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FAQs on Glass Aquarium Repair, Whole Panes

Related Articles: Aquarium Repair, Acrylic Aquarium RepairCleaning AquariumsMarine Tanks, Stands and CoversUsed Gear for Marine Systems, Designer Marine tanks, stands and covers

Related FAQs: Glass Aquarium Repair 1, Glass Aquarium Repair 2, 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, Tools: Cutting Glass, Silicone, Moulding/Frames; Techniques; Olde Tank (Slate Bottom, Metal Frame, Pecora...) Repairs, Troubleshooting/Repairs, & Acrylic Aquarium RepairUsed Aquarium Gear

Do take care... cutting out broken glass takes patience! And lots of hand strength... wear eye protection... and do frequently switch out single edge razor blades... Look into the array of holders for same... worthwhile.

55 gallon metal frame tank. Back broken      3/23/18
I just picked up a tank as old as me (and probably older but they were still making these in my early childhood, but I digress...). It is a metal frame tank that has the back pane broken and although I want to retain as much of its character as is practical I also want to keep from breaking the bank. Since I am creating a 3D background anyway I am going to use 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood in the back which will be painted with acrylic or a thick coating of silicone. It is my intention to use a putty like 2 part epoxy used for potable water vessels around the back panel.
<Mmm; if it were me/mine, I'd replace the back w/ glass; and likely Silastic/Silicone all the inside seams>
I have used this in a sump that not only held water but took care of some very healthy fish.
Once the epoxy cures I will then silicone all joints in the tank. Does this sound reasonable?
<The plywood may not take the strain... this tank is 48" by 13" by 22"?>

This tank does have a slate panel which is quite thick
<Oh, wow; this is an olde tank. Can you make out any marks of manufacture?
Perhaps a Meta/l/frame>
and I would think is stronger than the tempered glass in today's 55 gallon tanks. I know they used a tar solution to seal these. I understand there were a few such tar sealants used depending on the age/manufacturer of the tank.
<Yes; I mainly used Pecora years back... heated on a hot plate to render it pliable>
The only possible clues to this tank's age are the (at least) 1/4" thick glass and the two braces on the bottom part of the frame. This tank was indeed built like a tank! Pun very much intended, but also very true!
Thank you for your help. Oh if there is any good reading material you know of for this particular situation please let me know.
<There are some written materials about, but they are sections of magazines, individuals memories. You might want to join the AAHS (on just Facebook if you'd like); there are some friends that collect old fishbowls and such... Bob Fenner>
Re: 55 gallon metal frame tank     3/23/18

This tank is indeed 48x18x13. I will look into the cost of actually getting a new pane made.
<I would increase the thickness here; to 3/8", rather than the quarter you think the other viewing panels are>
Either way this aquarium is going to be put pack into service. Thank you as always!
<Glad to assist. Bob Fenner>
Re: 55 gallon metal frame tank      3/23/18

Actually I take that back, it is 48 x 22 x 13. I had to double check that.
I don't know why I thought it was only 18 inches. Thank you Bob!
<Amazing that I can't remember what I had for breakfast ayer, but do remember the standard dimensions of aquariums from decades ago! B>

Fish Tank Problems... broken ten gallon use, repair?       12/1/15
My fish tank cracked, but it's still completely watertight. Is it okay to leave it the way it is, or do I need to replace it?
I'm 16 and unemployed, so I really don't want to replace it if I don't have to.
It's a 10 gallon tank with two baby goldfish in it.
<They'll need more room than this.... and best to toss this tank; just buy a new one... Not worth the time, expense of trying to repair; nor trouble if/when it does break entirely. Bob Fenner>

100g Flat Back Hexagon Glass Aquarium, repair, panel repl., mod.     5/26/13
Dear WWM Crew,
Yesterday I purchased a 100 gal Flat Back Hexagon Glass Aquarium from a yard sale for 15$. The tank had been stuffed in the backyard in a corner under a tree upside down for at least 3 years. I was told that the tank had a leak in the past and it had obviously had an application of sealant on all the inside seams. This was just new silicone applied to old.
 So I purchased it took it home and scrubbed the years of dirt away.
<Good first step>
I have been looking for a larger tank for sometime now and after my tank was looking spotless and scratchless, I begun to fill it with water. Now I had never worked with a tank this large before or heavy ( This tank is a beast I almost made my girlfriend cry cuz she couldn't help my lug it out of the backyard into my truck. Luckily I enlisted the help of another yard seller.) I was pleased that the tank filled to the top and held water.
This was probably one of the happiest days of my life seeing this huge tank filled up and looking pretty. I decided to leave it full to see if it was leaking. Long story short my happiest day was cut short about an hour later as I heard a huge thump coming from outside and to my dismay there stood my tank empty of water and all of my happy fish dreams dashed. It could have been worse I probably would have paid $100 for the same tank.
<More to life than money... am sure we agree>
So I realise that one mistake I made with such a large tank was filling it up on the lawn ( uneven surface) I was thinking it when i was filling it and shrugged it off.
<No biggee>
Anyways upon further inspection I'm left with still a very pretty but empty tank that seems to have blown just the back glass panel out completely. I removed all the broken glass and scraped away most of the silicone.
<All will need to come off... single edge razor blades, a solvent... see WWM re working w/ Silicone, resealing glass tanks>
My question is: Would it be a worthwhile to invest the time and money to purchase a new back glass panel? Can I convert it to a reef tank setup by having holes put into a new piece and resealing the whole tank?
<Can be done>
What procedures are used when building a flat back hexagon tank ( Clamps Etc)?
<Cutting out all seals, removing all Silastic; cleaning up, saving plastic frames for replacement. No clamps needed... can use tape to temporarily hold panels in place... Hex tanks are not as strong as rectangular... but can/do hold up if constructed well, placed on appropriate stands>
Is it possible to add an overflow to this tank somehow?
<Sure... a few ways>
I have been working with saltwater tanks for about 25 years now, (biggest 60 gallon) and would like to build a huge happy reef tank!
<Okay; well, a hundred gallons isn't huge nowayears>
Should I just turn it into a heavy snake cage with a plywood back or perhaps a winter vegetable box in the garden?
<Heeeeee! Or a guinea pig raceway? Up to you>
Your advice is greatly appreciated!
Bad Day bob
P.S. The glass is 3/8" Thick heavy stuff, and no damage on any of the other pieces. [image: Inline image 1]
<As I see. Cheers, Good Day Bob Fenner>

