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Need Advice - Leak In Top Tank Trim


Obsidian

So I have a 125 gallon goldie tank, and I got it in my head that I should do a complete drain and overhaul of the tank since its been running non-stop for about 3 yrs. I figured while I was at it I could fix the leaky trim and rearrange the room a bit (since its not often I get a chance to move it :) ). I spent today netting fish and switching them to a temp tank, cleaning the plants and ornaments for a bad case of black hair algae, and draining the 125 gallon entirely. I am hesitating going after the trim because I wanted sort of a sanity check to make sure I am not messing this up horribly.

The tank has a wide glass/plastic cross brace separate from the top trim, and on one part on the back of the tank, right where the top trim meets the cross brace, there is a leak caused by what looks like not enough silicone. To fix I was planning on removing VERY CAREFULLY the back trim piece (about 6ft long) using a flat bladed drywall scraper, cleaning all the old silicone away and placing the trim with new silicone down on both the top and side parts of the tank, then allowing a good 48 hrs to pass before I fill the tank again. Is this a good plan? Do I have to remove ALL the trim around the tank? If I just remove the one piece, how do I get the corners to seal up right with the old and new silicone? Is there anything I need to be careful about? What happens if I break the trim, do LFS's sell replacement trim?

I just don't want to mess it up cause big tanks like this are not cheap to replace :)

Thank you!!

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Not sure about how to fix it but it is never a good idea to do a total break down. Unless you have been having a lot of illness in the tank.

I hope this works out for you and you saved a ton of media to help jump start your cycle.

Good Luck

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So its the back piece>

Well you would have to take all the glue off the top and remove the top piece, then the same for the back piece. As for the other pieces i dont think you would need to take them down..........there is a thread in the DIY about how to reseal a tank....i have yet to try this.

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Or don't fill the tank to the trim. The "leak" is probably capillary action up and over the edge. It happens on mine when I fill it too much. If water doesn't contact it all the time it will probably go away.

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Thanks everyone for the replies!

Hidr - Yep, I agree wholeheartedly that tank breakdowns should not be done on a frequent basis... unfortunately I have been dealing with some frustrating illness issues over the past year(see some of my past posts :doh11:) a bad case of black hair algae that was spreading everywhere, and the need to just plain move the tank. No worries though, I have one filter still operational on the temp tank to keep the cycle and I saved media to help reseed the tank. :)

Beancurd - I have tried keeping it less full, but I still get the leak since any water that accumulated on the glass crossbrace meets that trim portion, and its one of those things that I might as well try to fix if I get a chance :)

I went and talked to my awesome LFS guy and he talked me through the procedure. I can remove the back piece, remove all the old silicone, and apply Silicone I to reseal it... cross your fingers for me... gonna do it tonight!

Cheers!

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Good luck Obsidian. By the way superglue is safe to use on tanks too, you dont have to get the expensive aquarium sealant.

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I had that problem with my old 68 gallon tank, made by Hagen Fluval. The top trim always dripped down the front in the middle of the bow front. No matter how much i dropped the water line, it still dripped down. After the tank sprang a leak in the bottom seal, it came to light that it was a known problem with the tanks, and as mine was one of the first made if I got a replacement it should be ok. But as I had had to buy an emergancy replacement tank I sold on the replacement off Hagen, so I dont know if the newer ones made had the problem solved.

I hope you can work yours out, but if it is just capillary action, i dont think resealing it will help.

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Well, after about 5 days of tangling with the tank, its back up and running :). Just to help out anyone else who might be searching the forums, heres what I did....

I netted all the fish and placed in a temp tank with one of the filters from the main tank (to preserve the bacteria) and I placed the plants in a rubbermaid bin. After I drained the tank, the first step was to get the trim OFF... and man that was a pain. I used a drywall flat blade and scraper and it just took a while, I scraped the silicone off the interior portion of the tank, then slid the scraper between the trim and tank on the exterior little overhang just to break that seal. Once I had done that down the length of the tank, I inserted the flat blade in between the tank top edge and the trim (from the interior)... its very easy to chip the glass as you do this but you have to separate the two in order to break the silicone seal. Once the back top trim piece had been removed it was easy to see what was causing the leak, a big spot of missing silicone :rolleyes: . I scraped the glass down to remove all the old silicone using a razor blade, but what was actually the worst was trying to get the old silicone off the plastic trim piece. After scraping and cursing up a storm I finally had to resort to sanding it down with some spare sandpaper just to get rid of it :). I then used rubbing alcohol to clean the trim piece and glass of dust, plastic, small pieces of silicone etc. Once everything was clean of old silicone, I ran a thick bead of new silicone along the top edge of the glass and pressed the trim down over top of it, making sure I had it level and at the same height as the rest of the trim. I then ran my finger down the interior seal to smooth out the excess silicone and to make sure there was good coverage along the length of the trim. The silicone started getting tacky rather fast, so I had to be speedy. I let it sit for 48 hrs and then set the tank back up again! So far, no leaks! I actually flipped the tank around so the back is now the front so I can spot any leaks! Now all thats left is just monitoring the tank to re-establish the cycle!

And of course no summary would be complete without pictures... this is the same tank thats in my signature, to compare! (I also added a new background and cleaned it up a bit) FYI, silicone is not that expensive, I got almost 10 oz of GE Silicone I (100% silicone) from home depot for about $5. not bad :)

updatedtank.jpg

Cheers!

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Awesome Job hun..... this is great for anyone else that might need to repair a tank...thank you for your helpful information hun :)

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Thanks for this thread, it sure helped us out a lot this week. :mytank1:

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