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Should I trust the silicone?

DeadFish

Member
Joined
9 Dec 2022
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128
Location
Pennsylvania
Long story short, picked up a used 130L elos tank. Got it about a month ago and upon initial inspection, all was fine. I’ve since noticed scratches (today) and inspected closely in the sunlight. I originally didn’t take too much of a look (my fault) as it was running the day prior to me picking up. I noticed, other than the scratches, this little pitting on the outside of the tank - is this a concern, or is it just extra silicone that has been rubbed away over time? Tank is 5 years old, original owner insists she never touched the silicone w/ anything abrasive or potentially caustic. I’m out about $400 for tank and stand, so acquiring another is going to really make me mad, but not as mad as the water on my floor. What do you think? I’m fairly certain it will pass a leak test given it was full the day before I got it, but much to my chagrin, I’d rather replace before it fails in 3 mos. Any help is GREATLY appreciated as I’m fairly pissed off. Ha.
 

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The pictures don't show enough to say anything conclusive about it... :)

Buying a used empty aquarium always involves a risk, trust and faith in the previous owner. Anyway, an aquarium filled with water doesn't have much stress from water pressure on the side panels and silicone seals little flaws in the silicone don't need to be an issue and are mainly an eye sore only.

But it has all the pressure and weight on the bottom panel and cabinet or stand. The bottom should therefore be on a strong enough and perfectly level and soft flat surface. If the stand or shelf the tanks stand on is crooked and or warped, will also warp the tank under its weight and is the reason number one for stress on silicone seams that will start to leak one day. Silicone is so strong it can even crack a glass panel. If something like this happens it's 9 out of 10 times a bad aquarium stand and not the glass nor the silicone. The tank should be built on a perfectly flat surface and after it's cured it should be placed and taken into use on a perfectly flat surface.

The bottom line is if the tank doesn't leak now and the stand is good it "probably" will never leak because concerning the water pressure there isn't much stress on the silicone. Even tho the silicone might look awful, damaged and dirty in certain places it still can hold and not be a structural issue... I've seen aquariums looking so awful that I wouldn't even dare to touch them with gloves standing for years and years not leaking...

Thus with a used tank, all comes back to trust and faith and your feelings about it... And I say "probably" because there never is a 100% guarantee. Having a glass bucket with + 100 litres of water in your living space always will be an exciting thing second-hand or brand-new doesn't make much of a difference when years pass. Whatever anybody is saying it's totally up to you to find peace in the little flaws that look ugly and or are worrying to you. Maybe it sounds a bit harsh but it's stop looking at it and go on or buy a new one.

Put it to the test on its stand in the garage if you have one, fill it with water only and see for a few months, if nothing happens then you "probably" are good to go to move it into the house. Or wait till it's summer again and do this outdoors in the garden. This might help to find your peace and trust...
 
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Thank you for the thoughtful response - I appreciate the knowledge. The stand is solid and very well built, completely level on the top so far as I can tell from checking all around. Also has foam built into the top. I tend to trust the person, and I do know for a fact that it was filled just prior to me picking up. I clarified and she said that she was always very careful with the silicone and has never used a razor or anything near it, and I can’t tell by the green algae build in the corners. I thought I posted this photo, but this is where my real concern is. Is it an issue? I don’t know. It might have always been this way. I know Elos makes good products as well, so I’m hoping I can trust it unless anyone feels differently from this photo.

Edit: and I totally get it - either deal with it or buy a new one, but shut up about it. Ha. Scratches don’t bother me, that’s whatever. Just want to make sure I’m not taking a leap I shouldn’t without better knowledge.
 

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You could try taking the photos in daylight? Sometimes it's hard to tell with the flash on what's silicone and what's reflected light.

The important bits are the silicone squished between the two panels, which looks fine. Ragged bits on the bits you can poke outside the joint probably weren't doing anything anyway.... that's my uneducated opinion anyway. It's amazing how much less silicone the higher end tanks have and still hold together!

If it's currently holding water, and you know it was holding water for some time before you got it, and you have house insurance, then it's probably no more of a risk than one you pick up new or have in your own house five years later :)
 
You could try taking the photos in daylight? Sometimes it's hard to tell with the flash on what's silicone and what's reflected light.

