Rehabing an old 48 gallon bowfront

Mhamilton0911

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Hello!
I was gifted a decent sized, very used bow front. I was told it was a 39 gallon, but I measured and used an online calculator and came up with 48 gal. It's in rough shape, it was previously salt water and the scale is horrendous. I need all the tricks here guys. What is the best to use to remove the build up?? Heavier stuff OK here, as I will also be resealing it.

I've tried vinegar, bar keepers friend, CLR. Tried sos pads, razor blades, everything I can think of and it's still everywhere.

I will add pictures.

I still have hope for it, when is was full of water before I started cleaning it and scraping silicone it wasn't too noticeable, but I'd like it as gone as possible considering the amount to work that will go onto this build.
 

Charlie’s Dad

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The key is removing the buildup in layers. You may think your not doing any good but rest assured each pass of pad or scotchbrite it is doing good.

Also use pure lemon juice.

Congrats on the tank!
 
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Mhamilton0911

Mhamilton0911

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I feel like I was endlessly scrubbing with very little change each time, so good to hear this is common.

I heard lemon juice, I was thinking of getting a few whole lemons and slicing in half, and using the halfs like sponges. Could I add table salt to the lemon for scrubbing?

The tank came with a nice stand and the original hood too, so I really want to save it. It's 36" wide and will look great in the spot I have for it. Reeeeaaallly wanted to do a planted tank so I need this to work out, to keep things on the low budget side, more money for everything else!
 
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Mhamilton0911

Mhamilton0911

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Currently the tank is in the garage, definitely a WIP. I will recruit my husband to help when I need to move it, but he's not really into my shenanigans.
Like I say in my first post, the tank held water, but the silicone was in bad shape, it was missing chunks, maybe from fish nibbles, and even bubbles under the silicone. 48 gallons is a lot of water, and I just re-did our floors with engineered hardwood so I'm not trying to ruin them with a shady seal!

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Nice find! Keep us posted on your progress! I don’t blame you for being nervous with new floors eek any floor vs 48 gallons of water is a disaster!
 
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Mhamilton0911

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Thanks, just for giggles I priced the comparable size with stand locally and i'd be in it about $300, not on sale.
With the current situation, i'd be shocked if I found anything on sale for a while. I've talked with my LFS though and they are certain they will remain after this health crisis. So that's good anyways, i'd hate for that store to close permanently.


Also, what's the REAL DEAL with silicone?? I've watched countless videos and read many articles using both aquarium silicone and 3M 100% silicone. Many people using both. I'd have to order the aquarium kind, I can only find tiny tubes local, and boy howdy are they pricey for a tiny amount. Makes me lean towards 3M's kind, but is it really safe to use? I have tons of experience with application of all kinds of things, I'm not concerned with technique or anything, just the product to choose. Would love to hear from you guys on this!
 
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Mhamilton0911

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Does anyone have any filter suggestions for this? I have been online a lot looking but have no idea which is better than the other :/
 
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Mhamilton0911

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Charlie’s Dad said:
The 3m silicone is the exact same as the marketed aquarium silicone...


If it were me.... I would dress that tank up with a Sunsun canister filter. I am running several with no problems.

Very nice tank!!!!;)
THANKS!! I thought so, but if i was wrong and it leeched something into the water slowly i might not notice until everything just kept dying. I thought i'd ask some who really knew. This makes the project happen sooner too. I just about have it all scraped off. Only a bit more in the corners and i can start cleaning for taping.
 
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Mhamilton0911

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After tracking down the 3M silicone, and even the #1 type, supposed safe, it still says 7 year mold free, which sounds like added mold inhibitor. So I ordered proper aquarium silicone.

Also ordered everything online but a filter, my local shop has an aquaclear at a decent price so I'm going to buy it from them to try to give them a bit of business. I've been calling ahead my order and meeting outside, they'll do it for fish too.

I have serious taping experience, I paint cars for a living (well, used to) so I can tape up for silicone like no one's business. So excited for it to arrive!
 
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Mhamilton0911

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I've done a couple more cleanings with vinegar, and once with bar keepers friend, and my silicone came today so now of to the garage to squeaky clean and tape up!! So excited to progress forward!
IMG_20200413_161754762.jpg
 
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Mhamilton0911

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Got the tank resealed yesterday, whew that silicone is stinky! I didn't know it was going to smell like vinegar, I initially thought I might not have cleaned the tank good enough since I used vinegar last, but the husband googled and told me the vinegar smell is from the silicone itself.

Looks good for my first job resealing. I'll let it cure for a few days and fill 'er up and test for leaks.

Excited to move forward on this project! (Pic is before silicone)
 

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Mhamilton0911

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Crying now. Filled up with water, and it's NOT leaking, but the center support is broken, hanging on by a thread.
IMG_20200421_135329706.jpg
 
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Mhamilton0911

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So after some thinking, my hubs and I have brainstormed a few ideas.
1. Repair existing brace with fiberglass. I have experience and hubs is a professional. Easy to do, should hold long term, will blend and look best.
2. Make add on brace with aluminum. Easy, will hold forever. Ugly. Will affect how things sit on top of aquarium and other modifications will result.
3. Make a whole new frame/brace from fiberglass. Will take to long in my opinion, but hubs would likely do it.
4. Call it a terrarium and hubs buys a new one.

I'm trying to fix it first. But might jump to option 4.

I first supported it with tape, to take pressure of the brace, then i noticed a gap between the plastic trim and the glass on the inside, so I gooped a bunch of silicone and then taped it really tight to cure. Then I will sand to prep the plastic after a few days.
 

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Mhamilton0911

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I have laid fiberglass mesh and resin on the break, this last week. It's been curing for several days now and with a break in gloomy weather approaching today, I plan on water pressure testing my repair. Basically I'm filling it to make sure the fiberglass holds.

Best case: it's holding securely. I will prep the rest of the trim and plan on painting the trim black.

Worst case: the pressure from the full tank brakes the brace repair and I make my husband take me to the LFS for a new tank. Either way I'm getting more gallons.

I will know today either way. I have been waiting on this moment before I order more plants for this tank, so I must find out if this works.
 

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