shattered 210    1/31/12
Hi I have a 210 gallon Aqueon aquarium and a rock fell and shattered  the bottom it was tempered but on the plus side it's still intact and water  proof except for one corner now I've given up on using it as an aquarium  but I was thinking sandwiching the broken pane between 2 layers of epoxy  one on each side and using it as a vivarium do you think this will work it  would hold about 20 gallons of water and all the dirt and rocks
<Mmm, I'd Silicone in a thinnish piece of acrylic (1/8" will do)... with plenty of lines of Silastic twixt it and the shattered bottom... If it's too hard to fit in the new piece (cut away the existing sealant on all bottom seams), it can be cut (by others if you want) in half or quarters.
Bob Fenner>

Multiple panes, 400 gal. glass tank rebuild  10/19/2011
Greetings crew,
I wrote about a year ago concerned about my Bala shark with a broken jaw.
Ended up having to put him down. However I am in the process of setting up a new tank for the remaining sharks, and this is where the question comes in.
I purchased a used 400 gallon glass aquarium, and am in the process of tearing it apart for a few reasons.
1- wont fit into the house
2- one of the seams is giving out, so it needs to be repaired anyway 3- I cannot carry a 1000lb tank. 250lb sheets are much more manageable.
<All good reasons>
The tank is 10'Lx2'Wx30"H and made of 3/4" untempered glass. The top was a mosaic of smaller pieces,
and it was joined to the side panels with a rabbet joint (made out of two 1/2" sheets Siliconed together). Strong, but a royal pain to remove. I have gotten the top off, but there were a few spots where it had some bad chips and the smaller pieces cracked.
<Not too likely a problem if at the top. DO fill in w/ Silastic, and/or cover to prevent cuts>
The top was similar to a eurobrace. It is two 1/2" sheets glued together, about 4" wide, running the perimeter of the tank, with two 18"w cross braces of 1/2" glass. The 4" wide portions are staggered so they overlap, each piece is only about 2-1/2' long. I apologize if this makes no sense at all, I can provide a picture if need be.
<Am with you so far>
Would you suggest getting more 1/2" glass to repair the parts that
The obvious answer is yes, I think the better idea is to replace it with 3/4" (I always assumed you wanted to top brace at least as thick, if not thicker than the sides), but I had another idea. We have a construction salvage yard here that sells various panes of glass for very very cheap.
Would it make any sense to silicone smaller panes of glass together, say a few 3/8" panes with an identical footprint, sandwiched together, or is this a disaster waiting to happen?
The only parts I have left on the tank are the sides. I have started using a product called "Goof Off" that contains xylene, acetone, and benzene to help soften the silicone.
<Am familiar. A good product. Make sure all residue is removed>
The sides were clamped so there is not enough room to even fit a razor in some of the seams (I have a few parts of broken razor blades stuck in some of the seams still). A slow process but I am making progress. I tried fishing line and guitar strings, both of which break after a few inches. I think the inside edge of the glass is not sanded.
<? Shouldn't be>
When I get to reassembling the tank in my basement, the plan is to first, cover all the edges of the glass with duct tape because I like my fingers, then carry it to the basement. I will run over all the edges to be glued
<... not glue/d>
once more with a razor, then Goof off and a coarse scrubber, and then wet sand it very lightly.
<No; don't do this. You'll only weaken the bond here>
After that, I will rinse it off with tap water, set some very small rubber spacers in the horizontal seams, reassemble the tank on the stand using duct tape
<... don't do this either. Look into and either buy or rent some good wood clamps. The duct or any other tape is too likely to let the pieces fall>
to hold it upright, then applying silicone in all the seams and clamping. Once clamped I will apply it on the inside seals, while the silicone is still wet.
<... Please read on WWM re the making, remaking of glass tanks. Bob Fenner>
Do you see any potential problems with this idea, or have any suggestions?
Do you think the spacers might jeopardize the integrity of the seal at all?
And one final question, the tank is drilled with 1-1/8" holes on the bottom.
The owner of the fish store I got it from told me that bulkheads were no longer sold in that size. I have found quite a few for sale that say they require a 1-1/8" hole at several commonly known online fish supply stores.
Am I missing something or was the owner just mistaken?
I apologize for the lengthy email and am grateful for any assistance you can provide in this matter!
Re: Multiple panes 10/20/2011

