Acrylic Aquarium Scratches – Fix and Prevent Them

Many aquarium owners have acrylic aquariums as opposed to glass. The acrylic is more shatter-proof than glass and won’t distort light as much, but it does scratch much more easily.

Acrylic aquarium owners must be wary of scratching the glass on their aquariums. If you aren’t careful when installing the rocks and decorations or if you aren’t careful when cleaning algae from the acrylic surfaces of the aquarium you can scratch up the surface pretty quickly.

Be Careful When Decorating Your Aquarium

When putting rocks, substrate or live rock into your aquarium during setup or modifications, you must be careful not to touch the glass. Substrate probably won’t really do anything to scratch the acrylic surfaces of the aquarium when you are dumping it into the water, but a piece of live rock scraping the acrylic surfaces can do a lot of damage very quickly.

Be wary of letting the live rock or other rocks touch the side of the aquarium. Lower them in slowly. Fully uncover the top of the aquarium before putting rocks in the tank to make sure that you have optimal maneuverability when placing rocks with your hands.

Also, when you put the rocks in the tank and start to stack rocks, especially the larger ones, make sure that you will not be arranging your rocks in a way that promotes them tipping over. A tipped rock structure that comes in contact with the acrylic surface can scratch it up pretty bad in a short instant.

Be Careful When Cleaning Your Aquarium

Most scratches on acrylic aquariums happen during the cleaning process.

Make sure that you are using a “scraper” that won’t scratch the glass. Buy plastic or fabric scrapers designed for acrylic aquariums for the best results. If you risk using a material that can scratch acrylic, don’t be surprised if you see a big scratch in the side of your aquarium after you get done cleaning!

When using fabric aquarium scrubbers, don’t get them down in the substrate when cleaning your aquarium. Fabric materials collect small rock and sand particles from the substrate. If your fabric scraper gets a bunch of substrate stuck in it (even if it’s small and nearly invisible particles) you will run the risk of putting all kinds of scratches in your aquarium surface as you work the fabric scraper over the acrylic surface. You could be damaging and scratching your aquarium without even knowing it if this happens to you!

For best results, don’t ever get fabric based aquarium scrapers and scrubbers down in the substrate, avoid this mess completely. Instead, clean the areas near the substrate with a scraper that is plastic or at least not fabric.

If You Do Scratch Your Acrylic

Scratching the acrylic in your aquarium might almost be unavoidable at times, it will happen eventually. If this does happen, there are ways to fix acrylic scratches. Don’t worry!

Many kits are available for buffering out or fixing scratches in acrylic. These kits will work out of water or they will also sometimes work fully submerged in water. Using a scratch remover that can work underwater will prevent you from having to remove any water from your aquarium, which is a huge plus for most hobbyists.

Check online dealers or your local fish store to find an acrylic scratch remover that will work for your situation.

Helpful Products

Are you looking for applicable tools to help you in your efforts to prevent scratching your aquarium glass?

Acrylic Safe Mag-Float – Great for cleaning aquarium glass without sticking hands in the water, and it’s acrylic safe!

Algae Scrubber 18″ handle, 3″ x 5″ x 1″ pad – Long enough to easily scrub aquarium glass without sticking your hand in the water. Acrylic safe! It also floats in case you drop it in the water.

About Luke

the owner and caretaker of a 75 gallon aquarium in his home studio. Good times.


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