Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 08-14-2013, 09:12 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Rotherham, S.yorkshire
Posts: 188
To reseal or not to reseal?

I recently bought a 4ft used tank and I would love the peace of mind of resealing it to fix any leaks but I'm not confident I'd do a good job and also unsure about removing old silicone I'm scared of catching the adhesive that holds the panes together I haven't checked if its water right yet as I still have to finish building the stand any advice on if I should reseal or leave it? Not sure on the age of the tank but is there another way to check if a reseal is necessary other than water tight?

Also how is best to check water tightness just fill it all up at once and see if it leaks or add abit at a time?
__________________

__________________
Wayne487 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 10:15 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,270
The only realistic way to check for leaks is to fill it full and leave it at least 24 hours. Unless you have really high water pressure, it's going to take time to fill it, so if you see a leak before you get it all the way full, no need to go further. If it looks ok, I prefer to let a used tank sit a few days and I fill it right to the very top to see if there is any wicking of water under the plastic rim. It should not do that, but it can happen, and best to find out now, not the day you overfill it and find it dripping down the sides. Amazing how much water can wick out before the level drops low enough to stop it.

If it does not leak during the test, resealing is optional. If you think the old seal is really worn, or very soft, or discoloured, it might be worth doing anyway. Big job though. If you do, you must indeed be careful not to cut into the seal between the glass panes, but it is not that hard to avoid, just don't push too hard if you are aiming the blade straight down toward the space between panes.

I find a long handle scraper with a bent head is easiest to use, but a very short handle straight one is good for corners and tight spots. Remove the top trim. Might have to run a blade through a few spots of glue or silicone, so you don't break it. Then, when you put it back, fill the channel that goes over the glass rim with silicone, and it will never 'wick' water if you overfill the tank.

Buy a box of 100 razor scraper blades, it's cheaper. They wear out fast and don't work once they are dull. Run the blade along one pane, under the seal, 'til you hit the pane of glass it's attached to and loosen it. Then you run long wise, and hopefully take off a long strip, but don't dig into the glass pane the blade corner is touching, as it can scratch, which can lead to glass cracking later on. Corners are the hardest part to get. Look at the glass under lights and at angles to see what you missed. It will look duller than the glass.

A vacuum hose with a soft dust brush on it works great for sucking up the bits, which stick to everything once they're cut off.

You must remove every trace of old silicone, it will prevent the new from sticking. It is a pain to do and takes time. You need to be able to reach all parts of the tank without putting undue pressure on any part of it. A thick towel or something under it will pad it and prevent scratches, must be on a level surface. You'll need some plastic scrubbies, and I find filling the tank when I think I have removed all the old caulk will usually show me the stuff I missed. Either it will move in the water or look a bit whitish in the water. Check from several angles.

There isn't anything that will actually dissolve old silicone that will not also dissolve the stuff between the glass panes. Using acetone only removes grease, not sealant. There is a newish product that says it will remove old silicone, but as I said, it will soften the stuff between the panes too, which is not worth the risk.

But when done, by all means use something to clean the glass, as grease prevents sticking too. Windex is fine, cause you are going to rinse like crazy and refill it at least once more, before you get to fish, so any cleaner will be rinsed off. Even dish liquid will get rinsed off thoroughly by the time you are done. But avoid solvents like paint thinner, which are much harder to remove from the glass and much more toxic as well.

I know some would not use any cleaners, but I find so long as I rinse thoroughly, they are not a big problem. But I don't use floor cleaners or such. Windex, water/vinegar mix, or plain dish soap liquid will clean the glass of grease and dirt and are easily rinsed off. You could use ammonia too, if you have it and can stand the smell.

I find painter's tape really helps get a nice even line, especially if you are not used to using caulk, & you'll need a caulking gun, quite cheap at hardware departments if you don't have one. Put tape down carefully, it can stretch if you pull too much, and give you wobbly lines. When you get to the first corner with the tape, lap the next row of tape over the first one in the corner, so that when you remove it, pulling it off the way you put it on will lift each corner in turn, and save some trouble. Use one of the razor blades to trim the tape in the corners so it's pretty square, to get neat corners with the caulk.

The tape must be removed immediately once the job is done, because if the sealant begins to skin over before you take off the tape, it will stick to the tape and be removed with it, leaving a heck of a mess and you have to start over. I learned that the hard way .

Tape also makes it possible to go fairly fast. Depending on the silicone caulk itself, and how hot or dry or humid it is, you may only have about twenty minutes to finish once you start, before skinning over begins. Once you have the caulk in place, run a finger over it, pressing it down so that it's fairly even and not too thick. Keep a rag or paper towel handy to swipe off any gobs of stuff that build up.

You may want to practice a bit with a box, just to get a feel for how it works, before you do the glass. As you smooth the caulk, the excess is pushed onto the tape, which you then remove. If it leaves some smears, let them dry, they scrape off more easily than if you try to take them off when wet. Make sure you squeeze the caulk thinner and thinner, 'til at the edge where the tape begins it is down to nothing, or you will have bumpy edges that may lift or allow dirt under later. Learned that the hard way too.

