FAQs on Glass Aquarium Repair,
Related Articles: Aquarium Repair, Acrylic Aquarium Repair, Cleaning Aquariums, Marine Tanks, Stands and Covers, Used Gear for Marine Systems,
Designer Marine tanks, stands and
Related FAQs: Chips/Cracks 1, Chips/Cracks 2, Chips/Cracks 3, Chips/Cracks 5, Chips/Cracks 6, Chips/Cracks 7,
& Glass Aquarium Repair 1, Glass Aquarium Repair 2, G lass
Aquarium Repair 3, Glass
Aquarium Repair 4,
Repair 5, & FAQs on Repairing Glass Tank: Scratches/Blemishes, Cross-Braces, Leaks, Whole Panes, Tools: Cutting Glass, Silicone, Moulding/Frames; Techniques; Olde Tank (Slate Bottom, Metal
Frame, Pecora...) Repairs, Troubleshooting/Repairs, &
Aquarium Repair, Used
Fish Tank Help/Aquarium Repair
I have a problem of course if I didn't I wouldn't be writing. I
just purchased a 125 gallon aquarium off the internet. Got it home,
made my preps the slowly filled it with water. When the tank was full I
noticed a chip about a half inch long on the back corner glass. It was
845 PM and I ran to all the local pet stores to find something that
would stop the leak.
Unfortunately for me because I hate to wait all they had was silicone
that needed to sit for a few days. I know its going to take a while to
fix. My question is what else can I do. The chip fell out and I went to
to find something to patch it with. The chip again is on the outside of
the tank but where the side glass and the back glass meat. Please
<A close- up picture would have helped here as to the extent of the
Since you mention "got it home", I'm thinking you bought
this aquarium somewhere relatively near your home. If that is the case,
I would return it for a refund unless this was sold to you "as
is". If the chip is relatively small, and is not through the
entire thickness of the glass you may be able to repair this with
silicone and it will take 48 hours to cure properly. You do not want to
use silicone products designed for baths and shower use as they likely
contain anti-mold chemicals and would not be safe for aquarium use. If
you can send a picture along it would help in guiding you
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Fish Tank Help/Aquarium Repair 3/1/10
Thank you for the reply.
However, the night I sent you this e-mail my three year old son threw a
basketball at the tank and basically ruined it so my wife and I had to
go out and buy a new one.
<Mmm, another Hulk in the making.>
Thanks again for your help.
<No problem, and no basketballs allowed in the house. :-) James
Internal chip on glass panel 2/8/10
I'm rebuilding a new tank. Let me explain, I build it
initially and it had a leak, I tried to fix it but the leak
continued so I tear it apart to be rebuilt (the two side panels
were not fully squared).
<Been there, here...>
Yesterday I was checking the fit of every piece and marking the
glass which panel is which to get it perfectly squared and while
handling one of the front panes it hit the corner in the ground
It made a little chip (max 1,5 cm length x 0,5 cm wide), since it
came mostly as a single piece, and since this would be vertically
on the outside top corner (not structural) I decided to glue it
back in with silicone.
<Should be fine there>
It was all fine but today I saw that on the inside of the panel
there is what seems to be an "internal chip". I tried
to force the glass
and it didn't move or run. This particular place would be
joined to the side of the tank (the chip will be on the top), and
it's smaller than the width of the side panel (10 mm). The
tank will also have euro-braces all around the top
(with fronts overlapping the sides).
Should I be worried about that?
<In your excellent images... I don't think so>
Is it small enough and secure enough (lateral joint and euro
braces) to be OK?
<Yes... and with the location, this size, placement of chip
should prove no problem>
I don't want to have to buy another front panel as it is
quite expensive here (Brazil) and its a fairly large tank
(130x60x55 cm) and the glass stores here are terrible (this is
second cut they gave me, the first one was all off-squared and
had the wrong
Thanks and best regards,
<Welcome Luiz. Bob Fenner>
I work at a fish store in Rockville, MD. Our delivery guy f*ed up a
150G tank and the bottom of the tank has a crack from edge to edge
(lengthwise from silicone seal to silicone seal). I was wondering if
any of these dispositions are reasonable:
1) Attempt to remove the bottom pane and glue a new one in
<Mmm, can be done... takes some doing... cutting away the frame
(best to contact the manufacturer and get a new one rather than trying
to salvage and re-use)>
2) Put a sheet of glass in the existing tank to completely cover the
bottom and apply silicone generously between the two
<Mmm, not what I would do with this type of crack here>
3) Create a terrarium with a pond liner. Have 3.5ft x 18.5 inches x 1
ft water and the rest land. Thinking of Siliconing the liner to the
tank where I want it.
