How to Reseal an Aquarium

Hey everyone how are you. Today i have an empty tank behind me. What we are going to do with this tank here is that we’re going to reseal we’ve noticed that the integrity of the silicone is really not holding up the par.  there’s a lot of bubbles within it and within the inside of the tank, especially near the bottom. At the front it is really not looking that well. So I think the best thing we can do now is just to reseal it.

So we’re going to get a little bit of help with this from Kevin he’s going to come over and show us his masterful skills in resealing so what we were going to do now is we’re just going to prep for this. We’re going to tear out all the old silicone and for that we’re going to need a couple of things. We are going to need a few scrapers. Now I have a couple different sizes; the smaller ones are just a little bit easier to get in some places and I got a little bit bigger and then medium-sized one and I also have a caulking puller now this here is really good for the corners. It allows you just to get into the crack and pull up. We’re going to give you some better footage of this as we start tearing it apart, but before that the last thing that we’re going to need in order to do this is some acetone.

Now there’s going to be some safety precautions obviously when using acetone in fact we’re not going to do this tonight we’re going to wait till tomorrow when it’s a little bit warmer out so we can have the door open with the fan blowing to get some more circulation here because this stuff here is really strong. So we’re gonna wait  for this till tomorrow and we’re basically just gonna start tearing this tank apart. So as you can see from the furniture I was showing you the tank here is in pretty bad shape. It’s time for a reseal so let’s start with the process. Stripping silicone is a very tedious task. It took me up to about three hours probably to fully scrape and acetone wipe down the tank. So I’m going to  share a few tips here that can save you a lot of time and make this process a little bit easier.

A razor blade is goodThe first thing is the use of a razor blade or a scraper really comes in handy. What you want to do is scrape down both sides of the glass along the edge of the seam and this will lift the silicone up on both sides. if you have a puller you can easily pull the silicone right off with a puller and even if you don’t and you’re using a scraper and it allows you to pull it off in a big piece and usually takes off quite a bit of even the small residue too. So it’s kind of better to take it off in a bigger piece if you can. A razor blade works really well to clean off the glass and also remove the fine film in your cleanup. but be careful when you’re removing the silicone that you don’t dig into the adhesive that holds the tank together. You’ll have to completely tear down the tank and you don’t want to have to do that, so don’t dig into that too far at all. The next step here is when you’re using acetone to wipe for the remaining silicone off and only use a little tiny bit on the rag in a well-ventilated area and basically you want to stay away from the corners and edges. Your goal here is to really just take away the silicone. You really don’t want to go near that adhesive because the acetone will destroy that adhesive and you’ll have to completely tear down your tank and start from scratch

Alright so we are ready now to get the silicon but I first have to do a couple more things. Mike got it all cleaned up really well he used the acetone there and cleaned off at any of the excess so now it’s a nice smooth because one thing like you know, it has to be very clean for the new silicone to bond. exactly! New silicone does not bond to old silicone pretty much at all. Yeah you can get away you know, if it’s not a hundred percent clean you can get away. but try and do it as best you can. So first thing that you’re gonna want to do to make sure that you do a nice-looking job. So we use painters tape to get a nice edge you know because this stuff has minimum tack but will hold at least long enough. again just based on the the basic thickness of the tank we’re probably going to be looking at doing you want about a quarter a quarter inch gap or so. So then that way it’s gonna provide enough you know but you don’t want to have like these massive visible seam of silicone. . . . my last attempt I think you did like three-quarters of an inch to an inch so I think that was a that was a fail on my part so you couldn’t work whatever you a bit overkill but the thing is to all obviously the wider of a space you’re using that means usually ends up means some of the center bits it’s a bit deeper than what you want yeah right and it’ll take longer to cure and like that but so yeah we’ll get to taping it up and then we’ll get into there and seal it up. okay perfect yeah. okay so we have got the tank completely taped up now as you can see so the next step is we’ve got to do some silicone.Reseal with silicone Now I’m not very good at siliconing. so this is why we have Kevin over here. He’s done multiple tanks of his own and he’s gonna show us how to do this tank so hopefully we can do the next couple on here own right? Mine haven’t failed yet so no promises. One quick thing, just as you know we taped it out. You just always want to make sure that your corners are square.So there is gonna be an overlap obviously between your tapes on the bottom and your tapes going up the side but as long as your corners are a little bit squared it just makes for a cleaner line when you re pulling it off and that’s it.

Sort of run your finger along the the bottom of the tape that’s gonna be facing the bead just to make sure it is secure but enough so you’re not getting anything seeping underneath Which again is just gonna create a mess now as you’re siliconing and everything like that. Pretty much you’re looking to do maybe about a quarter inch bead as even as you can without any gaps in it. If you’re not a professional calker or anything like that and you’re not good at it. That’s fine if it if it doesn’t look great as long as you’re getting at least a steady bead coming. because once you go through and clean it up Mike’s got a little tool there that you can use that has like a sharp manager round edge in this case if you’re doing the tank if you wanted to use that round edge I typically just use my finger just because I like. . . and we tapped it so it doesn’t really matter much anyway. . exactly and I also like to just have that tactile feel like I know where I’m going along and everything like that to make sure I’m going smooth but either way works for you. I found with using this for my own personal experience I was using this rounded corner and using like a tube and a half right just on the bottom because it leaves such a big gap. so well if you can master with your finger and if it’s already taped it’s probably a better idea just to do it like that. And that’s the thing because when you’re when you’re doing this process the point I find that those can sometimes lift more silicone out. Really all you’re trying to do is just smooth it down so it’s so it’s sealed on both sides and so it’s a nice clean look you know and that’s why again I like using my finger because I feel the the pressure a little bit nicer. So again you want to try to keep as straight and steady of a about beading as you can as you’re going through typically it’s always better to do the bottoms first and then work up your your four corners and then as we’re smoothing it out again smooth around your bottom and then smooth up from the bottom to the top so.