Thanks for the quick reply!
Just a few questions to clarify, I am a bit confused on a few points.
Is Silastic you reference different or preferred over normal silicone?
<The terms are commonly interchanged. Just MAKE SURE the formulation is intended for aquarium use>
I was only able to locate a product made by Dow "*Silastic* 100% Fluor Liquid Silicone Rubber". In all the projects I have done in the past I have always just used GE Silicone 1.
<I have used this as well. NOTE, #I, NOT II>
The portion where the top brace cracked I probably should have specified.
It will have close to a 1/2" gap, due to the glass breaking and flying in my face.
Thankfully the misses makes me wear goggles, safety first of course!
Filling this in with Silastic will still keep it braced enough?
<I'd build up/apply a piece/strip of the same thickness glass on the inside, lining up with the new/level top to adhere the whole to>
And finally, I have done quiet a bit of reading on this and have seen mentioned in more than one FAQ that a light sanding is a good idea to help the silicone bond to glass, specifically to expose it to unfilled micro-pores. Is this incorrect?
<Not as far as I've understood all these years... anything less than a flush, planar, clean glass to glass (with very little Silicone/Silastic in-between) is less strong>
Just trying to make sure I understand before I get too far along.
<Oh yes. I understand>
And the spacers seemed like they may work, or was that a bad idea as well?
<Better by far to have a few friends there... build the sides, front, back onto the bottom, have them help you lift, position the panels as you Silicone them... wood-clamp all together as you go along... finish w/ the front or back... spacers are unnecessary, introduce more source of error>
I do have a few clamps I planned on using for the project, padded with some scrap plywood,
<.... why won't/don't people read when I/we ask them to? DON'T use anything BUT wood-clamps. BobF>
and originally thought of using ratcheting tie straps, but was scared that I may get overzealous and break the glass. I will give those
a try when I start setting it up. I am still working on getting it apart!
I am now the crazy neighbor with the 10' fish tank in his front yard.
Thanks again,

Can I Replace glass panel with acrylic?   9/7/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 30g glass aquarium that has a broken back panel. I would like to attach an overflow type filter to it post repair. I know that drilling a hole in tempered glass is just begging for catastrophe later.
<Actually it's asking for catastrophe during the drilling process. Once the proper hole has been drilled and sanded, the danger is mostly over.>
So I am wondering, if I were to replace the glass panel with an acrylic one would the seal hold with silicone. I ask because drilling overflow holes in acrylic just feels so much wiser but I don't have then money to go all acrylic.
<Yes, Ben. It can be done. In years past, I've taken many an all-glass aquarium and broken out the bottom in order to replace it with an acrylic panel that I could drill to my heart's content. But I did it to the BOTTOM, because the bottom is supported on all 4 sides, usually in the middle and -if needed- I placed additional supports at 25% and 75%.
This was all because acrylic has different deflection properties (it bends differently) than glass.>
<Replacing a back panel presents some additional challenges because the acrylic will bow differently than glass and tend to pull away from the sides more readily. The top and bottom are, of course, restrained by the tank frame. I wouldn't attempt such a thing on a larger aquarium (55 show or bigger) without some additional engineering.>
<However a 30g is small and the pressure on the back will be low. What I would do is as follows: Make sure the back glass is removed completely, use a rotary tool (or such) to clean out all remnants of glass and silicone from all for edges of the remaining glass and then I'd etch those three edges of glass with sandpaper to make them a tiny bit rough and VERY clean.>
<This is the "additional engineering" I mentioned. Optional: After my acrylic panel was in place with silicone seals dried and cured (research this site for glass panel replacement) I'd then use more silicone to attach some acrylic angle to the outside vertical stretches. If you can visualize this: a piece running up the side that would wrap around - overlap the side glass by an inch and the back acrylic by an inch. This would double the distribution of pressure on the sides. This is because I'm paranoid about water & fish on the floor, so I take extra care in such things.
After you replace the acrylic, allow the seal to sure and test-fill the tank, you'll be able to see from the amount of bowing (if you can even see it) whether reinforcement is necessary>
Thank you much for any help you can provide.
<No charge!>

dimension of the side pane glass  7/22/10
I have a 125 gallon perfecto aquarium that has a broken side pane glass. I was able to remove the side pane with your great directions. The problem is as I remove the side glass I accidentally drop it on the floor. I was wondering if you know the exact dimension of the side glass pane so I can go get another one. Thanks and have a nice day.
<Contact the manufacturer... Owned by UPG nowadays:
Bob Fenner>