Use only silicone that has no mildew or mold inhibitor in it. GE makes one, it's cheaper than the stuff sold in fish stores. But so long as it does not say for kitchen and bath or that it prevents mold growth, you should be fine. Silicone only.

Once you are done, let dry until you cannot smell any vinegar odour at all and the caulk is firm and not tacky anywhere. 24 hours or more. Clean the glass well, rinse really well. Then refill and leak test again, which is also a final rinse. If all is well, then you are good to go.

The removal of old caulk is by far the hardest part of this process, but resealing is not difficult to do. I advise a bit of practice with a cardboard box, for taping and sealing, it takes only a few tries to get the hang of how much to apply and how to smooth it out.
__________________

__________________
Fishfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 10:28 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Rotherham, S.yorkshire
Posts: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfur View Post
The only realistic way to check for leaks is to fill it full and leave it at least 24 hours. I prefer a few days with a used tank and fill it right to the very top to see if there is any wicking of water under the plastic rim. It should not do that, but it can happen, and best to find out now, not the day you overfill it and find it dripping down the sides. Amazing how much water can wick out before the level drops low enough to stop it.

If it does not leak during the test, resealing is optional. If you think the old seal is worn, or if it is very soft, or discoloured, it might be worth doing anyway. If you do, you must be careful not to cut into the seal between the glass panes, but it is not that hard to avoid, just don't push too hard if you are aiming the blade straight down toward the space between panes.

I find a long handle bent scraper is easiest to use, but a very short handle one is good for corners and tight spots. Remove the top trim, it is usually not very snugly attached. Might have to run a blade through a few spots of glue or silicone, so you don't break it. Then, when you put it back, fill the channel that goes over the glass rim with silicone, and it will never 'wick' water if you overfill the tank.

Buy a box of 100 razor scraper blades, it's cheaper. They wear out fast and don't work once they are dull. Run the blade along one pane, under the seal, 'til you hit the pane of glass it's attached to. If you run long wise, it helps take off a long strip, but don't dig into the glass pane the blade corner is touching, as it can scratch, which can lead to glass cracking later on. Corners are the hardest part to get. Look at the glass under lights and at an angle to see what you missed. It will look duller than the glass.

A vacuum hose with a soft dust brush on it works great for sucking up the bits, which stick to everything once they're cut off.

You must remove every trace of old silicone, it will prevent the new from sticking. It is a pain to do and takes time. You need to be able to reach all parts of the tank without putting undue pressure on any part of it. A thick towel or something under it will pad it and prevent scratches, must be on a level surface. You'll need some plastic scrubbies, and I find filling the tank when I think I have removed all the old caulk will usually show me the stuff I missed. Either it will move in the water or look a bit whitish in the water. Check from several angles, every pane.

There isn't anything that will actually dissolve old silicone that will not also dissolve the stuff between the glass panes. Using acetone only removes grease, not sealant. There is a product that says it will remove old silicone, but as I said, it will soften the stuff between the panes too, which is not worth the risk.

But when done, by all means use something to clean the glass, as grease prevents sticking too. Windex is fine, cause you are going to rinse like crazy and refill it at least once more, before you get to fish, so any cleaner will be rinsed off. Even dish liquid will get rinsed off thoroughly by the time you are done. But avoid solvents like paint thinner, which are much harder to remove from the glass and much more toxic as well. I know some would not use any cleaners, but I find so long as I rinse thoroughly, they are not a big problem. But I don't use floor cleaners or such. Windex, water/vinegar mix, or plain dish soap liquid will clean the glass of grease and dirt and are easily rinsed off. You could use ammonia too, if you have it and can stand the smell.

I find painter's tape really helps get a nice even line, especially if you are not used to using caulk, & you'll need a caulking gun, quite cheap at hardware departments if you don't have one. Put tape down carefully, it can stretch if you pull too much, and give you wobbly lines. When you get to the first corner with the tape, lap the next row of tape over the first one in the corner, so that when you remove it, pulling it off the way you put it on will lift each corner in turn, and save some trouble. Use one of the razor blades to trim the tape in the corners so it's pretty square, to get neat corners with the caulk.

The tape must be removed immediately once the job is done, because if the sealtant begins to skin over before you take off the tape, it will stick to the tape and be removed with the tape, leaving a mess and you have to start over. I learned that the hard way .

Tape also makes it possible to go fairly fast. Depending on the silicone caulk itself, and how hot or dry or humid it is, you may only have about twenty minutes to finish once you start, before skinning over begins. Once you have the caulk in place, run a finger over it, pressing it down so that it's fairly even and not too thick. Keep a rag or paper towel handy to swipe off any gobs of stuff that build up.

You may want to practice a bit with a box, just to get a feel for how it works, before you do the glass. As you smooth the caulk, the excess is pushed onto the tape, which you then remove. If it leaves some smears, let them dry, they scrape off more easily than if you try to take them off when wet. Make sure you squeeze the caulk thinner and thinner, 'til at the edge where the tape begins it is down to nothing, or you will have bumpy edges that may lift or allow dirt under later. Learned that the hard way too.

