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FAQs on Glass Aquarium Repair 2

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Related FAQs: Glass Aquarium Repair 1, G lass Aquarium Repair 3, Glass Aquarium Repair 4, Glass Aquarium Repair 5,  & FAQs on Repairing Glass Tank: Scratches/Blemishes, Cross-Braces, Leaks, Chips/Cracks, Whole Panes, Tools: Cutting Glass, Silicone, Moulding/Frames; Techniques; Olde Tank (Slate Bottom, Metal Frame, Pecora...) Repairs, Troubleshooting/Repairs, & Acrylic Aquarium RepairUsed Aquarium Gear

2 chips in new tank Hi bob.  I have a problem with a brand new 20 gal aquarium.  I just got it and it survived the drive to my house and I managed to chip the outside of one corner while rinsing it out.  as you can imagine, I am pretty sick about chipping it.  The small chip is about 5 or 6 inches from the top, but it appears to have a tiny crack running towards the edge of the glass, and I am afraid it will run into the inner seal.  The second chip is farther down on the same corner and larger.  There does not appear to be any cracking, but it etches in to the glass deeply, and the surrounding glass looks as if someone shaved it.  It chipped around the corner in kind of an oval (this is on the side, by the corner)  I filled it up outside so it wouldn't cause any damage, and it has not leaked yet.  I would like to know if there is anything I can do.   I have never resealed an aquarium.  Could this damage cause the tank to burst?  I live in an apartment and water damage would not be a good thing.  Thanks so much for your help! Paige <Good description, bad situation... could result in catastrophic  failure... I would at least seal another piece of glass over the entire chipped plate... can be eighth inch thickness... with a thin coat (no need to be continuous, but dispersed, over the cracks for sure) with 100% silicone... In all frankness, it may be less hassle, about the same expense to just buy another tank... Bob Fenner> Economic hex aquarium repair? I just purchased some old what seem to be custom made aquariums real cheap.   They have beautiful oak stands trim and hoods. But the largest approx. 100 gallon has one panel a hex type corner broke. is it salvageable and where do I start? <I would not even try to fix it...not worth the time or money, IanB>

No suggestions? Aquarium repair Still wondering if I can save a broken aquarium.  If the hex piece that is broken can have a piece siliconed to inside and hold? <<Hi. You can try it. I can't see the damage, so it's hard to say. If it's a relatively small tank, and you figure that you can get the new piece of glass into place inside the frame without a problem, then go for it :) Just make sure you let the silicone dry properly, and set up the tank with water afterwards in a garage or outdoors for the first trial run..>> <Mmmm. RMF> -Gwen>>

Perimeter Bracing Hi guys and gals at WWM.  Love the site, and you're always the first people I turn to for answers, yet I can't seem to find the answer to this one... I've just bought my 6th tank in the house, though I am in need of it for a semi-emergency. (my 55 gal is leaking about 15 gal a day from a seal on the bottom).  It's a 110 gal  72x18x20 with 1/2 inch glass.  I got it from a random flea market type place for 75 bucks.  couldn't pass it up. anyway, I've already stripped the sealant on the inside, and resealed it, and I've inspected the sealant at the joints holding the panes together, and it all looks good.  My question though is this:  I was told by one of my LFS that it should have some bracing.  The plastic perimeter trim was only on 3 sides, and was broke in the corners...obviously this isn't supporting.  Does a tank with these dimensions need bracing as in a cross brace from front to back or perimeter bracing to hold it together (if it even provides any support) or is the glass of sufficient strength to not bow?  A few of the previous q.'s on your site concerning trim point to it's non-effectiveness on smaller tanks, yet no one has asked with larger tanks. Thanks a bunch!  I tell everyone about the site, and will continue.  :D < A 6 foot long tank needs some cross bracing in the center to prevent the glass from bowing at the center front and center back of the long pieces of glass. The easiest way to do this is to cut a piece of glass that is about 8 to 12 inches wide and will fit in the center of the tank from front to back in the upper edge of the center of the tank. It sound be siliconed in place and allowed to cure for a couple of days. A piece at each edge of about 6 inches wouldn't hurt. The perimeter decorative molding would be needed at the bottom to provide the same support along the bottom between the tank and the stand.-Chuck>  Jeremy Tanner

Aquarium trim - replacements 10/05/04 Hello,    I am having a very hard time finding the plastic frame that goes around the top and bottom of the tank. I have looked and made phone calls but have had no luck finding any where to get them. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me out.    Thank you Janel <Janel... most any local pet store can order these for you. I do encourage you to support your LFS. If for some reason this doe snot work out, many mail order companies like That Fish Place sell these items (if not visible on the website, do call them... I am certain they have them). http://www.thatpetplace.com/ best of luck, Anthony> Rebuilding old tank with steel frame I need help, <Hi Theresa, MacL here with you today.> I'm rebuilding a 100 gallon tank. It has a steel frame, when I took out the old glass, I had to take out some kind of tar. <Theresa that's a very very old tank if I am picturing it correctly and yes it might be something similar to tar.  New glass tanks are put together with silicone instead.> I was told that it has to be hot tanked and NO ONE in Portland does that anymore. <I had to look up to be sure what hot tanked was and here's what I got. "Typically you send it out to be "hot tanked," boiled in caustic soda. This will remove all of the rust. It will also open any impending pinholes if the rust has gone that far. It will also remove any tin coating on the inside which was supposed to prevent rust in the first place." That's for the steel corners of the tank Theresa. And their point is, I'm afraid that they are all concerned your tank is going to leak.> I already have the new glass, and have broke the front panel (have to buy a new piece). What I want to know is there another way to make this tank water tight and not have it pop. <Well I was sitting here thinking about it, what about putting a new tank, or glass pieces inside the old tank. Totally sealed with silicone? You'd have to use all new glass and just set it INSIDE the older tank so you can use the stand and keep the look.>  The glass guy seems to think that I need to get it hot tanked or just buy a new tank. I don't have that kind of money. <I know it gets so expensive.> I have had this tank for at least 15 years, just wanted new glass, already have built a new cabinet stand for it. Please help, is there any other way! <The insert is the only way I can think to go without just totally scrapping the tank Theresa because there is no way to tell how strong the steel is. Good luck and let me know what you decide, MacL> Thank you Theresa

A leaky tank I am writing you in reference to a 60 gal hex tank that sprung a pin hole size leak about half way down on one of the seals. I have had the tank approx ten years and when I drained it, it appeared the edge of the seals on the inside of the tank had slowly deteriorated towards the center of the seal. <Rare, but this does happen in hex tanks at times> what I did was remove all of the loose silicone from the seals and resealed it with 100% silicone inside and out of all the seals. after letting it cure for two days I refilled the tank to check for any leaks. Before I did that I marked were the leak was with a grease pencil so that I could concentrate on that specific area. Once I refilled it there were no leaks but it appeared as if there was a small amount of water inside the seal. <... unusual> I then drained it and added more silicone to that particular seal and then refilled and checked to find out the water was still inside of the seal. I am unsure if the water is from the original leak or if it is from the first time that I checked for leaks. Now I have had the tank empty for four days to see if the water inside the seal would dry up and at this time it still hasn't.  my question is do you think the tank is alright to use or should I try something else. <I would set the tank up with just water in it... in the garage or some other area where it won't be disturbed, and won't cause too much damage if it leaks or worse... and leave it as such for a week>   My main concern is since I have the tank tore down I was going to try salt water but I'm worried it leaking again and getting salt water on my new carpet. Any advice on this would be very appreciated. Thank you <Bob Fenner> All glass aquarium Hi John S. <MacL here with you tonight.> "Hi to all " I have a 150g ALL GLASS aq. Built in 1996, it is my understanding that it has tempered bottom glass. I would like to TRY to remove the bottom glass and replace with either a new piece of glass or acrylic that I can have drilled for corner overflows, do you have any suggestions? <I think you are going to find it very difficult to attach the acrylic to glass. Acrylic doesn't glue like glass does, it bonds or melts to another piece of acrylic or pvc with the right chemicals.> As far as removing the glass I was thinking of trying to push a thin piece of wire thru silicone, after cutting off most of it with a razor knife and then affixing a new piece of glass or acrylic with silicone? <To use new silicone you have got to remove all of the old silicone. Or you won't get a smooth attachment and might possibly have a leakage problem.  Also its very very difficult to drill glass. It tends to shatter. I'm thinking that you might want to consider contacting a glass place in your area for assistance in drilling.  Good luck John and if you still want to go forward with this I'll be glad to give you any assistance I can.> any help Thanks Sinc, John S.

Seam Failure Disaster Hi Bob and Crew, <Hello Jason> I hope you are all doing well. I on the other hand am not. I was the proud owner of a very happy setup up until recently. I had an Oceanic Systems 72 gallon Bowfront tank with a fairly sparse population of anemones - (three in total - my BTA split twice over two years) with a Clark's Clown, Yellow Tang blah blah - anyway to the point... I recently moved into a new place and was careful about handling my tank I made sure that it was drained completely and had no gravel or water in it before I moved it. After the move was finished and I had set up my tank ( at 5 am! finally) all was well again. My fish were really quite happy and everything seamed relatively unaffected by the move. I kept enough of the original water and sand all the live rock of course. I transported this stuff separately in individual buckets so that they would be fine when I set the tank back up. About a week later I got a call from my new landlord after I was called in from my vacation at around 4 pm. She regretfully informed me that my tank had flooded 2 of my neighbors apartments, plus mine. She then went on to tell me that she was unsure if any of my fish were still alive. I promptly left work and rushed home (ironically in the rain) I got home soaked to find all of my fish, inverts and anemones were placed in a bucket and my floor was mopped up for the most part but still was wet and salt residue remained all over my floors. The parquet flooring had mostly all warped, bubbled up and was popping off all over the place. This was not only in my apartment but in my neighbors as well. <What a nightmare!> At this point I pretty much felt like dying and my place was completely destroyed. I set up my hospital tank for the fish and anemones and disposed of the casualties ( 1 BTA, some Emerald Crabs ETC. ) I now have my entire setup in my bedroom -in two 35 Gallon PVC Buckets. I have sand, rock and fish in one tank. Just rock in the other - both are being circulated by two powerheads and have my lighting fixture overhead with airstones and a heater and all the rest of the kit. OK so here's the deal... I went to the place where I bought the tank and they gave me a new one. I reluctantly took the tank home and just put it on the Oceanic stand empty - I can't set it up until I get my new floors put in. I contacted someone at Oceanic Systems today and they said that they were not using the black sealant anymore as it was "defective" and they have switched over to a clear formula that they use on their 700 Gallon tanks. <... strange re the black sealant... it is used around the world, by some of the best manufacturers... and all the Oceanic Systems tanks I've seen have been well-built... and I don't recall a bow-front splitting a seam ever... but, who knows?> This doesn't help me much now cause the other tank I got has the black sealant on it - the one that they said was defective. So I suppose I would be okay with this if I got a new tank with the proper sealant but it still doesn't cover the fact that I am now responsible for paying out at least a couple thousand dollars in damages to my neighbors places. This does not cover the damages to my livestock / 90 lbs live rock etc... I had to take time off work to clean out some of the mess and do not have insurance as it was being processed when all this sh?t happened. So this leaves me wondering where do I stand in the wake of this huge mess. This is enough to make me want to get out of the hobby for now anyways but I just bought about 1500 worth of new equipment - I had it mail ordered to Canada and have no money right now to pay for the damages etc.. I don't know - I just feel that I should have been notified that the sealant was defective I filled out my warranty form and everything - but getting a new tank is just the beginning - what about all the rest of the damages? <I don't know... but I would definitely pay some time, suffer some inconvenience to find out. Likely the first place to start is with your phone directory, one or two of the legal representation companies ("lawyers") in your area that do product liability, residential damage cases as yours... ask them how you might proceed. Next, I'd have them (for minimal money, no retainer) write a "demand letter" to the manufacturer asking for reimbursement of actual expenses...> Liability is a huge factor here. I guess I am talking to a lawyer tomorrow about it all but I wanted you to know some of the circumstances before I did. You have been a huge help to me in the past and I have written in on a number of occasions always getting nothing but the best advice possible in return. Is there anything that you can help me out with in terms of advice? <May be that I can be of further service. Our old companies had a few such liability instances (no fun!)...> I have another friend who is a Marine Biologist and services tanks in the area. he told me that he knows of six other people that have had the same problem with the exact same model of tank. I think others should be aware of this problem before they purchase an Oceanic Systems brand tank. <Mmm, did you fill in some sort of "warranty" registration and mail it to Oceanic? Am very surprised that they did not contact folks re this black silicone, failure problem if so> They have been great in dealing with the situation so far and were completely straight up about the defective sealant. I would like to deal with them in the future but I am reluctant as you could probably understand. Anyways - please help - what do I do??? Sincerely, JD <Talk with that attorney, and if you feel comfortable with enlisting their help, have them write that letter to Oceanic... and please keep me/us informed re the progress... and, please don't leave the hobby. Bob Fenner>

