Many people aren’t aware that the silicone seal on an aquarium is not meant to last a lifetime. Aquarium silicone becomes dry and may flake off or crack as time goes on. The general recommendation is for aquariums to be resealed every 10 years. This should be done sooner than 10 years if the aquarium has been kept in poor conditions, like in a yard or garage.
Resealing an aquarium might sound like an overwhelming task, and it is time-consuming, but it is absolutely possible for most people to do with time, patience, and enough space for the project.
What You Need to Know:
New aquarium silicone will not stick to old silicone. Resealing an aquarium isn’t as simple as just laying new silicone on top of cracked or leaking areas. You will have to strip the old silicone off in order to lay new silicone. Unless there is a significant issue with the current silicone, you should be able to strip the visible silicone without removing the silicone that is holding the glass together. Completely stripping, rebuilding, and resealing an aquarium is far more difficult work than just resealing an aquarium.
These instructions are for resealing glass aquariums, not acrylic. Acrylic is scratched easily and cannot withstand the scraping you will need to do for this project without ending up with permanent scratch damage.
How to Reseal Your Aquarium:
If it Leaks:
If your tank doesn’t pass the water-fastness test, try to identify exactly where the leak is. If you can find the leak, you may be able to cut away the silicone in the area of the leak and lay new silicone again, ensuring you cover the leak area thoroughly. Allow it to cure and test for water-fastness again.
Resealing an aquarium isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can be a fun opportunity to learn a new skill. If you purchase an aquarium from an online marketplace or flea market and aren’t sure how old or sturdy the silicone is, resealing the tank is the safest option to prevent a flood in your house.
While it may seem like an intimidating project, it truly is an achievable goal if you have the time and patience for it. Learning how to reseal an aquarium may save you money in the long run by being able to purchase inexpensive, used tanks with the knowledge that you’ll be able to make them safe and functional.
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Featured image credit: Olena yakobchuk, Shutterstock