Hey how's it going? [Amazingly, not spam! Be careful with Subject fields, or spam filters will catch 'em]  10/20/2009
HELP! I have a 130 gal aquarium the bottom glass as a big crack in it was fill with water and fish's don't know how it happen. Can I just put some glass over it?
<No. Repairing aquaria typically means removing the broken pane, and then siliconing in a new pane. Certainly possible, but a job of work. Do see here:
I suppose you could silicone a pane of glass inside the tank, covering the entire base, but you'd have to carefully seal all around the edges so that it formed a tight fitting seal with the four walls of the tank. Obviously, you'd have to empty the tank regardless of which approach you take, and curing silicone takes 24 hours at least. You'd also want to test this outdoors -- trust me, if you've never built an aquarium, you stand a good chance of making a mistake, and not sealing the tank properly. Better fill it with water once while it's outside, leaving it thus for a day or two, and check it isn't leaking. Frankly, easier to replace the whole tank.>
P.S. I had it for three year's. It did not get bump why did this happen? there's no rock where the is crack.
<Glass at the bottom typically cracks for one a few reasons: Something heavy fell on it, like a rock. Secondly, very hot water was poured on it.
Finally, the stand underneath buckled, which have been happening for months if not years, and now the bottom pane of glass has finally been twisted too much, and cracked. Cheers, Neale.>

Replacing Glass on Aquarium   7/18//09
I have a question the front glass on my 150 gallon fish tank is cracked from top to bottom.
<Eek! I imagine this happened during a move?>
I want to replace the glass. Where can I get this done and how much does it usually cost?
<I recommend you either contact your local glass store. Or read up on WWM about how to replace glass panes yourself.
Unfortunately with regards to cost, you will have to decide after you get a local quote if it is cost effective to replace the front pane.
Do some reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm
Josh Solomon>

Cracked 8 foot tank - DIY Repair.5/13/2009
<Hi James>
I am about 5 minutes new to your website (That I found when I Googled "fixing aquariums")
I was looking through Craigslist when I found an add for an 8 foot by 3 foot tank. for free. yeah.
I am a complete newbie as to fish but I've always wanted an in wall aquarium
The only catch is there is a crack in it...
<That is a pretty big catch.>
and I wanted to know if there where cheap yet aesthetic ways of dealing with it, or if I would have to replace that entire piece of glass.
<A cracked tank is a broken tank, broken tanks do not hold water well.
Replacement is the only option>
Here is the link!
<Here is the link to aquarium repair on the site:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm >
Thank you so much for your time!
<My pleasure>

Panel Replacement/ Aquarium Repair 3/25/09
I do have a question after reading many stories on your website and I have one of my own. I cracked the front panel of my 120 gallon aquarium and I am in the middle of replacing the front panel, now I have it most of the way off. I have the sides separated and all of the inner seal removed from all the inside of the aquarium but my problem is the bottom, it seams like it
is sealed in both corners real good and I have been working it with razor blades and other blades but what is a quick way of doing it without  hurting the bottom glass?
<No quick way, is time consuming removing the silastic down to bare glass.>
Is there a repair place you can refer me to in my neck of the woods here in Tacoma, WA?
<My neck of the woods is in MI, so I couldn't help you much there. I'd suggest getting in touch with local aquarium dealers and have them refer/repair. Have you read our articles/FAQ's on this subject? Go here.
James (Salty Dog)>

225 gallon tank question/broken bottom 11/19/08 Hi, I just came across your amazing web site looking for tank repair answers. <Well welcome to WWM!> I recently purchased a Used 225 gallon custom glass tank. It is 60X30 and 30 inches tall. It is made w/ 3/4" glass. <A nice sturdy tank.> In the process of having a stand made to accommodate the weight the bottom of the tank split. So now for my problem, I was reading through all your FAQs and see that it is ok to replace the bottom glass w/new glass. <Sure.> In my search for glass, a guy from a glass company suggested that I find a glass table top to keep my cost down. I have found a few. My question to you is can I use 1/2" instead of the 3/4", and does this suggestion make sense to you? <1/2" tempered would work, I would go for the full 3/4 if you intend to go with a nontempered panel. On that note, the tabletop glass can work, but many of these will be tempered panes. This is a problem when going to cut it to size.> One other thing, if this is a good solution to my problem, can just the bottom be removed, all the sealant totally removed and cleaned off well and just put new silicone on the bottom panel to replace the new panel? <It can be. Do realize that silicone will not seal well against silicone that is already cured. You will need to remove all the old silicone as you describe, plus the bead that runs along the interior of the tank. The silicone between the glass panels will hold the bottom in place, while running a new continuous bead inside the tank will seal any leaks.> Thanks so very much for your help and wonderful website!! <Welcome, best of luck on this time consuming project, Scott V.>

