How To Replace The Top Frame Of An Aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Tank Equipment' started by cm11599ps, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. cm11599ps

    cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    As some of you may know, the top center brace of my 12 year old 55 gallon aquarium snapped about 2 weeks ago when I was trying to adjust my automatic feeder. My frame finally came in today and I just sat down after finishing the job. Here are some pics for your enjoyment.....

    Below is a shot of the tank with some of the required materials needed. You will see the new black frame, aquarium silicone, razor blade, python and more.

    My first step was to pour myself a nice cold draft beer from my kitchen. This is the most important part in ANY project you undertake. lol


    Below is a shot of my automatic feeder. It is placed right over the center brace and when I went to adjust the feeding schedule the center brace of the tank snapped.


    A pic of the broken brace.


    I then had to remove the aerator on my kitchen faucet in order to attach my python.


    Attaching an adapter to connect my python the my faucet.


    Finally attaching the python.


    You then need to turn the water on and the python hose gets full of water. The other end of the python hose (the gravel cleaner) in in the tank. This is the first step in using the python.

    You then need to unscrew the bottom of the python. You will see the water going into the sink now. As the water from your faucet goes down through the green plastic and into the sink it creates a siphon and brings in the water from your tank. The water that is going into the sink is a mix of your tap water as well as your tank water.


    Below you will see one end of the python nestled in the red plants in the tank with the other end in the sink and the hose going across the floor. Please say hi to my Maltese, Timmy. I ended up draining about 50% of the tank to relieve some of the pressure on the glass since I was removing the entire top frame.

  2. OP

    cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    I began by using a razor blade to cut the silicone on the inside and outside of the glass. This didn't work well.


    I then went to the garage to get this 5 in one paint tool. I grasped the handle and used that pointy side to score all around the tank. This worked MUCH better then the razor blade and I highly suggest this tool if you ever need to replace your frame.


    It took over an hour but you can see that I was finally able to get the frame up a bit. It's about 1/4" above the glass at this point but the rest of the tank still needs some work.


    I was finally able to get the entire thing off. Once you got some of it up the rest was a LOT easier.


    Side by side shots of the old oak frame and the new black one. The color doesn't matter because I have a full wooden hood so the frame doesn't show at all. Plus the black is cheaper too.


    Little bits of silicone floating that I removed with my net.


    Removing some of the loose silicone cuttings.


    Have a drink!


    Dry fitted the new top.


    Use a razor blade to scrape off the remaining silicone from the glass.

  3. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    where did you get the top trim from?? ?? I need one!
  4. OP

    cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    This should be above, but I used a piece of wood to tap up on the frame to loosen it.


    Using the gun to silicone the inside of the frame. I also siliconed the corners because I was using my tools in the area so I wanted to play it safe and recoat them.


    New frame on and tank being filled with python.


    Getting there. I didn't want to fill the tank all the way up because I siliconed the top few inches of the corners.


    Everything back in place!


    Then the worst thing happened!!!!!

    An empty glass.

    So I had a refill.

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  5. OP

    cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    I got the frame from my LFS. Total cost for the frame plus the tube of silicone was about $35.
  6. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    thanks. My LFS won't special order my fish, so we'll see if they'll get me a top trim.....

    I've looked online and not been able to find anything.
  7. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello CM,

    Thanks for taking us through the process with you! This will be a great reference/bookmark page :)

  8. bolivianbaby

    bolivianbabyFishlore LegendMember

    That's awesome and will definitely come in handy! Thanks for sharing with us.
  9. namehater

    namehaterWell Known MemberMember

    very thorough and detailed, thanks for taking the time to snap so many pics!

    how long did you spend on the entire process? sorry if i missed it earlier.
  10. Flyfrod

    FlyfrodValued MemberMember

    I just got done doing mine. I don't think I could have donr that without the beer. I think that is the key.LOL
  11. OP

    cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    About 3 weeks ago I thought my tank was ruined and that I would have to get a new one. I did research on trying to replace or fix it and I really didn't find much info. Some places did say you could replace the frame but it didn't really give you step by step directions or even pictures for that matter. I need to be able to SEE something done and then it becomes a lot clearer.

    I figured if I snapped a few pics and wrote up a brief summary then I might be able to help someone in the future. The whole process wasn't that hard now that all is said and done. If I didn't take pics or beer breaks then I could have had the whole thing done in 2 - 3 hours. If I had to do it again then I could probably have it done a lot quicker because I would be using the right tools from the start.

    The first 1.5 - 2 hours was not fun. With all the cutting I was doing I still couldn't get even a corner to budge a little bit. After some more cutting I tried pressing up on the frame with my fingers and I was finally able to push it up a tad!

    I did a little more scoring with that painters tool then tapped up with the piece of wood and it began to come off pretty easily. Once I was able to get it up a bit the rest of the process (removing the top) was a cinch and only took about 15 minutes.

    My wife and I are glad this is finished. For the past 3 weeks we have been worrying about the tank breaking because you could see it bowing out in the middle. It's not the kind of bow front tank I wanted. lol