Re: Seam Failure Disaster Hi Bob, Crew <Jason> Thank you so very much for your response! - As always I appreciate your advice. I gave my livestock to an ex girlfriend who I got into the hobby and she has them all. They are alive and well in one of my old setups that I gave her. <Ah, good> As for the tank everyone seems to be very helpful thus far. I am still waiting to have the situation resolved but I am getting out of the hobby temporarily ( until I can get my setup up and running again ) I will keep you posted as to how this whole tragic turn of events pans out. Maybe I will put up a website? I wonder if "www.myfishtanksucks.com is taken" ? hah - I am just kidding but yeah anyways. <Actually... tank disasters I have known (as a book or .com) might be a very popular category. In the meanwhile, should you miss the interaction, you are (very) welcome to join us here helping other hobbyists by responding to queries> I might actually move from Toronto to San Francisco so this might have been Divine Intervention or something to that affect. <Both fine cities, for humans and pet-fishing> At this point I am taking it as a sign to pack up and go as it is something I have wanted to do for sometime. I am originally from California and don't really want to deal with another winter in Toronto.   - Thanks again. Cheers Jason <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Repair question Hi, Just have a question: Is there a substitute I can use for aquarium sealant like from a hardware store? I know it is a Holiday weekend but I thought I would try! Thank you Michelle W <Yes, 100% Silicone is identical to "Aquarium" Sealant (it's also 100% Silicone)... just stay away from the "bathroom", "window" et al. non-100% Silicones that have mildewcides added. Bob Fenner>

Re: Repair question Thank you, I almost used the one that you said not to use, I will have to pick up one that is 100%, I was just going to use it for the outside of the aquarium but don't want to take the chance, and thank you for responding so quickly. Michelle W. <You are welcome my friend. Good luck with your project... take your time, use a tool like a tongue depressor or part of a clothes pin to smooth out the beads... allow to set up for a day, and trim off the excess (carefully) with single edged razor blades... easy to do/get a professional experience with patience. Bob Fenner>

Large glass tank... cracked bottom I just purchased a 300 gallon fish tank and the bottom glass CRACKED I mean cracked during transit. I live in/around Chicago Illinois do you know anyone that safely replaces this glass? Thanks Larry Watson <Unless the crack is small, across a corner where it can be isolated, sealed over with a repair piece entirely (the whole bottom) I would do as you suggest and replace it. This is best done by the original manufacturer or their assigns (ask them where they will warrant the repair). Bob Fenner>

Glass sides Acrylic Bottom Please give this your best shot, I have a 300 gal glass tank with a broken bottom. ?" Acrylic is much cheaper than ?" glass. Any cons to replacing the glass bottom with an acrylic one? I have a steel plate stand so the weight is distributed evenly. Will the silicone adhere to the acrylic and glass properly? Thank You. Cavett Eaton <This sort of repair can work... but not always. It is best that the existing bottom (though cracked) be left in place AND that a piece of plywood be cut, fit into the gap (if any) beneath it... as the acrylic will flex considerably otherwise. Silicone does "stick" to acrylic, but not nearly as well as to glass. Bob Fenner>

Glass sides Acrylic Bottom Bob, Thank You! I have all the original glass and can put it into place before I put the acrylic in. Maybe I can get away with a piece of 1/4 " plexi on top of the 1/2" glass after I trim the excess Silicone away, or would you suggest sticking with 1/2" plexi? <If the pieces are large, with little or no gaps, the 1/4" should be fine... I would make a good job (continuous zig zags of bead) of Silicone between the glass and acrylic> Should I rough up edges for better adhesion to the silicone? <No, not necessary. Do lay in a good bead all around the bottom edge and smooth with your finger, a tongue depressor or such. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Tank Bracing Hello,     I recently came home to find the center brace on my standard All-Glass 55 gallon tank (48X13X19) had broke and the tank was bowing about an inch. All, but one seam was holding, the bad seam appeared to have about a 1/4 inch of seal left. So I quickly went out and replaced the tank with a 75g :) I would like to repair the tank. I have resealed several tanks, but the edge and bracing have all been fine. I can think of a few ways to fix the brace, however I was wondering if you had some suggestions for repairing it or ideas where I can find a new top plastic piece and just replace the whole thing? <We do. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and on to the next linked file (in blue, at top). Bob Fenner> Thanks, Chris

Repair question Hi, My name is Michelle and I tried to find my answer on your web site, came close but not close enough, I have a 135 glass aquarium, I am trying to save it, the plastic molding on the top I repaired with aquarium sealant and some old plastic edging from some glass tops, it is pretty sturdy. The problem is the bottom plastic is trash, bottom is the plastic molding for looks or for support, (remember this is a 135 gallon aquarium, I have tried to find any info on the net and I come up with nothing, is there something I can make [without going to extremes of melting and molding one myself). <You could fashion strips of plastic or wood...> Is there a reason you cannot find these parts? <Not enough demand... however, if you can find out the make (All-Glass, Odell, Oceanic...) of the tank, you might contact the manufacturer and purchase replacement framing from them> They make and sell the aquarium sealant to redo your tank but not the molding?  Maybe not enough of a demand or is it that they want you to buy a new one?  Why sell the sealant then? Can anyone help? Thank you for your time, Michelle W. <Michelle, have folks in the trade help you discern who made the tank... or settle on DIYing something for the frame. These moldings are largely ornamental... for looks. Though the frames do lend minimal support in the process of assembly... Bob Fenner>

Cushioning Glass 12 Aug 2004 Hi <Hi Mike, MacL here.>             What do you recommend for cushioning glass from being in contact with the frame, whether it is made of wood or metal.  If silicone is used by the time the frame is covered the silicone already skimming over. <Gosh silicone is all I have ever heard being used to cushion glass.> Thanks Mike

Glass tank repair I have a 55 gal glass tank that was built in 1991 and I need to find a replacement part.  The top of the tank has a divider bar in the center that holds the glass tops.  There are 2 pieces of glass.  This part is plastic and is connected to a plastic rim that goes all around the top of the tank.  The tank is a standard 55gal long.  We have tried to repair it but the repairs don't hold.  The tank is currently torn down and not being used.  I have someone that would like to have it but I need to get this problem fixed first.  Is there someplace that I can order this plastic rim and replace it? I would appreciate any help you can give. Carol Dunham <Mmm, there are a few very different designs used by various glass aquarium manufacturers... and the tank you have may well have been made by one that is out of business... Have no fear however, as it is not too difficult to effect a permanent repair that will add more than top support... in the way of a siliconed glass piece installed at level with the inset of the current plastic rim (to accommodate the tops, support them in the middle)... If you have never used Silicone sealant, ask about at your local fish stores for help from someone who has. The piece of glass should be at least 3/8 inch thickness (half would be better), and cut just to fit (it can be supported by books, or even tape if the tank is laid on its side. Does this make sense to you? Bob Fenner> Re: 55 gal tank top repair Thank you for your response.  My husband is a hard surface fabricator and installer.  This should be easy for him.  He works with Corian all the time and uses that type of sealant. <Ahh, good> I will let him see your email and it will all make sense to him. Thanks for all your website offers for us and we really appreciate your input and help! <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Structure Question <MikeD here> My 125 gallon tank is about ten years old and never had a center brace.<older ones were thicker glass> I would like to put one in so it doesn't bow.<NOT a good idea. This sort of work can only be done with the tank drained and empty. To attempt this while full will likely cause the tank to rupture or shatter>> A hood won't fit on top right now.<My suggestion is to get some acrylic and have it cut to the size of your tank (trace the outline of the bow with a pencil), then set a hood on this> My question is where should the piece of glass that I will use go? Will it be attached on top of the front and back pieces or can I attach it on the inside of the tank and have it pull the front and back glass together?<Again, the odds of doing this successfully with a full aquarium are almost 0%><<For clarification here, RMF would put in a brace... with the tank drained, cleaned...>> -Will

Removing Black Tarry Sealant (Chuck's go) I was given a 45 gal aquarium which has a chromed metal frame. The aquarium leaks around the bottom in several places and I was considering removing the bottom and using silicon to reseal. The glass and slate like bottom are all sealed with a black tarry type of sealant. The sealant has dried and hardened. How does one go about softening the sealant and removing it? < I collect antique aquariums and have a few suggestions for you. Many of these tanks actually leaked when new. They recommended that you fill them with hot water and let them sit for a few days. The putty softens up and the weight of the water reseals the tank. Try this first before you tear the tank down. Once the tank is full of water they stay water tight for years. Try and find the hood that goes with them. When they are all together they look unique by today's standards and are still quite functional. If you decide to tear it down you will need an additional piece of glass for the bottom. Sometimes the silicon does not stick to the slate so you have to cut an additional piece of glass for the bottom and them reseal the tank with silicon. Make sure that you use the silicon that is made for aquariums. The silicon you buy in the hardware store has fungicides in it that are harmful to fish.-Chuck> Denny Earle

Removing Black Tarry Sealant (Bob's go) I was given a 45 gal aquarium which has a chromed metal frame. The aquarium leaks around the bottom in several places and I was considering removing the bottom and using silicon to reseal. The glass and slate like bottom are all sealed with a black tarry type of sealant. The sealant has dried and hardened. How does one go about softening the sealant and removing it? <Good questions. First, an important note re this tank and the prospective project of removing, re-doing the sealant: Do strongly consider NOT doing this and INSTEAD saving or selling the tank as is... it's a collector's item that has more value as is than as a re-done fish tank. Now, if you want to "fix it", there is a possibility that gingerly heating the old sealant (with a gas/propane torch... careful) and cutting with hand tools (putty knives, tile knife, single edge razor blades with a holder...) might do the job, along with cleaning up the residue with an organic solvent (e.g. toluene, xylene)... OR you might have enough seal to just glom on over the existing tar material with the silicone, encasing it if you will... do all the joints, not just the bottom here. But my choice is really to save or sell this "relic" as an antique. Really. Bob Fenner> Denny Earle

Ray question, and tank repair/bracing Hi,  I was at my LFS recently and there was a ray there.  I asked what kind and they said  it was a Bluespotted Ribbontail.  I didn't think it was but I thought I guess they are right.  It was white with a lot of dark whitish spots on it.  I was thinking it was a yellow stingray or possibly a Cortez stingray.  But the question is are ribbontailed rays white when they are born?  This one probably had a 4-5" disc width and I can't get any pictures of it either. <Mmm, the only Ribbontail ray, Bluespotted or otherwise that comes up on fishbase.org is Taeniura lymna, http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Taeniura&speciesname=lymma go see there, click on the one pic, look at the others... then look up this animal on www.WetWebMedia.com, not a hardy aquarium species.> I also have another question.  The support beam on the top of my aquarium has fallen in on one side (one side is in the water).  The other side is barely hanging on.  We called around and my LFS said that my aquarium is shot (all the water would fall out).  We immediately started draining the tank. <Good idea... for safety's sake. The brace can be repaired, re-installed...>   Right now there is about 6" of water in it.  It is a 200 gal. tank so I estimated there is probably about 40 gal. left in it.  I took my eel to the LFS and they are going to take care of it for me.  I currently have a bamboo shark egg and some snails in it.  The shark still has a few months before it will hatch.  Nothing is on in the aquarium right now.  I was wondering will the shark be ok with no water flow or anything? <Not likely. Better to set up filtration like a canister or sponges with air or powerhead drive...> Also we are going to try to repair the beam.  What do you think our chances are that it will still work and not break? <Very good if done "properly"... I would "double up" the current brace... with either more glass/pieces on top, bottom or along the two sides at the top. Bob Fenner> Thanks Adam Siders