HAZE ON GLASS 1/17/08 Hello, <Don> I have a 75 gallon Oceanic glass reef tank that has developed a haze on the front glass (inside the tank). This haze is whitish in coloring and does not scrape off. <Very bad> The haze it not affecting the sides of the aquarium or the back and has me baffled as to what it is and how to get rid of it. The haze appears to be affecting the entire front of the glass and it mostly solid with a few spots of partial clarity. I searched your site but could not find information on this, only how to treat hazy water. Thanks, Don <I would contact Oceanic re this... apparently a bad pane of glass... a manufacturer of the same, defect. Bob Fenner>

Re: HAZE ON GLASS - 1/17/08 Thanks I could not figure out what is was. <Have seen this on rare occasions... I don't know either... but am curious to find out. BobF>

Re: HAZE ON GLASS  1/19/08 Hello, <Don> The people at Oceanic responded as follows: You will want to use a glass cleaner like AZMAT or CLR and that will get rid of the cloudiness. Sincerely, Jon Schmidt Central Aquatics Warranty/Product Lines Ph: 800-255-4527/414-421-9670 ext 1206 Fax: 800-398-0396/414-421-4195 Attn: Jon Even if I was to break down everything and clean the glass as directed, how would the residue affect the tank? <You've got me... I do NOT think this will "do it"> Seems to me like it would not be a very good idea to do what they recommend. What do you think? Thanks, Don <Is their company willing to warrant this "procedure?" Are they supplying the tool/material? I would take some pix of the current situation, the effort at making it clear... I think there's more involved here... Something to do with the actual glass manufacture itself... that no amount of "polishing" is going to solve. Bob Fenner>

RMF wishes he had suggested turning the tank around... using the frosted side on the back... maybe painting it on the outside...

Re: HAZE ON GLASS Hi Robert, <Don> Just wanted to update you on the situation. I was at That Pet Place in Lancaster, PA over the weekend and guess what? They have a 700 gallon Oceanic Show Tank and it is doing the exact same thing as mine, getting all cloudy on the inside front glass. I am working with them and Oceanic at trying to get my tank replaced or at least getting credit for it for purchase of a different tank. I'll keep you posted. Thanks, Don <I'll be... I did want to ask if "turning the tank around" might be a possibility here... perhaps "painting the outside, back panel"... Are both viewing panels hazy, front and back? Bob Fenner>

Glass Sheet Dealer, FL, genital loss offers    12/11/07 Thank you for taking your precious time to respond to my insignificant question. I bow at your glorious presence. <Man! You've gone over the top!> Some background, I found a glass aquarium on the side of the road. Looked like it might have fallen out the back of someone's truck. <W/o breaking?> My curiosity got the best of me and being that I like to think I can be a do-it-yourselfer, I quickly snatched it up and brought it home. The tank measures (in inches) 60x17.5x22, by my calculations should be about a 100 gallon. The tank is drilled in two places with overflow boxes siliconed in. The glass is 3/8" thick. and has a top (front to back) glass support. The back pane is broken and being that it didn't shatter into a million, billion pieces, the glass must not be tempered. I went ahead and cut out all the broken pieces and as much of the silicone as I could. I inspected the edges of the bottom and sides and to my surprise, did not find any other damage. My intention is to replace the back pane with a new section and as I try to be as frugal as I can, I am having a difficult time locating a glass dealer online. <Mmm, unusual... maybe the analog "Yellow Pages" would serve you better here> I live in the state of Florida and if your crew or some of your dedicated readers can point me in a few directions (web sites), I would be forever indebted (almost willing to loose a testicle). <Yikes! No need... Likely a source can/will be easily found via the phone directory. Under "Glass"... You might even be able to find a used piece of 3/8"s from a Glass Repair business... Bob Fenner>

Re: Glass Sheet Dealer  12/12/07 I recently missed the opportunity to get a few shower doors that were clear, untextured and of the correct thickness. <Mmm... some of this glass is inferior for your intended purpose... check for the rating/"strength"> I know there are different characteristics available for glass, but do you think it would work for what I needed? <Am not so sure... Again, I'd check with the outfits that replace household glass... Likely someone has a large enough used piece (of 3/8" triple strength) from a slider or other door... BobF>

