Resealing an Old Aquarium

Cleaning Calcium deposits, Fixing leaks, etc.

Resealing an Old Aquarium

Postby gminor » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:15 pm

mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 01.jpg
Supplies:
A tube of GE brand Silicone #1 and a caulking gun
Some rubbing alchohol
Some paper towel
A single-sided razor blade with handle
A plastic spoon or two


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 02.jpg
This 55 gallon purchased thru craigslist recently doesn't leak yet, but
the old silicone is in pretty rough shape, so I decided to be better safe
then sorry and reseal it now. The tank should be completely dry before
starting. I use a small clip-on fan to help move things along.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 03.jpg
The sticker on the underside indicates the tank is about 12 years old.
If the new seal lasts for another 12 years, I'll be happy.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 04.jpg
The old silicone on this particular tank was only worn on the sides.
The silicone across the bottom of the tank still looked pretty good, so
was not replaced. Other tank repairs may require replacing all
the silicone.

The razor is used to cut a slot across the silicone at the base
and again at the top of each corner of the tank.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 05.jpg
The goal is to remove as much of the old silicone as possible. A new
razor blade will help make it an easy job.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 06.jpg
Using the method in the previous photo under both sides where
silicone meets glass, the old silicone should be able to be removed
in one long piece.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 07.jpg
Go over the corner glass again with the razor blade to remove
as much old silicone as possible.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 08.jpg
Try moving the razor horizontally toward the corner once
the vertical movement becomes less effective for removing
the last bits of old silicone.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 09.jpg
Once done scraping, follow-up with some rubbing alcohol
and paper towel. The cleaner the glass the better the
new silicone will seal.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 10.jpg
Apply a small bead of new silicone the length of the corner.


mini-Replacing Worn Silicone on a 55 Gallon 11.jpg
Using a plastic spoon, turn the bottom of the spoon toward the corner
and apply pressure with your finger as you move the spoon
up the corner of the tank to press the silicone into place.

This photo shows the new silicone already pressed into
place.



Allow the new silicone a few days to fully cure before filling the tank with water.

To test your new seals, temporarily move the tank to a location where it won't be
a problem if a leak develops. A garage or bare basement floor near a drain is a good surface
for detecting even a small leak since a wet spot on cement is easily noticeable.

Placing the tank on a carpet or rug for testing may make it difficult to see small leaks.

Fill the tank with tap water and let it sit for a day or two.

If there are no signs of leaks, your newly resealed tank should be good to go!

As always, your feedback to this article is welcome and thanks for your interest!
Glenn
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gminor
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Re: Resealing an Old Aquarium

Postby troutmang » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:54 pm

HI! The GE silicone 1 I have looked at, say not for use on Aquariums. A'm I not finding the right ones.

Thanks,

Dave
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Re: Resealing an Old Aquarium

Postby troutmang » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:58 pm

Hi! I just read the other post on backgrounds were you say it's ok.

thanks,

Dave
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Re: Resealing an Old Aquarium

Postby gminor » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:32 am

Yes, GE Silicone 1 is safe for use in both fresh and saltwater aquariums and it does say not for aquarium use right on the tube. I've repaired several aquariums that housed fish for many months after with no issues. It is important to get version 1 and not 2 since version 2 has mold inhibitors that could be bad for fish.

Last time I bought a tube at the hardware store, it was about $5.00. The fish store equivalent for a smaller tube was $13.00. I've had my caulking guns for years so don't recall the cost, but I'm guessing they're between $10.00 - $20.00. They're one of those tools that last forever and can be used for household projects as well so are a good thing to have.

disclaimer:
On the chance they ever change the product, always confirm the tube still says "100% Silicone" and there's no mention of new additives.
Glenn
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Re: Resealing an Old Aquarium

Postby Bgoody » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:13 pm

You can use that silicone and it is safe. The most important thing to watch out for is the anti molding agents. This will prevent beneficial bacteria growth, hence you can't cycle/start your tank.

I think it's important to point out how important it is to thoroughly clean the old silicone. In my experience it has always been better to just buy a new tank.
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