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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I recently found that my first tank ever has a leak. Can anyone provide me with directions on how to reseal a tank. Or are there some posted on this site that I just haven't found yet. I think I have read everything there is on the type of silicone to use. I really need some step by step instructions on exactly where to start, how to hold it all together as I go along, how to apply silicone and then put glass together, etc.

If anyone can help that would be great.

Jared
 

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I have never done this before, but this is how I would attempt it.

First step is to remove the trim from the top and bottom of the tank. You can find instructions on how to do that elsewhere in the DIY forum.
Next you need to remove ALL of the silicone from EVERY joint. This is the most important thing to do, because new silicone does not adhere very well to old silicone.
Once all of the silicone and silicone residue is gone, place the bottom piece of glass inside the bottom trim piece. Now lay down a generous bead of silicone around the perimeter of the top of the bottom piece of glass.
Now take the front and back pieces of glass and lay a generous bead of silicone on the inside face of the glass ONLY where the side pieces will attach.

Depending on the size of the tank, you may need to enlist the help of a buddy for the next step. Place the front and back pieces where they go on top of the bottom. Don't worry about the silicone that will squeeze out.
Now lay the top piece of trim on the top of the sides. This will help hold everything in place.
Now working from the INSIDE of the tank, take one of the side pieces and tilt it toward the inside of the tank. Then slide the bottom edge of the side into place while making sure that the piece remains tilted to the inside.
Now pivot the side into place. This will cause most of the silicone to be squeezed to the outside of the tank. Repeat for the last piece.

Now you have a big sticky, smelly mess of silicone squeezed out of all of the joints. Now you will need 4 pieces of wood that are as long as the tank is tall and 4 bar clamps that will fit over the sides of the tank.
Place a piece of wood at the edge of the front and back of one side of the tank and place a bar clamp at the top and bottom of the wood.
Clamp it down LIGHTLY and make sure that the side piece is in the right place, square and plumb.
Once you have the side aligned tighten the clamp more, but don't overtighten. You just want an nice firm joint and you don't wnat to apply too much force. If you have gotten this far, I'm sure you can figure out the right tightness. Repeat for the other side.

Now that you have it glued, clamped, squared, and plumbed, here comes the fun part. You will definatley want to wear rubber gloves for this part and I would reccommend wearing them for the entire project.
Clean the silicone off of the OUTSIDE of the tank. You don't have to get it all now, but try to get most of it.
Next you will want to smooth the silicone around the INSIDE joints creating a nice clean radius on all of the seams. You can add more silicone if need be.
Once you are happy with it, let it dry and fully cure.
Once it is cured you can remove the clamps and use a razor blade to remove any silicone from the OUTSIDE that you missed while it was wet.
Now give the whole tank a good cleaning and you should be ready to add water.
Fill it all the way and check for leaks.
Once you are satisfied that it doesn't leak, cycle it and use it as normal.

Like I said, I haven't done any of this, but this is how I would attempt it. I hope this helps more than it hurts.
 

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Here's some links. Typically you don' t need to take all of the sides apart, just remove the bead of silicone that seals the joints and reseal
Those links are helpful and would probably work for a small tank, but I would not reccommend that method for larger tanks that depend on the silicone between the glass. I am not sure what the cutoff is, but I would guess somewhere around 30 gal is the max for that method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys... The only thing I am confused about is if I need to take all 5 pieces of glass apart. In the pictures of those links it looks like they only removed the silicone on the inside. My tank leaked from the bottom seal. Do I need to remove the trim? Do I need to take the pieces of glass completely apart and do the whole tank?

Also the tank was filled for a week and did not leak. Then I added a bunch of rock and it started to leak on the bottom. Would the weight of the rock cause the silicone to pull away from the glass?

Thanks for your help,
Jared
 

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You do not need to dismantle the tank for a simple leak, regardless of tank size. Remove all the silicone inside the tank and reseal. Clamps aren't needed to assemble a tank either, as a little masking tape will hold the tank together once siliconed. Most of my tanks were purchased as leakers, and I have built a half dozen, the oldest being around 41 or 42 years old, and still held together by the original silicone.
 

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I've never heard of having to take the whole thing apart for a leak either, regardless of tank size.

You do need to remove all of the inner silicone, not just where it's leaking. The new silicone won't seal where it meets the old.

I wouldn't worry about removing the trim. Just run your bead of silicone up to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What about if the tank is leaking out the front, bottom seal and it looks like water got underneath the seal and under the trim? Or will the new silicone on the inside prevent water from even getting to the trim again? This is my main concern and why I am wondering about the trim. It is now clear that I don't have to take it apart in pieces.

jmr
 

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If you reseal the inside, it will stop the leak. If when you remove the interior seam, you find the silicone holding the glass together is damaged, you may have to go beyond a reseal. If the tank is still structurally sound, a reseal is all that is required.
 

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CUBLUEJAY said:
Can I just reseal the bottom seal or the whole tank to get a continuous seal?
prov356 said:
I've never heard of having to take the whole thing apart for a leak either, regardless of tank size.

You do need to remove all of the inner silicone, not just where it's leaking. The new silicone won't seal where it meets the old.

I wouldn't worry about removing the trim. Just run your bead of silicone up to it.
That should answer your question
 

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It looks like the concensus is that there is no need to dismantle the tank as I had thought. Sorry if I mislead anyone. That was how I thought it should be done, but like I said I had never attempted it.
 

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Stickzula said:
That was how I thought it should be done,
me2

hey CUBLUEJAY will you please do a follow up on this. i would VERY Much like to see your results. i currently have a 20high that sprung a leak(side seal, lower bottom) and i would just like to repair the inside too...

plz post back when you have completed and its held water
 

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You need to make sure you get 100% silicone not the ones with any mildew inhibitors or any type of additives.

GE Silicone I Windows and Doors is tried and true and you can get it at Home Depot of Lowes. While you are there you can pick up the other things needed such as single-edge razor blades, masking tape, and rubbing alcohol to clean the area where you are going to put the new silicone beads.

You can get other supplies which are listed on that first link that Prov356 gave out if you want.

Also this may seem like common sense but you have to let the silicone cure for at least 24 hours before you attempt to add water to it.

Just be glad your tank is only a 55 gallon. I have a 7'x2'x2' 210 gallon tank that I need to reseal lol. I have just been waiting for it to get nice outside.
 
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