Best way to clean frame?

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AC Members
May 20, 2009
I have a old 37g tank that my son has decided he wants in his room. Plan is to reseal it, paint the stand to the color he wants, and then plan for stocking. While cleaning it, the top frame is pretty dirty/ possibly stained? Any good products recommended to clean? Or maybe even sand with a fine grit sand paper? The tank will not see water yet as I still have to reseal, paint stand (doing today) but also won’t start setting up till second week of March when we are back from vaca. So if a chemical is recommended that needs drying time it’ll have it.


Eheim User
Feb 9, 2005
Medina, Ohio
Real Name
If the stains are whitish in color it's probably calcium buildup from water evaporation. A vinegar soak would probably help, just soak some rags with vinegar and apply to the frame, let set and then wipe them down.
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Global Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2013
West Falls NY
Real Name
Assuming this is a standard 30"x12" 37gal w/ center braced top, I wouldn't use anything harsh or too much elbow grease on the plastic framing. They get very brittle with age. Not too many years back you could get them at $1/gallon sales. I have a LFS that still does pretty close to $1/gal on tanks up to 75gal.


AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
I'm cheap as some of you know (lol). I would use vinegar like dudley said & then use a plastic scrubby pad to sort of gently remove the white deposits. Rinse & repeat as needed. NO sandpaper! eek! It also works on tank lids, glass or plastic.

As I recall none of my 20g longs or 29g had a center brace but maybe it's different for taller tanks like a 37g. All the same footprint but different amounts of stress...

I have several tanks 20+ years old tanks & never saw the plastic rims get brittle. I don't doubt that they could...I have resealed the silicone on some tanks but I don't think any of the current 1s (maybe the 55gs) That's not too hard, just nit picky prep. If I can do it anyone can.

My best advice is try removing the white mineral deposits (it doesn't need to be perfect!). Only if that doesn't work & your lights & filter are in good working order would I buy new. If the lights are iffy, instead of new bulbs, I'd go with cheap LEDs, I can link you to my subject on them if you want. Some filters work almost forever, I have some over 20+ years old...Old stuff can be good stuff!