The leak that fixed itself . . . Huh? Hello WWM Crew, I recently picked up a Via Aqua 150 (105 gal.) aquarium from a friend. It had started leaking at the base and was ruining his new carpet. He gave it to me to get rid of it. I witnessed heavy leakage from the base of the aquarium when I arrived, but it was too wet to tell where it was coming from. After we drained it and lifted it up, there was a bunch of water all over the bottom of the aquarium that had collected between the tank and stand. I took it home. Removed all the sand and let it dry. The next day, I set it on 4X4's and filled it with freshwater up to 2 inches from the top. I didn't notice any leakage so I let it sit overnight. This morning, there were no signs of leakage. I can't figure it out. The only factors I am considering are that he had salt water in it-which I assume is heavier--and he had a ton of live rock and corral in it--I filled two 25 gallon tubs with rock alone. However, I would think that if the weight of the rock failed the seal that it would still leak once the rock is out, plus I am afraid to put the rock back in because they are in salt water now and I don't want to kill anything by putting them in fresh water. The tank doesn't re-seal itself right? Do you have any idea why I can duplicate the leak and more importantly, what I should do to ensure that the tank doesn't leak again once I get it inside the house? << Yes, don't fill it with water.  Okay so I know that isn't what you were hoping to hear.  To me, a tank that has once leaked makes a great reptile cage.  I don't like the idea of fixing them and trusting that to be the most expensive thing in my house.  But to answer your question more directly, I would set the tank up again, put paper towels underneath the tank (they work great for finding leaks) and leave it there for several days. >>Thanks for any advise you can give me. << I hope that works. >> Jeremy <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Re-siliconing glass tanks I've just read through your advice on re-sealing a tank and it was very useful and informative. However, I have one more silly question. If you remove all of the old silicone will the tank not fall apart? <Don't know if I'm following you here. If there is no sealant left... and you've necessarily (to remove the old silicone) removed the plastic frame, yes, the side, front and rear glass panels will not stay upright. Some folks use the "old" frame to hold the newly-cleaned glass pieces in place while re-sealing tanks... others use tape of various sorts or wood/corner clamps. Bob Fenner>

Tank bowing... possible trouble, brace I do not see dates for these Q&A so this may be irrelevant, but just in case this guy is still tempted to remove THE SHADOW; When my Grandpa died I received his setup, of a stand and its two accompanying glass tanks (bottom tank 40gal, top tank 55 gal) everything 4ft long. Bottom tank is not as tall as the other but built of much thicker glass, this was not made with a connecting plastic strap molded in for top center support. However Grandpa wanted to use the same type of hoods that the top tank had, requiring a center support to imitate the molded support strap of the 55 gal. He was handy so this was not a problem. Our new house was not finished at the time we got these tanks, so we had to temp set everything up in a mobile home. We shimmed to level, but could not rectify for the movement of the trailer when walking etc., to stop the swaying of the tank. Awaiting the move we only had fish living in the top tank. One evening a very loud snap was heard out in the living room, went out there, saw no reason for the noise. Next morning at feeding time it obvious that the top tank's hoods are sagging into the water in the center. The molded strap had snapped off, Yikes!!!!! So extremely glad we did not get up to a flood and dried fish. What  to do? We saw no leaks, but either way we needed our hoods supported. And we suspected the manufacturer put it there for more than one reason anyway. Rather than waste time setting up the other tank and transferring the "kids", we decided to just move Grandpa's homemade bracket to the big tank. We knew from playing around during our initial setup that it could fit either one. We were shocked to find out that the tank had bowed so much (first however the pressure snapped the strap,  secondly a night of sitting) that we could no longer put the bracket on this tank. We had to drain it to only fish-deep to get it back to its 12". We've used the tank this way for 4 years now, realizing how necessary that support is to the tank's structure, and glad the tank and occupants did not die for the lesson. < The center support is needed. As you have found out that on the thicker tanks they are able to stay open without the center brace. As manufacturers try to cut costs to become more competitive they used thinner glass and tried to make up for it with a center brace. Unfortunately they used plastic that got hot under the lights and fragile. Many of these are broken or are about to break. Fortunately the fix is easy and not too expensive. Get a piece of glass that is at least 6 inches wide and fits inside the tank from front to back under the lip of the tank. Get some clear silicon from the local fish store and silicon the glass in place under the lip of the tank in the center. Place a 2X4 piece of wood over it and tie it to the glass to hold it in place. The next day the wood can be removed and you have a permanent fix for your tank. Make sure and use silicon that is safe for aquariums. The other stuff has fungicides in it to prevent mold and can be deadly to fish.-Chuck> Mrs. Williams

DIY Tank Repairs Thanks for the great advice.  <Glad to be here for you!> After waiting about another month this leather decided to come back out, and has steadily recovered back to standing back straight up with all of the polyps out. <Awesome! Sometimes it just takes time for a happy ending!> My Ammonia was fine, just my interpretation of the color, but I did find what was the cause of the problem. My test kit was reading 0 nitrate(no3) when in fact the real value was above 100. <Yikes!> I started a regular schedule of 20% water changes/tests every other day for the last 3 weeks and now have nitrite, nitrate, phosphate and ammonia all down to 0. <Good work!> I have another question on a totally different topic. I received (free) a glass tank (72L x 24D x 36H). There is of course a catch. <Always, huh?> The tank had been drilled in both the back and bottom, both at one end of the tank. The back hole has a large crack and the bottom of the tank is totally cracked. The glass is all 1/2 inch. My plan was to have the sides cut down to 48" and have the side that was drilled cut off, that would eliminate the crack in the side. For the bottom, I priced a 48x24x1/2 glass at $120. I also priced a piece of 48x24x1/4 acrylic at $45. The acrylic would be much easier to work with for drilling (and much cheaper), but I was concerned if I am able to get a good bond between the acrylic and the glass, and if 1/4 is strong enough. <Exactly my concern. I'd feel better about having all glass used in this situation> The tank will be going on a base where the bottom inch is hidden by the stand, so I can also place a piece of 1/2 plywood under the acrylic, if that would provide sufficient strength. <I'm really more concerned about the bonding issue...> I have some experience working with glass and acrylic (but never tried mixing them), and have someone helping me that is quite capable with things like this. <Good! You definitely want professional input on this project> Is this a project that has some probability of success, or am I just going to make a big mess? Thanks in advance. Derek <To be honest with you, Derek, I'd highly, highly recommend consulting a professional glass/acrylic craftsperson for this endeavor. There would be nothing worse than the seems opening up and causing a disaster when you least expect it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Cracked >I was writing in regards to my cracked fish tank. I believe it is a 35 gallon fish tank and we had a crack from the bottom to half way up the side of the tank. It is an octagon fish tank and it was not cracked completely through to the inside so we decided instead of trying to take the glass out, we would just get another piece and put it on the inside of the tank and seal it back up and see how that would work. Well while checking it for leaks the glass on the outside cracked even further all the way up the tank but it was only the outside not the inside. Is there any suggestions that you would have for us other then what we've done? We plan on taking the glass we put in back out and trying to seal it better this time, because the first time we didn't spread the silicone flat we just put it in as smoothly as we could. Could that have been the problem? Thanks for your time. Tasha Duncan >>Well, Tasha, that would depend on whether or not the crack extends to any joints. If so, then the only repair is to remove ALL the silicone (and I mean every little bit) and replace the panel. A local fish shop might be willing to do this for you. If you want to do this yourself, then search our site on "aquarium repair". I and others have outlined methods. If the crack does not extend to any joints, then if you wish to sandwich, you MUST be sure of a few things. One; that the silicone beads have NO air bubbles in them. Two; that you place the glass, press into place, and do NOT allow it to lift at all - this will create bubbles. Three; the glass being used to sandwich MUST at least be as thick as the original, and it MUST extend to all sides, corners, etc. Essentially what you're trying to do is completely seal off the crack from all water access, while creating a physically stable panel as well. Marina

Finding Aquarium trim 4/30/04  Crew, I am having a very very hard time trying to local aquarium trim for the top and bottom for my tank I am building. The size of the tank isn't standard (74L x 18W x 44H), so I need to buy stock lengths of it and cut it down myself. I am looking for the something like Oceanic's trim. But they will not sell any. So... I am looking to you to see if you know of such a place that would sell it. Thanks for your help. Peter  <the trim is indeed available, but not always listed for how uncommon they are in sales. Do ask some of the big mail order companies perhaps... I recall seeing them recently at ThatFishPlace.com Best of luck, Anthony>

Repair plans I have a 72 gallon bow front.  I developed a crack in the center bottom of the back panel.  I know without replacing the panel the tank is shot with regards to fish.  However I am considering partitioning off the tank so the back center of the tank would remain totally dry while the front and sides would contain water.  It would then be designed into a herp tank.  My question for you is this.  How deep can I make the water without threatening tank integrity. <Likely enough... a few inches (3,4) > I would like to take the water depth up to 5-6 inches to allow for a good aquatic environment.  This would put water about 5 inches above the weak point in the tanks back.  The crack would be sealed and patched and glass siliconed in to isolate about a 10 x 12 area that would hold small potted plants and substrate.  Do you think this would be to deep? <With this repair you should be fine> I know about old and new silicone troubles and will use acetone to prepare for the interior walls.   Thanks, Kathy Brinson-Wagner <I say press on with your project. Bob Fenner>

Chemical Residue 4/1/04 I have had a 29 gallon tank for almost a year and fell in love with keeping fish.  I just had to get a bigger one <We have all experienced this!> and recently made a great purchase on a 75 gallon tank with stand, hood and light.  The silicone was molded <<RMF would suggest to others to simply bleach wash here... covered on WWM> so I decided to remove it and redo the entire seal.  I was wanting to know if I was doing this correctly and when I did a search on this topic and found your site.  After reading on this topic I found that I was not far off base with the procedure I was using.  The acetone tip to take off the remainder of the old silicone was one I had never thought of.  My question is this:  With using the alcohol and then acetone for removal of the silicone, there will be a chemical residue left on the glass. <<Mmm, no residue left... all evaporates. RMF>> Would rinsing it off with plain water be sufficient or a combination of white vinegar and water, just plain white vinegar?  What would neutralize and/or remove the poisonous residue? "Superb information site and thanks"!  Cheryl <Just before re-sealing the tank, do a final wipe down with rubbing alcohol.  The alcohol evaporates completely and quickly leaving no residue. Avoid using water since it sometimes leaves water spots which will affect how well the silicone sticks.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Big cracks in Hello, <I say a greeting>     I found a 55g the other day, needless to say one of the short side panels has multiple cracks running the length of the pane. I think my options on fixing it are removing and replacing the whole pane. I'm not sure that siliconing a pane on either side of the broken pane will be effective or safe. Am I correct in my thinking? <Not worth trying... best to cut out old one, replace entirely>     I would rather not tear the tank down, clean and rebuild it as the cost of a piece of plate glass would be close to what I can buy a used non cracked tank for. <Bingo! If cost is the only or primary consideration, I would buy a new tank, make the old one into a non-aquarium... perhaps a terrestrial planted paludarium...> Now that I have dragged this into the basement though, I would like to do something with it. I am wondering if 55's are made with plate glass or tempered glass? <Almost all with plate> If it is plate, I think I can cut it for lids for some other tanks, use the good panes for a plywood tank, or cut the panes and put them back together as a smaller tank.     I do have some experience cutting single and double strength glass from the hardware store. I've never done anything that big though. Thanks for any advice. Peace, -Z- <I would get some help... have a glass shop cut the glass for you if you have any concerns... or lack a cutting table big enough... Bob Fenner>

