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Slow Leak In My 20 Gal


GoinNuts

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I'll be breaking it down completely today and attempting to locate the leak. However, I've never had to deal with a tank leak before, so I'm not sure what to do. If it turns out to be a tiny crack in the bottom, I'll have to toss it (and it's only about 4 months old, darn it).

But, if the leak is coming from a corner, can it be fixed and how do I locate it? I went over the tank and couldn't find any water on the outside, but I have a towel under and it's really damp all the way around. The water is leaking out at about 1/8 of an inch a day, so it's not a LOT, but it definitely has a leak. Somewhere.

This is so NOT what I need to happen right now, lol. My one and only spare tank is being used as a fry tank, so I had to put my 2 gf in my 55 gal, which makes that one now overstocked. Just when I was finally getting my nitrates down, too. Dagnabbit.

Anyway, if you have any advice for me about locating this leak and how to fix it, I'd really appreciate it!

TIA!

Lisa

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Some tanks have guarantees. I would call the store where you bought it and you may be in luck. It depends on the brand, but some that I have bought have a year's guarantee.

If you have to repair it, then you have to scrape off all of the old sealant and apply new. It isn't really that hard a job, and it is worth a try.

Sometimes they leak around the rim if you have an airstone bubbling near the surface or even if you fill the tank a bit too high. You said that you didn't feel any water on the tank, but it might be worth it to rub a kleenex or something around the rim, just to be sure there isn't a small trickle coming down from the rim.

After that, I would call the store. Good luck.

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we had this problem with our 40gal... and actually, if the leak is in any seam of the tank, it is repairable... you just need some patience, and caulk! :D

you can usually find this silicone caulk in small tubes at the chain pet stores, but if you need more, then i'd suggest looking at the lfs for the huge tubes (think home construction tube size :blink: ). the small tube should be fine, because we bought the "industrial" size, and we still have over half the tube left... and we caulked the entire 40 gal tank too! :o if you feel lucky, you can try a hardware store to see if they carry aquarium sealant made by Dap. but do not, under any circumstances, buy anything that does not specifically say "for aquarium use"! many sealants/caulks contain chemicals that are LETHALLY TOXIC to fish! :ill

to locate the leak, i prefer using paper towels, since the aren't as absorbent as a regular towel. and i can see/feel the water much quicker at the leak point. fill up your tank, and run the paper towel along the seams of the outside. once you find it, mark it somehow on the outside.

after you've found the leak(s), you need to CLEAN the area(s). the silicone won't adhere properly if there is gunk on the glass. after you clean it, you need to take a razor blade and scrape off the old sealant. make sure you get as much as possible. after the old sealant is gone, make sure you clean the area again.

once everything is dry, you can begin applying the caulk. they say not to let it touch your skin, but it's actually better to apply the caulk and then smooth it into the seam with your finger. you'll be ok if you wash your hands thoroughly after the smoothing. after all, we've still got all 10 digits, and we did the entire 40gal! ;)

let it stand for at least 48 hours before getting it wet... and after that, just give the tank another wash/rinse, and you'll be back in business!

and BEWARE... the aquarium sealant stinks!!! it's a really sharp, pungent smell! blah!

i hope this helps, and that i didn't forget anything...

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Thank you, ladies, for the help. I will be calling the store (once they open) and inquiring about the warranty, but I have a feeling they are going to say I'm SOL. :(

Dh is handy with caulk, so if it's a leak in the seam, I feel good that will be fixable. I sure hope it's not a crack in the bottom, though. That would be the pits.

Hey, at least it's not my 55! Knock on wood. :)

Lisa

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A good "leak finding" trick I was told, and rather like, is to set the tank on a newspaper. Then fill it. The newspaper will get dark where the leak is..... and you can identify it readily that way.

I also agree about how easy it is to reseal a tank. Not hard at all. If you have a small crack that is NOT in the bottom, a strong fiber tape can be used on a dry, clean tank portion (outside). After the tape has been rubbed well - no air bubbles, sealant can be used to completely cover the tape. I have successfully used this to repair small cracks and such in parts of tanks that are not specifically load bearing - higher up on the sides, etc.

The smell of the sealant is a clue as to when it is cured. That strong vinegar smell will be gone when the sealant is properly cured. Sometimes it takes longer than 24 hours - sometimes it takes 48 or more.... Let your nose tell you when it is cured.

:)

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