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Old frame aquarium leak


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#1 Mike

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 10:01 PM

I saw a topic on this sight before about stopping leaks on old framed aquariums with slate bottoms. It said, you can try filling it with hot water and this might melt the tar & stop the leek. I tried this but it did not work for my 30 gal tank. So I just set it to the side again, but seeing the posts about epoxy, I was wouldering if that might work. I hate to have a nice sized tank thats not in use.
Any ideas on a repair for this slate bottem tank?

Thanks

Mike
Mike Berg
Northwest Indiana

#2 FourSeineFeet

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 05:08 AM

Yes, the tank can be repaired.  

Where is the leak?

If the leak is in the seals, just silicon rubber the seams as you would any glass tank.

If the leak is through the slate, a coating of epoxy sounds like a plan.

#3 littlen

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 02:50 PM

Honestly, for the cost of the expoxy paint,...you might as well invest in a new tank.  Just my opinion.
Nick L.

#4 Erica Lyons

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 04:22 PM

I saw a speech recently at an Ohio Cichlid Association meeting about sealing plywood with pond sealant and it being waterproof.  The person who gave the speech was jonathan@monsterfishrescue.com and he's an expert in building your own tanks. He'd probably be just the person to ask about this issue.  If he's not responding to that e-mail, you can ask the good folk at http://www.cichlidae...22ec6742ec30c   (the OCA forum).  

Edit:  Ah, here we go, I found the link to the product on the monster fish rescue page.  Here's the stuff, Pond Armor:  http://www.pondarmor.com/  
Wonderful for sealing tanks.

Edited by EricaWieser, 11 October 2010 - 04:24 PM.


#5 Irate Mormon

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:01 PM

View PostPhilipKukulski, on 11 October 2010 - 05:08 AM, said:

If the leak is in the seals, just silicon rubber the seams as you would any glass tank.

Just to add to what Phil said, you can buy black silicone.  

Innes had a formula for resealing metal-framed tanks also - I don't have his book handy (in storage) but if you don't have a copy you should get one.
Irate


"The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

#6 Irate Mormon

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:03 PM

View Postlittlen, on 11 October 2010 - 02:50 PM, said:

Honestly, for the cost of the expoxy paint,...you might as well invest in a new tank.  Just my opinion.

Those old tanks have a kind of style you just don't get with all-glass tanks.  Retro is the new Neo!  I wish I still had my 10 gal. Metaframe that I had when I was a kid.
Irate


"The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

#7 Uland

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:45 AM

View Postlittlen, on 11 October 2010 - 02:50 PM, said:

Honestly, for the cost of the expoxy paint,...you might as well invest in a new tank.  Just my opinion.

Indeed good epoxy paint is often only sold in two gallon increments (one gallon resin plus "paint" with another gallon of hardener).
Anyone who's had experience with epoxy paint can mix small batches by using good two part epoxy with a long cure time and carefully measured compatible paint.
It costs just a few bucks to play around with a small batch but admittedly will take a while to get it right for marine applications (higher epoxy to paint ratio than you might think).
It can take weeks or even months to cure if you intend to paint areas with heavy abrasion problems but once cured is pretty durable.
Floats up, lead down

#8 rickwrench

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 04:17 AM

View PostIrate Mormon, on 13 October 2010 - 10:01 PM, said:

you can buy black silicone.  

Innes had a formula for resealing metal-framed tanks

The hot water trick works if the tar is still somewhat pliable. After 40+ years though, most of the tar in the stainless tanks around is pretty dried out.

The Innes formula for the black goop/tar is equal parts Gilsonite bitumen (check eBay), thickened linseed oil, and heat. Thickened linseed oil isn't "boiled linseed oil". It's raw linseed/flaxseed oil that has been cooked down by about 25%. A VERY smoky, messy, stinky project to thicken linseed oil, and only do it OUTDOORS, in a disposable pot.

If you are a resto-nut and need to have the tank restored "as built", use a heat gun, a thin putty knife, and a truckload of patience to melt out the glass and slate. Don't pry, just methodically blast the frame until the tar lets the glass go. Then clean out the frame and glass with the heat gun, carburetor cleaner, and a bristle brush. This will take at least a day and you'll break at least two panes doing it, no matter how careful you are.
To use the newly mixed up tar, roll it out thin (1/4") between waxed paper sheets, and cut strips to line one pane area at a time of the frame. Blast the frame with the heat gun until the tar is very gooey, and quickly set/press the pane/slate in place. Repeat, x4 more times. Once the tar cools, trim the oozed tar from on the outside areas with a razor blade. If you did everything right, there's a pretty good chance the tank will be sealed. The bigger the tank, the harder it is to keep all the tar hot during glass setting.

FAR easier is to clean out the frame (as above), carefully measure and then chuck the old 40+ year old scratched up glass pieces, get brand new glass cut for all the panes -and- a thick piece of plate glass for the bottom, then use black silicone to seal them in place. THICK beads in the frame, and then seal all the seams, too. Save the slate bottom, sand the edges and corners round, lay a layer of thin (1/8") packing foam sheet in the bottom of the tank, and just lay the slate in on top of it. The bottom glass is now protected from any point pressure from big rocks, etc.

You can try the quick-fix by smearing a bead of silicone on all the seams of the tank, as is, an you'll probably get it to seal for a couple years. Silicone, in my experience, starts to peel off the slate after a while, though. "A while" may be a few months to a few years, depending on how clean the slate surface was before being sealed with silicone. The original sealer goop was petroleum based, and any contamination of the slate surface by it will cause silicone adhesion issues in those areas. Lightly sanding the slate where you will be adding silicone, then rinsing, drying completely, helps. Just be careful of the glass when you sand.

I've restored several dozen stainless framed tanks now, here are a few pages of tank disassembly:
http://www.rickwrenc...saquariums.html

Working on restoring a 100g Metaframe right now.

Rick

Edited by rickwrench, 17 October 2010 - 04:24 AM.


#9 Irate Mormon

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 11:01 PM

Good info Rick!  Nobody but a few of us geezers cares about those old Metaframe tanks. 100g - I didn't know they made 'em that big.
Irate


"The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

#10 littlen

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:09 AM

After reading this discussion I may get shunned by what I'm about to say--I just threw out two 55 gal Metaframe tanks.  I had to drain and move them which, after sitting in the same spot for 10 to 15 years they settled in.  Needless to say, a few drips started once they were put back and set up again.  For my time (and consequently, money) it was cheaper/easier just to buy 2 new AGA 55 gals.  Wholesales/retailers basically giving tanks away at the cost of ~a dollar a gallon.  

Not to add insult to injury, but they were still in good shape and could have been repaired.  

Maybe someone saw them in the dumpster and took pity on them.
Nick L.

#11 Irate Mormon

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 10:39 PM

Quote

Maybe someone saw them in the dumpster and took pity on them.


Crikey!  One would hope so!!
Irate


"The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson




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