Fix a crack Back again, different subject... I have a 96x30x30 glass aquarium 10mm thick glass. During a move the tank was set on a tiny stone (fish tank type tiny little stone!) and a crack about 10 inches long was the result. I have heard of repairing glass tanks with another piece of glass placed upon it and silicone to hold it together, (The tank is laminated glass, but I am still worried about refilling it!) How is the silicone placed on the break? Is it placed on the break and the glass overlaid or is it placed on the cover piece and all over? also, what size should I use to cover the crack? Thanks! <Is the crack in the bottom pane? I would have a 3/16" or 1/4" or equivalent sheet of acrylic/Perspex cut to fit the inside bottom, as close to the edge as possible... and silicone all around the edge as well as the cracked area... AND a smaller piece of the same material cut and fit over the crack from the bottom... AND set the tank up empty, fill it with water (after the silicone cures a few days) and see if this repair is going to hold. KNOW that these sorts of breaks can be EXTREMELY dangerous... if the tank gives way it not only will cause a huge mess, it could result in very serious injury, even death to anyone near or under it at the time. Bob Fenner>

Glass Tanks cracking Hi bob, <Hello Clive> Clive from India here. I've finally opened my aquarium store. We're having a peculiar problem - the tanks we are making ( glass sealed with silicon sealant) are mysteriously cracking on one side from one end. <Yikes!> We are taking extreme care so it cannot be because of some accident etc. Any idea why this can happen??? <Either the tanks are poorly built, highly unlikely if they're commercially made... or they are being placed on uneven/non-level or non-planar stands. Are these tanks just "hobbyist-grade"? Many manufacturers make thicker-glass "commercial" tanks that I recommend in a store setting. If you didn't make them yourself, call their manufacturer re. Bob Fenner> Thx, Clive

Tanks, But No Tanks - Glass Tanks cracking II < Either the tanks are poorly built> Hi Bob, Can you please specify poorly built - are there any guidelines or do's and don't for tank building? We are making the tanks ourselves using 5" float glass for tanks 2 feet by 1 feet. Thx, Clive <Five millimeter? Should be okay... are the tanks set on a piece of foam, some other "giving" material... i.e. not directly on the board of the supports? I would use such cushioning barrier. Bob Fenner>

Silicone seals stained blue I have been treating my fish with Rid Ich and now the silicone seals in the corner of the tank have turned blue.  Is there anything I can use to take this staining out?  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you. Laurie <Unfortunately there is nothing to remove the blue discoloring... you could cut out and re-silicone the tank... Not fun... next time, a separate treatment tank... or maybe you can make this one into your quarantine/treatment tank and just buy another... the tank w/o the top is often a bargain. Bob Fenner>

Fix-a-Chip? >Hello, >>Hello. >I have a 45 gallon tank I bought about 6 years ago.  I moved it about a year after I bought it and found that there was a small chip in the corner on the outside of the tank.  The silicone inside was still in good condition.  I filled it, and used it as a marine home for my 2 clowns, firefish, and shrimp.  About a year and-a-half ago I moved again and bought a 46 gallon bow-front.  I put the 45 gallon out in my garage in case I wanted to use it later.  (It is currently sitting just on the garage floor)  My question is, as I live in Wisconsin and it gets very cold and because of the chip, could there be any further damage to the tank that I should no longer use it?  I have watched the chips closely in the changing temperatures and no cracks have started. >>It is less likely that the chip itself would present a problem than it is the silicone would.  Even if there were cracks beginning, there are a couple of different ways to make repairs.  I would let it be, and do the usual routine before using it again (fill it with water in an area that WON'T be damaged should it leak - let it set for two to three days).  Marina

- Scratched Glass - Top of the morning to you! <And you as well.> A quick summary/question. I got a "great deal" on a used Oceanic Reef Ready tank (24"x 24"x 24").  The catch....the front glass is scratched to the point of distraction ( I bought it sight unseen from "a friend"). The overflow is positioned dead center on the back panel so rotating the side-to-front is not a good option. Also, there is no center bracing.  I am considering replacing the front glass (3/8") panel. In your experience, is this a reasonable project or folly? <It is a project, that much is for sure... not unreasonable.> I am a diehard do-it-yourselfer (Civil Engineer), so I enjoy taking on projects as long as they have a good chance of a positive outcome.  Also, any tips would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure how to attack the top and bottom trim/braces. <Cut them out... is really what you will need to do is disassemble the most of the tank, clean the seams very well, and then re-silicone in your new front panel.> Thanks much for your time. gr <Cheers, J -- >

'Repairing' old aquarium- hi, i need top trim & bottom trim for my 55gal. 48''L x 12'' & 3/4''D x 21'' & 1/4'' H  would you help me re sore my fish tank that was setting around for over 4yrs. <Haha, i don't know about helping you do it, but maybe i can point you in the right direction.> it was given to me free. also need the deluxe hood for it . also need info on what size filter for a fresh water set up. <The larger sized Emperor power filter should suffice for this tank as a community freshwater tank. An appropriately sized canister filter would work as well.> please find the parts i need . I will need under water silicone to repair seals. thank you so much. <All-glass sells the same silicone they use to manufacture their tanks, check with your LFS.> ps. if no help please point me in the right direction to find parts. <Your LFS should be able to get you all you need. I would STRONGLY suggest you just go out and purchase a brand new 55 instead of effectively rebuilding it w/out any previous experience. It's a very popular size so the tank is pretty cheap (+/- $80). You'll also get a nice warranty with it. I hope this is of some assistance. -Kevin>

Thanks...Or Not (1/4/2004) well for one think I do have the experience to repair this tank. <Glad to hear it, since that was not in your original post, there was no way to know this. Most people have little or none.> I do not believe you have the customer service or the connections to direct any one or to say the thangs you did. <Hmm. I thought Kevin's answer was quite helpful, especially not knowing that you have the experience you need to attempt this task. He did suggest a source for the adhesive you need. Perfectly polite too. We're just trying to help those who ask. We have no customers here because we're not selling anything.> so there for you should quit your job or get off the web. <No one here has this as a job. We are all volunteers just trying to help out and share experience with others who enjoy this wonderful hobby the way we do. We'll stay on the web and continue to foster the free exchange of ideas that is it's reason for existing.> I found what I need to re pair the tank <Glad to hear it, good luck to you.> HA HA and I hope you have a nice day <You too.> .lol <Enjoy. Steve Allen>

Oak Creek Products, Inc. tank warranty  My 70 gallon tank is leaking and is still under warranty.  The manufacturer is Oak Tree Products, Inc., and the retailer is now out of business. <Oak Tree... not found on the Net as such or in current "Buyer's Guide" issues of industry 'zines...> Do you know where Oak Creek Products, Inc. is located and a phone number. The California Secretary of State indicated that they merged out into a Texas corporation. The tank is still under warranty and needs to be fixed. Please advise.  Thanks. <Any idea of who the company is in Texas? Dutch Aquarium Systems? Oceanic? I would use your computer search tools with the terms "Glass Aquarium Manufacturers", and contact the folks in the trade re this mystery company. Bob Fenner> Patrick M. Desmore

Small scratch? Hi, I have a 20 gallon long tank with a possible 3/8 ths of an inch scratch on the back. Located on the upper half of the back glass wall. I felt it with my finger nail . And I felt the possible scratch on the out side. And then I felt it with my finger nail on the inside, and felt nothing. Should I be concerned with the possible scratch? If so what should I do?/ <Not likely a problem. I might "test fill" the tank in your garage and leave for a day or so... if this settles your mind. Not likely to fail if glass or acrylic. Bob Fenner> - Leaky Hex - Hi there!  Well, at 3am this morning I woke to water on the floor.  I have a 65 gallon Hexagon tank.  I could see one of the corners bulging out and water was steady dripping out of it. <Oops... that's no good.> I drained about 2/3 out (not leaking now) and still have my fish in there.  Fresh water.  I have another tank to temporarily hold them, but my question is how to fix the problem?  The tank has been set up for over a year now without a problem and now it leaks.  Is this normal? <No, that's not normal but does happen.> It seems it is only at one joint.  Should I remove the one seal and replace the silicone, and if so, how do you keep the joint together when resealing a hexagon tank? <With the plastic top and bottom, these act as forms when the tank was built.> Is it the same concept as a regular rectangle tank? <Basically, but slightly more of a pain in the butt to assemble because the joints are not 90 degrees.> And if I do one joint, should I do them all? <I would, just because you don't want to go through all this trouble only to have it spring a new leak down the line.> Thank you for your time! Christy <Cheers, J -- >

Bowing Tank Hi, <Hello there> I have read your faq's and have found several about tank bowing but I still need to ask. I have recently purchased a supposedly "NEW" 80ga tank from a friend. I finally got time to fill it last night and the tank sides bow. After taking some measurements the tank is bowing  approximately 1" in the center of the tank at the top, the tank is 1/4" glass. No leaks yet. Would this be one of those cases where a brace would be needed. If so is there somewhere I could get detailed information on how this is accomplished. Thanks In Advance Sheldon <I am very concerned here... I would drain this tank down and investigate its "origins"... Is this a manufactured product? By whom? There is no "center brace" to prevent bowing? There should be in a tank of this gallonage, construction. It IS bowing too much and could be real trouble. Do remove about half the water for now. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bowing Tank Bob, Thanks for your quick response. No, there is no center brace. Would it be possible for me to install one or should I consider a new tank. Sheldon <If it were me, I'd return this tank (or use it for other purposes... not filled all the way) for another... but it is possible to install a center brace. 100% silicone sealant/adhesive and a to-fit piece of glass... Bob Fenner>

Glass and Silicone aquarium repairs. hey bob I have a oceanic hex 30 gallon take octagon shape tank. I have  leak on the side I started taking all the old sealant off but do u think if I reseal it will it be as strong as it once was????I have to take it all apart that's why I asking Julian <Would be as strong as it ever was/will be if indeed all the silicone were removed and re-done properly... Not easy to do however, and very time-consuming... How bad was the leak? It might well be that just resealing the "outside" bead would get you a water-tight tank. If this simpler repair doesn't work (test outside), I would look into getting a new tank. Bob Fenner>

Re: Glass aquarium repair try bob I am going to go ahead a try to reseal it. like u said it is time consuming. I took off all the old silicone but the pains of glass that make the octagon are glue together still holding the shape. can I just re-silicone the seams??? <Yes> also while cleaning the old silicone there is residue left over I want it clean as possible what can I use to remove the residue I cant get it with a razor and I've tried alcohol. and cleaner u recommend to completely remove any old silicone and residue. thanks for the help u give us. Julian <A solvent like Xylene or Acetone... and plenty of paper towels... and "elbow grease" (oh, and gloves for your hands if you think you might have a sensitivity... and do "outside" to alleviate fumes). Bob Fenner>

Trade-ins on aquariums Desperate and tired.  Have a 120gal tank that has ruptured in the seams twice in thirty days.  On the  first attempt at repair I stripped all the old silicone and cleaned the surfaces, I resealed all the seams, all the way around, allowed to dry about three days, now another seam has come loose, ready to give up on this tank, are there any businesses in the southeastern Michigan area that offer trade-ins on tanks?  I have been pricing tanks and want to save if possible                            thank you,  ellimae <Yikes... dangerous when tanks give way... and messy! Not likely that anyone will give you much of a trade-in on this tank at this point... You might be able to repair and sell it for a "herptile" use (like a snake, lizard container). A couple notes re these sorts of repairs: One, it's really important to remove all the existing silicone from the old joint... requires the use of a solvent (toluene e.g.) and clean toweling, "elbow-grease"... and secondly, critical that the tank be set on a level, planar stand of some sort... and this in turn on a floor of the same characteristics (and strong!). Elsewise, seams can/do split from uneven force. Bob Fenner>

