Clean the glass

Congratulations on reaching Day 10 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Saltwater Aquarium Challenge.

Today’s task is fairly straightforward. It’s a small task, but how often do you neglect it? I know I’m bad with it. I have a mag float, that I use to clean off the light algae growth, but I don’t get my hands inside the tank to clean the glass as much as I used to. Today’s task is to do a thorough job cleaning the glass and the salt creep.
To do this properly, you may want a:

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a sponge
  • Razorblade (only if your tank is glass)
  • Regular towel Microfiber towel
  • Gloves

Put on your gloves and use the sponge or Magic Eraser to wipe down the inside of the glass. Try to get those corners that you’ve been ignoring. If you have hard coralline algae growing on your glass, congratulations, that’s great, but you’ll notice that it won’t come off the glass with a sponge or magic eraser.

The best tool for the job here is prevention…keep the glass clean before the coralline algae can get a hold…but um, since we don’t have time machines (you don’t, do you?) let’s use that razor blade. This may sound scary—taking a razor blade to the glass, but it works great.

What about Salt Creep? No, I’m not referring to Jeff Kurtz (he used to have a column titled salt creep in Aquarium Fish International Magazine).

Our tanks can be a bit messy. Saltwater is being pumped, splashed and dripped. When the water evaporates, it leaves the salt behind. That salt starts to creep around the edges and is given the name, salt creep. It’s relatively harmless, and because of that, it often gets ignored. Well, not today.

To clean up the salt creep you will want a:

  • Small plastic container or bucket with warm water
  • A rag or towel (something that can get really wet and withstand scrubbing)

Get the rag soaking wet and wash away any salt creep.

Now, use that towel to clean up any drips of water on the outside of the glass. Dampen one part of the microfiber towel and clean up any dried drips or salt spots, then use the dry part of the microfiber towel to finish up and make that glass shine without the need for any chemical cleaners, like Windex.


Finished? How does your tank look? That was a trick question. I know your tank looks terrible right now, you’ve stirred up a bunch of gunk, which is now suspended in the water. My wife tends to lob over a faux compliment around this time, “The tank looks great, Al, good job.” That joke still makes me laugh, after all these years.

But in a few hours, after the debris settles, your tank will look good as new. Get your camera ready, cleaning the glass like this is a sure way to get great pictures.







4 responses to “Clean the glass”

  1. Chris

    I’ve been using a wall scraper with a metal blade from Lowe’s to scrap the algae off the inside of the glass. Works great!

    1. great suggestion Chris, thanks!The glass in my picture could use your scraper… 🙂

  2. Stella

    I use a plastic ice scraper used for windshields, it it my favorite

    1. Stella, thanks. Does it get coralline algae off the glass, too?

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