Cleaning Aquarium

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

I see this forum doesn't get a lot of traffic but I'm going to give this a shot anyway. I just stumbled upon an old aquarium that I'd like to turn into a begonia house. The problem is that it was covered in layer after layer of hard water deposits that were so thick that I doubt a hammer and chisel would have touched it. I was finally able to get the worst of it off but I had to use every cleaner in the house to get there. Now I'm concerend how to get those chemical residues off the surface so as not to contaminate the plants. Does anybody have any ideas? I'm not really sure how pristine the container has to be to make the environment safe for the plants and I hate to fail before I even start.

Thanks so much,
La

edited for typos ;-)

This message was edited Dec 31, 2007 7:12 AM

North Augusta, ON

I think a few good rinsings with hot water should do the job good enough. I have had to deep clean a couple aquariums like you did and had no problem with any plants. i still use windex on the inside when it's getting grubby and no harm has come to any plants. Please post pictures when you get it finished!!!

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Hi Three, thanks alot! I doubt the pictures will be too pretty as my poor begonias are really starting to decline (hence the desire to get them into a better environment) but I'm hopeful that the added humidity will do the trick.

North Augusta, ON

It worked for mine!! I had to put them and their terrarium somewhere a bit cooler though, I found it made a bit too much humidity. they are happy now though.

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Would you share a picture of yours? Please? :-D I'd love to see your set-up, it might help me with mine.

North Augusta, ON

ok, this is a bad cell phone picture, but kinda gives an idea. I have a prayer plant, couple of Episcia, some ivy, a few ferns in there. i don't have a picture of the one with the Begonias in it and since DH's daughter took back her card reader, I can't post anything in the near future :((

Thumbnail by threegardeners
North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Very nice! Now I'm thinking I need to go back at it with the elbow grease. I got mine "mostly" clean and figured it was good enough since my only real goal was to keep the begonias from croaking. Now that I see how pretty yours is I might want to jazz it up a little and really showcase those babies. Assuming they live that is.

I was a little ticked today when I went hunting for a light. I went to Wally and to K-Mart (our only local stores) and they had zero aquarium lights. Wally had replacement bulbs but no lights. Now what's up with that I ask? Where am I supposed to put that bulb if you won't sell me a stinkin' light?

OK I'm over it now. LOL

Thanks again for sharing your experience and your very pretty picture!

(Zone 1)

I agree that just rinsing real well since you've already scrubbed with cleaners should be okay for planting. I'm amazed that you were able to get the grimy stuff completely off the glass. I tried once to get all that build up off a previously used aquarium and never could get the glass clear ... tried everything I could think of including straight vinegar and windex ... the film just never came off. So, last year hubby gave me a 10 gal aquarium kit from Wal-Mart that had the hood and light included. I just have a little bit of everything stuck in there right now. A little fern, an episcia, jewel orchid, fittonia and bits and pieces of other things. I plan on taking it apart in the spring, cleaning it thoroughly and replanting it but haven't decided yet what with!

Here's a pic from a couple of months ago. I had to take out the large fittonia in the back left and the large birds nest fern in the back right because they were actually touching the top and the light.

Thumbnail by plantladylin
North Augusta, ON

What I found the most helpful for removing the hard water stains, or crud, is the Scotch Brite scrubbies(green ones), the real ones, not the plastic ones. They will remove ANYTHING from glass and not scratch it.

(Zone 1)

Thanks so much Threegardeners! I am putting them on my grocery list right now! Great to know for future use! We have friends who's son has a really neat hexagonal aquarium that has been sitting in his parents garage for two years and I am trying to convince him to sell it to me for use as a terrarium! It has a lot of crud that will need scrubbing!

North Augusta, ON

A hexagonal one!! cool. if it's high enough, it would make an amazing terrarium/coffee table.

(Zone 1)

It has a nice wooden stand that I would probably keep it on - about 4 1/2 feet tall on the stand. I love the idea of a coffee table terrarium too. I've seen aquarium coffee tables before - really neat looking but I guess you'd have to have a plug in the floor of the area of the table to have the light work, or for all the pumps etc for an aquarium with fish. My house is small and cluttered as it is. Wish I could talk hubby into parting with his 150 gal Marine (salt water fish) aquarium! It takes up an entire wall in the living room. But, he loves his fish and corals.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Have you ever tried a razor blade scraper for built up deposits? It seems like it should do a good job since we use a wide one (4 inches) to scrape baked on food on our glass top range and paint on windows.

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Hey, thanks for all the great input everyone! To be honest, the glass still does have a haze over it in certain places. I spent countless hours with The Works (says it's good for lime build-up.....eh.....so-so), Windex, Magic Erasers, and some industrial floor cleaner that a janitor friend gave me. I used a scratcher pad, a knife, and an awl in the corners. Gee I wonder why it's cloudy. LOL.

It is not pristine, but my primary goal was to keep the begonias happy untill I could get them back outside for the summer. So I guess it will suffice. I have to admit though that after looking at some of the pictures here I'm beginning to think I might want something more permanent. They're gorgeous!

(Zone 1)

Lala: Terrariums are so much fun and so easy! I have some Terrarium jars planted up that have not been watered since I planted them more than a year ago! With the lids on there is enough moisture build up inside to keep the plants happy.


This isn't the greatest photo but here's a few of my jars:

Thumbnail by plantladylin
North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh my. That is a stunning display!

(Zone 1)

Thanks Lala! The one on the far right needs something planted in it. I'm not sure what happened to the plants in that one ... just noticed after taking the photo yesterday - that one has one spindly plant of something in there. Will have to look around to see what I can stick in there! I love planting in glass containers.

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Hello!

Winter is finally gone (yay!!!!) and I'm ready to start taking my plants back outside. The ones in the aquarium did so-so. I lost a few but still have some survivors to take out to the patio. To be honest I didn't think I'd been watering enough but decided to err on the dry side after what everyone told me about moisture retention.

Egads look what I found in there this morning. This surely can't be normal! I have 2 "patches" of this little fungus growing in there! As I say I've barely watered the thing all winter and only a tiny amount at a time. There was never any moisture build up on this inside and this just really baffles me. What the heck do I do about this stuff?

Thumbnail by Lala_Jane
(Zone 1)

I would just take it out and throw it away. It could have grown from spores in the soil. I don't think they hurt anything.

North Augusta, ON

It could also have come from the wood I see in the picture. Damp wood can grow many interesting things!!

I wish I could get Fungi to grow in my terrarium...

Bolingbrook, IL(Zone 5a)

For those of you seeking cleaning methods for your terriaum remember that viniger works great on hard water deposits. When I used to use a kettle to heat water I would soak it evey so often in vinivger and water. It does work.

Bolingbrook, IL(Zone 5a)

Also remember that viniger is a great disinfectant. When I had draining tubes after surgury I was told to wash the tubes with viniger to sanitize it. Now I use viniger for several things

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