Is it time to re-seal?

Kribensis27

Member
I have a 50 gallon tank that I got from a neighbor. It’s been running with me for around 2 years. I noticed that there were some places where water had gotten into the silicone the first year I got it, but they’ve spread since then. I know that the actual seal is between the glass panes, but this tank is old. The neighbors had it for around 8 years. That means that this tank has gone without re-sealing for 10 years. It just seems like a good idea to do it. What do you think?

Yay bonus hard water stains and angelfish
 

SM1199

Member
Yup, I'd be re-sealing for peace of mind!
 

Frank the Fish guy

Member
Looks like the gap has gone half way across the whole joint. So how ever long it took to get this far, it will probably take that long again before it leaks. 10 more years!??

I recently tried to reseal a leaking tank with a gap in the silicone at the joint. The seal did not work. I had to buy all new glass panels and rebuild. Re-sealing can be a waste of time.

Don't assume you can just lay a bead into the corner to re-seal it once the joint is actually compromised.
 

SM1199

Member
The keys to a good re-seal job are stripping 100% of the old silicone off before you start to lay down the new, making sure you smooth down any air bubbles, and laying down the new silicone at a decent width. I re-sealed my old 55 gallon when it sprung a leak and I had no issues whatsoever.

Also, Frank the Fish guy, your logic makes sense but I don't completely agree. There can be micro-tears in the silicone that aren't visible to the naked eye but will certainly allow water to pass through under high pressure (aka, 500 pounds of water). I couldn't even see where the silicone was worn in my 55, the edges looked almost new and a lot better shape than OP's tank, but I knew it was there somewhere because it was leaking!

We also don't know when the silicone started to wear away - it could have been perfectly fine up until two years ago, and because of different water chemistry, higher use, or just the fact that old silicone dries out and cracks more than new silicone, it could have very little time left.
 

Frank the Fish guy

Member
[QUOTE="SM1199, post: 4783189, member: 104768"
Also, Frank the Fish guy, your logic makes sense but I don't completely agree. There can be micro-tears in the silicone that aren't visible to the naked eye but will certainly allow water to pass through under high pressure (aka, 500 pounds of water). I couldn't even see where the silicone was worn in my 55, the edges looked almost new and a lot better shape than OP's tank, but I knew it was there somewhere because it was leaking!
[/QUOTE]

Don't repair unless it actually leaks. I think we can agree on that? I say it will be another 10 years from his photo. But you may be right too.

I don't think that simply putting in a bead along the seam is enough. The leak is from the gap between the glass panels. To fix that you need to rebuild the whole thing. or waste a lot of time tying to do it the cheap way. Don't bother.
 

SM1199

Member
Frank the Fish guy, not re-sealing a tank unless it leaks is all fine and dandy until you've got fifty gallons of water on your carpet and a tank full of dead fish. Or in my instance, fifty gallons of water flowing through the carpet and the floorboards and into the basement.

Lots and lots of people have successfully re-sealed their leaking tanks and brought them back to full functionality for years, including myself, so no, I don't think it's a waste to invest five dollars in peace of mind as compared to buying a whole new tank for twenty times the cost or repairing your soaked floorboards.

To each their own, no harm!
 

waterpat

Member
I would leave it alone.
 

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