Professional Glass aquarium building questions.

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mrpontiac80

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Hello R2R crew.
There is a lot discussed all the time on glass aquariums and if one should or should not “reseal” a tank. There are also debates on a true reseal… is just the inside areas you can see going to do the job or does it require a complete tear down or not.

I would love to hear from the true glass guys in this hobby and hear their thought. Feel free to post of course, but I’m really curious about the thoughts of guys that work with glass for a living, or in the aquarium building industry or even guys and girls that have built or restored lots of tanks with a track record of success.

I’d tag more people but the only one I’m aware of is @Joe Glass Cages .

I’d just love to know if the common reseal that consists of removing all silicone inside the tank and leaving the panes of glass together is good?

what type of black silicone is preferred? Obviously one with no additives but what about brand? I know some have different tensile rates.

And lastly from a manufacturer perspective, I’m really curious if you adhere the panels in place and allow to cure before adding the inner corner seams or if it is all done in one step? If it is done in multiple steps then I would assume just redoing the inner seals would be ok?

thanks for taking the time. I’ve just been reading up on this stuff and there is so much debate from people who have done 1 or 2 tanks with success or failure and lots of difference in opinions.
 
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Ron Reefman

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I'm no professional tank builder, but I have made about 10 tanks from 17g to 40g and I've only had one tank leak. And I knew it was an issue as soon as I built it. The seam had bubbles in it. A few of my tanks are 10 years old and still in use.

I agree, there are lots of opinions, just like everything else in this hobby. And my comments here are just that, my opinions. I had conversations with several individuals who assembled personal tanks an with 2 professionals who were happy to answer questions at MACNA and a reef show.

If you have a tank that is NOT leaking and the glass seams look good, you can do a reseal of the inside if you think that is worth the effort.

I don't even bother with the seal inside on tanks I build. It just gets banged up when people scrape the glass and gets ugly when it starts to get loose. If the seal that joins the glass together is a good one (i.e. not squeezed too thin and doesn't have any bubbles... and I mean none at all), then the tank should be OK.

I've only ever rebuilt one tank and I would never consider doing just a reseal of the inside if it had been leaking. I took it completely apart and did a full rebuild.

I get RTV silicone from Grainger (a hardware supplier and can be ordered from them online).

I tape the glass so that very, very little silicone that comes out from between the glass seams gets onto the inside glass. I wipe the excess that has squeezed out away so that as little as possible is left along the inside. Then I peel away the tape and wipe the seam again. If I was going to do an inside seal, I would allow more room along the edge of the tape to glass and do the inside seal at the same time as the assembly. Tha way the silicone I'm using as the inside seal is still part of the seal between the glass panels. Doing the seal after the assemble can work fine, but I feel it becomes an issue where more bubbles can get trapped in the corners.
 
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mrpontiac80

mrpontiac80

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I'm no professional tank builder, but I have made about 10 tanks from 17g to 40g and I've only had one tank leak. And I knew it was an issue as soon as I built it. The seam had bubbles in it. A few of my tanks are 10 years old and still in use.

I agree, there are lots of opinions, just like everything else in this hobby. And my comments here are just that, my opinions. I had conversations with several individuals who assembled personal tanks an with 2 professionals who were happy to answer questions at MACNA and a reef show.

If you have a tank that is NOT leaking and the glass seams look good, you can do a reseal of the inside if you think that is worth the effort.

I don't even bother with the seal inside on tanks I build. It just gets banged up when people scrape the glass and gets ugly when it starts to get loose. If the seal that joins the glass together is a good one (i.e. not squeezed too thin and doesn't have any bubbles... and I mean none at all), then the tank should be OK.

I've only ever rebuilt one tank and I would never consider doing just a reseal of the inside if it had been leaking. I took it completely apart and did a full rebuild.

I get RTV silicone from Grainger (a hardware supplier and can be ordered from them online).

I tape the glass so that very, very little silicone that comes out from between the glass seams gets onto the inside glass. I wipe the excess that has squeezed out away so that as little as possible is left along the inside. Then I peel away the tape and wipe the seam again. If I was going to do an inside seal, I would allow more room along the edge of the tape to glass and do the inside seal at the same time as the assembly. Tha way the silicone I'm using as the inside seal is still part of the seal between the glass panels. Doing the seal after the assemble can work fine, but I feel it becomes an issue where more bubbles can get trapped in the corners.
Thank you for your response! My biggest thing is that I just scored a complete 180 gallon takedown. The inside seams are a little ugly for my taste but it holds water. I’m really debating on if I can live with it or not. I’ve never re sealed a tank before but I have many years of auto upholstery, and more recently hvac. I’m no stranger to working with my hands and sealants but hesitant at the same time to reseal the insides.
 

