I *THINK* I just got a vintage tank for free..(repairs?).
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > DIY


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-04-2014, 07:26 AM   #1
Bunfoo
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Inland Empire, CA
Posts: 417
Default

Hello TPF!

I haven't been here in ages! I actually just sold most of my tanks. I have a 10 gallon planted left with my betta fish in it. I have neglected it due to life issues. It can't really be salvaged at this point! Someone gave me a 5g(?) fish tank to downsize to. It needs 3 glass panels replaced but in reality the tank is so darn old that the silicone/caulking they used is cracked and dry so i may just strip the leftover 2 panels out and redo the whole thing. *but* a 2.5g from the store would be cheaper!

Mostly, I want to know if fixing it up is worth it. I am willing to put in the extra effort for something beautiful. My betta is a purple dragonscale under fluorescent tube lights, so he would match lovely with the tank frame. I want to *only* grow anubias as they are so low maintenance. I will upload a photo of the tank in a bit, anyone have any tips or stories to share about the vintage frames or repairing a tank that only has the frame left? I'm actually not even sure it's really "vintage" but it seems like it is and the person who gave it to me said it was. Regardless, it was free! lol.

Edit: Volume calculators tell me it is 5.3 gallons.



As you can see, it's pretty trashed lol. Looks like it was probably outside for a while. They used tar or something for the glass, def not silicone. How do get it off? I'll have to remove all the panels even the non-broken ones since they have it too.

Also, how do I measure to find out *exactly* what size of glass slides i need?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-04-2014 at 10:18 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
Bunfoo is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-04-2014, 10:47 AM   #2
lochaber
Planted Tank Guru
 
lochaber's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 2,165
Default

I imagine you are in for quite a bit of work. Probably more then actually building a tank from scratch. However, the metal-framed tanks seem to have a bit of a fanbase, and some people seem to like them.

I believe the original caulking actually was tar. I've heard claims that ones left dried out sometimes leak, but filling them with warm/hot water can sometimes get the sealant to soften and sorta 'reset', and stop leaking.

No clue on what's necessary to replace panes. Although, I imagine the original caulking might be able to be softened up with a solvent of some sort, or maybe even careful use of a heat gun, and then you could reseal it with silicone (black for matching original appearances?). You could get by using GE silicone I, as the metal frame gives the structural support, and the sealant just seals (unlike frameless tanks, that need a special grade of silicone that serves a structural function).

Does that have a slate bottom?

As to measuring the glass, do you mean thickness, or pane dimensions? either way, I imagine you could just measure what's left, and go off that.
lochaber is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-04-2014, 01:13 PM   #3
MarkM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Hampstead, NC
Posts: 336
Default

I can actually see me fixing something like that. But, a new 5g can be had for less than $10.
__________________
50G Low Tech Planted Tank- Community Fish
120G Low Tech Planted Tank- Community Fish
10G QT
MarkM is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-04-2014, 02:10 PM   #4
Bushkill
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Bushkill, Pa
Posts: 1,340
Default

Depending on your intent, the cost of a project is either something that has a budget, or it doesn't. I have tons of tanks in the fish room, and each project that goes in that room has to have a real and tangible "end game". I have a planted hex in the corner of the den and a planted 180G peninsula in there also, that just have to look good all the time.

The others here have already commented that it would be a siginificant savings in time and $ to just buy a stock 5G at a LFS. In a nutshell, from a pure $ perspective, they are absolutely correct. A 10oz tube of silicone and caulking gun will approach the cost of a tank by themselves. The glass panels are a whole 'nother creature to tackle if you haven't worked with glass before. So the money side of it is something you really have to decide for yourself.

I haven't seen one of these tanks since I was a little boy. So what I say next, may or may not be correct. The stainless frame is formed to fit around the glass and slate members. In other words it was never built to facilitate replacing a broken panel. Even replacing the slate bottom would be a tricky deal. You can't just bend one of the supports and try to bend it back in place without a bunch of creases and tool marks. And then there's the sealant itself. It's thick "gooey" stuff. So that the glass dimensions change when you switch to silicone. Lastly: getting it off of the inside of the metal frame would be something even I wouldn't want to tackle, regardless of the potential of the end product.

I'm not necessarily trying to talk you out of it, but at some point, we all need to be realistic. If you're looking for a more nostalgic home for your betta, I think you can find other choices that will prove less frustrating in the long run.

Honestly, if you already have a caulking gun, a glass cutter, and some scrap glass, you would probably be better served by DIY'ng a small tank from scratch.
Bushkill is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-04-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
deeda
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Medina, Ohio
Posts: 995
Default

In order to replace or remove any glass in these style tanks, you need to remove the slate bottom first. Turn the tank upside down and use a heat gun to evenly heat up the old asphalt based cement [(mfg. - Gilsonite) mixed 50-50 with heavy bodied linseed oil to the consistency of putty when warm] that the aquarium was originally constructed with. Definitely wear heavy gloves to avoid burns and cuts from the damaged glass. A putty knife can be used to remove any softened asphalt that remains.

According to a 1966 Exotic Aquarium Fishes (19th edition), double thick or double side glass is suitable for a 5 gallon tank and you would need about 2 pounds of the original asphalt cement mixture to redo the tank to its original glory.

