There is nothing more irritating than not being able to see the comings and goings in your fish tank. Watching the interactions of fish and other marine animals can be relaxing, educational and help you to monitor the condition of the tanks inhabitants. When the glass or other parts of the aquarium, like the heater or lights, begin to develop white stains on them you need to act swiftly to remove them. But what exactly are the white stains ? Why do they appear and how can you remove them for good ?
The white stains are lime deposits or calcium and magnesium carbonate. Lime deposits form when the water that is used is described as hard water. Hard water is water that has a higher than normal amount of minerals in it. These minerals are mainly calcium and magnesium that derive from limestone or chalk in the case of calcium and dolomite in the case of magnesium.
Although the water is safe for the marine life in your fish tank, the white stains make the fish tank unsightly. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about the water if you live in an area that has hard water. However it is very easy to remove limescale.
Lime scale or calcium carbonate reacts with any acid to form carbon dioxide. This has the effect of dissolving the white stains. Many standard household cleaning products will remove calcium carbonate but it is not advised to use them on your fish tank. These products generally have many chemicals which may harm your fish. The simplest solution is to use vinegar or even lemon juice on the glass and other equipment during a normal cleaning cycle as this will remove the lime scale but will not affect the marine life.
If the water has a lot of calcium or magnesium then you will have to do this every time you clean the tank but it is quite easy and fast to do.