How to Clean Hard Water Stains From a Turtle Tank?

How to Clean Hard Water Stains From a Turtle Tank?

Turtle tanks could be a great decorative enhancement for your room. At the same time, nothing could be more pleasing than watching your turtle playing. This might sound fascinating, but the reality is not.

Being a turtle owner myself, I know how difficult it is to keep your turtle tank glass clean. It is very important to maintain the tank’s cleanliness. Otherwise, the glass will look dirty, and nothing will be clearly visible.

Stains on turtle tank glass are a very common problem. People often use hard water for their turtle tanks, which contain heavy minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals get deposited on the glass and leave behind stains. Read on to find ways to remove hard water stains from your turtle tank.

Related Article: How Much Water Should Be In A Turtle Tank?

What is the white stuff in my turtle tank?

Hard water is safe for humans and even for most aquatic animals. However, it might not be the best thing for aquariums and turtle tanks. Hard water contains heavy minerals, mainly magnesium and calcium.

When the water starts evaporating, these heavy minerals cannot evaporate as they are too bulky to participate in the process. As a result, it started accumulating on the tank wall, which gave ugly stains on the glass. 

These white residues are not harmful to turtles, but they surely will make your tank look less appealing. Regular cleaning of the turtle tank is needed to prevent any such condition. 

While it might not be easy to clean these white stains, it can be done with less effort when you use the right tools. 

Treating hard water with a water conditioner could be an effective way to prevent such calcium buildups. You can check out our article to find out the best water conditioner for a turtle tank

How to get hard water stains off aquariums?

Below are some of the easiest ways to clean hard water stains from your turtle tank:

  1. Using commercial aquarium cleaner
  2. Cleaning turtle tank with vinegar
  3. Toothpaste cleaning
  4. Water and salt mixture
  5. Scrubbing with aquarium cleaner

Using commercial aquarium cleaner

One of the easiest ways to get rid of hard water stains is to use commercial aquarium cleaners. There are many good products available online that work great for removing mineral deposition effectively. These cleaning solutions are easy on glass yet tough on stains. Below are some of our recommendations that you can use for your turtle tank.

Image Product Price Purchase Link
Bioclean Hard Water Stain Remover $18.89 Buy on Amazon
Exo Terra Terrarium Glass Cleaner $12.99 Buy on Amazon
API SAFE & EASY Aquarium Cleaner Spray $9.78 Buy on Amazon

NOTE: It is important to shift your turtle into another tank before using these products. These are strong chemicals and can hurt your turtle if mixed with tank water. Ensure to wash your tank properly and refill it with clean water after using any of the above products. 

Cleaning turtle tank with white vinegar

White vinegar is effective in removing white calcium deposits from the glass tank. White vinegar helps loosen up the stains, which can then be cleaned with a cloth. The best thing about using vinegar is that it is non-toxic and safe for your turtle. 

Follow these steps for cleaning turtle tank with white vinegar:

  1. Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice into a cup of white vinegar. Lemon juice makes the solution even more effective on stains, and it also adds a nice fragrance to it. 
  2. Put this solution into the microwave for around 30 seconds. Warming up the solution makes it more powerful on mineral depositions. 
  3. Fill the solution in a spray bottle and spray on the tank. Apply the solution directly to the affected area for tough stains and leave it for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Do not use water to rinse off the solution from the glass. Instead, use a dry cloth to wipe off the solution.

Toothpaste cleaning

Toothpaste is also very effective in cleaning hard water stains from your turtle tank. It might surprise you that your toothpaste is mind abrasive and made with baking soda to clean your tooth. This same cleaning action can do wonders for removing stains from your turtle tank.

Follow these steps for cleaning hard water stains off turtle tank using toothpaste:

  1. Take toothpaste in small amounts on a wet towel or cloth.
  2. Apply it on stain spots and rub in a circular motion for about a minute.
  3. Leave the paste for 10-15 minutes while repeating the process for other stain spots.
  4. Spray vinegar and lemon mixture to wash off the paste. 
  5. You can also use tap water instead of vinegar.
  6. At last, use a dry cloth to wipe away the solution.

Water and salt mixture

A mixture of salt and water is also an effective method for cleaning hard water stains. This mixture helps loosen up the residue molecule, while salt is a scrubbing agent for a cleaner surface. 

Follow these steps for cleaning hard water stains from turtle tank using saltwater mixture:

  1. Prepare a mixture of salt and water in a spray bottle. For normal hard water stain cleaning, two tablespoons of salt in a cup of water would be enough. For tougher stains, add more salt accordingly.
  2. Spay the mixture on stains and let it sit there for a few minutes. 
  3. Rub the stained area with a rag or dry cloth.
  4. Wash the area with clean water and then wipe off the residue with a dry cloth. 

Scrubbing with aquarium cleaner

While I believe all the stains would have been removed after using the above methods. However, if you still have some stains left on your turtle tank, you can use an aquarium cleaning blade or algae remover to scrub the remaining stains. Scrubbing helps loosen up the stains, and hence it comes off easily. Below is our recommended tool for removing stubborn stains.

Image Product Price Purchase Link
25.6″ Stainless Steel Algae Scraper Cleaning Razor with 10 Blades $15.28 Check Price
API ALGAE SCRAPER $8.29 Check Price


Hard water stains can be prevented by using a water conditioner and regular tank cleaning. Cleaning white deposited minerals off the tank could be difficult, but it can be made easy with the right tools and gears. Some commercial products are available to clean such stains that could be easy to use and effective. Another way is to prepare different homemade solutions to clean off the stains. As per your convenience, you can prefer one method over another.