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Re: Removing white crusty stuff

In a message dated 10/30/2000 07:10:38 Pacific Standard Time, 
Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com writes:

> I recently received some older aqurium equipment.  A nice biowheel and a few
>  powerheads.  All the equipment has a very hard white crusty layer on it. 
> Most
>  of the time just above where the water line would have been.  I first 
> to
>  bleach it off.  That didn't work.  Then I tried vinegar.  That didn't 
> I
>  tried to chip it off with a chisel like tool but that only cut into the
>  plastic.  This stuff resembles salt creep but I know it all came from a
>  freshwater aquarium. 
All that white crust is calcium and magnesium deposits.  In other words, it's 
rock.  It doesn't chisel off without leaving behind chunks of itself, and you 
can't just wipe it away.  I've found the very best way (although admittedly a 
bit risky unless you are experienced with handling strong acids) is to get a 
large plastic bucket, fill it half-way with warm water, then slowly pour in 1 
cup of swimming pool acid.  Swimming pool acid is usually very strong 
sulphuric acid, but sometimes it's strong hydrochloric acid.  At any rate, 
soak the filters/thermometers/ornaments/whatever in the acid solution for 
about 24 hours, after which it wipes off very easily.  For aquarium rims, try 
getting a large, shallow plastic pan (e.g., a kitty litter pan), pour the 
water/acid in there, then soak the aquarium upside down in the pan for 24 
hours.  The acid solution dissolves away the deposits.  The usual 
precautions:  wear rubber gloves, protective eye goggles, old clothes you 
don't mind getting holes in, keep the cat and kids away, etc., etc.  BTW, I 
was recently given an old, encrusted Penguin filter that the impeller was 
completely siezed up with calcium deposits.  A 24 hour soaking and the filter 
is now good as new.  Biowheels, by the way, are cheap.  Throw the old one 
away because the acid will dissolve the old one.  Just replace it after 
you've cleaned the old filter.