Repairing cracked glass tank Hello, <Hi there> I recently unpacked my 48 G bow front tank to discover a crack in the right hand corner. I have looked over your website and have read many of the response to the situations many people had. I was wondering if this crack is repairable and how to go about doing it. I myself know nothing about the different glues and need advise on this. I am not in a situation to go out and purchase a new tank. I am stationed in the military and currently reside in Germany. <I'd save up for a Juwel tank. The crack (nice pix btw) is "in a bad place... and all the way into the (non-functional) frame... not easy to fix... but worth trying> I have found only one store thus far to shop at but the language barrier makes it difficult to do business. <Uhh, it's someone else's country. The non-occupying U.S. (how many decades now?) should offer some help here (translation)... ask someone to go with you> I know that if I go in and ask about fixing a cracked tank they will only want me to spend money on a new one. <Which is (honestly) what you should do... As stated, due to the position and extent of this crack it is doubtful whether a repair can be effected> I was reading one e-mail on your site where the guy gets a tank from a college and discovers a crack in it. The advise you gave was to get some 100% silicone and a piece of glass and cover the crack. I was wondering if this would work on my tank. <It is the only possibility. Though, it will require cutting away the bottom edge of the outside "frame"... as I say, If I had the tank, were stuck out in the middle of "nowhere" I might try this... You're not stuck> I have enclosed pictures and hope that they will open. I also wanted to know if you think removing the complete panel and replacing it with a new one would work better. <Yes... but a bunch of work... not hard, just takes a bit of time... look for 12 mm replacement glass... I would try this ahead of the other repair mentioned above... and save up for a new tank ahead of all of these> Do you think that a wind shell repair person could perform the work? <Mmm, none that I know of> I myself don't have the tools required to do this. <Takes (really) single edge razor blades, a steady hand and lots of time, maybe a holder for same... some solvent and a rag... a new piece of glass, silicone sealant... that's all> I know there are more options out there then just purchasing a new tank. If it would be cheaper to purchase a new tank I will probably end up doing that. <This is likely what I would do> Thanks for any help you can provide.  Brian <Bob Fenner, "in the military" as a dependent and more for thirty years... with about two dozen broken tanks from such moves>

Re-sealing a fish tank Hi, <Hello> I just stumbled onto your website and you sound very experienced in the ways of the fish world.  I need some of your wisdom.  I have a 55 gallon fish tank that leaks at the bottom front.  I cleared out the old silicone from the front seam only and purchased some fish friendly silicone from my local pet store.  The tank is currently drying in front of a fan waiting for me to re-silicone it.  Here is my question:  Do I have to re-seal the WHOLE tank or can I just re-seal the one seam? <Best to re-seal all seams... cut out the existing seal, clean with a solvent, let dry, apply the new silicone, spread (with a tongue depressor, Popsicle stick, part of a clothespin...), let cure for a day or more, trim off the excess (with single-edge razor blades (be careful))... test outside over newspaper for leaks...>   Also, if I can re-seal the one seam how do I get the silicone to stick to the two corners it will become a part of? <Part of the problem with only trying one piece... you actually can't tell where the "leak" is originating... hence the call to do all seams> I've never done this before but I am quite anal when it comes to my fish, so I'm sure I'll do an excellent job. <Ah, good. Not hard to do, but easier the more times you do it. Do have plenty of paper towels on hand (to remove excess that gets on your hands. Good luck. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your wisdom. JavaMama

Crack in My 150 Gallon Tank!! I just moved over the weekend and during the move I cracked the back glass on my 150 gallon tank!! the crack is in the shape of an "U". It is in the middle of the glass. I live in Inglewood, Ca (near Los Angeles). Where can I get the tank repaired?  LaTrice <Bummer :( The best I could say is to contact local glass shops or fish stores to find someone to do this. Good luck, Don>

Crack in my 150 gallon tank!! Thank you for your response. If I had a sheet of glass cut and replace with a sealant and tape. would this hold with all the pressure? <Oh no, this would be an accident waiting to happen. Basically the tank has to be totally separated and reassembled using 100% silicon sealant that does not have any additives. This can be a daunting task on a larger tank, but if you find some help and go slow, it can be done. You can try to seal in just the replacement side, but it very likely to leak and you have to tear apart the tank and do it anyway. You can find several discussions here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm to see if you want to proceed. This site http://saltaquarium.about.com/library/weekly/aa050200.htm has a discussion and stepwise instructions for replacing a pane of glass. Unfortunately, many folks just buy a new/used tank. Hope this goes well, Don>

Repair of 65Gal hex tank Hi.  I've just finished reading all the tank repair FAQ's currently posted and did not see this addressed.  I have a >20 year old 65 gallon hex glass tank . It's not made anymore so a replacement is not available. All the glass is fine. The tank has been used for salt water and fresh water. Over the years algae or bacteria have grown between the silicone seal and the glass, undermining the seals. Obviously it is starting to spring small leaks. I'd like to repair the tank. <Not hard to do> Several questions:  Are there specific braces to use to hold the necessary angles while the joints are caulked and curing? <There are corner and cross braces made for the carpentry field that can be used, but many folks find "reinforced tape" (like the types with "lines" in them that are the Dickens to cut through) work fine to hold the panels in place> If not, can one joint at a time be re-caulked or should the entire tank be dismantled at once? <If all needs to be done, should be done all at the same time. Build "upside down, with the bottom on top> How do I estimate how many tubes of silicone caulking I need so that I can have enough on hand? <Mmm, if done "properly" doesn't take much. Maybe buy two cartridges (10.5) ounce and take one back if un-used> I am especially concerned here as one of the faq's said old and new silicone won't bond even after only 24 hours. Parallel sides are 24 inches apart and the tank is 30 inches high.  <I remember this shape, size tank. Very attractive> Any suggestion on sequencing of the seams since there are the six joints around the hexagonal base glass and then the vertical joints between adjacent vertical panels. <Best to make like tightening the lug nuts on a tire, in roughly opposite arrangement, then bottom last> Thanks in advance for any help.  Laura <Do look, ask around if there is someone, perhaps through a local store or hobby club, who has done this re-sealing work recently. Much easier to "see" and do with a little help. Bob Fenner>

Major leak 07/22/03 Went onto your site, looking for some kind of quick, emergency (Mcguyver) type repair- I was in another room, heard a strange 'snap' sound went to check it out and found H2o gushing out of our 55g. while the 2 huge Oscars inside seemed to be enjoying the whole situation.  I thought quick to stop the leak; put some newspaper along the inside of the crack, from almost center of tank to corner; while being attacked by the monsters inside, was no fun ! Mean to the fullest of their names worth.  The leak subsided, I siphoned 50% of the water out,  the leak slowed. I really needed some technical advice at this point; so I went to your site, but no help as to any type of quick 911 repair. Maybe the newspaper, was it.   <Well, did you check here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm there's two pages of FAQs on aquarium repair. In all honesty, I think you'd be better off with a new tank. Even with a repair, the tank could break again. Look at it as an opportunity to upgrade, 55g is really to small for Oscars. A bigger tank might well improve their disposition, check here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm. Have a good day, PF>

Busted Tank went onto your site, looking for some kind of quick, emergency (Mcguyver) type repair- I was in another room, heard a strange 'snap' sound went to check it out and found H2O gushing out of our 55g. while the 2 huge Oscars inside seemed to be enjoying the whole situation.  I thought quick to stop the leak; put some newspaper along the inside of the crack, from almost center of tank to corner; while being attacked by the monsters inside, was no fun ! Mean to the fullest of their names worth.  The leak subsided, I siphoned 50% of the water out,  the leak slowed. I really needed some technical advice at this point; so I went to your site, but no help as to any type of quick 911 repair. Maybe the newspaper, was it.   <Ok, take 3 pieces of bologna, a match stick, and an eraser... But seriously, I am sorry that you could not find a quick fix on our site and commend you for the quick thinking and the newspaper trick, a great idea.  A towel might work in the same fashion.  Although I have never had an emergency such as this I have had to move fish quickly and have had my share of floods, the most recent was involved the overflow of a 40gal garbage can while I consoled my girlfriend who had accidentally pinched off the tip of my lizards tail while cleaning its tank, ugh what a day.  I have a few tanks, Rubbermaid tubs, and buckets laying around for such emergencies and try to borrow my Mothers wet/dry vac as often as possible.  Although it is a bad situation, this may be a great excuse to buy those Oscars a larger tank as two large Oscars in a 50gal must have been getting a little cramped.  You might also want to look into why the tank cracked in the first place, the first thing that comes to mind is the stand not being level.  This email will be posted in our archives, and will hopefully help the next person who finds themselves in a similar situation.  Best Regards, Gage>

Slow Leak-What Next? Plans for bigger better Kind Sirs, <Hello! Ryan this morning> I arrived home from vacation yesterday to find my 30 gal aquarium had a slow leak. <I'm sorry to hear that> It seems the bottom seal is starting to give way. <Is it an old tank?> I caught it in time, carpet slightly wet, particle board stand pretty much sucked up most of the water and only about a 1/2" of water missing from the tank. <Guardian angel must have been fish-sitting!> Currently I have a 18 gal Rubbermaid tub filled with tank water and 20 lbs of live rock (aerating), a 5 gal bucket with 2 clowns, feather duster, yellow damsel, and a cleaner shrimp (aerating). I will be moving them to the Rubbermaid later today (wanted to make sure that didn't leak) and a 5 gal bucket with tank water (brown - the 30 gal was a UG setup) and the crushed coral.  My current situation has put me into the express lane to purchase the 75 gal I was researching to set up. <Understandably> It looks as though I'll be going with the 75 gal AGA reef set up with only the one corner overflow. I wanted to look into having a tank drilled, but with my lack of plumbing experience I figured I'd better go with something pre-made. <It's not nearly as imposing once you roll up your sleeves.  I would recommend you look into more- this may be the last tank you buy for some time.  Check out http://www.ozreef.org/ for some great ideas.  Corner overflows can be loud- this may or may not matter to you.>  Future plans will consist of adding a above tank refugium to the sump. <Great!  Ideal>  Many questions on how fast can I upgrade to the 75. Can I get away with adding all the water from the 30 (including the brown) to the 75 and then adding freshly made salt water. (I would like to avoid keeping them in the Rubbermaid while the tank cycles). The new tank will have a 1" sand bed and I will put some of the crushed coral in mesh to provide some bacteria to the sand. Or would I be better off to have a half filled 75 gal and slowly add 10 gal a week over i period of time, using power heads to circulate the tank. Or some possible alterative that you might have. <This really depends on if you're adding more live rock or not.  If you're buying a huge new quantity of live rock, just use the new synthetic saltwater and the rock will cycle it for you.  If you're going to do it slowly, adding pieces of rock gradually, go ahead and dump in the old stuff.  Any way you do it, this is going to recycle.>  As for the 30 gal. It seems the this will become my curing tank for the new rock I will need to purchase. <Possible QT later as well> As for resealing. Can i get away with just adding sealant over the existing or should I look to remove some of the old and put the new sealant over? <If this is never going to be a permanent aquarium again, just patch it.  If you plan on using it, do it right.>  Also, I'm sort of reluctant to turn the heater on attached to the Rubbermaid, should I be concerned with melting (?) or would this be ok? <Should be fine, just watch the temperature very carefully for the first day or so.>  Any thoughts or links to your sight would be much appreciated. Received the new book, only glanced at it quickly, looks great. I was hoping to make it a slow read, now it seems like it's going to be a crash course.  <Dave, this will be fine.  Just keep a close eye on your livestock, and enjoy this experience!  If you're not comfortable with the whole Rubbermaid deal, go get yourself a couple 10 gallon cheap-o tanks.  Take your time!  It's easy to rush it with a new tank, especially if you already have fish in limbo.  There are many similar stories on the FAQs- they should be very helpful.  Good luck! Ryan> Thanks again,  DaveK

Scratched Aquarium I have a Truvu aquarium and it has scratches on the outside of the tank.<If this is a glass aquarium it would be worth your while to purchase a new aquarium-if it is an acrylic aquarium there are kits you can purchase that can correct scratches... I have to admit its pretty tough to do though> In parts looks hazy and scratched. Is there anything I can use to take the scratches out and have a clear view again what would you recommend? <IanB>     Yoquin <<Ian... TruVu aquariums are acrylic... RMF>>

