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How to Remove Scratches From Acrylic Aquarium

Aquariums can add a sense of calm and beauty to many environments. Scratches, on the other hand, can ruin the crystal clear surface of acrylic aquariums over time, distracting from their visual appeal. So, how to remove scratches from acrylic aquarium?

Don’t worry! In this article, we will go through the process of repairing scratches on acrylic fish tanks. With these easy-to-follow methods, you’ll learn how to restore the clarity of an acrylic aquarium display so everyone can enjoy it.

A Complete Guide_ How to Remove Scratches From Acrylic Aquarium
Source: Photo Contributor: Olesia Bilkei

How to Remove Scratches From Acrylic Aquarium

When the look of your acrylic aquarium is affected by scratches, it’s natural to look for ways to restore its beauty. You might wonder how to get rid of scratches from acrylic aquarium and what is the best way to do so. 

Luckily with the right tools and a little bit of patience, you can effectively remove scratches from your acrylic aquarium.

It’s important to follow the techniques recommended by your acrylic aquarium manufacturer to remove the scratches properly. Following these guidelines will ensure a safe and effective scratch removal without damaging the aquarium. 

To clarify things, we will go through the process of removing scratches from acrylic aquarium from the inside and outside.

How to remove scratches from acrylic aquarium on the outside

While acrylic aquariums may upgrade any environment and establishment, scratches on the outside may detract from their beauty.

Here is how you can remove the scratches on the outside. 

Checking the scratches 

The depth of acrylic aquarium scratches can be determined by running your fingertips over the scratched area and feeling the surface. This method should give a rough sense. 

To determine the depth of the scratches, you could use your fingernails. Run your fingernails over the scratched area. If your nail sticks to scratch, you may be able to determine its depth.

Gathering the needed tools and materials

Here are the things you may need to remove the scratches on the outside: sandpaper of different grits (from higher to lower), a soft cloth or a microfiber towel, water, high-quality acrylic polish, or buffing compound

Make sure the sandpaper you choose can be used for wet sanding to avoid causing heat or damage to the acrylic.

Cleaning the aquarium 

Before starting the process, you should clean the outside glass surface of the aquarium. This is done to remove dirt or dust. Use a soft cloth or microfiber towel dampened with water to remove the dirt and dust. This should help you have a clear surface.

Removing scratches 

Removing scratches with wet sanding technique 

Wet sanding is a popular method for removing scratches from acrylic aquariums. The method is done with sandpaper and water. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Wet the sandpaper: Put it in water, ensuring it is soaked. This should help lower the chances of heat and friction during the procedure. 
  • Start with lower-grit sandpaper: You could use 800 – 1,200 grit sandpaper. You can wrap it around a sponge to ensure you have a secure grip or don’t feel comfortable holding the sandpaper directly with your finger. Some prefer to use a sanding block or pad. But a sponge might be better because it is soft. Apply light pressure to the scratched area and move the sandpaper in a circular motion. Keep the sandpaper wet as you continue to work by dipping it in water frequently.
  • Move to higher grits: During the sanding, you could gradually move to higher grits, such as 1,500 and higher. It should help refine the surface and lower the visibility of the scratches.
  • Repeat if necessary 
  • Wipe the surface: You can do it with a cloth after you’re done.
Removing scratches with buffing

Buffing is a method that can help with scratch removal, especially with deeper scratches. It can help restore acrylic shine and clarity. 

You could do this method, but it might be best to call a professional that works with acrylic aquarium scratch removal if you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the right tools to do it. They should have the right equipment and knowledge to provide a safe and successful buffing process, resulting in a polished and clean look.

Here is how to go about it:

  • Apply acrylic polish or buffing compound: Apply a small amount of acrylic polish or buffing compound on the aquarium. You could do this with a cloth but spread it evenly over the scratched area.
  • Buff in a circular motion: Using low pressure, buff the scratches in a circular movement until the surface is smooth and the scratches are less visible. 
  • Wipe extra polish: Wipe away any extra polish with a clean cloth after buffing. This will help you show a clean and fixed look.

Final inspection and cleaning

After you’re done sanding and buffing, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the whole outside surface of the aquarium to remove any leftovers. Check the area for any leftover scratches or flaws. 

Repeat the process if needed to get the wanted results.

Final inspection and cleaning
Source: Photo Contributor: hedgehog94

How to remove scratches from acrylic aquarium from the inside

Here’s what the process of eliminating scuffs from clear aquariums from the inside might look like. 

Checking the scratches 

Before eliminating scuffs from clear aquariums, you should identify the severity and depth of the scratches. Aquariums are light, so it might be difficult to see the seriousness and the depth of the scratches from the inside. 

To make the job easier, you could use a flashlight from your phone or some bright light source and carefully look at the inside surface of the aquarium.

This close examination should allow you to better see the scratches’ size and depth. Once you’ve discovered the extent of the scratch damage, you may choose the best technique for restoring the aquarium’s clean look.

Gather the tools

You’ll need a few tools to remove scratches inside of your acrylic aquarium. These may include magnets, sandpaper, a stick, a buffer, a microfiber cloth, acrylic polish, or scratch remover. 

Magnets or long sticks with soft ends are important here because they allow you to reach and treat scratches in larger aquariums or difficult-to-reach parts. When using sandpaper, make sure not to use one with hard grit. It might scratch the surface even further. 

Remember that the tools mentioned should be specifically intended for acrylic aquariums, not different materials. Acrylic is not the same as, for example, glass, and it needs specific tools and materials to avoid ruining its quality. 

If you’re unsure which tools or materials to use, it would be better to ask for professional advice or contact the acrylic surface manufacturer for guidance. They can give you expert advice and recommend tools and materials or even repair methods for your specific situation.

Cleaning the aquarium 

Before starting the whole process, you should wipe the acrylic aquarium surface with a microfiber cloth. You could put the cloth on a magnet or a stick to reach the parts easier.

Then make sure that the surface is clean before beginning the scratch removal. If you don’t do this step first, the dirt might cover some of the scratches, and you might miss them.

Removing mild scratches

When removing mild scratches, here is what you can do. You could use sandpaper, which could be 800 or 1,200 grit. You could attach the sandpaper to a stick or a magnet to make a scratch-removal tool. 

After creating your scratch-removal tool, gently rub the sandpaper in a circular motion over the scratched area. If you’re doing this with a stick, put gentle pressure. This technique aims to smooth out the scratch with the surrounding area gradually. 

It’s important to be careful and patient throughout the process. You should begin with a lower grit (800). However, if the scratch doesn’t improve, you could use a higher grit (1,200) for better results. Watch the progress and avoid using big force. Big force could result in damaging the surface further. 

Once the scratches have been removed, wipe away any sanding with a cloth. Clean the area again in a circular motion to restore the acrylic’s clarity.

Removing deep scratches 

If you’re dealing with deep scratches on an acrylic aquarium, you could use sandpaper with 1,200-1,500 grit. As before, gently rub the scratched area with a circular motion of lower (1,200) grit sandpaper. 

You could move to higher (1,500) grit sandpaper if the scratches remain visible. Remember to take your time, do the process slowly, and don’t rush. Rushing won’t help you in this case. 

From time to time, check if the scratches are still visible on the aquarium glass, and if needed, repeat the process until you’ve gotten the wanted result.

Final touch

After removing the scratches, give the aquarium a final wipe-down with a microfiber cloth to remove any leftover traces or fingerprints on the outside.

Final touch
Source: Photo Contributor: tetiana_u

Maintenance Tips 

To keep your acrylic aquarium from scratching while maintaining its look, you should: 

  • Regularly clean the outside surface using a soft cloth to remove dust and fingerprints. It is a good prevention to keep the beauty of the acrylic glass.
  • You should not use abrasive cleaners or rough materials that can scratch the acrylic.
  • Remove any new scratches as soon as they show to stop them from becoming more visible or deeper over time. 


Knowing how to remove scratches from acrylic aquarium is important for having an impressive visual look. By following the techniques in this article, you should be able to remove scratches from acrylic aquarium. 

Remember to take your time and use the appropriate tools and methods. Your aquarium will once again be a captivating delight, boosting the entire environment of your establishment.

Neal Moir

Neal Moir

is the owner at Titan Aquatic Exhibits and brings more than a decade in aquarium and acrylic pool wall manufacturing experience.

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