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.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk