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Results 1 to 10 of 18
  1. Default Worth Salvaging?

    0 Not allowed!
    I recently picked up a free 20g tank off of Craig's list. First thing I did was water test it...and it failed miserably. But it seems like a nice tank, so I figured I would reseal it. Being new to the world of aquariums though, I had a concern that I figured I would seek help with. The tank (pictured below) has a metal frame around the whole outside of it. The picture hopefully shows it better than I can describe it.

    The inside seal is for sure cracked and leaking. My concern and question comes in the seal pictured below. Is it even a seal? It's between the outside of the tank glass and the metal frame.

    Is this a deal breaker? I don't want to pour a bunch of time and energy into this project if it is doomed to fail from the start. The outside material is hard as a rock and cracked like pictured all over. But it seems it's maybe just a barrier between the glass and metal. I could be wrong though, so that's why I'm checking in to the collective knowledge of the forums. Any thoughts, suggestions, or help would be appreciated!
    First 29g Tank: In process

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Do you know any history about the tank. Typically, the one with the metal frames are very very old. Either the metal frame on your is better than the old tanks that I have sean, or, it is a reproduction. Either way, I would think it is worht a try

    As the pics of the framing look like it is in good shape, I would suggest replacing the inner silicone seal. That should make it leak proof if done right. After letting the new silicone cure, you could fill it with water and let it sit a few weeks just to be safe. You would only be risking about $7 of silicone and your time

    The below link explains how to reseal a aquarium if you have not done that before
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    By the looks of it this is no more than a decade old. If you like the looks of it then go ahead and reseal it.

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    The only history I know about the tank is that it came from an Elementary School classroom. The lady I got it from was the teacher and used it as a visual aid/class pet display for awhile. I have no idea how long ago that was, or for how long it sat around her garage, or outside in the yard (there was a fair amount of pine needles and pine cone bits in it when I picked it up).

    I have already prepped the inside to be resealed. I was just about ready to start putting in the silicone, but figured I'd ask about the cracked outside seal before I went ahead with it. The frame itself is in really good shape with just a few nicks and dings here and there, but nothing too noticeable. I was able to remove most of the gunk on it with a little work.

    Maybe a follow up question: could the frame be painted? I don't want to jeopardize the integrity of the inside of the tank with a bunch of paint residue, but if I taped it off really well, would that be an option? If paint were to get inside the tank, is that the end of things, or can it be sanitized in a way that wouldn't be harmful for fish added much later on?
    First 29g Tank: In process

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    All depends on the paint you use. Problem with most paints is the solvents. Over here we have a range of paints intended especially for use in children's rooms which are even less toxic than standard paints.

    If you do paint I'd let it dry really well before rinsing it out a few times with conditioned water.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Look up metaframe aquarium on google. They are from the 1960-1970's era I think. The bottom of the tank is usually slate in the old metaframe tanks. Can be hard to reseal, fairly sure they don't make that type of sealant anymore, was some sort of tar. There are folks who do collect these old metaframe aquariums.

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Yea, if you want to try it would defiantly be worth it, at most like $15 for silicone and a weekend of messing around. They tanks can have a retro feel to them, if the glass isn't too scratched up, and the metal isn't rusted go ahead.

    I would say do the outside seal while you are at it. My guess is that it is so water doesn't get between glass and metal and cause corrosion.

    Just remove the old sealant careful, bag it up in a heavy garbage bag and toss away (small chance it could be asbestos, so just don't make a ton of dust doing it if you are worried). Old black tar sealant / adhesives are occasionally asbestos related products.

    Overall I think it'd be a neat project, worse case scenario, clean it up and sell it to someone as a reptile tank lol

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I think at this point I'm just going to reseal the inside of the tank and not worry about the outside seal. I don't really notice it unless I'm trying to find the faults with it. Seems to just blend in.

    Not sure this is an older tank or a newer copy cat, but the bottom is definitely glass, not slate. Some of those older metal framed tanks are pretty sweet though. I like the retro aspect of it a lot. I think the flashy silver frame could look cool with some select fish.

    Now lets just hope can seal properly!
    First 29g Tank: In process

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Slate... in aquarium terms that would make it an antique. I know metal frame tanks were made until well into the 1970s.
    Looking at this tank it just does not seem that old, the dimensions and the metal work seem wrong for it. I think it was something made to fit a particular style of decor in the 1990s. Still, to you that won't matter much, see if it's sealed properly and decide from there

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    I could be wrong but the "seal" around the outside doesn't appear to be for preventing leaks, it was probably put there for cosmetics or for holding the glass to the frame. It looks like the frame is made of stainless steel, if you want to paint it make sure you tape of the top with some plastic to seal off the inside of the tank to exposure. But first wash the metal with white vinegar, it will be easy on the fish because it is easy to rinse out. It is also a mild acid which will clean the steel rather thoroughly. Then buy a really high grade primer for metal and hit it with a few coats ( wet sanding between coats gets it smooth) then spray paint the frame. I would take the glass out of the frame completely, then paint it real nice. Clean the glass with a diluted vinegar/water solution to make sure there are no contaminants, then do a really nice silicone job between the sheets of glass, along the inside seams use a decent bead and wet your finger with water and run it along the bead to make it nice and smooth. Clean up excess silicone that squeezed out to the outside of the joints and let it cure for week or so. It seems like a lot of work and might be a bit intimidating at first but it is really easy to do, it just requires patience. Good luck! PS. if the metal is aluminum , use an etching primer to get it to adhere better.
    Last edited by Longshot; 04-04-2013 at 06:49 AM.
    When in d0ubt read it until it makes sense, then read it again!

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