Best Aquarium Glass Cleaner Spray


What’s up guys, this is the first video in the new Pro Cleaning Series. Welcome! In this series I hope to touch on cleaning topics that are less talked about in the hobby. Techniques that I use as well as general aquarium cleaning and maintenance. Talking about cleaning tanks is not sexy, so I’m going to do my best to keep this entertaining. Subscribe to see future videos! 

There are plenty of videos on cleaning your inside glass, but no one is talking about reef safe glass sprays! Let’s dive in to the best way to clean glass, the finishing touch to cleaning your tank. 

I have used this spray to clean hundreds of tanks, lids, stands, and more. Since I am not going to see the tank for weeks after cleaning it, the cleaning methods need to be fool proof. 

Is Windex Okay to Use?

Windex is not a good aquarium cleaning spray because it is ammonia based. Even small amounts of ammonia can throw off the aquarium’s biological balance. I go so far as to tell my customers this on the first service, and ask them to tell their house cleaners. You’d hate to have an epic reef tank destroyed by a well meaning cleaning company, house sitter, or girlfriend. 

This spray has four ingredients: 

  • 2 oz isopropyl alcohol
  • 4 oz plain vinegar 
  • 2 drops plain Dawn Dish soap 
  • RODI water to fill container

Each of these ingredients provides their own cleaning benefits. Lets dive into each one. 

The isopropyl is my favorite ingredient in this spray. It provides an evaporative quality to the spray, since it is an alcohol. As you’re finishing wiping off the glass the last little bit will disappear as you often see with Windex. From my understanding, any amounts that get in your tank would evaporate out rather quickly. 

Vinegar is also reef safe in small doses, as some people even use it to carbon dose their reef tanks. It does a great job cutting down crusty salt buildup

The Dawn Dish Soap cuts away any grease or oils that you’re cleaning. I definitely notice a difference when using the soap versus not using it. You’ll want to make sure you get the plain Dawn, which almost always has a duck on the bottle. Dawn was used extensively to help clean oil off birds after the BP oil spill. 

RODI vs tap

RODI water is slightly more preferable than tap water. Tap can contain minerals that will leave residue over time. 

Credit goes out to Mike Paletta and the American Reef Channel for suggesting this solution. Mike has a great story on the origins of this spray, I believe it’s on his reef tank tips video. 

Paper Towels VS Cloth

Paper towels work better for me in comparison to cloth. They immediately have a high “soaking” capacity, whereas microfiber towels spread the mess until they’re moist. I am also wary of using any cloth towels that don’t come straight from the dryer, as they could have sand or other scratchy particles in them. 

Spray Bottles

As far as spray bottles go, I’m less picky. All of them have tunable nozzles that let you get a good “vaporization” of the liquid. I typically prefer smaller spray particles versus spray drops. 

That’s all for now on aquarium cleaning sprays. Subscribe and hit the bell to stay updated on future videos.