Use only silicone that has no mildew or mold inhibitor in it. GE makes one, it's cheaper than the stuff sold in fish stores. But so long as it does not say for kitchen and bath or that it prevents mold growth, you should be fine. Silicone only.

Once you are done, let dry until you cannot smell any vinegar odour at all and the caulk is firm and not tacky anywhere. 24 hours or more. Clean the glass well, rinse really well. Then refill and leak test again, which is also a final rinse. If all is well, then you are good to go.

The removal of old caulk is by far the hardest part of this process, but resealing is not difficult to do. I advise a bit of practice with a cardboard box, for taping and sealing, it takes only a few tries to get the hang of how much to apply and how to smooth it out.
Wow that's some post! Lol I think you literally covered everything but I'm still unsure, I don't want to start stripping off the old silicone and then realise it is far more work than I had hoped for. It's the whole clearing the silicone and not nicking the sealant holding the sides together that worries me most I guess
__________________
Wayne487 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 11:39 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,270
That's the easiest thing to avoid, truly. The worst is trying to get rid of all the old stuff. I've done 3 tanks, the largest a 30.. it took me a few days to do it. Mind, I'm somewhat disabled, so I could not spend the time to do it all at once. On the 30, I never even came close to slicing that seal, it was hard enough pushing the blade under the stuff on the inside of the tank.

You have to push very hard to get a blade into that crack between the panes and cut the seal, it is a pretty snug fit. You'd have to cut it all the way through to make it leak, and unless you did that, and for a fair part of the length, it won't compromise the tank. At a corner, it might be more of a problem if you did cut through but it's even harder to manage in a corner than on the long parts.

In fact, I had a 20 that was broken on the end pane, and I had to cut that pane out to repair it. It was really, really hard to cut it through, and on your tank, which is bigger and made of thicker glass, it would be a serious chore to manage it. I really don't think you need to worry about that part of the job.

The only tank I had a problem with was a 3 gallon that was made of quite thin glass, also the first one I tried to fix up. That one, I did cut the seal in a few places, just because it was very thin and too easy to cut through. It was not a commercially made tank, which may have had something to do with how easy it was to cut through. Somebody built this one at home. So now it needs to be taken apart and put back together, which is a LOT more scraping and I have not done it. Might never do it, though it would be a good experience to try.

If the tank does not leak when tested and you are not comfortable doing this, then don't. If it does leak, you have no choice if you want to use the tank.
__________________
Fishfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 11:51 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Rotherham, S.yorkshire
Posts: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfur View Post
That's the easiest thing to avoid, truly. The worst is trying to get rid of all the old stuff. I've done 3 tanks, the largest a 30.. it took me a few days to do it. Mind, I'm somewhat disabled, so I could not spend the time to do it all at once. On the 30, I never even came close to slicing that seal, it was hard enough pushing the blade under the stuff on the inside of the tank.

You have to push very hard to get a blade into that crack between the panes and cut the seal, it is a pretty snug fit. You'd have to cut it all the way through to make it leak, and unless you did that, and for a fair part of the length, it won't compromise the tank. At a corner, it might be more of a problem if you did cut through but it's even harder to manage in a corner than on the long parts.

The only tank I had a problem with was a 3 gallon that was made of quite thin glass. That one, I did cut the seal in a few places because it was very thin and easy to cut. So now it need to be taken apart and put back together, which is a LOT more scraping and I have not done it. Might never do it, though it would be a good experience to try.

If the tank does not leak when tested and you are not comfortable doing this, then don't. If it does leak, you have no choice if you want to use the tank.
Thanks for all the info, I may evaluate just what state the silicone is in tomorrow, if its lifting up or anything then I may have to reseal just in case. I noticed before you mentioned wicking? I'm not sure i get how that works? I assume it to be along the lines of what a wick in an oil light would do (draw the moisture up) but how does this happen in a fish tank?
__________________
Wayne487 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2013, 12:06 AM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,270
Wicking is when water gets sucked up between two surfaces. It can sometimes happen with a top rim if the water goes above the rim inside. It may, not always by any means, but may, crawl up between the glass and plastic, and then it will drip down the outside of the glass. If it happens, it will do that 'til the water level drops too low and then stop. I sometimes wonder if that is the cause of some 'mystery' leaks I've read about.

I had it happen on a small acrylic hex tank.. took off the rim, filled it with silicone, stuck it back on. Silicone won't really stick to acrylic, but it fills the space and prevents the wicking from happening. It does not happen all the time by any means, but having seen it once, I am now wary of it.
__________________
Fishfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2013, 06:43 AM   #7
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Rotherham, S.yorkshire
Posts: 188
This actually sounds like what happened to me! I've had two small 30L tanks and both have "leaked" one I resealed (poorly I didn't even remove old silicone just put loads on top of old (in fact I think it didn't have any just the bit between the two panes of glass) and the other I left and it doesn't seem to have leaked more so maybe that was just the case (the tanks were the exact Same brand and size)
__________________

__________________
Wayne487 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off








» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.