<This could be done... I'd make a "fish tank w/in a fish
Use Silastic/Silicone to hold thinner glass tog. inside the present
- Greg Schneider
chip in 180g tank -- 01/03/10
I have a chance to purchase a 180 gallon glass tank. the only
problem is the tank has a chip in the lower back pane. The chip
hasn't affected the silicone sealant and I see no cracks, but
I wanted an expert opinion. I figure I could always fill the chip
with epoxy. I can get the tank for a screaming deal. I have
enclosed pictures, let me know what you think.
<I would at least "run" a strip (two inch) of triple
strength (nom. 1/4") glass along the outside edges of both
panels (vertically) of the chipped sides... No need to break off
frame... just between the upper and lower.
Read here re:
and the linked files above, until you understand what is
suggested here, or write back for more direction.
Re: chip in 180g tank
Would there be an issue with applying silicone onto the back
<Mmm, I would scrape this off (single edged razor
I would rather not put a strip of glass on the side as it would
affect viewing. Would just doing the back be effective?
Should the chip be filled with silicone under the glass?
Is this damage something I should be worried about? Something
that would be more trouble than its worth?
<Am pretty confident (you can imagine making such statements
on the Net) that this apparent chip isn't likely to fail
disastrously. Given you set the tank on a level, planar and
strong base/stand and do the suggested repair, I think this tank
will give good service. BobF>
Re: chip in 180g tank
Are there any pictures of what this repair should look like after
it is completed?
<None that I recall unfortunately on WWM. Perhaps on the Net
Could a material other than glass be used for the repair? Like
maybe aluminum plate?
<Mmm, no. Glass is the best... in qualities, ready
Re: chip in 180g tank
Thanks for all your help. After thinking it over, I have decided
I would rather replace the entire pane instead of an unsightly
Any advice for this undertaking?
<Yep... posted/archived on WWM. RMF>
Chipped Tank Question -- 12/15/09
<Hi there Andy>
Thanks for running a very informative site on all aspects of the
aquarium hobby. I have read through the FAQ on tank repair, and
on chipped tanks. I recently bought a 20 gallon long tank for a
great price. On getting the tank home, I noticed a rather large
chip on the bottom corner of the aquarium. I filled the aquarium
more than Â¾ of the way full in the bath tub and left
it for 24 hours, no leaks.
Feeling confident with the tank, I proceeded to set up. The tank
is on a metal stand, which is resting on carpet. I used small
pieces of 1/4" and 1/8" acrylic underneath the legs of
the tank to level it. Currently the tank is almost level, the
water level is about 0.5mm higher on one side. After I filled the
tank 100% of the way, the next morning, I noticed a miniscule
leak on the same corner as the chip.
In observing the leak for several hours, one drop of water ran
about 3 inches down the side of the tank, that is how small the
leak is. There is a pinpoint size of silicone that is more
reflective than the rest of the silicone, this is the leak.
Draining the tank to less than 3/4s full stops the leak. I
drained the tank half way, and applied silicone sealant to the
outside corner of the tank, making sure to cover the small leak.
I waited 24 hours, refilled the tank, and the leak has
However, in reading through your page, I'm feeling less and
less positive about the tank.
<We share this sensation>
I guess I have no issues using the tank if another leak springs
up, I just don't want a catastrophic failure. I've
included a diagram of the chip. The chip itself is clean, there
is no white glass, and the chipped surface itself is smooth, nor
are there any visible cracks. The back pane of glass is at full
thickness where it meets the side pane, and then gradually gets
thinner towards the outside edge.
