3 Ways To Clean The Glass On Your Aquarium Safely

It would be fair to say that aquarium glass maintenance and cleaning can be a long and arduous task. It is, however, a task that is essential if you want your fish to be healthy and happy, and your tank to be a delight to look at. After all, you can’t view your fish through a sea of grime and algae!

The best way to clean the glass on your aquarium- Use a magnetic algae cleaner for the inside of your aquarium and an algae scraper for more stubborn attached algae. Aquarium, non-toxic sponges can also be used and for the outside glass, use damp rolled up newspaper with no chemicals or sprays. 

Over the many years that I have kept fish, I have tried a myriad of ways to keep my aquariums glass clean in the easiest and quickest manner possible. However, not all of these have been successful, picture a few fish losses and several scratched aquariums!

Eventually, as with all things, if you try, try, and try again, you will get there in the end, and I did. Yes, I now have crystal clear aquarium glass, and with no scratches. So, I thought I’d share my simple and safe aquarium glass tips with you, and make your maintenance lives easier.

Cleaning The Inside Of Your Aquarium Glass

There are a few methods you can use to clean the interior glass of your aquarium but for me, the following are three of the simplest and best.

Method One – The Algae Scraper

We all know that a little bit of algae in an aquarium is a good thing as most fish will nibble on it as part of a nutritional diet. However, when it gets out of hand, it can be a nightmare that spreads like wildfire, and covers your aquarium glass in an unsightly dark greenish goop!

Removing this algae is not always the easiest of jobs as it can cling to the aquarium glass making it difficult to remove with just a cloth or sponge. However, there is help at hand in the shape of an algae scraper, which I highly recommend and use myself, to get rid of the ugly green mass. They can be bought from most aquatic stores and online and come with various attachments that aid you in getting into all the nooks and crannies of your aquarium.

We purchase ours from Chewy.com which offer great discounts and fast delivery Here’s the link.

To use one simply:

    • Select the attachment you wish to use and attach it
    • Gently move the algae scraper up and down your aquarium glass removing all marks and algae spots
  • When finished rinse the algae scraper in water, (do not use detergents,) to remove all dirt and store

Warning: Avoid rapid or jerky motions as you may end up sloshing water all over the floor if you don’t.

Handy Hint: Algae scrapers are also useful in removing the stubborn white residue that can build up on your aquarium.

This residue is mainly due to hard water leaving a lime build up behind as it evaporates. For really stubborn residue you can also use a razor blade but be careful you do not scratch the glass.

Method Two – The Sponge

The simple but effective sponge is best for aquarium glass that does not suffer from algae attacks or other stubborn residues. Therefore, since all my aquariums are prone to more stubborn stains, I use it mainly for quick wipe downs in between regular maintenance sessions.

Any sponge is fine as long as it has not been exposed to detergents and it is clean. I tend to use the cheap washing up sponges that have the brillo pad on the reverse as I can afford to use them once and throw them away. This ensures that the sponge I use is perfectly clean and free of any grit or grime every time.

Warning: As with the algae scraper be careful not to clean too vigorously or rapidly as this will create water overflow from your aquarium.

Handy Hint: The majority of scratching to aquarium glass occurs through foreign objects being trapped between the cleaning medium and the glass. Therefore, always remove grit and grime from any sponge you use prior to cleaning.

We use aquarium sponges that ensure you are not introducing harmful chemicals or toxins into the water. They are made specifically for the fish tank market. Not for washing your car!

Click here for a wide variety of aquarium cleaning sponges on Amazon.

Method Three – The Magnet Cleaner

Magnet cleaners come in two parts, one of which goes on the interior of the aquarium glass, and the other on the exterior. As it says on the tin a magnet holds the two halves in place together. In order to clean your glass with one, you simply gently move the exterior half over the glass and the interior half will follow it.

The magnet cleaner is a useful aquarium glass cleaning tool for three reasons:

1 It can be left in the aquarium at all times making in between regular maintenance cleans easy and quick.

2 It can be used without putting your hand into the aquarium water which means no water overflow and not having your Frontosa Cichlid attack you! Ok, that might just be me, but I’m sure other people have fish that object ‘strongly’ during maintenance sessions.

3 It’s efficient at its job.

Handy Hint: Purchase a magnet cleaner with changeable cleaning pads to ensure maximum cleaning and efficiency. Most aquatic stores and online retailers will carry magnet cleaners.

Don’t be fooled into buying the poor quality algae magnets that fall off every two minutes and then you have to dip your hand into the aquarium to fish it back out. They are simply not strong enough and the magnets are very poor. They also made from a poor material that wears out very quickly and started to scratch the glass.

The one above is a good example and we use them on all our aquariums and have for many years now. We buy ours from Chewy.com here’s the link.

And Finally………..

Don’t forget that aquarium glass has two sides, interior, and exterior and that both need to be cleaned to get that crystal clear view you love. However, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise; you can’t clean them in the same way! Instead, why not try some of these suggestions to get your exterior sparkly clean:

    • Warm water on paper towels, a soft cloth, or a sponge
    • Newspaper – weird but true; it can work wonders at cleaning glass
    • Glass cleaner on paper towels, a soft cloth, or a sponge
    • Fish safe cleaning spray on paper towels, a soft cloth, or a sponge
  • White vinegar on paper towels, a soft cloth, or a sponge

Warning: If you choose to use glass spray or any other spray cleaners, NEVER spray them onto the cloth etcetera near the aquarium. Particles of the cleaning fluid will become airborne and may get into your aquarium causing potential problems if you do so.

Conclusion: Best ways to clean your aquarium glass

No matter which method you choose to use, be it a sponge, magnet, or scraper, one thing is for sure; you will have a sparkly clean aquarium with great ease and quickly. This will leave you with more time to sit back and enjoy your fish, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

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