Repairing a leak? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-10-2013, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
Repairing a leak?

I noticed a puddle of water on the side of my 20 gallon long tank last night. I am not so surprised since it was an old tank, but now I must face the hassle of sealing it before it gets worse. At least I was going to drain it to change to dirt substrate anyway. I have 100% silicone from my dad, who works as a handyman. My question is do I have to remove all of the previous silicone; how long will it have to dry and how to keep my fishes alive through the process? I was thinking of putting them in an old bucket with the filter on low and the heater.

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post #2 of 5 Old 11-10-2013, 12:13 PM
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I've built tanks . You do not have to removethe siliconebefore patching. Just run a nice fat bead over the existing stuff and makesure to fully overlap. Water pressure will push it into the seams. Be sure to cycle your tank orsave the water, gravel, amd filter media. Good luck
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-10-2013, 12:53 PM
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I have completely stripped out a 10 gallon and resealed it! But if it is old, I agree, it doesn't have to be pretty. A very very generous "bead" and make sure that you spread the new silicone out past the edge of the old. I watched a youtube video of how to use masting tape to create at least a 1/2" band of silicone on all seams with neat edges... so using the same theory, make your "bead" very big and make sure the new silicone spreads out past the old. Find and watch the video if you can for a sense of what is needed.
Spend the money on a second bucket if you need to, keep the filter, heater, fish in a bucket. If the filter won't fit use the heater and an air stone. Do extra water changes. Old tank water isn't as important as keeping the gravel and media wet and not allowing it to dry out. Silicone takes a day or two to dry I think.
When you refill the tank, take you time to fill it completely empty. Take several minutes to raise the water level to full so that you can see if another leak springs up. I raised the water level a gallon at a time and waited 10 minutes, added another. You might find that all is good at a height of 15 gallons and then it starts to leak again. So you then know to redo the silicone at about 4-5 inches from the top and not the whole seam again. Once you know it will hold water, empty some of it and add your gravel, rock, plants decor. Don't do the work twice. Make sure it holds water first or you have to start all over again.

(Hey!! If I can do it!!?? Anyone can!!)
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-10-2013, 01:54 PM
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^ What they said.. but I'll add watch it for leaks at least 24-48 hrs before putting everything back in. When I redid my 72g I had to leak test it after ripping out the sump and sealing the drilled holes and the first leak test looked good..for 24hrs before it decided to trickle a leak. Nothing big but certainly not a good sign. If you're going to take the time to do it then be thorough. A seam should be easy enough to fix though.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-10-2013, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
Seems simple enough then! :) I will try my best, and if all else fails, I have a week off to try again on the week of Thanksgiving! Thanks everyone!

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