<If it were me/mine, I'd Silicone a strip of glass (maybe
two inches wide) along both the back and side where the chip is,
at least over the area of the chip itself, if not all the way to
the top/bottom. This will give strength and keep folks from
cutting themselves on the sharp edge. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chipped Tank Question -- 12/15/09
Thanks for the lightening fast reply, I wasn't expecting
So at this point, I figure I will take these steps:
-Acquire 2x piece of 2" glass the same height as the
-Drain the tank below the point where it starts to leak
<I'd drain it all, let it dry out completely... Much
easier to use Silastic/Silicone sealant while laying the
"work"/tank flat with the work side up>
-Scrape off the silicone I applied to the outside of the tank
-Silicone the New pieces of glass to the tank
Several more questions:
Should I remove the plastic trim from the tank?
<Nah, I'd leave it/this in place. Too much work for what
little good it would do to take off, put back on>
I assume the repair glass should span the full height of the tank
and not just the distance between the trim?
<Just between the trim is fine. Sorry for the incompleteness
of my last msg. BobF>
As for securing the glass, should I silicone just the edges, or
smear silicone over the entire reinforcement pane?
Re: Chipped Tank Question 12/15/09
Hi again Bob,
I ended up finding a great deal on a 25 gallon, and was able to
sell the damaged 20 to someone needing a reptile tank for same
price I paid for the 25.
I'm setting this 25 gallon up in place of a 10 gallon. The 25
gallon will be resting on a metal stand on carpet on the 3rd
floor of a town house. I was planning on using some
3"x3" squares of 1/8 or 1/4" clear acrylic under
the legs of the stand to protect the carpet and help spread the
weight a little better. Will this be an issue?
<Hopefully not. The 250 pounds of weight or so here should be
supportable by the floor with the four touch down points... Think
of ladies in high heels...>
The aquarium is position next to an outside wall.
<Good for support, but do leave a gap to discount
Freecycle 20 Gallon Tank Question, Cracked glass tank
repair and ADF sys. f's -- 12/04/09
I have been reading through your site for a few hours since I
found it on Google and thought I would try to contact you
directly, as I am unsure how to proceed.
I have a 20 gallon long tank (30 1/4" x 12 3/4" x 12
1/4" measured over plastic trim) that I received earlier
today using the Freecycle in my area. I was excited when I
realized what it was, as I have two African clawed frogs, and
that is the exact tank recommend for them both; however there is
a problem with one of the corners.
<I see this>
It has a chipped corner, and has a single crack coming from it,
please see the included image (I have shown two angles of the
problem). There are no other cracks or chips from the main area,
or anywhere else on the tank for that matter. The single
crack/chip is about 1 1/2" in length from the outside of the
corner, and about 5" from the bottom of the tank. I ran my
fingernail across the crack and can barely feel a tiny line on
the outside, but feel nothing on the inside of the tank. I have
placed the tank into my bathtub, as it is well below the top of
the tub, and filled the tank to the top with water. So far it has
been nearly 7 hours and the outside of the tank is still bone dry
without a single leaked drop anywhere. I have pushed on the area
from the inside of the tank and out, and even put my pulsating
shower head on the inside of the tank in the area while filling
it - all of which did not change anything at any point and the
outside is still dry and leak free. I thought this would help to
test if the crack will enlarge or leak under use.
I am curious if this is something to worry about with such a
small tank and low height of only 12 1/4" tall.
<Actually... it is>
I thought that due to the tank set-up there would not be
necessary as much weight pushing against it, as the much larger
tanks I read about, and would be nothing to worry about in this
case. I am wanting to know if I am just kidding myself and this
is a big problem, and if a simple "patch" would fix any
possible problems. Such as the "patch" as I have read
on your site of putting a piece of glass on the inside over the
area and using silicone over the cracks and edges/under the
glass, and silicone the cracks from the outside. If the glass
"patch" will work how thick of a piece of glass should
I use and what size dimensions (the full height, 8 inches wide,
or what)? I have read that a 1/8" would be thick enough in
one instance but wanted to make sure.
<Mmm, if you want/ed to fill this tank all the way/to the top,
I would suggest siliconing a piece of glass the size of the
outside panel (sans the frame) onto the outside (nothing on the
inside) of 3/16" thickness ("double pane")...
