How to Refurbish Old Aquarium

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Got several old, leaky, dirty aquariums in your home? You can restore them to their old glory! Refurbishing old aquariums and sealing all the leaks is easy with the right tools. In today’s post, we are giving you a step-by-step guide on cleaning and re-sealing dirty and leaky aquariums:

Checking for Chips and Cracks

Repairing an old, leaky aquarium starts by checking for cracks and leaks. The condition of the glass panes will determine whether the aquarium is usable or not.

If you do see cracks, check if they made it past the thickness of the adjoining glass. If it’s just superficial cracks, then don’t worry. The aquarium remains usable. But if the cracks go beyond the adjoining glass, you’d have to replace the panes on that side. At this point, a novice should not replace cracked panes on his own.

Getting the Right Tools

Assuming that the aquarium is usable and free from cracks, you need to get the right tools:

Single edge razor blades
Box cutter
5-in-1 painter’s tool
Spray bottle
Distilled white vinegar
Paper towels
Clean rags
100% silicone

The tools and supplies above are available in your local hardware store. Once you got all the right tools, you need to start cleaning the aquarium.

Sealing the Aquarium

Step 1: Prepping the Aquarium

Hose down the dirty aquarium to prep it for cleaning. Note that old cured silicone will not bind with new silicone. Removing all traces of old silicone is important. Get your 5-in-1 painter’s tool and start scraping off the old sealant. Cut loose all silicon with a box cutter. Try not to force the sealed panes to prevent chipping. For the harder to reach areas, you can use the razor blades to remove the silicone.

Once the frame is removed, focus on the base. The base is what holds the aquarium together. Scrape all remaining silicone in the frame as well. After removing most of the old silicone, get your razor blade and remove those that are left behind. If the old silicone is hard, dampen the area with white vinegar. Once the old silicone is removed, fill the spray bottle with white vinegar. With a damp cloth, wipe the glass panes clean.

Step 2: Resealing the Aquarium

After you are done prepping the aquarium, it’s time to reseal the edges with silicone. Set the aquarium in such a way that all edges are easy to access. You can mark certain points if you want. For a professional-looking job, we recommend covering 1/2 inch of the adjoining frame with masking tape.

With your silicone caulking gun, start running a bead of silicone at the seams of the aquarium. Wipe off any excess with paper towels. Pull the silicone up the top of the aquarium as you smooth it out. Add more silicone if needed. Once you are done sealing the aquarium, let it cure for several hours. Remove the masking tape after curing.

If the aquarium’s frame is removed, run a bead of silicone along the top glass. Then, press down on the aquarium. Remove the excess silicone and smooth it out. Let the silicone cure for several hours to five days. After curing, fill up the aquarium with water and check for cracks. If there are cracks, repeat the sealing process.