Re-doing the silicon lining in a recently purchased tank
I just got a nice 30 gallon tank off of Craigslist. It was an old turtle tank, so the seals are good (they hold water no problem, I asked the man I purchased it from to fill the tank prior to my arrival and to let it sit in advance) and I know at one time it held water. The only downfall is that the glass is a little scuffed on the inside, presumably from them clawing at the side as they swam.
Well anyways, I was thinking of re-sealing it. Like I said, it does currently hold water with no issues whatsoever. The lining between the glass walls of the tank look great, but the ones on the bottom pane of glass connecting the side walls seem a little...worn. How expensive is silicon to redo these, and does it work like a caulk-gun? I'd assume I just use a razor blade or knife to gently remove any current silicon and replace it.
Seems easy. Anyone done it before? Suggestions/comments?
I redid the seals on my 50 gallon. I picked up silicone from the lfs, more expensive but I did not want to take the chance on something that did not say it was aquarium safe. You will want a razor blade to cut out the old silicone. After removing the old silicone you can use rubbing alcohol to clean the glass to make sure the new silicone will bond well to the glass. You can also use something like masking tape or painters tape to use as a guide for how far you want the seam to come out to. This will also help give you a nicer edge on your seam. Once you seal it you will want to let it sit for several days to allow it to cure. If I remember right the directions say either 24 o 48 hours, I would allow it to go an extra day or two just to make sure that the silicone has cured. Good luck :-D
they sell 100% pure silicone at home depot in the plumbing section
all u need to do it make sure it doesnt have "thyl" in the world like methyl or penthyl they are harmfull
but 100% silcone is clear and they sell it at home depot fairly cheap
I've done a few tanks, and here are the directions I've used with success:
DIY Tank Re-Seal Full Instructions - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community
I've used both Aquarium Sealant you buy specifically for aquariums, and 100% Silicone from a hardware store. As long as it says "100% Silicone", you're golden. I, personally, hated the aquarium specific stuff. It was hard for me to squeeze, I could not get an even bead, and I could not get a thick enough bead. It leaked and I ended up having to completely re-seal it. I much preferred the stuff that goes in a caulk gun. Cut the tip so you have about a 45 degree bevel. Cut your tip small at first, test your bead size, and cut larger if need be. But be aware that I've heard the caulk guns can be cumbersome on smaller tanks.
So, just to hit a few points, some of which that have been covered but are important:
The safest way is to remove all the old interior silicone, as the new silicone will not bond with the old silicone.
Look at a tank that has a relatively new and original seal so that you'll have a feel for how much silicone to use.
Remember to stop your bead about 1" or so from the end, because when you smooth the bead your finger will drag some silicone to the end.
I wore a latex glove when smoothing the bead. After you dip your finger in the alcohol, really put a good bit of pressure into smoothing the bead. you really want to squish it into the corners and get out bubbles.
I would seal the bottom pane first, then do the sides from the bottom up. This will give you a neater look. When you're doing the side seams, do the one on your left first (if you're right handed) so that you don't accidentally smear the fresh seam with your arm.
Let it cure for 72 hours. Be sure to leak test it for at least 3 days. And don't forget to do a victory lap for a job well done!
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