Otherwise, if you'd be happy with the water being less than
5" deep (you can lay a submersible heater down, use an
internal filter)... you could make this tank into a vivarium of
sorts for your frogs, plants...>
Please let me know if this is something to worry about, and if
the extra glass piece would fix the problem - or if I should just
find another tank to use (I just want to make sure I do not end
up hurting my frogs or flooding my upstairs apartment). Many
<I wouldn't set this tank up presently as it is with water
added all the way to the top... the crack is too likely to
"grow" suddenly, cause catastrophic failure. The
somewhat simple repair (smearing the Silastic onto the back,
placing the pre-cut, beveled piece of plate glass over the entire
back, will make this tank "good as new" in terms of
safe use. Bob Fenner>
Worried about chip on glass aquarium - 11/07/09
While moving a 77 gallon glass aquarium, a chip broke off the top
The chip doesn't go all the way through, is about 2 cm at the top
and does a semi-circle.
It's right at the top corner.
I haven't filled the tank yet. I still have the chip that came
<Might be of use (to prevent getting cut, not structurally) to
"glue" this back on with a bit of Silastic>
I'm wondering if I should try to fix it with the chip, just use
aquarium silicone, just leave it alone or replace the aquarium.
<I'd put the piece back on... and depending on where, how much
I don't want to take a risk of it breaking, for safety and damage
issues that could result.
If I test fill it and it's fine, is there a risk of it breaking
<Not likely, no>
Is there a benefit to trying to glue the chip back in place?
<Yes... as stated>
Thanks for the help, you guys are great.
<Ummm, read here:
and the linked files above for input. Bob Fenner>
Help repairing 110gal bowfront aquarium
Hi, I recently came across an aquarium I knew would be trouble,
but wanted to repair due to its unique dimensions. The tank is a
110 gallon bowfront aquarium mad by perfecto in Oct 2005. It is
48" wide, 33" tall, and bows out from 12" to
18". I know this is very tall for a standard aquarium.
<Yes, this is so>
It came with a broken top frame. I ordered a new top frame that
should be coming in tomorrow. When removing the old top frame I
found both of the top corners have chips, one worse than the
other. I was very careful removing the trim using only my fingers
and razor blade and do not think it is new damage.
<Doesn't appear to be>
The tank looks to have already been resealed, the bottom and top
silicone is clear, and the vertical corners are black.
How Significant is this problem? Is this a fixable tank in your
<Is not significant due to the placement, not really
"fixable", but I would "fill in" the chipped
area (with 100% Silastic of any color) to prevent folks getting
cut by the sharp glass>
Are there any special measures I can take when putting the new
top on to prevent problems?
<Mmm, none other than (non-structural) filling in the missing
Is there anything stronger than standard silicone to strengthen
<None that are practical>
Do you have any suggestions for me?
<To enjoy this tank, set-up, and not worry. The break here is
not likely to be a problem>
Attached are pictures.
Thank you, Alex
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help repairing 110gal bowfront aquarium --
Great! Thank you, I really appreciate it.
<Very happy to have helped you. BobF>
DIY Sump Question
Cracked Sump -- 11/1/09
<Josh here today.>
I am in a little bit of a pickle.
<Lets see what we can do about that.>
I bought a 20 gallon long aquarium from the local "box store"
and bought some .222 think Acyclic panels and some silicon to make a
I put two panels in the tank, basically one for my return pump area and
a air bubble trap for my protein skimmer to reduce micro bubbles.
Long story short, the panels fit and are water tight perfecto!
I was going to put in a 3rd panel for a refugium but decided against it
when a small hairline crack appeared in the side of the tank.
<Hmm, is this a hairline crack caused from forcing too large a piece
of acrylic into the glass sump, or could it be a thin strand of
silicone that appears to be a crack. Those strings of silicone can make
cracks, try running a razor blade over the "crack" to see if
that is what it is.>
I have filled it up with water (it will hold about 10-15 gallons as a
return sump/protein skimming area only) and so far no leaks.
<This may support the silicone string theory.>
I am going to monitor it for a week or so before I put it into
If the hairline crack doesn't leak and the tank has a small water
volume, is this going to be an issue?