Question about a used 180gal tank I recently purchased a used 180gal setup and I have a couple of questions. First, the tank has black trim and three fixed panes on the top sealed with silicone.  One in the center about 24" wide and one on each end about 4" wide.  Do you have any idea who the manufacturer might be? <Could be most any of the larger glass tank manufacturers, extant or defunct. Maybe All-Glass, Perfecto, Odell...> Secondly, I noticed a substantial gash (approx. 3" is missing from the bottom up in the shape of a semi-circle) in the plastic trim on the bottom width piece.  Is this a structural element to worry about?   <Not structural. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium repair I just acquired a 55 gal tank, but the top center brace is broken. Can I fix this ?<yes you can fix this, I would purchase Martin A. Moe, jr. book "The Marine Aquarium Handbook-Beginner to Breeder" it has a wonderful section on aquarium repair. Also I would look over the FAQ's on the WWM site http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm , Good luck. IanB> Deflection (bowing tank) 5/22/03 My wife's 55 gallon long aquarium has a broken center support on top. She filled it and it is bowing in the center approx. an inch. Will this be safe or will it let go? <not safe at all... the acceptable tolerance for glass is half of its thickness (i.e.- a 1/4" bow on 1/2" glass).> I have braced it with a small bar clamp at this time. Is it possible to get it fixed or is it time for a new one? <easily fixed mate. Just drop the water level a few inches, have a glass brace cut at the local glass shop (say a piece of half inch glass 3-4" wide and the inside width of the clamped tank)... then silicone it in place (set for 7 days clamped to dry> We line in north eastern Ohio and cant locate any one close that repairs these. Paul <no worries... an easy fix. Else you can order a new top rim for the tank from most shops and mail order companies like That Fish Place in Lancaster PA. Best regards, Anthony>

Cracked tank Hi <Hi Meirion, PF with you here tonight> I've read through your FAQ on repairs.  I just bought a second-hand 2ft*2ft*4ft tank (about 100 gallons I think - we work in litres in the UK <Yep, that's approximately what I get, about 430 litres>) and managed to crack one of the end panels quite badly. <Ouch> The way I see it I have two options: Brace it both inside and out -which I'm pretty sure would be strong enough as the tank has built in glass corner filters and lots of bracing. <Don't underestimate the force generated by all that water> It won't look pretty but would it hold? <I'm not sure, my field of engineering is telecom, not materials or hydrodynamics. But, going on gut instinct, I'd have to say no> the tank is made of 10mm glass.  So I was thinking of bracing it with 10mm on the outside ( a complete panel over the whole thing) and 8mm on the inside. Or I can dismantle the whole thing and replace the panel and re-glue it. <IMO, you should go that route. A pain I know, but better safe than sorry.> I've built tanks previously - nothing quite this big but I'm pretty confident.  This would be a nightmare however because of all the bracing and built in corner filters (10mm glass no less). Is there anything I can use to dissolve the silicone glue if I go for this option? <I've looked on the web, but I can't find anything. It seems to me the best option would be to remove the broken pieces and remove the remaining silicon with a razor.> Please don't recommend I buy new because it's almost not an option - prices over here for tanks are not cheap. <Ok, I'll hold my tongue> To buy the glass and glue would be the fraction of the cost of another tank - even a second hand one.  I got an amazingly good deal when I bought this one. (the usual price for a second hand 25 gallon). Any suggestions/recommendations would be helpful. Thanks Mr. Meirion Jones <Hopefully that helps. I'd recommend you check with the DIYers over on the forum: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ or at OZ reef's DIY page: ozreef.org/diy/ Have a good night, PF>

Resealing old metal-framed aquariums S.O.S. I need to repair a several (100, 55, 30s gallons) leaking old  tanks. I mean the ones with stainless steel frames & stone at the bottom. I have tried silicone & epoxy with no success. I know someone "out there" should know how to... Cordially: O. Ferrer <Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and the next Related FAQs after (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Tank Repair Hi I've read through your FAQ on repairs.  I just bought a second-hand 2ft*2ft*4ft tank (about 100 gallons I think - we work in litres in the UK) and managed to crack one of the end panels quite badly. The way I see it I have two options: Brace it both inside and out - which I'm pretty sure would be strong enough as the tank has built in glass corner filters and lots of bracing.  It won't look pretty but would it hold? the tank is made of 10mm glass.  So I was thinking of bracing it with 10mm on the outside ( a complete panel over the whole thing) and 8mm on the inside. Or I can dismantle the whole thing and replace the panel and re-glue it.  I've built tanks previously - nothing quite this big but I'm pretty confident.  This would be a nightmare however because of all the bracing and built in corner filters (10mm glass no less). Is there anything I can use to dissolve the silicone glue if I go for this option? Please don't recommend I buy new because it's almost not an option - prices over here for tanks are not cheap.  To buy the glass and glue would be the fraction of the cost of another tank - even a second hand one.  I got an amazingly good deal when I bought this one. (the usual price for a second hand 25 gallon). Any suggestions/recommendations would be helpful. Thanks, Mr. Meirion Jones <Hi Mr. Jones, I would recommend replacing the panel with an exact replica from your glass/glazing store. Probably the best tool for removing the silicone is a sharp razor knife...be careful to cut only where you intend. Make sure you cut down to clean glass and plastic or metal frame, then reseal with new silicone to adhere where needed to avoid leaks. Sorry I don't have any shortcuts. Should make a nice tank when it's repaired! Good Luck!  Craig>

- Replacing Severely Scratched Glass Pane - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I picked up a 90 Gallon "Reef Ready" tank over the weekend as part of a package deal for a really good price.   The guy was getting out of the hobby so he gave me all of his stuff (tank, stand, hood, VHO lights, CO2, wet dry, pump, etc) for $200.00 and my time to break the tank down.  I did have to drive two hours one way to get the stuff, but who reading this wouldn't?. The only down side is that the tanks front panel is severely scratched, to the point it would distract me from any wildlife I placed in it for viewing.   I read the FAQS on tank repair but I still remain unclear of recommended process.   I noticed that it is recommended to cut out all of the old silicone instead of just the area on the pane you are replacing.    When you (the collective) suggest removing "all" of the old silicone, not just the affected area, and re-siliconing the entire tank are you suggesting that I cut out all of the silicone inside the tank, but leave that which is gluing the glass together,  then re-seal all inside corners OR are you suggesting that I remove all panes separating them form the others and take every little smidgen of silicon off and start from scratch. <Leave the panes attached, apply a new bead to all the corners and seams.> Lastly, the alternative it to purchase a new replacement tank for roughly $270.00, and attempt to sell the scratched tank as it is, it does hold water. <Or use it for a mix tank or sump.> Would you attempt the repair or go with the replacement? <Depends on how much you value your time or enjoy fix-it projects.> Thanks ahead of time. <Cheers, J -- >

SOS ! My aquarium is draining!!! 3/26/03 Many thanks for your answer. I checked everything and unfortunately it seems that I have a leak or a crack, I do not know yet, but I know it is located somewhere on the bottom of the tank. My LFS told me that after 12 years of operation it is normal to have troubles like this and that even if we repair it <it is not normal... (many tanks have been set up for much longer), but it is not a great surprise either... especially if it was stored dry for any period of time> I may have other similar problems soon. He said that the silicone is given about 12 years guarantee from its manufacturer. Can it be true? <surprising> He also proposed to me to take the whole tank and take it apart and make a new one with the same glasses, in case I have a leakage. <wow... it is possible, but is a lot of work. Do see if you can find any local support with experience> This sounded quite honest to me, because this way I could avoid the cost of new glasses in case I bought a completely new tank. How does it sound to you? <I'd advise selling the tank used to another pet hobbyist for a terrarium (snakes, reptiles, etc) and go buy a new tank if you can. Resealed tanks are unreliable> As it concerns the fishes, he told me that he has Oodinium in all his aquariums (they share the same water), so if I give him my fishes I will have to take the total responsibility. <you do not need to loan out your fishes for this transfer, my friend. Simply take a large plastic food safe barrel (like a Greek Olive barrel or a new garbage can) and drain your water and fishes into it. Move your heater and hook your filtration up to it too. It is not clear to view the fishes, but they will still be safe and in your care/possession during the repair or replacement of the tank> I realized it by myself that he really has Oodinium. So I intend to place my Blue tang and Xanthotis in my 20-liter tank running with some 2 internal canister filters with existing biology in them and my Loreto, Damsel and small Panther Grouper in another 20-liter tank with the live rock (reading are all 0) and supported by my 2224 EHEIM external filter. I think this is a good way to keep alive all the bacteria in my external filter. My plan afterwards is after 12 years of FO tank to make my first reef. I have started to read a lot in your site and books about the reef and I am looking forward to getting your new book for reef invertebrates as soon as possible. <thanks kindly :) > By that time I will surely have some more questions. Bye and thanks REALLY !!! Thanassis <always welcome! And best of luck in your transition soon. Anthony>

Not What It's Cracked Up To Be? Hello Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. in tonight!> I was given a used 75 gal tank and stand recently.  After inspection I noticed that a crack had been repaired on the left side pane of glass. The crack is approximately 4-5 inches long and runs at a diagonal along the back and bottom of the left side of the tank. It has been repaired from the inside with a thick (probably equal to the tank glass) piece of acrylic or glass that covers the damage and beyond by a couple of inches and set in place with silicone bead.  I was told that the tank had water in it and was fine, but was empty when I picked it up.  The person that made the repair and gave me the tank is an experienced aquarist and appears to have done a decent repair job. It was my first time meeting him and I don't know whether to believe his comments about the structural integrity.  What is the risk tank failure?  I am a bit nervous of unloading 75 gal of water on my family room floor. Thanks. Scott <Well, Scott, if you ask me, it's a calculated risk, as far as I'm concerned. If the tank was professionally repaired, it fares a better chance of staying intact for a long period of time. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee, so you'll just have to keep an eye on things. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tank leaking? 3/25/03 Sorry to bother you again but this time it is rather serious.... <no worries my friend> Yesterday I realized that there was some water coming out of the top of the furniture where my tank is placed. At first I thought that it could be due to high evaporation and I opened the cover of my tank. The water still came in slow rates out of the same place: below the tank and between the tank bottom and the furniture, dropping on the floor... What a mess!!! Then I started inspecting the tank all over, trying to locate some drops on the side glasses of the tank....nothing. <hmmm... do put a "spirit level" on the tank to see if by chance the wet spot is the lowest point on the tank (assuming the tank is slightly off balance). You may not have a leak... the water could be from "capillary action" which occurs like a siphon from equipment (like a hang-on filter or skimmer) clipped over the top of the tank. the plastic acts like a wick and water in a full tank can be slowly migrated up over the edge of the tank. Check under/near those filter with a dry paper towel to see as well> Today the drops are still coming out of the tank from the same point, and I think I know why: 2 weeks ago I ordered a Remora skimmer and I connected it with an EHEIM pump 1250 lit/hour. The pump is very heavy, so I decided to put it on the bare bottom of my tank and on the glass. I suspect that it cause some crack to the bottom glass because of the vibrations. Could it be possible? <not likely at all... if there is a crack or leak, it is more likely form an uneven stand or tank (off level)> Now I have placed a bucket below the place that the drops are coming out of the tank and tomorrow I intend to catch all my fishes and give them back to my LFS , then empty the tank and try to locate the exact point of leakage, <hmmm... perhaps not necessary yet. Do check those hang-on filters> After I locate it I do not know if it is possible to fix it by placing silicone on the point of the crack. <if there is a crack, I would not repair or use the tank... it will be unreliable in the future. If it is only a leak, it may be repaired. If the tank is new... it may not have a problem at all> Will it be fixable at all or should I buy a new tank? <the latter is better if need be> Thanks, Thanassis <best of luck my friend. Anthony>

Resiliconing an aquarium Dear Crew,           I have a 45 high aquarium that has the original silicone seal pulling away from the glass to the corner of the tank. When i drained the tank it was not leaking, but i would like to repair it before i refill and start the aquarium again. I have no experience in resiliconing an aquarium and was told many different ways that have only confused me and made me very leery about trying to do so. This is a mirror back tank and was told they do not sell them anymore i would like to save this one. I was told i need to remove all the silicone from that whole corner and can not put silicone over silicone cause it will not seal, the area is about 2 inches long can you please advise me on the best way to repair this tank. I live in a 3rd floor apartment and don't want to have a big mess. I would appreciate some expert advice.                              Thank You,                                 John <Like all things, this job seems difficult at first trying. Taking your time, having a few simple tools on hand, some eye-hand coordination is all that you need. Please read here re others experiences: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and the next FAQs file (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

