Resealing an Old Aquarium Tank
By Nick Spinelli
Do you have an ugly old tank or a leaker? Or just one that you don't think will hold
water? I want to help you out with fixing this problem.
I will go through the steps you must follow to reline a tank and show you how to do it.
I picked a real rough one up for free because of the shape it was in, and it took about 3
hours to reline it.
A 25 gallon tank resealed in several places with various materials including Mono
caulking, and poorly done.
A poorly re-sealed aquarium - a good
candidate for a demonstration.
Here are the things you will need. Razor knife or utility knife blades, windex, paper
towell, plastic scotchbrite pad/sponge, and depending on the size of the project either a
squeeze tube or a caulking gun and a tube of aquarium safe silicone and a vacuum for
removing the debris.
The equipment you will require
First you will want to clean the glass and remove any dirt etc. from the tank. After
that you are ready to start removing the old silicone or what ever it is that was used.
Place the edge of the blade against the glass at an angle and slide it under the silicone
cutting toward the face that is butted against first. This will take several passes before
you will reach the oposing glass. Next cut into the silicone from the other face; be
careful not to cut into the joint between the two panels. When you have cut deep enough
the silicone should come out in large lengths or pieces. If you make diagonal cuts in the
bottom corners it is easier to clean them out.
Above photos - removing old silicone and
Your tank at this point should resemble the photos above. Vacuum out the debris, clean
the glass with glass cleaner (not the foaming spray as it leaves a residue), and you are
ready to start taping.
Starting with the bottom, place pull tabs in each corner. Then place your tape
approximately one quarter inch back from the joints all the way around.
Note the pull tabs in the corners made of
Next, tape the sides. Start with the verticle runs first so that when you pull the tape
it will lift the bottom run as you go. After this is done trim out your corners.
The tank is now ready for re-sealing
Now you are ready for the new silicone. Cut the tip of the nozzle at approximately
forty five degrees with a quarter inch opening. I apologize that is hard to see in this
Lay a quarter inch bead all the way around.
New silicone has been applied
Press it in and smooth it with your finger - working everything in until it is fairly
even and smooth.
It is very important to remove the tape immediately after smoothing. Other wise you
will have tape siliconed to your glass and have dificulty removing it.
And the finished result should look like this. Wait at least forty eight hours before
The finished product - a newly resealed
One final note - if you accidently get silicone on the glass, leave it to cure for
twenty four hours and it will peal off easily with a razor blade.