The important bits are the silicone squished between the two panels, which looks fine. Ragged bits on the bits you can poke outside the joint probably weren't doing anything anyway.... that's my uneducated opinion anyway. It's amazing how much less silicone the higher end tanks have and still hold together!

If it's currently holding water, and you know it was holding water for some time before you got it, and you have house insurance, then it's probably no more of a risk than one you pick up new or have in your own house five years later :)
Here’s what I’m seeing in the daylight, not sure if this helps. Trust me, I wasn’t stabbing that probe in there. Ha
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Most likely not a problem at all and probably have always been there from the beginning. :)

What makes the structural strength of the aquarium is all the silicone between the glass, this can have flaws without any issues because there is a lot of it to hold it together.

The triangular silicone seam in the corners on the inside of the glass is the most important sealant that should not show any significant damage. But also this can have minor delamination without causing problems as long as it isn't delaminated all the way then it still seals... There aren't many 100% perfect aquariums built, for that, you would need to buy it in the top range, brands such as ADA that advertise with Low Iron super clear glass and minimal silicone work that are perfect and also have that perfect price tag.

Not sure if that is enough for you. And I guess all this is easier for me to say than for you to feel insured... You probably like everybody don't want to read things like "Probably" and or "Most likely" That's understandable those words aren't reassuring but that's the way it is. You'll never have a 100% guarantee, maybe the first year from the builder after that you are on your own. That goes for all of us nobody excluded. And a lot of us oldtimers in the hobby have seen leaking aquariums at one time or another, these things can happen. Hence 30 years ago I had one exploding on me, ripping apart a glass panel in a split second, crack SPLASH! empty. That was my first bad aquarium stand experience and it still took 3 years to crack it. Only 1 in 50 years with all together over 10 aquariums in the hobby I guess that's a pretty acceptable risk 1 in over 10 in 50 years. But still, I've seen it happen in front of my eyes.

Sorry for breaking it so bluntly and honestly to you.

This is from the backside of one of the tanks I built myself... And it looks worse than it is...
dscf1340-jpg.jpg

It's still up and running since 2018 without any issues.
whatsapp-image-2020-04-03-at-19-43-16-jpeg.jpg
 
Most likely not a problem at all and probably have always been there from the beginning. :)

What makes the structural strength of the aquarium is all the silicone between the glass, this can have flaws without any issues because there is a lot of it to hold it together.

The triangular silicone seam in the corners on the inside of the glass is the most important sealant that should not show any significant damage. But also this can have minor delamination without causing problems as long as it isn't delaminated all the way then it still seals... There aren't many 100% perfect aquariums built, for that, you would need to buy it in the top range, brands such as ADA that advertise with Low Iron super clear glass and minimal silicone work that are perfect and also have that perfect price tag.

Not sure if that is enough for you. And I guess all this is easier for me to say than for you to feel insured... You probably like everybody don't want to read things like "Probably" and or "Most likely" That's understandable those words aren't reassuring but that's the way it is. You'll never have a 100% guarantee, maybe the first year from the builder after that you are on your own. That goes for all of us nobody excluded. And a lot of us oldtimers in the hobby have seen leaking aquariums at one time or another, these things can happen. Hence 30 years ago I had one exploding on me, ripping apart a glass panel in a split second, crack SPLASH! empty. That was my first bad aquarium stand experience and it still took 3 years to crack it. Only 1 in 50 years with all together over 10 aquariums in the hobby I guess that's a pretty acceptable risk 1 in over 10 in 50 years. But still, I've seen it happen in front of my eyes.

Sorry for breaking it so bluntly and honestly to you.

This is from the backside of one of the tanks I built myself... And it looks worse than it is...
View attachment 212335
It's still up and running since 2018 without any issues.
View attachment 212336
I appreciate that - honestly, from a logical point of view, I’m with you. If I owned the house I live in (rent from my in-laws,) I’d run it and let insurance take care of a catastrophe. However, the doubt has crept in and I can’t do it. The thought of explaining to my in laws how over 100L of water ruined their hardwood outpaces reselling and losing $50. If the tank wasn’t already littered w/ scratches, I might send it, but it is and already bothering me. Live and learn.

So, instead, I now have a 90x19x17 w/ stand coming from Waterbox thanks to their blue Friday sale. Here’s to 12 more gallons, more planting space, and making more RO. Thank you all for the help, I’d just rather sleep than worry.
 
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