50 gallon aquarium reseal >I have a 50 gallon tank which I got for free and is old.  The tank is in near perfect condition still except that it has very small leaks along the edges where two sides of glass butt up against each other.  I tried resealing, with proper silicone, the edges which leak but it did not work and leaks in the same places. My question is what would be the proper way for me to seal my tank 100% good.  Can I just seal the inside corners, or do I have to take the panels apart and seal in between them also? Also, is it worth my time or should I buy a new one for $100.  Thank you Christian >>Hello Christian, you're talking to the woman who is all about cheap.  Ok, you didn't say what you did to prep the tank, so I'll give you the "blow by blow" on what to do.  You need to know that new silicone will NOT stick to old, this explains why you still have the leaks. >>First, you'll need to have on hand plenty of NEW straight edge razor blades.  100% silicone sealant (I really prefer what comes in the caulking tubes that you load up into the "gun" thingy), clean fresh water, isopropyl alcohol, and good light and ventilation. >>Using a straight edge, you will need to strip all (and I DO mean all) the silicone from the inside of the tank.  If you want to avoid releasing all panels, then be sure to make as clean and flat a cut into the corners as possible--you're going to be making a whole new seam on the inside. >>Then, after you've stripped away every bit of silicone, all the little bits that get hung up on the edges and so forth, you'll need to clean the glass so you can see if there is any residual silicone left--do this with the rubbing alcohol.  It will also remove any grease.  You can leave the tank out for a bit to let the alcohol evaporate, or you can rinse it, your choice.  If you haven't got the time for the second part, the tank can be left COVERED till you can get to the sealing part.  This must be done in one fell swoop...or one swell foop, whichever the case may be. >>Once you've determined that all inside edges are clean of silicone, dirt, debris, and grease, you can now setup to reseal. >>Be sure to have a pan/bowl of water right next to you, you'll be dipping your fingers into it to smooth the edge once you've drawn your bead.  Take the silicone, and you'll want the tip cut open to approximately 1/4", no more or you may end up with a mess (unless you're pulling too thin a bead--it needs to touch both pieces of glass).  You'll start on the corner of the floor of the tank, and draw your bead, being sure that you've got good, continuous contact on both pieces of glass AND well into the corner itself.  Even though the silicone won't seal to what's in there, you want NO air bubbles in any of these areas.  Air bubbles=weakness and leaks.  Draw the bead, then dip your finger into the water and, in one move, smooth the bead down, so it forms a wide "U" into the corner.  Do this for all for bottom edges, then move to the sides. >>Be sure to watch for air bubbles, if you get any then you'll need to wipe off the silicone and start again.  Practice makes perfect, so if you want to practice sealing up something else you can try it on cardboard, or even just consider the tank itself as practice. >>That should do it, if you've made a good seal on the inside then you ought to be able to avoid having to strip all the panels down.  Good luck, and let us know how it goes for you!  Marina

380 Gallon Glass Aquarium scratches WWM crew, I have read many messages and I am afraid I already know your answer.  I have a 380 gal Oceanic aquarium in my Great Room which I set up 2.5 years ago.  I wish I would have know how important it was to keep scratches to a minimum and I wish I would have spent the money earlier on this expensive Magnavore cleaning magnet which has kept new scratches to a minimum.  I have several scratches on the inside of the glass I created cleaning within the first few months of the aquarium.  Is there any remedy to get rid of the scratches without having to empty my now mature aquarium?  I am willing to spend whatever it takes.  Do the acrylic scratch removers have any utility on a glass aquarium?  I have called some jewelers and they indicate a jewelers rouge might work, although I would try it on a piece of glass outside the aquarium first.... do you think this might work?  Is there such thing as ultra fine sand paper that I can use and if so any idea where to procure it?  I am willing to spend hours on each scratch to get rid of these blemishes.  If ultimately the answer is "you have to live with it" then in the future, would your recommend an acrylic aquarium that I could repair or would you recommend a glass aquarium and just be more careful? Thanks in advance for your help!  Bob Wood <Sorry to say they are there for the duration with glass Bob. Acrylic can be polished, but scratches much easier to begin with. The answer depends on you, your needs, (earthquakes) and if you might scratch your tank again, esp. with sand or moving rock.  Rock can gouge acrylic pretty good, but again can be polished. If you do switch to acrylic, get the special acrylic pads for your Magnavore. Craig (who has a few scratches too.)>  

100 gallon saltwater aquarium A friend of mine has recently given me a 100 gallon tank.  The only problem with the tank is the plastic trim at the top and bottom of the tank has been busted. He was using the tank for a snake. Do I need to replace the molding? <Yes, while the top molding is probably more cosmetic than anything, it does provide some extra support, especially on longer tanks needing extra support in the center.  However, the molding on the bottom is what the whole tank is resting on.  If it is broken, the tank may or may not be level, or could settle later is it breaks further.  With the tank full of water you will most likely end up with leaks.> If so, any suggestions where I could get the materials... <I've never personally had to track down parts, but if you can identify the manufacturer, that would be the best place to start.  Most of them have web sites now and should be easy to locate.  Is there a tag on the bottom or any markings on the glass with the manufacturer's name?  Would your friend recall the brand otherwise?  I hope that helps some.  Best of luck to you!  Scott V.>

100 gallon saltwater aquarium A friend of mine has recently given me a 100 gallon tank.  The only problem with the tank is the plastic trim at the top and bottom of the tank has been busted…He was using the tank for a snake……Do I need to replace the molding. If so any suggestions where I could get the materials….. <The plastic frames on all-glass aquariums have little to do with structural integrity/function other than supporting the individual panels during assembly, having a place for the top to be secured. The bottom piece though, must be entire... to provide a level cushion for the glass that "floats" inside it. If concerned, interested you can contact the maker of the tank and likely buy, silicone a replacement top on. Ask your friend re the manufacturer's name (there are only a few in the trade). Bob Fenner>

DIY fix for broken 55 gal ctr brace Dear Mr. Fenner, I broke my center brace on a 55 gal glass tank and as you can imagine I was in trouble.  At first I used a bar clamp to keep everything together, and then I came upon a " fix" The fix; was to use marine silicone and some oak I bought at Lowe's.  Check it out, it was cheap and is bullet proof.  I have removed the brace btw..... It's sort of " laminated" to the glass. <Mmm, I would still replace the wooden brace... with glass and silicone. Worth the piece of mind in the long haul. Bob Fenner>

Can Not Find the Leak Hello, <hi there> I'm really hoping you can help me out.  I recently added a 6th tank to my collection, it's a 90 gallon that will be a big community tank.  I bought it used, and noticed when picking it up that the guy I bought it from had siliconed the bottom very heavily!  I'm talking likes LOADS of silicone.  His floor behind the tank had serious water damage.  He claimed that his impeller in his Aquaclear 500 broke and it flooded his floor (Sounded like a large lie to me).... <Mmm, have never heard of such a leak source myself> After removing the tank from the stand, I noticed that the stand had water damage in the front left and rear right sides, but it looked like the water flowed from the front to the rear right leaving a distinct trail.  I've fixed a 29G before, no big deal, just added a piece of glass to the inside... <Good technique>       So far, me and my father have found ABSOLUTELY no leaks... Yet we both have a gut feeling it's a leaker.  We cut away all the excess silicone, poured water into it and it still didn't leak.  We took notice of the bottom frame looking slightly cracked.  The bottom left corner (where we think the leak is, though can't prove it yet) frame is not flush with itself.  The left side panel also is not flush against the glass, but unless this guy brought the tank to a professional repairer, I don't see how he could've done such a nice job on the sides (the bottom on the other hand was him.. ha)...  The left side is off by maybe 1-2 millimeters, not much, but I noticed it by running my hand down it.  The left backside was perfectly flush, it's just the front left.        Sorry for rambling on, here's my questions.. If we can find no leak, should I just believe his "impeller dieing" story? <I'd believe what you observe> The side panel not being totally flush, will that cause any problems? <Likely not if it hasn't to date> Should we take the panel out and just redo the whole side? <I would not> And finally, is there any easier way to repair a leaking tank, other than totally removing the whole pane of glass you suspect is leaking?   <Yes... first thing to do is (of course) to figure out IF there is indeed a leak (often equipment, splashing from air stones... is a cause), second, to cut out and replace "corner" silicone, third to affix a panel over a "bad" area and third also... to cut out and replace a panel...> The 90 uses 1/2" glass and that stuff is massive and seems like it's going to be hard to do much with properly, <Yes, difficult to remove panels in larger size tanks> plus, we're still trying to figure out how to make a brace since this tank was made without one and we have glass panel tops! <I'd consider running two strips (of 3 or 4 inches width) along the inside front and back... or one larger (at least a foot in width) piece in-between the front and back panels at top inside...> Oh well, this is going to be a big project!  :-) Thanks for your time guys! ~Joe <Is the tank in a place that will cause trouble if it does leak? I would place it there full for a week or so to "test the waters". Bob Fenner>

Re: Can Not Find the Leak Hello Bob, <Hey Joe> The tank will be going in my room.  We have a single story ranch with a basement.  The floor is wood, but it now has full carpeting.  We're actually going to just put water in it for 1 week and see how it handles since our last attempt at finding a leak(1 hour ago) led to nothing. <I'd put it in the basement... or in the driveway> I spoke to the guy I bought the tank from, he was really serious in saying it was an impeller problem, and that he had no leaks.  Said he siliconed the bottom 2 years ago because a local fish store suggested when a tank hits 5 years old, it be re-siliconed...  He did a really poor job so we will redo it in a more reasonable manner, not just globbing it on... <Agreed> And here is a question from my father.  If we do find a leak and the pane of glass does have to be removed, what do you feel is the best way to support the pane once it is put to set back up? He was thinking about making a large frame out of 2x4's for the interior and exterior to keep the pane in place. <Actually, a few pieces of tape will do... the piece is pretty well stuck in fitting tight with the silicone. Some folks use wood clamps, and if you're going to do a whole bunch of such repairs, jigs can be fashioned, but good masking or strapping tape is fine here.>   Also, how long should we allow the silicone to set?  The large tube we have suggest 24 hours, but I have heard up to 72 hours.  Which do you suggest? <I would go with your three days to allow complete curing. Bob Fenner> ~Joe

Re: Can Not Find the Leak Just thought I'd share with you something related to this persons query. I have had impeller problems with an older Aquaclear 500... the impeller seized and must have damaged the seal around the motor (or something like that)... when I woke up in the morning about 10% or more of my 230 gallon fresh-water tank had siphoned into the filter, then out of the filter, then onto my floor.  I was worried that it was a leak also (having just bought this tank used) but it really was an impeller problem. Hope this is useful, Jeremy <It has for me. Thank you. Will post. Bob Fenner>

Resealing a tank 2/17/03 Hello, <cheers> I hope you can take the time to answer a question for me. I have a 55-gallon tank in which I would like to replace the silicone seal on the four inside vertical edges. <not possible... any resealed tank must have the entire inner seal removed and then resealed fresh- wholly. The reason is that new silicone does not bind/meld with old (cured) silicone. Thus... the point at the bottom seams where you had wanted to stop will be the next place the tank leaks. You also need to lightly sand the interior seems with fine sandpaper (car bodywork for paint/buff) to abrade the silicone stuck in the pores of the glass... else you will have the same problem. Resealing tanks is a lot of work and relatively unreliable. Many leak again within 2 years. For tanks under 100 gallons, I don't recommend it at all> The turtles I keep in the tank tore up the original rubber. I have since put strips of plastic corner-guard in those areas to keep their claws away. I noticed at the local professional tropical fish shop that I might buy a standard sized tube of "All Glass" 100% silicone for about $15.00 US. Q1 Is there any GE or other silicone that you know of that does not have the fungicides in it that would be cheaper than the All Glass material? <there are... but for the extra $ 8-10 I recommend the aquarium made brand for insured safety, tensile strength and peace of mind> I have read that new silicone will not stick to cured silicone. <exactly correct> Q2 Should I cut away the entire old silicone bead "inside" the vertical edges of the aquarium before I add a new bead? <yes... completely> Q3 Does the inside bead add strength to the aquarium or is it for a seal? <just the latter> Thanks a bunch for the helpful advice I'm sure I will get! Tom USA High School Science Teacher <best of luck my friend. Anthony>