<If it turns out to be a real hairline crack, pick up a small piece
of glass from another local store like home depot or Lowe's, and
then use a aquarium safe silicone to bond the piece of glass over the
crack, that will
add tremendous amounts of support and hopefully will keep the crack
from running any further.>
It looks like the tank may even be tempered glass as the crack is on
only the inside of the tank.
Please advise and thanks!
<As above. Good luck,
Severely Chipped Tanks 7/21/2009
I'm setting up a 34 gallon Solana 20x20x20 that unfortunately has a
chip on the outside of the bottom pane of glass.
<If you just purchased it, I would return it for one without this
chip, it will be worth the wait.>
The chip is about the size of a dime, goes halfway through the bottom
pane and is located all the way in one corner.
<This does seem like a rather large chip. I would be reconsidering
setting this tank up.>
I am on day three of a leak test and so far so good. Will this be okay
and if not is there anyway to fix it?
<I can't tell you for sure whether or not the tank will have a
failure in the future. However, I can tell you that the chip will not
have a positive effect on the tank structurally. Read up on WWM about
chips in tanks and
if at all possible, exchange this tank for one without the
Thank you all for maintaining such a wonderful resource.
Re: Is this safe?
Severely Chipped Tanks... didn't read where referred...
Unfortunately I bought the tank used and have no way to return it.
I was thinking of getting a piece of glass and silicone it in on wet
side of the tank. It will be on the bottom pane so once I add substrate
it will be invisible. Will this help or is it a lost cause?
<This will likely help increase the integrity of that area of the
tank, have you read the glass repair FAQ's on WWM?>
Thank you- Chris
Cracked 180 Liter Tank 4/26/09
I have read your website regularly, and gained much valuable advice
from it. It helped me from day 1. Now I need advice for my new tank.
I've read many posts on the site but I cant find the precise answer
looking for. I have bought a secondhand 180 litre fish tank today (only
4 months old, seller didn't know work involved in fish hobby
<This is often the case>
and somehow managed to crack the base in transit coming home, now I
have filled it to about a third of the tank (60 litres) and there is no
leaks as yet. Its been 3 hours now and still okay. Unfortunately 60
nowhere near 180 liters in weight.
<I take it by 'base' you mean the bottom pane of
My main question for you to answer is: Can I get a piece of glass and
some silicone and cover the affected area, obviously I'll get a
piece of glass half the length of the tank, approximately 2 foot to be
on the safe side to allow a lot more give for the crack.
<If you do end up executing such a repair I would suggest putting in
a piece of glass that covers the entire bottom>
There is a small chip on the outside of the tank and the crack that
came with it cant be felt to the touch on the inside. Is it safe to put
glass inside tank and is the crack coming from the corner going to
affect the new glass.
<Repairs like this are possible, but are rarely cost effective, and
do not allow for much peace of mind. Please read the tank crack FAQ at
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/glsaqcracks.htm , and consider the risks of
the repair failing. The fact that the crack is coming from the corner
gives me further doubt to the integrity of a repair>
Please help because my Gold Spot Pleco really needs his new home.
Thanking you so much in advance. (cause you will know the answer)
Gary St Helens U.K
<Your welcome Gary, good luck with the repair but please do consider
and compare the cost of tank replacement to the damage a poorly
executed repair can cause to your home and to your Pleco. I am sorry I
can not give you a more definite answer, but this is not clear cut.
Aquascaping Prep and Tank Repair
Simulating Ruins Without Ruining an Aquarium! --
Good evening Crew! Hope all is well with you.
<And a good evening to you. Scott F. at the keyboard
I have two things for your attention tonight. First, I'm
getting ready to do the aquascaping in my first marine tank now
that my live rock is cured and the tank is cycled.
<Yaayyy! The best part of the process, IMO!>
I have a couple of polystone statues that I'm going to
incorporate (I'm going for a ruined civilization feel) and I
just wanted to confirm that my understanding was good on how to
prepare them. I've read conflicting ideas. According to all
I've read I'm going to:
1. Scrub well with vinegar solution and a toothbrush
2. Soak them in circulated water (fresh or salt?) for a few days
3. Give them a final dust/rinse off to get rid of any loose
material and then add to the tank.