Well we’ll get some footage of that so we don’t see that here to you as well so now you want to work somewhat quickly. You don’t have to rush it but I mean this stuff does start to cure quick enough right and if if you’re too slow on the job it’s gonna start to skin over and then when you’re trying to make that nice clean line afterwards. . Its going to be very hard . it’s gonna get hard okay yeah so we have calking gun now and I guess we could show you guys the silicone that we used. Yeah and this is actually very important. Two main brands that we have at least available to us here would be home builder and G E on the package itself it does say save for aquariums. they also have another one to just your general GE silicone one and it’s not your kitchen and bath one that you would use. Its your windows and doors. yeah. Yeah and different zones (countries) vary from brand to brand but if you’re gonna be using these you want to make sure it’s a hundred percent silicon and it doesn’t have any of the mold inhibitors or anything like that. So just silicone the mold inhibitors will leach in yeah kill stuff in your tanks,it’s not a good idea. So just 100 cent silicone and you’re good to go.

Don’t worry if the tube doesn’t say safe for aquariums that’s just a liability you think it’s not necessarily what the company who produced it designed it for you know so they may put a warning like this is not for aquarium use but that’s just to cover so legally. You can always go get a tube usually from your LFS and it’s gonna cost about 35 bucks for aquarium a specific. This company here is really nice and they put for aquariums on it so it’s essentially the exact same thing 100 silicone yeah so again it gets a little bit tricky sometimes you get a straight bead when you do have these cross beams but you just work around it so it takes about 20 minutes for the silicone to start to tack up a little bit and build a little skin like a surface I’m so you should have time to do the whole perimeter and all the seams of your tank before you have to go and spread it you should be able to do it in that amount of time so one thing we forgot to mention this stuff is fairly noxious it has a really really strong vinegar smell. Make sure you’re doing this in a well-ventilated area or at least like in this case Mike set up a fan so it’s like blowing the fumes away from my face as I’m working. Because when you’re over top yeah you feel it like it. gets you will cough a little bit. A respirator you could use if you’ve got some sort of breathing issues or a prone to asthma or anything like that. Just to make sure you’re not gonna exacerbate your your already existing situation but for people who don’t have that still really well ventilate because yeah you’ll get the headache and stuff like that if you’re in a small space. yeah we have a fan blowing on us and we have a fan above us- and the door is open so yeah we’re we’re trying our best to keep that smell down.

So the next step that we’re gonna do here is we’ve applied the silicone now and we’re just going to remove the tape right. Yes that’s it so try to be as careful as you can when you’re doing this again just because there’s gonna be some silicone and that’s overlapped and everything like that. I mean it’s bound to happen at least once that you’re gonna go and you’re gonna submerge it somewhere on the glass or on the bottom I’m like yeah unless you’re very careful like it and again don’t stress it don’t try and wipe it off right away cos you’re just gonna make a thin thin layer that’s gonna be super hard to get off yeah just leave it leave your mistakes let it dry and let it cure and then you can just go at it with the razor  and then maybe even acetone if the exact snow yeah it’s much easier to do it that way yeah all right so this is pretty much it now we’ve got the silicone on and it looks really good there’s no bubbles in the silicone the start so we’ve already improved on what we were coming from and yet we peeled off the tape like I said as fast as we could kind of thing is you don’t rush it but you want to get it done just because it can start to skin over and I could just make a mess yeah as I said we had a few little ooops here as we were peeling the tape because the end of the tape would have some silicone here and there but like it’s their tiny little things that the razor the acetone is just clear right off no problem if again your finger dragging or whatever is leaving a little bit of excess on the side that didn’t get taken away and you don’t like the look necessarily I mean you’d like it a little bit cleaner in this case most of it ended up on the bottom layer so it’s your choice don’t even or not it’s not gonna hurt the seam. It’s just going to be buried under the substrate anyway so if you want to go for that absolute solid clean look once it’s all cured and dried just take that razor blade to it again and just cut your line and get it nice and clean and nice and professional so I mean if like in our case like I said it happened below the substrate but if it happened for you while you’re doing your sides where it’s visible let it set take your razor clean it looks beautiful.

So what we’re gonna do now is wait 24 to 48 hours and then we’re going to stress test the tank so we’re gonna fill it up starting really slowly and we’ll get that next step on the video yeah the best way to know for sure if the 24 to 48 you’re not sure is do the nose test and it still really smells that vinegar smell it’s not dry it’s not dry just give it a little bit longer to cure but yeah 24 48 should be good if you didn’t glob in in there. So awesome. Now that this is completely done we’ve stress tested the tank for a good 24 hours and what we’ve also done is drained and emptied it a few times now we’ve got to remember that we use the acetone in the tank and this stuff here is really toxic so we do want to make sure we get this all over the tank but other than that this tank turned out awesome. Silicon job turned out pretty good, there’s a couple spots that if I wanted to I could kind of fix it up just by taking a razor blade and kind of facing up the seats but since most of it is really down below where my substrate is going to be it’s not really important and I think it looks pretty good so I’m definitely really happy with how this turned out and now we can get my fish back in the tank so thank you guys very much for watching I hope this helps somebody else and you guys have yourself a great day.