How to Remove Scratches from Acrylic Aquarium

How to Remove Scratches from Acrylic Aquarium in 5 Easy Steps

Most acrylic tanks are relatively affordable and durable, but you will ultimately need to deal with minor damage such as scratches and scuffs. This damage can easily occur while cleaning your tank or doing water changes.

A scratched acrylic surface may not affect the integrity of your aquarium, but it can highly limit your enjoyable viewing experience. Fortunately, getting rid of scratches from the acrylic fish tank is pretty easy.

In this article, we shall look at how to remove scratches from acrylic aquarium like the one below.

How to Remove Scratches from Acrylic Aquarium

Orange and White Fish
Pet fish

1. Empty the Tank

It’s essential to empty the tank first before you begin to get rid of the unsightly scratches from your acrylic aquarium. However, make sure you have removed all your fish, plants, and any ornament before getting rid of the tank water.

It’s always best to work with an empty tank as this will give you enough access to the scratches. Avoid tacking the scratches when the tank is half full since sanding will create tiny particles that will unavoidably fall into the remaining water. These particles are not healthy for your fish.

2. Determine the Scratch Depth

It’s essential to determine the depth of the scratch on the acrylic tank before you begin the removal process. This will help you choose the appropriate repair technique and improve the chances of its success.

Minor scratches and scuffs are quick and easy to smoothen out, but a deeper scratch will be more difficult to repair. In addition, it’s more effective to repair a minor scratch than a deeper scratch.

Read: Self-sustaining fish tank ecosystem

Orange Cichlid Fish in Middle of Blue Water
Aquarium fish

3. Clean the Surface Around the Scratches

Spray the scratched surface with acrylic-safe cleaner. Apply enough acrylic cleaner to ensure the surface is completely wet, and use a soft cotton cloth to wipe it clean. Don’t use a lot of pressure since this can lead to more scratches.

Points to note:

  • You must only use a clean, soft cloth but not a sponge that you have been using to clean products in the aquarium.
  • Wear disposable rubber gloves while sanding to protect your hand from harmful chemicals.
  • Allow the surface to air dry before moving to the next step.

Read: Temperature for fish tank

Clownfish near Coral Reef
Clownfish near coral reef

4. Use Sandpaper to Remove the Scratches

Once you have emptied your acrylic aquarium and cleaned up the surface around the scratches, you can now tackle the unsightly marks. At this point, you will require to use sandpaper, but be sure to look for one that can withstand some exposure to moisture.

Avoid using regular sandpaper and instead, look for one that you can use in wet and dry conditions. However, the grit you will need to use typically depends on the severity of the scratch.

If the scratches are barely visible, it is advisable to use 5000 grit sandpaper. This grit will allow you to smoothen out the scratched surface without causing any unwanted damage to unaffected acrylic.

For slightly more noticeable scratches, on the other hand, you may need to use sandpaper of around 3000 grit. When smoothening out scratches in acrylic, you can move between grades as you progress. Other grades of sandpaper include 800, 1000, and 2000 grit.

Make sure you adjust the direction of your sanding motion as you switch between grades to ensure a much smoother finish.

Never adopt a circular sanding motion when using sandpaper on an acrylic aquarium. If you apply pressure with sandpaper and a circular motion, you will be left with whirled blemish marks.  

Make sure the surface remains cool by dipping the sandpaper in a bucket of water as you work. It’s also vital to wet down the surface to prevent it from getting too hot. High temperatures will cause the acrylic to melt.

Touch the aquarium surface gently as you work to ensure it is not getting hot. If it’s warm to touch, stop the process for a while. Add water to the surface and allow it to cool off before you start again.  

Read: How to clean algae off of aquarium rocks

5. Clean Your Tank

Once you have smoothened out the scratches on your acrylic aquarium, take time to clean the interior of the fish tank thoroughly. Sanding will have caused tiny acrylic particles to accumulate inside the aquarium, but running clean water through the tank can help eliminate most of these particles.

You can also use a heavily diluted detergent to be particularly thorough. After cleaning the interior, use a lint-free cloth to dry the acrylic before putting back the decorations and refilling your fish tank with water.

FAQs on How to Remove Scratches from Acrylic Aquarium

Can I Buff Scratches Out of Acrylic Aquarium?

You can use Novus plastic polish or acrylic polish to buff scratches from the acrylic fish tank. Squeeze NOVUS plastic polish on a clean, soft towel and buff until the acrylic becomes transparent as it was originally.

You may use an electric buffer to save time and your hands. Keep your tool at a low setting and apply pressure evenly.

How Easily Do Acrylic Aquariums Get Scratches?

Acrylic aquariums are easier to move since they are lightweight, but acrylic is easily scratched, making it more difficult to clean.

Fortunately, the scratches can be removed by sanding or buffing, unlike glass. You can also remove scratches and scuffs from an acrylic fish tank using products specifically made for this purpose.

Can Toothpaste Remove Scratches from Acrylic Aquarium?

The silica in toothpaste can be abrasive enough to smoothen out minor acrylic scratches. Squeeze out enough toothpaste to cover the scratches, and using small circles with a clean, dry cotton cloth, buff the surface until it begins to smoothen out.

Rinse residue with clean water and examine your work. It might take several applications before you get the results you want.


WikiHow: How to Fix Scratches on an Aquarium

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