration. In most of the cases, it is calcium. Check your water hardness level can by contacting your municipality if you are on city water or get a water hardness test kit from your nearest retailer.

6. Go chemical-free

There are several chemicals and conditioners that can get your tank back to normal. However, a small tank can overcome this problem with vegetables or flowers. Don't laugh yet, read on!

A small tank, like those for a single Betta fish, lacks the ability to keep enough bacteria for good health. Mother nature comes to your rescue here! Feed strawberries or tomatoes in your tank water and see the miracle. Why go for the pain of cleaning when you can “prevent” it!

Tank Cleaning Tips

To ensure that your fish stays healthy, it is vital to keep the conditions of your tank optimal. Remember, water in your aquarium can become harmful to your fish if not maintained correctly!

Did You Know?

Maintaining and cleaning your tank doesn’t always require the removal of all of the water at once. By doing this, you tend to kill all of the good bacteria that has built up.

Setting up an aquarium can seem intimidating at first but when it comes to cleaning, you might get a little frustrated. Keep calm, it's time to enhance your tank cleaning skills!

  • If you are a beginner, you may think that it is easier to clean a small tank or bowl. This is an incorrect assumption! The larger the aquarium, the easier it is to maintain it.

  • Remember that there are three goals you are trying to achieve when you clean your fish tank. These are the 3 R’s
  1. Regulate the nitrogen cycle

  2. Remove dissolved and particulate organic compounds

  3. Replenish essential minerals
  • Feed your fish twice a day and remove any uneaten food after about five minutes. This will stop any left-over food  from breaking down and affecting the water quality.

  • Have a quick check over all the fish in your tank. See if they are behaving normally, have no injuries and are disease-free. This will save you from any unnecessary cleaning that could be caused due to ignorance.

  • Check your tank equipment like the filter and lights. Ensure that everything is working properly.

  • You should preferably change your fresh-water tank partially (about 10-20%) every 2 to 3 weeks. Do not replace the entire water.

  • If your aquarium is too heavy to move, use a siphon which allows you to take water out of the tank, and a bucket which allows you to bring replacement water to the tank.

How to clean the aquarium glass white residue indirectly relies on how well you maintain your tank. If you follow these cleaning tips regularly, you can practically reduce the formation of limescale.

Video Introduction

Taking everything into account

All the methods explained in this article on  will not only clean it but also avoid it from appearing.

Once you've gotten your tank in shape and the white residue fixed, make sure you clean it on a regular basis as well. Scrape the glass every week, vacuum the gravel every time you carry out a water change, and clean any rocks or plants with debris or algae on them. Because happiness is nothing but a crystal-clear and clean aquarium!

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