Tank Exploded :(  Shades of Deuce Bigalow!  - 7/23/07 Hi, I bought a new tank that was 120 centimeters wide, 80 centimeters tall and 40 centimeters in depth. I filled it with water and it exploded. See attached photos. <Yeeikes!> First, let me explain that I live in South America so buying a prefabricated tank is not really an option unless I import it which is extremely time consuming. The guy at the fish store has a "professional tank builder" who obviously has no clue what he is doing (which is not unusual down here). I brought up this topic on a online forum and have been hearing a lot of different opinions on what went wrong. The glass was 8 millimeters thick and held together by silicone and nothing else. <Somethings are awry here... for one, this does not look like a glass tank... but acrylic of some sort... Glass does not bend as shown... And if made of acrylic, Silastic/Silicone would not hold it together... And IF made of glass, 8 mm. (8 mm = 0.314960 in) is too thin...> The "professional tank builder" is telling me now he is going to make one that is 10 millimeters thick but some people are saying it should be more due to the height? <The thicker the better, but 10 mm should work for a tank of this dimensionality IF braced properly, AND set on a flat, level, planar support> Also the tank sat flat on a piece of Styrofoam. Some people are saying this is not the right way to build a tank since the sides should be elevated while the bottom sits on nothing. <This is NOT so> Others are saying that if their is a floating bottom that silicone will not be strong enough to hold it so Styrofoam will in fact be needed. Some are even suggesting metal braces around it. <Mmm... not necessary IF constructed of thick-enough material, braced at the top (which this one appears to have been "Euro-braced", see WWM re...) AND the seams held together with proper solvent or sealant... once again, depending on what the thing is constructed of... THIS tank looks like it underwent catastrophic failure... due to being constructed of plastic/acrylic with Silicone... The acrylic needs to be solvented...> I really would like some advice on what to do here. I do not want another exploding tank. Not only did it damage my house but it could have been extremely dangerous if someone was standing close by. <My friend... I am SO glad that you and no one else was injured... OR killed here... VERY dangerous indeed. If your fabricator reads English, please have him/her contact me here> It had enough force to completely crush a wooden table that was a few feet away. Thanks! Here is the photos: <Nos vemos mi amigo. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Exploded :( -- 07/23/07 Hi, the tank was made of glass. It is not bent, that is just how the light is reflecting in the photo. <Interesting> He is saying now he plans to rebuild it with 20mm glass. Do you think that will hold? He no speaka de english. Thanks. <Twenty mil. glass will definitely "do it" here. Bob Fenner>

Lost and Found, glass tk. panel repl.  -- 06/17/07 Hello and thanks for taking the time to read my email. I was driving home from work today and on the side of the road in the grass I saw a rather large aquarium, I stopped to look at it and it looks like it was being transported and slid out the back of someone's pickup truck. I inspected it a bit and found that the bottom frame is cracked and the back glass is broken, but being that it was an Oceanic Reef Ready 110 Gallon tank, it has 2 built in overflows with 2 drilled holes in each overflow. The top of the tank has glass center supports. I couldn't resist but to bring it home. The tank still had the manufacturers stickers in it. Now I have read up on replacing the glass pane but am having trouble locating a source for the glass. I know the glass is tempered. I live in Jacksonville Florida. Can you help me find a source and is it worth replacing the pane? I think it would be, but that is just me. Thanks, Marcelo <Mmm, I would look in the "Yellow Pages", business/phone directory under "Glass", call the folks about listed there with the panel dimensions. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lost and Found tank rep.  -- 6/17/07 So judging from your answer, it would definitely be worth fixing? <Oh yes> I started cutting out the back section today, got the overflow tanks out, both sides cut and still working on the bottom section. The top center support is almost all the way out. I think the top and bottom frame is going to be the most troublesome. Thanks. <A project for sure. And do ask about... Am not so sure that tempered glass is necessary, worth the expense here. BobF>

Re: Lost and Found -- 6/17/07 Well I know the section I need is 60"x21.5"x3/8" and it has the green tint on the edges which as far as I know is what tempered glass looks like. It would seem to me, due to the length and height, tempered glass would be the better choice. <I am in total agreement with this last stmt.... but knowing the cost difference in the glass and particularly what some outfits charge for cutting and drilling tempered (many places just outright won't), I wanted to introduce the idea that non-tempered good float glass would do. Cheers, Bob Fenner> What is "float" glass? http://www.google.com/search?q=What+is+"float"+glass%3F&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA Hex Tank Bottom replacement   6/12/07 Crew- I don't know if this is possible, I need an opinion from someone on the crew with some expertise in custom aquarium building. I have found an old 80 gallon hex that is in great shape, except it needs a new bottom. The side panels are mitered at 30*, but the bottom is cracked. The bottom was originally made of ¼" plate glass. When that pane cracked, another ¼" pane was glued on top of it with silicone. The bottom otherwise has no bracing. <Quarter inch, (aka triple-strength plate likely)... is not thick enough for the likely height (two feet, perhaps a bit more)> If I want this tank, I am prosing to install aluminum bracing installed underneath the bottom pane (using a tig welder) as proposed in the picture I included. <Mmm... this work... for what purpose?> My next question is about what are the appropriate choices of replacement glass. As it currently sets, it will hold water, but I am not about to take chances how it will do when holding water and 150 lbs of rock. 1. Double-paned ¼" plate glass glued together with silicone. Remember that the tank was double-paned AFTER the first pane was broken. (Cost : $200) 2. Single-paned ½" plate glass. (Cost: $300) 3. Single-paned ¾" tempered glass. (Cost $400) <Am feeling like a game-show contestant... "I'll take what's behind door #2 Craig!"> Is there another material you would suggest to use for the bottom of the tank? Or should I include a ¼" thick panel of Styrofoam and a ¼" panel of Lucite to help distribute the weight of the reef structure? <The foam would be my choice> I have resealed numerous aquariums and replaced side panels. I have even built smaller custom stand into walls and other structures. I have never tried to replace the bottom of such a large and free-standing tank. I don't think "it should hold" is a good enough confidence level for 80 gallons of water and the investment in my livestock (let alone the ethical arguments). <Is fine to do... with care to cutting out the old piece, fitting in the new> Oh, did I mention I just bought a new house my fiancé and I will be moving in to? <Yikes... am compelled to make my usual quip here: "Have you noticed the similarity twixt the words "fiancé" and finance? Reef and grief? Heeeeeee!> Thanks for the help, Craig <Welcome, and congrats. BobF>

