DIY – Acrylic Tank scratch repair and restoration

If you have an Acrylic Aquarium you are probably well aware of how easily they can get scratched, well today we’re going to show you how to fix them and restore the tank to as close to original condition as possible. I purchased a 110 gallon Clarity Plus Acrylic tank a few years back and it was in awful condition. The previous owner had used an abrasive cleaning brush for the inside of the tank, which caused thousands of scratches on the inside of the front panel. The tank still held water but viewing the fish was very disappointing since they were distorted from all the scratches and haze on the Acrylic. So I decided to empty the tank and restore it to it’s original condition using sandpaper and Novus polish.

Before

Horrible, but I ran it like this for a while. This was right when I filled it the first time, as you can see the heaters look like blurs.

This is after doing dozens of coats of Novus 2 (fine scratch remover) & Novus 3 (heavy scratch remover) over and over until realizing it wasn’t going to cut it on its own. I then hand sanded it down with 600, 800, 1000, and 1,500 grit paper. If your scratches are very minor the Novus polish will work without sanding. My tank was really bad though, so I had to hand sand it down with sandpaper. I chose to use wet/dry sandpaper, keeping the areas I was sanding moist to keep the dust down. Do not push to hard with the lower grit sandpaper, Acrylic is very soft and sands easily. You don’t want to remove more than is needed.

I then went back over with Novus 2 & Novus 3 a few more times each. While that may only be a couple sentences this step took hours to do. The Novus polish works just like car wax, you rub it on with a clean rag and polish it off with another, I used a buffer in the spots it would fit in to save time removing it. It’s no where near perfect yet but I’ll be able to see detail on the fish again once it’s set back up.

Just filled the tank partially to rinse some dust and see how clear it was with water in it. It made quite the difference already.

I chose to drain it back down and do one more round of Novus Polish. I started with Novus 3, then did a few passes with Novus 2, and finished with the Novus 1 cleaning and polishing solution.

Here is the tank filled up with only a 15watt light above it, a major improvement over the images up top. It still isn’t 100% perfect but it’s much better than before. (No flash)

Same image but with a flash. The white line above the driftwood is a reflection from the tank that sat across the room, the bit below is the flash reflection.

Here is the tank after adding some more driftwood.

 

This is the Novus polish I used.

1 Comment

  • Hamish says:

    Thanks for the guidance. I am building an ROV and have a nice chunk of acrylic for the front view panel, but it has a few scratches on it which will be right across where the camera is. Knowing now that I can polish the scuffs out of the acrylic, I shall continue with cutting the panel rather than getting some more.

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