I have a 1.5 gallon (5.7 liters) acrylic aquarium which I recently made the mistake of cleaning with a blue scotchbrite sponge - not a wise idea, I know, but I didn't realize that the sponges contained harmful chemicals at the time.

Now I'm trying to undo what I did and remove all traces of harmful chemicals from the tank. I was told on another forum that acrylic tanks were more likely to retain chemicals because they're more porous than glass.

What should I do? Would soaking the tank in vinegar help? If so, how should I do that (what concentration and for how long)? Any other suggestions?

I've already rinsed my tank pretty thoroughly and am currently soaking it in water and Bettasafe, which is supposed to remove heavy metals. I have no fish in the tank at the moment. Thanks for any help!

1 Answer 1


Unless the sponge had chemical residue on it from some prior use, I think it is very unlikely to have left any chemicals behind. If you had used it for something at some point, there could be residue.

The good news is, there is an easy way and cheap way to fix the problem.... As we used to say in my Fish Store days: Dilution is the solution to pollution. ;)

Go buy some distilled water from the store. Distilled water very readily dissolves just about anything (well, anything that is water soluble... i.e. it won't help dissolve grease). Most household cleaners and detergents are water soluble. USo, pour a gallon of distilled water in the tank, then just use your hand to agitate the water while rubbing the sides of the tank like you were cleaning. Pour out the water, and repeat this 2 or 3 more times (distilled water is very cheap).

Once you have done this, there won't be any residue from anything at all and you can go ahead with a fish.

  • Could also try running some carbon for the first few weeks, but I think this is all I would try as well.
    – Jestep
    Sep 25, 2015 at 20:58

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