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Old 11-20-2009, 01:23 PM   #1
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Exclamation Bubble in front seal of 92g corner bow

I got this tank recently and decided to do a fill test before winter, and before making a space for it. Test went fine, 72 hours+ w/power head & heater and no leaks or anything. I drained it and was getting the last remnants of water out when I noticed this bubble in the front seal, about 8 inches from the center of the bow:



And this glob more toward the corner:



I didn't notice these before, but I have to admit that when I was wiping it out before filling and when I was examining the seals with a flashlight when it was full, I was looking for leaks, not at the seals, but it seems like one of those things that would have stood out. The weird thing is that I only noticed it after draining.

The other thing is that if you look closely, the silicone on the outside of the glass in between the casing is a lot wider/thicker than it is anywhere else. This leads me to believe that it was this way when assembled, they saw it, and gooped the silicone on thicker and it passed.

As for the second glob, that one doesn't look like a bubble, just a goof in the silicone, like where they switched tubes.

I pressed on the bubble to see if it acted like there was air or water trapped behind it, and it doesn't appear that way, but it doesn't look like an excess silicone glob because the 'smoothing' lines run across it.

This tank was used for SW for over a year, then drained and moved and put in storage for about a year and a half, then I got it and it sat in my garage for 3 or 4 months before I filled it. My garage floor has a ever so slight slope to it, so I oriented the tank to point towards the front of the garage, and from front to back (36") it was out of level by about 1/2 to 3/4 of a centimeter.

One LFS told me that if a tank is left empty long enough, the seals can lose their stickyness and air/water could get trapped behind it, and the pressure and then release could cause the bubble to form. They also said being even slightly out of level could cause a rupture.

Another LFS guy said his 150 is out of level by 1/2 inch from side to side and he's never had a problem, and he didn't think that would have cause the problem!

I've got a 55 that was full for about a year or so, then sat in cold storage for 5-6 years and it's been full for a year, no problems.

Right now, the 92g is sitting full again (going on about 15-16 hours) in the garage (with power head & heater, cause baby it's cold in Iowa) and I'm monitoring the bead closely. There is no sign of leaking OR compression of the bubble, as I would expect to see if it was an air bubble under 700lbs of water. The tank is shimmed and level to within a few millimeters from front to back this time. I don't know why I didn't worry about that the first time, but that's stupidity rearing it's ugly head for ya.

So anyone out there have an opinion on what this could be and exactly how much I should worry about it? My guess is that if it doesn't leak after 72 hours, it's not going to leak. The extra silicone in between the casing leads me to believe it was a manufacturing goof.
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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So, anyone have an opinion or a suggestion???

Tank has been sitting level & full for about 36+ hours now, no leak. I reached in and rolled my finger back and forth across the bump and it is soft like an air bubble, not hard like a silicone glob or a water glob. No air escaped out.

It almost seems like it is a bubble in the outer portion of the seal, that is, it is far enough away from the glass joint to push through, because if it was going to, I think it would have done it by now...
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:36 PM   #3
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i have an opinion, but i dont want to feel bad if you do it and something happens later on (probably the same reason nobody else has said anything)... if it were mine, based on your description of the "bubbles" i wouldnt worry about it. if it held water for the leak test that long, chances of something happening, in my opinion, are slim... with that said, if something did happen, i would feel really bad
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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Me to, If you feel like it might leak in the future, run a new seam over the old one. Nomally you should take the old seal off but in this case just cover the bubble area and a little way on each side.IMO
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:35 PM   #5
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Well, I wouldn't hold anyone responsible if they said it would be OK and then it leaked!! It's my tank, my option to use it or re-seal it.

As for running a new bead over the old one, it's my understanding that new silicone won't stick to old, so would that do any good? If I'm going to do something like that, wouldn't it make sense to 'pop' the bubble or cut the section out (not all the way to the glass, just the bubble itself), then run a bead over that? At least then I'd get a look at what's going on there, if there's enough of a bead beneath the bubble, then it really shouldn't leak and a new bead over it would just make it that much more safe, rather than leaving the bubble.

Still holding fine though, 42hrs and counting.
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:26 PM   #6
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Ok, 72 hrs and it held fine. I'm draining it now and watching the bubble to see if it expands as it drains. It doesn't seem to be.

Still looking for an answer on the question of putting new silicone on top of old. If it can't do any harm, I'll probably do it. If it won't help at all though, why bother? I also noticed that the seal on the front edge around that area is kind of thin, but probably adequate (since it held) and I'm assuming if I were to decide to seal over the old one, it would have to be spread over the whole seal and onto the glass on either side of it. But would it bond to the old silicone? Is there a way to 'prep' the old seal?
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:40 PM   #7
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it will still stick, especially if you kind of rough up the existing silicone... its one of those things, if it might help, why not? did you ever decide on whether youre going reef or fw with this tank?
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:11 PM   #8
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It's a $$ issue right now, but I don't want to leave it in the garage over the winter, so I needed to test it before bringing it inside.

The only thing I'm worried about as far as roughing up the seal is popping the bubble, if it even is a bubble. Since it didn't pop when I pushed on it, even under full water pressure, and the bead on the outside of the glass is so much more than anywhere else, I'm going to have to assume it's factory. I guess some emery paper won't cause enough to do any damage, and it I make the repair large enough, it should be ok. So I will probably do that just to be safe....
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:37 PM   #9
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I think its fine. Is it on the top? Either way I think its fine. If its under water the pressure would keep iy sealed. If on top it doesn't matter because water cant' really move it either.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:48 AM   #10
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It is on the bottom. The problem with a sizable air bubble is that it may push through the joint seal between the panes. This one appear to be in the middle of the bead, rather than close to the glass, and since it survived 2 periods of over 72 hours at full pressure, it's probably not an issue, but I will probably run another bead over the area just in case.
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