Re: Hex Tank Bottom, bottom reply.  -- 6/12/07 Bob- <Craig> You are right, the tanks about 27" tall and each side panel is 16" wide. From panel to panel it's 27" as well, from point to point it's 32". <Mmm, okay> So let me get this straight: are you saying I should triple pane 1/4" plate glass or I should use 1/2" tempered glass? <I'd use 1/2", not tempered though... not necessary and more expensive> 1/4" plate glass for this hex bottom will run around $40 (new estimates), 1/2" tempered will run $160. <Yikes! Likely from the cutting cost. I would look around... used glass would be fine here... Call some of the shops in the "Yellow Pages" that do replacement... Likely will save...> I have little idea what the tensile properties are with respect to multiple panes of plate glass versus a single pane of tempered. <IF done properly, are impressive... but hard to squeeze out a bunch of the air twixt panes...> If I used the triple panes of 1/4" glass, I WOULD want to put silicone between each layer of glass, correct? <Yes... but I wouldn't here... More trouble than it's worth... Look into the used glass... half inch...> Thanks again, Craig <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Cracked aquarium <vivarium...>, is it worth fixing?   4/22/07 Hello,          my name is Matthew and I would appreciate your input on something. I have been keeping fresh cold water fish for a few years and I would like to try either a pond or large tank now. I noticed in a nearby second hand shop several aquariums, they were labeled as vivariums because they each had one cracked panel. <Mmm, are you sure Matthew? There are thinner paned tanks made just for vivarium, reptile et al. use... Do make sure you're looking at made-for-aquarium use tank> There were two of these that I was interested due to their size, I have noticed you stating it is not worth trying to repair aquariums compared to buying them new. <Often this is the case> However these aquariums were large, from memory 1.5 to 2m long, at least 1m high <! If made of glass... would need to be at least 1/2" construction...> and around the same wide. The broken panel on both of them were the long vertical side. They were each priced at 30 dollars Australian, so about 35 Us dollars. Is it worth me trying to repair them?. Thanks in advance. -Matthew <Mmm... depends on what glass costs there, what you figure your time is worth... IF the rest of the construct is good... and IF these are intended to be filled with water (I am seriously doubtful here), then perhaps. Bob Fenner>

Replacing the bottom glass of my 75 gallon tank, HELP!!!  4/8/07 I've looked in the forums but nothing seems to answer all my ?'s. I'm guessing that it is 75 gallons, but I'm not sure. It's got the molding on the bottom, the bottom glass has been totally shattered out. I'm not sure on what to start doing first. I know I need to get the molding off. But how is the ?. <A good deal of work... but with "razor tools" and a good deal of work... In most cases I would "sacrifice" the current moulding/s... Order new through the manufacturer...> I don't know if its one piece or just held together by the silicone. So long story short I need step by step help, PLEASE. thank you for your time <... this is a very "big" job... as almost all such tanks are made "bottom first"... So, all the glass panels need to be cut apart, cleaned of existing Silastic... the new bottom laid into the new bottom frame/moulding... the sides, front and back... Likely a job, with traveling about, calls... of tens of hours... Most cases call for purchasing a new tank... Bob Fenner>

Fish tank repair... cracked pane, bottom  3/19/07 Hi,    <Jack>   I just got settled in from moving and upon resetting up my 40gal freshwater tank, I noticed a spider web on the bottom pane. It is a large crack, and leaks. I want to replace it- before going the route of slicing off the silicone and getting just the right piece, do you think it worthwhile to simple "glue" the new pane to the bottom of the existing cracked one? Is this idea totally insane or not half bad? <I do think this is worth trying... too much trouble to take all apart... tanks are "built on their bottoms"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/glsaqpanes.htm and see the titles of the linked files above...>   Thanks for your time,   Jack in NY <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium repairs 5/18/06 Hi, <Hello> I would like to know what type of glass is typically used for aquariums. I was told by someone that "sapphire glass" is to be used, but they didn't know how to get it. <Probably referring to "Starfire" glass, which a high grade of glass used on high end aquariums, tends to be very expensive.  Unnecessary, but does look very nice> Can just regular clear glass be used? And the reason I ask is I'm replacing a front pane on a 40 gal tank. I'm not fretting about the repair, just the glass I need. <As long as the thickness is correct, a normal pane of glass available at a local glass shop should suffice.  When in doubt verify that the strength of the glass is appropriate with the glass shop.>                                                           Thank very much for your time and valued info. <Chris>

