How to Remove Salt Creep From a Reef Tank

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Here is everything you need to know about salt creep, how to remove salt creep from a reef tank, how to clean salt stains from an aquarium glass, and make sure it is always clean.

Maintaining a saltwater tank is a full-time job. At least that’s what I tell people when they ask how hard it is to keep a saltwater aquarium.

Joking aside, we all know how difficult and time-consuming it is to clean your tank when you don’t follow your regular maintenance schedule. Different problems arise, salt creep being one of them.

If you have a problem with getting rid of salt creep or are unsure what salt creep actually is (for the new hobbyists), this article will definitely help you. It’s what I do on my tank, and it’s working great.

Without furder ado, let’s get started!


What is a Salt Creep?

“Salt creep” is the salt from the water in your aquarium that has built up and is permanently attached to the glass and the equipment.

It occurs when the water splashes out and leaves water droplets on all dry surfaces.

When the water evaporates, it leaves behind salt crystals. This is not a big deal, and it’s easy to remove it; however, if you postpone the maintenance, a lot of salt creep will build up.

Sodium chloride (salt) is a corrosive substance, and it can damage anything it touches. It’s crucial not to leave any equipment exposed to a salt creep for a prolonged period, especially lights.

Unlike algae or all the different pests that often occur in saltwater aquariums, getting rid of salt creep is relatively easy. Here are some techniques you could use to remove salt creep from your glass and equipment.

How to Get Rid of Salt Creep?

Removing a salt creep from your tank is pretty straightforward. Take a clean towel, wet it with fresh water, and then wipe the glass or equipment to remove the salt.

Take another towel, this time dry, and wipe the glass carefully. The salt creep should get off quickly.

It’s a different story when some time has passed, and the salt has built up on the glass. In this case, vinegar might be helpful. Wet a towel with vinegar and make small circular movements on the equipment to remove the salt.

Be extremely careful when cleaning the glass because some salt may fall in the tank and burn your corals.

How Do I Stop Salt Creep in my Reef Tank?

The best way to minimize getting a salt creep is to eliminate the water splashing.

Easier said than done. Especially when we always want to put our hands in the tank. But getting our hands wet is not the only reason for water splashing.

Reef tanks are equipped with circulation pumps that increase the water movement at the surface, which is helpful for gas exchanges. However, with the increased movement comes the water splashing, resulting in salt creep. Whatever we do, the salt creep is inevitable.

From my experience, the best way to deal with salt creep is to clean early and clean often. Don’t let the salt build up on your tank. It’s easier to do it frequently than waiting and cleaning it all at once.

I have a habit of cleaning the glass whenever I am in front of the aquarium. It’s a one-minute job that saves me headaches down the road. When it comes to the equipment, I clean it once a week, usually when I make the water changes. It takes approximately 15 minutes.

Cleaning the salt from the lighting fixtures is also very important, if not, the most important thing. Salt could build up on your lighting system and damage it. I recommend cleaning the lights first and more frequently than the other equipment.

How to Remove Salt Stains From Aquarium Glass?

Removing salt stains from aquarium glass is relatively easy. Take a wet towel and wipe the glass until it’s clear. If wiping out with freshwater doesn’t work, try with vinegar. Vinegar usually does the job, and no further action is required.

If you want to learn more, you can always check our other articles related to this topic:

1 thought on “How to Remove Salt Creep From a Reef Tank”

  1. I have hermit crabs, someone gave me a 75 gallon tank. I want to use it for my hermy’s. I don’t know what kind of fish the people had but there is a lot of white stuff/salt stuff all around the top of the tank. I have been working on it all day. The vinegar seamed to get some of it off but I can’t seam to get it all off. I will have dirt in the bottom of the tank, pretty deep. So the top is the important part and the worst part as well. I need help!!!!


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