Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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beetlebz 05-12-2008 03:31 PM

5g hex leak
well, i have a fairly new 5g eclipse hex with a betta in it on my desk. Right off i noticed water on the desk but not much. I figured i was sloppy filling the tank and thats the price I pay. cleaned it up, and for a day or two I got water to wick out from under it using a paper towel around the edge.

a couple days ago (it was set up like 2 weeks ago) i noticed water all around the desk behind the tank. cleaned it up, same deal as before. then yesterday, AGAIN! then today after work again. its not ALOT of water, maybe a few tablespoons at a time now, but its like theres a tiny tiny leak underneath the tank somewhere.

1) there IS a seam apparently between the sides of the tank and the bottom, yet I dont feel any water around there, though the seam is actually on the bottom of the tank (its acrylic).

2) is there a safe way to find the leak without tossing mr chavez topsey turvey trying to find it?

3) is silicone (i have aquarium safe stuff) safe to use on acrylic?

4) if i find the leak and silicone it, how long until ding chavez can go back in his tank? I have an argentine sword in there and a snail too :\

Lupin 05-13-2008 08:22 AM

I thought only the glass needs silicon sealant, not the acrylic.:? I'll have Dawn look this one for you. She has more experience fixing the tanks than I do.

beetlebz 05-13-2008 02:44 PM

well, now I gotta wonder. after sopping up all that water around the tank yesterday (the tank level is down about 1cm if that) today I come home and the paper towels I put around the bottom of it to catch the water are perfectly dry.

perhaps the fish splashes around in there? maybe the acrylic is cracked around the top molding? but then again if that were the case the sides of the tank would have been wet and the were not.

theory #2 is that the group of wires for the light heater and filter are getting wet via the eclipse splashing around under the cover and the water is running down the wires. I guess its a wait and see kinda deal :\

okiemavis 05-13-2008 05:51 PM

Perhaps the water was splashing water out until the level got lower? Sounds like something to just carefully monitor for now. Luckily it's acrylic, and only 5 gallons, so you don't run too much risk of it bursting, even if there is a small crack.

bettababy 05-13-2008 11:35 PM

The hex tanks have a few flaws, and I have seen them just as much in the small tanks as I have the large ones, acrylic or glass doesn't seem to matter.

The small acrylic tanks are known to leak from around the top rim, and also from below at the seal between the bottom and the rest of the tank. Silicone won't do any good to fix it because it doesn't stick to acrylic. You might want to check your manufacturer warranty on the tank, but most of them require that the tank be on a stand made by that same manufacturer for that specific tank.

Working with the eclipse, the filtration is also known to be a little messy, as moisture can collect inside the cover from humidity and splashing from the filtration unit.

The easiest way to find out if the problem is coming from the tank or the filter is to remove the cover for a few days. A betta doesn't need a filter provided the water is kept clean with water changes. If you can do without the light for viewing purposes, it won't bother the fish and most plants can handle a couple of days without aquarium lighting. I have kept aquarium plants in buckets of water for up to 2 wks without any damage to the plants. (and that has been most common plant species)

If you determine the tank is leaking and it's not the filtration unit/cover causing the water problem, then the next thing is to find out if it's at the upper rim or down below. Again, simple test... for a few days lower the water level 1 - 2 inches from the top (below the rim) and watch for water outside the tank. If you still get water, then it is likely coming from the bottom seal of the tank, in which case the tank should be replaced. Even acrylic with a slow leak, if it's down below, you risk the chance of the whole thing letting loose with no other warning.
If the leak is found to be at the rim, then keeping the water level down 1-2 inches from the top can be a solution, but beware... the eclipse systems can cause quite a mess if running with a lowered water level, and they don't tend to function properly that way either.

If this were a glass tank, methylene blue could be added to the water to find the leak... but it will permanently stain acrylic. The methylene blue would not harm the betta, simply would act like a preventive medication instead.

I guess my only other suggestion is to avoid hex tanks in the future.

One last note for you. If the leak is coming from the bottom, it can be sealed with 2 part epoxy or acrylic cement, but I caution about doing this unless you have experience in such matters. Both of those sealants will damage anything else they touch, forming a permanent bond that isn't removable, and if it isn't done properly, you'll simply end up with a mess on the bottom of the tank and no solution to the leak. If you wish to try this sort of solution (if you determine the leak is from the bottom) I would strongly suggest having the job done by a professional or someone with experience in sealing aquariums with such materials. Sealing should be done on the outside for this sort of thing, and will have to include both sides of the lower trim.

beetlebz 05-14-2008 04:33 PM

thanks for all the info BB!

so far the tank has again not lost any water, so im keeping my hopes up. If there IS a leak around the top rim I dont mind at all leaving the water level down a cm or 2 below the top trim ring. Hell, for what its worth that will diminish the flow from the filter making the betta even happier.

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