Repairing glass tank with acrylic...Yikes!   7/22/06 Hi, <Hello Beth>    I have been reading through your threads, but have come up with conflicting replies to this question. Yesterday I purchased a new 100 gal glass tank.  The cart I was using to get it into the house collapsed breaking the back panel of the tank.  Luckily it did not do any damage to the other piece which is one solid piece with rounded corners.  It would be more cost effective to repair the tank by using an acrylic panel instead of glass.  I have come up with not possible to yes you can in the faq's.   Can I replace this back panel with an acrylic one?  Will the tank be structurally sound if I do?  What should I use to adhere these two materials together? <Beth, I would not feel comfortable in doing this.  I would have it professionally repaired.  You may want to check your homeowners insurance.  This accident may even be covered.>    Thank you for your time and help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Beth

Re: Repairing glass tank with acrylic  7/23/06 Thank you, I have not found a place that does repairs yet in my area.   Beth <Acrylic cannot really be adhered to glass in this repair... Your only real option for repair is to replace the broken glass with glass. Bob Fenner>  

150 gallon tank with recessed bottom? Repair hello, I have searched through your posts and can't seem to find the answer to my question, I have a 150 gallon tank (6 feet by 18 inches wide). It has been leaking and the secondary seal has been repaired twice. I thought it would be better to redo the primary seal on the bottom glass. I flipped the tank over and removed the trim and to my surprise, the bottom glass is recessed inside the bottom of the tank about an inch. the current sealant seals the tank about halfway through the width of the 1/2 inch glass and that is all that is holding the glass in place--- it is kind of floating inside the tank walls with sealant between all glass and then the secondary seal along the inside. There is a black trim piece that is made to go over this recessed glass. So it seems to have been designed that way. Is this normal? <Yes... many tanks made with such "floating bottoms"> Should I purchase a slightly larger piece of glass and replace the bottom all together so that the tank sides sit on top of the bottom glass--- or should I set something inside the tank while it is upside down to hold the bottom an inch below the sides and run the sealant in between the glass again? I have attached a picture of the existing bottom. <Mmm, there are a few ways you could go here... as you've stated, by siliconing another piece of glass over the existing... might be the easier route... but hard to cut, place the plastic frame (which is non functional am sure you're aware)... Otherwise, you could cut out the entire silicone as it is... for the bottom plate, and resilicone this entirely... Bob Fenner> Thank you -- and I hope this made sense- the pictures probably explain it better. Josh Schulhoff

Replacing the Long Side - 265 Glass Tank Repair I purchased a brand new 265 gallon aquarium that was broken. One of the long panels was cracked. I have since removed it and cleaned the majority of the old silicone from the seams. I will use some toluene (?) to really clean the joints of the glass. My question stems from the method that Perfecto uses to 'set' the glass.  I called, just for kicks, to see how / if they would repair it. I was answered with "we would not repair it, but replace it with a new one" - if it was under warranty, but it is not. The original purchaser caused the damage therefore - no free fix. I did learn that Perfecto is now using 'spacers' on the larger glass tanks to keep the weight of the glass from pushing all the sealant out while it cures. They could not offer any of these spacers to me. So, I can get the glass, the sealant (100% silicone window & door sealer) - but do I need to worry about these spacers? Will the silicone bead be strong enough to hold all the weight of the panel without squashing it all out? Now, as for the way to actually set the glass. Should I leave it 'right side up' / normal position, or should I lay it on the back (the non broken long side) and then place the glass on from the top? Any info regarding the procedure will be greatly appreciated! >> I would keep the tank upright, but upside-down. I would place a tank that size on two or three solid easels. Before you start, take five clamps from a hardware store that will fit the sides of the tank. Measure the span, and mark the width on the clamp. Then put plenty of silicone on the edge of the tank.  When you set the panel do so at the bottom edge (now on top) first, at a 45 degree angle to start. Then flip the panel down into place. Now use the clamps: one at the top and one at the bottom, tighten them until you have reached your mark. Ideally you will put one in the middle at the bottom seam.  When the silicone is dried, trim the insides and make a proper bead (you can do this from underneath when the silicone is wet if you have used enough).  If the tank does not have a center brace I would strongly recommend it. I assume that the tank is eight feet long, so you should install a middle brace (same thickness of glass as the rest of the tank) that spans the middle of at least 12-16". This will prevent the front glass from bowing out too much. Good Luck, Oliver << <<Marina's note: I would NOT, I repeat NOT use something as toxic as toluene to clean the glass.  All that is needed is a vinegar/water mixture, and rubbing alcohol to get all oils off.  A set of good straight-edge razors is what is needed to best remove all silicone.>> 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.> 

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>>

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>

Broken Tank? Just Get A New One! Hi guys <Scott F. this morning!> Sorry for the long delay in my reply. I just wanted to say thanks a million for your help. I have decided to just buy a new/used tank. I think that'll be cheaper and hey, it'll give me an excuse to upgrade to a 75 gal.! Ya hooooo! <that's my kind of move! Ever noticed how fish geeks like use manage to get new tanks out of bad situations like that? It's a skill, I tell ya...!> Thanks again for constantly being my lifesavers with your wealth of info, and I don't even want to think about what it would be like without you guys! <And I can't imagine the hobby with out people like you! Not a day goes by when we don't all learn something!> Keep up the brilliant work! Cheers! Dee <Right back 'atcha, Dee!  Scott F.>

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