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I'm no expert but there's 2 things I do know. One, you don't ever silicone over existing silicone. It won't bond to itself correctly. Two, the silicone that is in between the panes in the stuff that matters.
 
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mrpontiac80

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I'm no expert but there's 2 things I do know. One, you don't ever silicone over existing silicone. It won't bond to itself correctly. Two, the silicone that is in between the panes in the stuff that matters.
I agree with all of this.
My lfs is scheduled to deliver everything tomorrow morning so I can add pics to show everyone what I’m seeing. The inner seams are not smooth and that is a red flag to me that someone has attempted a reseal or something.
Having never done a tank reseal myself, I am hesitant to redo it only because I know you have a limited timeframe before it starts to skin over. I have a couple of almost new aqueon 10 gallon tanks I use for QT and thought about doing one of those even though they are fine just to gain experience in the matter.
One thing that really concerns me is the size of the tank. It’s 180 gallons and measuring 6’ x 2’ x 2’, and IF the manufacturers do indeed adhere the panes of glass in place AND address the inside seams in one process, I worry that cutting out the seams may be more harm than good with that amount of water. On the other hand, if the inner seams are applied AFTER the panes of glass have cured into place, I feel that worry decrease dramatically as I only want to redo one separate process.
 

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If you water test it and it doesn't leak AND the glass to glass seams are free of bubbles, I'd say fill it and use it. You'll stop noticing the ugly seal work soon enough.
 
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Joe Glass Cages

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Hello R2R crew.
There is a lot discussed all the time on glass aquariums and if one should or should not “reseal” a tank. There are also debates on a true reseal… is just the inside areas you can see going to do the job or does it require a complete tear down or not.

I would love to hear from the true glass guys in this hobby and hear their thought. Feel free to post of course, but I’m really curious about the thoughts of guys that work with glass for a living, or in the aquarium building industry or even guys and girls that have built or restored lots of tanks with a track record of success.

I’d tag more people but the only one I’m aware of is @Joe Glass Cages .

I’d just love to know if the common reseal that consists of removing all silicone inside the tank and leaving the panes of glass together is good?

what type of black silicone is preferred? Obviously one with no additives but what about brand? I know some have different tensile rates.

And lastly from a manufacturer perspective, I’m really curious if you adhere the panels in place and allow to cure before adding the inner corner seams or if it is all done in one step? If it is done in multiple steps then I would assume just redoing the inner seals would be ok?

thanks for taking the time. I’ve just been reading up on this stuff and there is so much debate from people who have done 1 or 2 tanks with success or failure and lots of difference in opinions.
great questions @mrpontiac80

all of our experience is in building new tanks.

I would consider a reseal to mean a complete tear down of the tank. separate all glass panels. toughest part is removing all the old silicone so the new silicone has maximum clean surface area for adhesion. it is a big job. we can build a new tank much faster than resealing a tank (complete tear down).

silicone, we use ASI or GE brands of silicone.

when we build a new tank the bottom and 4 walls are all assembled at one time. No additional silicone is added after the fact. all 5 panels are curing together. Bracing on the top would be a secondary step.

Hope this helps.
 
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mrpontiac80

mrpontiac80

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great questions @mrpontiac80

all of our experience is in building new tanks.

I would consider a reseal to mean a complete tear down of the tank. separate all glass panels. toughest part is removing all the old silicone so the new silicone has maximum clean surface area for adhesion. it is a big job. we can build a new tank much faster than resealing a tank (complete tear down).

silicone, we use ASI or GE brands of silicone.

when we build a new tank the bottom and 4 walls are all assembled at one time. No additional silicone is added after the fact. all 5 panels are curing together. Bracing on the top would be a secondary step.

Hope this helps.
This is very informative! One more set of questions if you don’t mind mostly out of curiosity. Are the glass panels placed with gaps and silicone inserted from the inside and forced outward? Or are the panels fitted with silicone already on each pane?
I just find it interesting and an art.
 

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This is very informative! One more set of questions if you don’t mind mostly out of curiosity. Are the glass panels placed with gaps and silicone inserted from the inside and forced outward? Or are the panels fitted with silicone already on each pane?
I just find it interesting and an art.

When I do mine, I tape close to the edges inside the tank, then apply a very liberal amount of silicone. The glass all gets placed and clamped (more to hold it in place than to squeeze it together). Then I wipe the excess silicone out of the inside, leaving very little behind. Then I remove the tape from inside. After the 24 hour cure, I remove the clamps and use a blade to remove cured, excess silicone from the outside of the tank.
 
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