June 13, 2023
How To Remove Scratches from Acrylic Fish Tanks | 2022 Guide

How To Remove Scratches from Acrylic Fish Tanks | 2022 Guide

An inexpensive acrylic fish tank is a budget-friendly option for the novice aquarist. Although most acrylic tanks tend to be fairly durable, you will ultimately have to contend with superficial damage like scratches and scuffs. This damage can occur relatively easy when cleaning your tank or carrying out water changes.

A scratched acrylic pane will usually cause no issues when it comes to tank integrity, but it can seriously limit your viewing experience. Thankfully, removing scratches from acrylic fish tank is fairly straightforward.

Empty the Tank

Before you focus on getting rid of unsightly scratches from your acrylic aquarium, you’ll first need to empty the tank. Once you’ve removed your fish and plants, you’ll get rid of the tank water. Simply draining away the water level enough to access the scratches is not advisable. Tackling those scratches will create tiny debris particles that will fall into any remaining water, so it’s always best to work with a completely empty tank.

Using Sandpaper to Remove Scratches

Once your tank has been drained and emptied, you can finally tackle those unsightly scratches. Sandpaper will be needed at this point. You’ll want sandpaper that can cope with some exposure to moisture, so forget about using basic sandpaper and use one that can be used in wet and dry conditions.

The grit you’ll need to use ultimately depends on the severity of the scratch. If the scratches are barley noticeable, 5000 grit sandpaper is advisable. This grit will allow you to smooth out the scratched surface without causing any unwanted damage to unaffected acrylic..

For slightly more pronounced scratches, you’ll want a sandpaper with a grit rating of around 3000. For much more noticeable scratches, sandpaper with a grit rating of between 100 and 300 will be called for.

When sanding away scratches in acrylic, you can move between grades as you go. However, you’ll want to ensure you are adjusting the direction of your sanding motion as you switch between grades. This ensures a much smoother finish. Keep repeating this process until you are using the sandpaper grit you have available to you.

When using sandpaper on acrylic, you should never adopt a circular sanding motion. Although you may think this would result in a smooth finish, the opposite is true. If you’re applying pressure with sandpaper and a circular motion, you’ll find yourself left with swirled blemish marks.

You should also avoid focusing too tightly on the scratch itself. Applying too much focus on sanding pressure on the scratch will leave the area looking markedly different from the surrounding acrylic. To overcome this issue, sand the surrounding acrylic in the immediate vicinity of the scratch.

Finishing Up

Once you’ve smoothed out the scratch with sandpaper, you should take the time to thoroughly clean the interior of the fish tank. All that sanding will have created minuscule acrylic particles to accumulate on the interior of your fish tank. Going over the area with water should get rid of most of these particles.

If you want to be particularly thorough, consider using a heavily diluted detergent. Once the interior of your tank has been cleaned, use a lint-free cloth to dry the acrylic before returning tank ornaments and refilling with water.

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