60g metaframe lazy restoration - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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60g metaframe lazy restoration

I have been collecting antique metaframe tanks for a while, but struggled with the question of sealant and what to do with the slate.

I fully disassembled my largest metaframe, a 30g, planning on doing a full restoration. The dry tar cleaned off the frame pretty easily, and I cleaned up the residual tar with a drill mounted wire cup and acetone. The glass however was heavily scratched and very dirty from previous reseal attempts.

During this process I decided I wanted to go bigger, as my last tank was a 30g bowfront. I cruised craigslist and sure enough found a 75g metaframe with stand nearby. The seller said it leaked about halfway up the glass but the bottom was tight. I thought maybe I could get away with just resealing the inner seams, or even just heating up the tar and clamping down the glass, so I went to pick it up.

Unfortunately it turned out to be a 60g, with only 12Ē depth and not 18Ē. It was also pretty scratched up and the bottom leaked when I tested it, though the tar was in pretty good shape compared to my other metaframes. Not bad for $25 including a pretty nice stand.

I did some serious research on sealants and discovered Sika 1a, a commercial product used in Airstreams and other applications. It should stick to slate as well as glass, and itís safe for potable water as well as submersion so should be safe for an aquarium. I ordered two tubes on Amazon for about 25 bucks.

New glass is very expensive. Iíve built a few cube tanks, and the 5 panels to build a 12Ē cube costs nearly $100. Replacing all the glass on a large
metaframe would be a several hundred. I thought about replacing only the viewing panel but then Iíd have to fully disassemble the tank, a much bigger project. So, in the end I decided I could live with the scratches, cleaned up the seams on the tank as best I could and went to town with the Sika.

The Sika is thicker than silicone, but application is similar. I didnít tape anything off because of the wide bezels on the metaframe, and just smoothed out the bead with the back of a plastic spoon. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes.

It will take a week to cure, so Iíll test for leaks next weekend. Then Iíll throw in an inch of soil and cap with black diamond.

Iíll post more photos as I progress.




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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thought a lot today about the golden ratio...




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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Back from the powder shop...




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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Ideas... need to visit my secret source for petrified wood




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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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The Sikaflex tube says to allow 1 week cure for full immersion applications, but itís a moisture cure and itís been 90+ degrees and very humid all week. Itís only been six days, but itís Friday!




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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Dolly with locking casters. Not the most elegant, but hopefully functional.

Supposedly the set will hold 880lbs...




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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 04:34 PM
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Good job on the tank, love the old Metaframes. The powder coating on the stand is awesome as well. I really like using the older tanks, I have a 15 gallon and 29 gallon set up and running right now. I have several more that are not up and running at this time.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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unfortunately it seems like i have a few pinhole leaks. So small it's hard to even figure out where! Wish I had been more liberal with the Sikaflex. I'll have to add another layer and hope it sticks.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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unfortunately it seems like i have a few pinhole leaks. So small it's hard to even figure out where! Wish I had been more liberal with the Sikaflex. I'll have to add another layer and hope it sticks.


The leaks are so unapparent, but the water level drop so severe, I wonder if the garden hose was somehow siphoning water out. I hooked up a heater and wave maker, hoping warm water and sunlight might seal it up.


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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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False alarm! Tank seems to be solid. Must have inadvertently started a siphon by leaving the hose in the tank after filling.

Here is a part of my potential hardscape using petrified wood. I also replaced the missing brace with plexi.




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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 02:09 PM
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Looks good so far ! Nice job on the stand , too . I'm interested in seeing how the Sikaflex holds up long term , especially on the slate/glass interface .
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Looks good so far ! Nice job on the stand , too . I'm interested in seeing how the Sikaflex holds up long term , especially on the slate/glass interface .


The stuff is supposed to be pretty gnarly. Itís used for sealing stone and concrete in wells and cisterns. Should hold up I hope!


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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-09-2018, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Think Iím zeroing in on my scape. This is closer to thirds than golden. I would like to use egg crate to lift up the stone and give it more vertical depth.




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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-12-2018, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Uh... too tall. [censored][censored][censored][censored].


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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-12-2018, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Looking good though


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