"Salt creep" is a common saltwater aquarium problem. The buildup of salt residue on the aquarium glass and equipment can cause serious damage to equipment and leave your tank looking murky. One of the most difficult elements to control in a saltwater aquarium is the pH of the water. Using cleaning products on your aquarium glass will disturb the pH and may result in the loss of your precious fish; however, you can clean the salt creep off your glass while maintaining the pH of your tank.
Things You'll Need
- Soft, dry cloth
- Paper towel
- Putty knife
- Vinegar or salt creep remover
- Sandpaper, fine-grit
- Muriatic acid, 10 percent solution
Wipe down your tank daily with a soft, dry cloth. Wipe the lights, cables and pumps that are not submerged. Wiping down your aquarium equipment will prevent the buildup of salt that leads to corrosion.
You need to change the water in your aquarium from time to time. When you are cleaning your tank, take this opportunity to remove salt creep from the glass that is usually submerged. Wipe the glass clean with a paper towel. For heavy deposits, use either a salt creep removal product from your pet store or regular household vinegar to break down salt buildup. If you have tried the vinegar without success, try soaking loose pieces in warm water and vinegar. Wash the tank thoroughly before refilling.
Remove stubborn deposits with a putty knife. Place the putty knife against the glass at a 45-degree angle. Gently scrape off the salt residue. Wipe off any remaining buildup with a paper towel.
Use sandpaper to clean heavy buildup. Some deposits may have become etched into the glass; for these deposits, empty the tank and sand the deposits with a fine-grit wet/dry sandpaper that will not damage the glass. If you are still having trouble, wet the deposit with vinegar and then sand it. Wash out the tank before reuse.
For extremely heavy salt buildup on your aquarium glass, as a last resort, clean it with a 10 percent solution of muriatic acid. Don protective gloves when working with the acid, and use it only in a well-ventilated area. Wet the salt deposits; splash the muriatic acid over the salt creep. Scrub off the salt creep and muriatic acid solution. Wash the tank thoroughly before refilling.