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Old 11-02-2014, 02:42 AM   #1
GraphicGr8s
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Four More Metaframe Tanks


So I already have two fifty five gallon Metaframes running and my nephew brought me 4 more. One more fifty five. Two tens. And a 2.5. Sure they all need work, glass replaced, reseal but they were free.
So here I will try to keep a record of progress on repairing them. It will take some time since I have way too many other projects going but at least I started here.

Last edited by GraphicGr8s; 01-18-2015 at 03:50 AM.. Reason: Title
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:31 AM   #2
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Let the games begin.

So over our Christmas vacation at work I was planning on finishing the carpentry for the roof over the back half of the fish house. My body disagrees however. So here I am looking around for something I can handle. And there they are. The Metaframes. Just sitting there on the front porch of the fish house. Waiting patiently for the time I get around to putzing with them.
So I grab the heat gun. An ink knife I have from when the fish house was a print shop and some patience.
To take them apart you need to look at how they were put together. You can't just start taking panels out you'll break the glass. These tanks are put together with the front and rear panels in first. Then the sides. Last the slate. Taking it apart is the reverse. But with a ton of patience. Start on the slate with the heat gun. Start working the blade of the knife in between the slate and the frame. DO NOT TWIST THE BLADE!!!
Keep working the heat and the blade around the frame. You're going to be melting out the old asphaltum. After you have gone around a couple of times hit the inside around the perimeter of the slate. On two tanks so far there is a little ridge that prevents it from sliding out easily. Then go back to the outside and just keep working it. Try twisting the blade ever so slightly and see what is giving and what isn't. When it starts to come apart push it slowly out. Remember it is hot so use gloves. Once the slate is out the side panels are next. The procedure is the exact same but is quicker.

The important thing to remember is you need to be assertive but not to forceful. You don't want to mangle the frame.

Once all the panels are out you need to clean the frame. I'm using the heat gun and ink knife but am going to try acetone or lacquer thinner or maybe mineral spirits. I'll see which works best.
I've got to say these guys were pretty smart building these tanks. Taking them apart to fix is really pretty easy. I fear with silicone it will be a bit more difficult.
Coming up next will be getting it back together. And on the next ten I'll try for pictures. Maybe.

I am going to get Dow Corning 795. It is supposed to stick to slate and Disney uses it in their large tanks. So I've heard.
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Last edited by GraphicGr8s; 01-18-2015 at 03:51 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:40 AM   #3
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My apologies for having to google Metaframe tanks. Awesome! Can't wait for updates.
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Old 12-30-2014, 05:26 AM   #4
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I can't wait for pictures.
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:37 AM   #5
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So here are some pictures of the teardown. All the tanks have cracked panes. First is what I started with. Then slate and one pane gone.

Then the 10 with slate and one pane and the fully torn down but not cleaned up 5 gallon.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:24 AM   #6
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Tonight I finished cleaning the frame up on the first ten gallon and started tearing apart a Petco Tetra 10 to harvest the replacement glass. Tearing apart that tank was an ordeal at the least. Working slow and carefully I still managed to crack a corner on one pane. At least tearing apart the Metaframe you can just melt the asphaltum. Not so with silicone. Might be time to look into Dows DSR. It breaks the bond. Wonder how much it is?
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:22 AM   #7
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I love the look of the classic Metaframe tanks. Everyone is going rimless and frameless these days, and I'm going the other way!

I repaired a little five gallon Metaframe recently that was my dad's first tank he ever had as a kid, which is kind of cool.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with these tanks you've got. You should include pics of the 55 gallon tanks you have setup. A not so local LFS around me has a 55 gallon Metaframe tank on display with the original hoods and stand. It looks awesome, but they don't have water in it or anything...its not for sale but would be outside my price range anyway...
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:47 PM   #8
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I'm thinking of getting a stainless hood made and putting LEDs in. I've got a dynaflow or 4 for the filter and maybe some stems and guppies for a retro look on one of the 10s.

Don't think I have any good pics of the 2 setup. They're pretty blah setups right now. One is soil with plants only the other is planted with tetras.

Something is killing the fish in the plant only and I just haven't been able to put my finger on it. All tests are good. When I get the urge I'll put some minnows in and try it again. Right now I like it as a plant only though.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:54 AM   #9
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What do you use to clean the frame on these tanks?
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:56 AM   #10
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Hey graphic did you ever finish it?
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:11 AM   #11
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This is a spare time project. I haven't had much of it lately. I have taken apart the Tetra tanks and harvested the glass. The frame is clean. Mineral spirits, elbow grease, and tons of patience to clean it up. I have not cleaned the slate yet. And I need to cut two pieces of glass for the side panels since the Tetra tanks are narrower than a standard ten. I did put the glass in, including the too short side panels, to see how it looked. Me likey. This weekend I am going to try to finish up the ten and start cleaning the frame for the five. The glass is out of that one also but I haven't cleaned it yet.
My ink supplier was very familiar with the asphaltum used in these tanks. And he did give me an easier cleaner but it involved mixing toluene into the mineral spirits. Not willing to use that stuff anymore. When I am done I will, of course, post pictures.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:18 AM   #12
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So I've been under the weather since yesterday. While not feeling 100% I was pretty stir crazy. So I started putzing with the 10 gallon Metaframe. Got it put back together. Not very pretty right now. I will have a bit of excess silicone to cleanup. I didn't get all the stainless covered with the black silicone. Note to self to use a putty knife to spread it around. It also took a bit more than I figured. I am pretty sure however it will hold water without a problem. I WAS real careful when I sealed the inside corners.
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Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:46 AM   #13
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Stole a few minutes today to give the cleanup a try. Outside cleanup is easy. Single edge razor works wonders. Inside will be a little more time consuming but should not be hard at all. Just patience and finesse to get the lines straight. This was a learning lesson that while not perfect is acceptable. Until OCD sets in. I can already see buying the release agent and doing this one over. Must fight the urge. Planting heavy will cover the misses on the silicone. (not structural at all.)
__________________
Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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