It's a time consuming project but these style aquariums seem to make a surge in popularity occasionally.
__________________
Dee
__________________
Eheim Pimpette #270
Eheim Pro II 2028; Classics Series -2215, 2217, 2260, 2262; Pro 2229 Wet/Dry
deeda is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-04-2014, 09:02 PM   #6
Bunfoo
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Inland Empire, CA
Posts: 417
Default

Thank you for all the replies! Sadly the only lfs i live near doesn't seem to carry tanks, just fish and supplies. The only other place selling 5g tanks is petsmart and they're asking $18, which is obviously cheaper still but I kind of want the metal frame now. :p

The bottom is glass actually, it's broken too so I will have to remove the panel. I think the way the top of the frame is made on the inside can allow me to slide glass panels in from the inside at an angle but I'm not sure, I'll have to test that out. I already have a caulking gun and some silicone left over from a rimless tank I built some time ago. For the glass, I was just planning on buying the slides at home depot at lowes and having it cut there, but if they won't make it exact enough I'll probably have to buy a glass cutter.

The tar is definitely too old to salvage with hot water. It's dried and cracked so badly that it reminds me of a severely dried up lake surface lol.

I was thinking about if it was really worth it to me and I think it is. I'd like to use metallic colored substrate with anubias dotting some imitation silver ore rocks or something like that.

I think it would look pretty neat. I'm going to start by trying to get the tar off. I guess if I can't get it off the project will have to be stopped but I think I can do it with enough time..



Edit * I was wrong, petsmart does NOT carry a 5 gallon tank, just a 2.5g for $18. The only 5g's they have are fluval's which are out of my budget at this time.

Last edited by Bunfoo; 01-04-2014 at 09:13 PM.. Reason: Fixed image
Bunfoo is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-04-2014, 09:17 PM   #7
scotty b
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: denver Colorado
Posts: 966
Default

do you have any hardware shops near you?
the ones here sell and cut glass for cheep
scotty b is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-04-2014, 09:21 PM   #8
Bunfoo
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Inland Empire, CA
Posts: 417
Default

I'm not sure to be honest! We have home depot and lowe's, I know lowe's sells cut glass but not sure if they cut it for you. I'll have to look around town and see if there are any other hardware shops.
Bunfoo is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2014, 02:20 AM   #9
GraphicGr8s
Pixel Prestidigitator
 
GraphicGr8s's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
Posts: 2,776
Default

You need to get a heat gun and melt that old asphaltum out of there. IIRC the long glass goes in first then the sides then the bottom.
You are really better off shipping it to me though. At your expense of course. I am fully authorized to dispose of that tank correctly,
__________________
Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem.
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.
GraphicGr8s is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2014, 02:27 AM   #10
xmas_one
Planted Tank Guru
 
xmas_one's Avatar
 
PTrader: (17/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 3,256
Default

Used to fix these when I was a kid. Took the tank to the glass shop on my bike, dude would cut me a piece of glass. I used to just goop a bunch of silicone on the inside of the frame and then smoosh the glass in place. Leave it overnight with a brick on it and cut the excess off in the morning with a razor blade.
xmas_one is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2014, 06:50 AM   #11
Art by Stef*
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Art by Stef*'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 782
Default

I have no clue how to make a tank from scratch, but that betta would look outstanding in that silver-toned vintage tank. (I love vintage and antiques)

If you have no success in the refurbish department, I would keep my eyes peeled at thrift stores and yard sales in the future. I've seen a few that appeared whole, intact very reasonable, like a couple bucks, on past jaunts last year.

Of course, when you want something, it can't be found or becomes extremely popular and expensive all of a sudden, but never hurts to look and it's fun. Especially when the inventory is different and changes every month, and Lord knows what you might walk out with
-Stef*
Art by Stef* is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2014, 01:32 PM   #12
BruceF
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Centennial,Co
Posts: 1,344
Default

I think the easiest thing would be to get some plumbers putty and set the glass in that. Once you have done that simply run a bead of caulk in all the corners on the inside. Since there is no lateral strength needed in these tanks it doesn't take much silicone to hold them together.
BruceF is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2014, 05:39 PM   #13
daffyfish
Algae Grower
 
daffyfish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/83%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 131
Default

Have fun with your project. I have re-sealed a few of these. But, haven't replaced any panels, yet. Here's a link to an article that may help you.

http://naturalaquariums.com/bb/index.php?topic=2183.0
daffyfish is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2014, 10:56 PM   #14
GraphicGr8s
Pixel Prestidigitator
 
GraphicGr8s's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
Posts: 2,776
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I think the easiest thing would be to get some plumbers putty and set the glass in that. Once you have done that simply run a bead of caulk in all the corners on the inside. Since there is no lateral strength needed in these tanks it doesn't take much silicone to hold them together.
I'd be wary of plumbers putty and fish. The answer is still silicone for MetaFrame tanks.
__________________
Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem.
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.
GraphicGr8s is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-07-2014, 11:10 AM   #15
Bunfoo
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Inland Empire, CA
Posts: 417
Default

Thanks everyone! I haven't had any time yet to start of this but tomorrow I will have a FULL day to try and get the frame clean. I have a heat gun, razorblades, steel wool, etc. AFTER the frame is fully cleaned out, I'll buy the replacement panels and get them in there with silicone.

Since I expect this to take me a while to get it all fixed up and cycled I tried to salvage as much from my neglected 10g as possible. I threw away a lot of plants that just were not growing, mostly swords. My anubias petite have done extremely well on the neglect apparently, since my tiny plants I split ~2 months ago into 3-leaf segments each had about 7 baby plants on them now. I split them up again into 3-leaf segments and I'm letting them float again to grow, so hopefully by the time the tank is ready they'll be grown since I plan to go anubias almost exclusively.

Thanks everyone! I am excited to start this project. I'll have to see what I can do about lighting, I'd like something that looks retro too. I was thinking of fixing up one of the old metal industrial light cages and fixing a hanger from the wall to hold a bulb above the tank, we'll see how that goes.
Bunfoo is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012