<All sound good...I'm not really certain about the
possible toxicity of this material. If it is specifically made
for aquarium use, I'd be a bit less concerned. On the other
hand, if it was specifically made for aquarium
use, it would probably be twice as expensive, huh? Decisions,
Decisions! By the way, you absolutely HAVE to forward a pic of
this aquascape when it's done for my "Aquascaping for
the Aesthetically Challenged" presentation that I do at
clubs and conferences. This is just too tempting for me NOT
I won't be adding any livestock for 3-6 weeks after the
aquascaping is done. I figure that would be enough time to let
the tank stabilize or find any problems.
<Well, you do want an aquarium to cycle, of course, and
perhaps the extra length of time will help determine if anything
is leaching from these decorations. Perhaps continuous use of
Poly Filter and/or activated carbon could remove much of whatever
leaches out of these items.>
Second, a quick question about tank repair. I have a 65G tank
that is sitting empty (my display is a 75). I had bought it used
and didn't notice until I filled it to check for leaks that
there was a large chip in one of
the front corners on the inside. It goes a good bit under the
silicone seal and I wondered if you thought it could be repaired
with silicone. I've attached two pictures, front and side. If
it can be repaired I plan on
using it as a QT. Thanks for any and all suggestions. If
knowledgeable people in other fields shared half as much of their
expertise as you folks do, the world would be a far better
< Thanks for the kind words! Corey my instincts tell me that
it might be possible to fix this with a careful, healthy bead of
silicone, but I will defer that one to Bob, who's probably
forgotten more about tank repairs
than I ever knew. Although I've probably broken more,
he's definitely repaired more! Bob, what say you?>
<<I do agree... Might be fine as is... but attaching strips
of glass with Silastic... for sure. RMF>>
Re: Aquascaping Prep and Tank Repair
Thanks for the input Bob and Scott. I'd love to share it with
you when I'm done.
I'll be giving the tank repair a try very soon as well and
I'll let you know how it goes.
Chipped Glass: Is it safe? 4/6/2009
I bought a 125 gallon tank from Craig's List a couple of
nights ago. The tank had been sitting around at the guy's
house for about 5 years and never set-up or even used. He
delivered the tank to my place, but after he left, I noticed a
chip in the back corner. I filled it with water outside and it
held for several hours and then I drained it, because it's
still getting cold here in MN at night and I didn't want it
to freeze. Can you look at
these shots and let me know if you think it'll hold? It looks
like the silicone goes well past the point of the chip and the
chip is on the outside only. You can probably gather all the info
you need from the photos
I've attached, rather than trying to explain it all.
<Looking at the pictures, it is fine.>
Thank you for any help! Since it was sold as is, I have no real
case to get any money back from the guy, so I'm hoping there
is a way to make this work.
<Shouldn't be a problem, enjoy your new tank. Do be sure
to rinse it out completely before putting anything alive in
Re: Misaligned seams 02/08/09Re: Misaligned seams 02/08/09
Here are a couple pictures of the seam that is misaligned (first
two pictures). I also attached two pictures of a small
defect/crack on the edge of the other side panel where it joins
with the front panel (last two pictures) that I noticed shortly
after I had it filled and stocked about a year ago, but I thought
I would get your expert opinion on this one as well.
<This crack is more problematical... appears to be about mid
way in depth... I would Silicon a small piece of glass (maybe two
inches wide) over this area, about six or more inches in
height... over the area, flush to the edge, on the
It caused a small bubble in the silicone, and has showed no signs
of expanding. I appreciate your advice. I bought the tank with
little experience unfortunately and not realizing a thorough
inspection was so important. But the more I
have read, the more I start noticing things and I wanted a little
reassurance on these two flaws. Thank you so much for your quick
<The misalignment itself is not a worry here. Bob
In your experience, have you seen cracks like that lead to
complete failure of the seam or just a leak if not reinforced?
This should be my last question.
<Rarely... but on a few occasions... ergo, best to make a
comment, be "safer" than sorry. Understanzee?
Re: Misaligned seams 02/08/09
Say no more....thank you sir.
<Welcome Luke. BobF>