Mr. Saltwater Tank

Terrible Advice Tuesdays: The Toughest Aquarium Material Around?

Terrible Advice Tuesdays: A glass aquarium cannot get scratched.

The rest of the story: Glass can scratch. Unlike acrylic tanks that have lots of available scratch removal kits, removing scratches in glass is very hard and often times not worth the effort especially if the scratch is deep enough that you can catch it with your finger nail.

Here are some easy ways to keep your glass aquarium scratch free:

  • Make sure your algae scrapers are free of debris like sand or gravel before scraping down the sides of your glass tank.
  • Store your algae scraper outside of your tank. Calciferous snails and other critters can setup shop in the magnet scraper and when you scrape down your tank, these creatures are along for the ride.
  • When working in your tank, be extra careful to avoid hitting the glass with rocks. Even light touches can gouge or scratch the glass.

Bonus tip: Low-iron  glass products such as starphire glass scratch easier than “regular” glass. Clients of mine who own starphire tanks all tell me the starphire panes scratch easier than the regular panes. If you have a starphire or low-iron glass, be extra careful.

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Comments for this article (6)

  • Jason Reynolds says:

    I had some bad scratches on the outside of my starphire glass tank. I was able to hire a glass worker to buff them out and it looks as good as new.

  • Grant says:

    Jason, what kind of company did you search for or search out? Residential or automotive? I’ve heard of someone using Safelite but I want more input and ideas!

  • Helen says:

    If you have an acrylic tank and need to buff out scratches, there is a product called Novus 1-2-3 that is very good when used according to instructions. If you buy it from a “fish place” it will cost around $45 for all three parts. If you buy it from the Container Store, the same product is only $12…go figure.

  • Pierre Bouic says:

    I have too much experience in this area unfortunately,
    but I think it should be mentioned to give people an idea about the different hardness of glass. What i mean is the hardness scale of materials that most of us experience, from steel being 10 at the hardest to plastic at 1 being the softest, you could imagine that acrylic is about a 4-5 and high iron glass (with a green tinge in it) being 6-7.
    Its important to think about the hardness scale when we get brilliant idea’s about using more effective scraping tools like using stainless steel, which isn’t brilliant at all as a fowlr friend of mine discovered after scratching his 235g tank or a friends wife who thought that cleaning a stripped down tank was too slow and used steel wool to speed things up, needles to say the tank was ruined but it gave my friend a good excuse to upgrade after the misses scratched every part of his 55gal.
    My first 180g was a freshwater tank and the sandstone rocks made a few long scratches which are too deep to polish. Even thinner glass will scratch thicker glass because of the different composition of iron in it as i discovered when i tried to use some 4mm as a long scraper. What I have found works is acrylic or what we in oz also get called perspex works brilliantly as a long tool if it is cut straight & is a clean edge, being a softer material it can’t mark glass, but is not good for acrylic. Either way don’t leave the surface get too much algae and you won’t need to spend long cleaning.

  • Rickey Isenhour says:

    I need someone to polish my 600 gal and also small leak at seam on acrylic how to fix Please help!

  • Michael says:

    Can low iron glass be tempered?

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