Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Help With Sealants (

YellowYoshi398 05-15-2010 06:35 PM

Help With Sealants
Hey guys,

My freshwater fish tank (I only have one goldfish, but he's a pretty big one and I've had him for years) sprung a leak the other day, and I've been meaning to fix it up. Although my aquarium is pretty old, I figured sealing the leak would be worth trying before going out and buying a brand new tank. However, the aquarium sealant at Jack's Aquarium and Pets was pretty expensive, so I was wondering if plain old silicone from a hardware store would work. The research I've done online seems conflicting; while some people say that any silicone is fine, I've also heard that plain silicone has anti-mold/mildew agents that can harm fish. Would FDA-approved hardware store silicone be any different?

Also, a worker at the pet store told me that, in order to fix my leak, I'll have to scrape off the original sealants already on the tank and re-apply my new sealant - Apparently, new sealant will wear off if I just place it over the leak. Is this true?

Thanks for the help.

TexasTanker 05-15-2010 08:41 PM

Does the Food and Drug Administration regulate hardware store sealants? The little tube of silicon at the pet store shouldn't run more than five or six dollars. If it costs significantly more than that, I'd go to a different pet store. In theory all you need is a couple ounces of clear silicon. If you go the hardware store route, read the label. It will clearly state if it fends off mildew, mold or any of that other stuff. In my experience, resealing a leak requires draining, cleaning, and yes scraping the tank. It really depends on your leak though. Where is your fish while the tank is leaking. Truth be told ten gallons isn't all that much room for a gold fish that you says is 4-5 years old. My goldfish as a kid reached 17 inches at 7 years and he looked squished in my grandmother's 90 gallon tank. Maybe it's just time to get the guy a bigger tank. There are plenty of good sized used set ups available for a pittance. I got my 55 set up for $50 because the guy's wife was mad that he bought a new coral. Gotta love the interewebs.

zof 05-15-2010 09:32 PM

I imagine the FDA approved is for food storage containers which does not mean its safe for fish. What does not hurt humans could still hurt fish.

YellowYoshi398 05-15-2010 11:01 PM

Thanks for the responses. My tank is actually 29 gallons, but I'm keeping my fish - who is a pretty big guy (not 17 inches, but I'd estimate around 6 or 7) after about 7 years - in a 10-gallon tank while I fix my current one. Although the smaller sealant tubes at Jack's didn't cost that much ($6 for a one-ounce and $10 for a three-ounce), I was under the impression that the $18 ten-ounce tube might be a worthwhile investment, and apparently hardware stores sell the same amount of silicone for considerably cheaper. Do you think I could seal up a 29-gallon tank with just 1-3 ounces of sealant? I guess the verdict is I should use specifically aquarium-safe silicone; I'll try to do some more price-checking tomorrow.

TexasTanker 05-15-2010 11:12 PM

Like i said, it depends on the leak. I'm willing to wager that if you went up a few tank sizes, like a 55, he'd have a huge growth spurt. Gary was 5 years old , 12 inches, and kept in a 55 when I got him then grew to 17 in the 90. He died at 9 years because of a black out / heatwave. He was due for a transfer to a friend's 300 gallon. They can get quite big with enough space. I am also certain the size of the tank can also be linked to their longevity.

YellowYoshi398 05-16-2010 12:16 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I ended up deciding not to be cheap and going with the $18 aquarium sealant; I might not need it all but it's better safe than sorry. If I can't fix the leak, I may upgrade to a slightly bigger tank - I'm thinking 38 gallons, but as of now I don't think I have enough space to go much bigger than that. Well, I'll sign back on if I have any trouble with the actual sealing. Thanks for the help!

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