Eclipse leaking Dear Crew, <Phil here!> I have an Eclipse 3 system on a 37 gallon tank.<I had an Eclipse 12 system for a while>  I have a continuing problem with what appears to be condensation collecting inside the hood, then dripping down the back of the tank on the outside.<I had the same problem> My only solution so far has been to put plumber's putty along to back of the tank (on the outside), sealing the gap between the hood and the top of the tank. Surely there must be a better way? <Well Eric I wish I could say there was!  I have yet to find a "good" long term fix for this problem.  I have tried putting small amounts of paper towel in-between the hood and the top of the tank.  I've saved your e-mail and am going to try and contact Marineland and ask about this problem, in the meantime try the paper towel!!>       Eric <Good luck...be in touch! Phil>

Tank crack WWM,        I just purchased a 265gal glass fishtank. I moved it from one place to storage, and then to my house. It was in storage for 3 weeks. I finally moved it to my house and noticed that the left panel front edge glass is peeling. It is a 2" half circle. <An impact> Also there is a fine crack that runs up about 6"upwards along the seem. . It is only on the outside, not the inside. I think it happened when I was moving it because it was very cold in the storage place. <The cold made you slip? Cold has nothing to do with the tank> I set up the tank, however I did not put any water in. I need advice on what to do? The tank is 5/8 tempered glass. Please help. <I would not fill this tank. Have your dealer take a look at it, possibly ask the manufacturer what they are willing to do for you in terms of replacement or repair. Bob Fenner>                            Thank You : John

Cracked tank WWM,              There was no impact, and I we did not slip.   <Then... where did the damage occur?> Is there a way to fix this peeling and crack, or should I replace the whole side panel. If I fill the tank with water will the inside silicone be strong enough ? <Likely the whole side panel>                            John <Bob Fenner>

Chipped Glass Tank Hi there, I found your website through Google today. I have a 75gal. fish tank that's shaped to fit in the corner of a room. Know the kind I'm talking about? In one of the corners, where the two panes of glass meet each other , there are a few small (about 1/4 of an inch tall if that) chips/cracks right in the corner. They do not spread throughout the whole pane of glass at all. All pieces of glass are perfect, except for this small chip/crack in the corner. All of the silicone inside the tank is in perfect condition. I was wondering if it would be safe for me to re-use the tank. Should I run a bead of silicone over the outside of the glass where the chip/crack is just to be safe? <Hard to say w/o a better view, description... this is a potentially deadly situation... the tank could crack at this juncture... the least I would do is set it up outside, fill with the crack/nick/chip away from you... see if it's going to break open or not immediately. You could try securing a piece of acrylic or glass over the surface... you can read about this possibility here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance. Best, Jason Moore

Old chromium frame tank repair I have a couple of Tanks that where my Grandmothers and they have a chrome finish around them, well just today I cracked the side panel is there anyone I can have it repaired, I love the vintage look they have and since they been in my family since the 50's is there anything I can do, if so money would be no object. Edward Reiman <Yes, this tank can be repaired... in a sense, updated. You need to have strong wrists and a sharp box cutter, you will cut out the present sealant and glass, get a new panel (from a hardware store likely) and silicone (100%) it and the old joints all the way around into the empty space. Bob Fenner>

Tank repair Reading all this is very intimidating to me, I am very new to having an aquarium i am almost embarrassed writing.  I have a 29 gallon tank with some Tetras,  Moors, one Beta, and 3 small Catfish. and 1 Plecostomus,  This morning I woke up and saw quite a wet spot or water leaking out of my tank it has not gone to the floor yet and this is the first time that I have noticed it. Please advise me of how I can repair my tank without a big hassle. Thank you, Gisela <First off, no need to feel intimidated. You're amongst friends, who can and will help you. Now, very importantly, it's important to find out if indeed your system is leaking... very often it's just a component or splash that will produce such a sign as you list. Turn off all the fluid and air-moving gear and look carefully (as with a bright light, flashlight) to see if you can see the actual point of exit of the water. Wipe the seams with a towel to remove existing water. Can you see where the water is actually leaving the tank? If not, turn on the pumps (air and water) and look closely to see if you can detect the beginnings of the water source/leak. If indeed the tank is leaking, if it's small (like ten, fifteen gallons) I would just buy another tank (no top etc.) and switch out the old one for the new. If it's bigger, and you don't mind trying a repair, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) FAQs file beyond. If you have questions, concerns, please do write back. Bob Fenner>

Non-repair, but fixed "leaky" aquarium i have taken your advice and I am happy to say that it was not my tank but my filter overflowing.  Thank you very much you have saved me a lot of time and work, because I would have emptied out the tank and sealed all seams for nothing again thank you Gisela <Ahh, good to hear of your success. Bob Fenner>

Resealing 137 gal tank I have resealed this tank 3 times now and I lost all my fish so now for the question. I need to take the panels apart and reset/reseal them, Do I need to C-clamp the glass in place while it's drying or is the weight of the glass enough to do the job? <The weight of the glass should do it> This tank is 6 feet long. The last time I sealed it I scraped all the silicon out, cleaned it using alcohol and installed new silicon. I wanted 36 hrs for it to dry and then refilled it with just water and waited 6 hrs with no leaks. I then emptied it, put in the black sand, rocks, plants, water and fish back in it. That night while I was asleep the bottom seam opened up and 1/2 the water dumped out into the living room!  I don't want to risk that again so I want to replace all the silicone.  It seems to me the glass would seal better if it were clamped tight while it was drying. What do you think???? <Too likely to break if uneven stress is put on. If you do use clamps, either make them wood, or insert something soft between them and the glass> This tank must weigh 250lbs empty! Should I use a 400 wet sand paper to ruff up the edges so the silicone will stick better? <No! The silicone will adhere to the clean glass (use toluene to clean the last bit off, and take care not to touch the cleaned surfaces with your hands, fingers. Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Cracked 180 Gal Tank Hello, I've just found your site and love the information and effort you (plural) put in. I have a used tank that cracked on a side panel.  I've read your FAQ's on this and know what you've recommended in the past.  Here's my problem:  My local professional told me to "patch" the crack.  I cleaned the patch glass (3/8") and the interior tank wall with alcohol, let it dry, coated both surfaces with Aquarium silicon and with the tank on its' side placed 21 gallons of water in buckets on top of the patch.  It has been two days now and I'm preparing to test the tank with fresh water. <Stop! Did you attach a new piece/panel of glass or better, acrylic with the silicone OVER the entire cracked panel? If not DO NOT FILL this tank... it is very likely to give way>   Since this is going to be a fairly expensive project when finished I am now sufficiently scared by your prior recommendations that this repair is not likely to last.  Will a test suffice, or should I just remove and replace the side panel? <If the side can be removed (easily) I would try cutting it out, replacing it. Otherwise, the coating over with a 1/4" acrylic panel on the inside (and possibly outside) with silicone smeared over the surfaces before attaching is about the only other plausible alternative. Bob Fenner> Roger Kurland

Leaking tank: resealing glass I have a tank that was given to me and it leaks.  It is a 105g, that is 4 ft long.  The tank leaks at the seal and I have tried to fix it numerous times.   I have removed all the silicone cleaned it out and put in new silicone to seal it, but it still leaked.  There are no cracks in the glass, but it still seems somehow to not hold water.  I have cleaned out all the silicone 3 times now and the last time I thought I had it.  I filled the tank with water and it did not leak.  I let the water sit for about 30 hours and nothing.  I then added the gravel and fish and lights and plants, etc.    After about 5 hours of having all the rocks in the tank, water came spurting out of the back at about a rate to empty the tank in a few hours time.    Luckily I caught it and moved the livestock but what can I do differently to save the tank?  Please help! <Wow, how frustrating. Can you actually see the part of the seam where the water is coming from? Maybe by emptying, turning the tank around (backside front)? How are you "laying in" the new silicone bead? If the bad seam is in a back corner, I'd try putting in a "fat" bead there, smoothing it out consistently with a tongue depressor or such. Are you cleaning the glass with a solvent after cutting away the old with single-edge razors? I like to use toluene here... wiping the surfaces, letting them dry completely (a few minutes) before applying the new silicone. Are you using 100% silicone? It should state so right on the cartridge. Bob Fenner, who has done this once or twice...> Thanks! -D

Scratch in glass I recently purchased a 30 gallon glass aquarium.  I noticed it has a surface scratch on the back pane of glass that is about 6 inches in length across the back.  Should I be concerned?  Does a scratch typically lead to a crack or leak under pressure when filled with water? Thanks for your help. <scratches on the glass unless quite deep are unlikely to cause any problems left undisturbed. It would simply be a weakness if struck or torques there at best. If its on the outside, seek a filler of you prefer. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: scratch in glass I recently purchased a 30 gallon glass aquarium.  I noticed it has a surface scratch on the back pane of glass that is about 6 inches in length across the back.  Should I be concerned?  Does a scratch typically lead to a crack or leak under pressure when filled with water? <Not simple surface scratches. I would test fill it outside... and consider taking it back to your dealer if it concerns you. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help.

Glass tank re-seal Just found your site and me thinks twill be a life saver!   This is my first experience with tank leak (55g) and devoured your glass tank repair faq. When I read that I must remove all the old silicone caulk, did that mean taking the panels apart and removing every speck of old silicone or just removing what can be dug out with a razor? <Just the latter... leave the material that is in-between the glass panels as is> Parts of the faq mentioned both ways. After reading the faq, I started removing old silicone and never realized it might be a 1/4" thick between the panels; in some places can't even get the blade between the panels. Now I have a question. Am I setting myself up for a big fall? The budget won't handle a new tank till next summer.  I only have six fish, but they are to big to last long in the 10g and complete reconstruction seems a long process.  I'm wondering if I should sell the fish (if possible) and start over next summer.  If I knew anyone with a large enough tank, would give them away rather than have them die.  Please tell me any other options you have.    Thank you. Carla <If you haven't cut into the "tween glass" areas, don't! The bead you lay down in the corners should seal the tank. Bob Fenner>

Re: Leaky tank Dear Bob, Over the weekend I got to come home from work to a 110 gallon tank with only about 35 gallons of water in it.  I was able to rescue the 2 large Oscars and 2 Large Pacu that were in the tank.  I have since cleaned up the kitchen and steam cleaned the soaked carpets in my living room.  The problem is still the tank.  I have resealed tanks successfully before but none of this size.  I cleared the silicone off the leaky corner but by the sounds of the WWM message board all silicone must be removed and the entire tank should be resealed.  NO Problem.  My Question is this.  Is there something more then just silicone that holds an all glass aquarium together at the corners or is that it? Are the corners bonded together with something and then sealed with silicone?  There is definitely space between the panels of glass and I am not sure if that is right or not.  Please let me know.  Also the railing that goes around the top of the tank are not one whole piece.  They are four separate pieces that are all coming apart.  I was wondering if there are companies or places were I could get a custom made one.  There is no middle beam that comes across the middle of the tank and maybe a new one could be fabricated.  The dimensions of the tank are a little unusual and I bought it used so I am not sure if this was a home made job or not.  The tank is 48X18X30.  Any advice you could provide would be very helpful.  Thank you in advance Kenny <Hey Kenny, Gage here this afternoon.  Sorry to hear about your tank glad your fish are ok.  As far as I know the pieces of glass should line up flush, the amount of silicone between the two pieces is very thin.  The silicone and the frame around the outer edges, and any supports that run across the top are all that hold the tank together.  I am not familiar with anyone who sells replacement frames, different manufacturers have different sizes.  We have some FAQs on repairing tanks at the following link, let us know if you have any further questions. http://wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm Best Regards,

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