Is this fixable? Leak in Fluval Spec filter compartment - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Is this fixable? Leak in Fluval Spec filter compartment

Hi,

Like the title says, I got a leak, and of course, it’s near the bottom of the tank to complicate things. It’s located in the filter compartment of my Fluval Spec 5 gallons, where I can barely fit my hands in. In fact, I’m not even sure I can reach the bottom with my hands. Is this fixable? Has someone encountered the same issue before? Can I fix it from the outside? Should I just buy a new tank and throw this one out in the garbage? This tank will be 4 years old in November. I though it was not that old...

It’s my only tank, don’t have any other place to put my shrimps. Anxiety is kicking in and I can’t think straight as to what to do. The only thing I know is that I have to do something right now, but what?? Fix it or buy a new tank? Will a new tank shock my shrimps? Can I dig out all my crypts safely and move old substrate (Fluval plant) to a new tank? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Help me please

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Happy mother of 4 Chihuahuas and a Pittie. Biggest challenge is to keep shrimpies happy, the dogs are easy!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I went ahead and bought a new tank, the same one, just because I had everything for that tank size, and my desk wouldn’t be able to support anything bigger. Oh and it was on sale too. It took all day to swap everything. I changed the substrate from Fluval plant (old and exhausted) to inert Black Flourite. I’ve put root tabs in and I hope my crypts will make it. Not so worried about the undulata sp. but the retrospiralis seems more fragile.

My shrimps (neocaridina) look a bit stressed... They are "running around" instead of grazing, but I guess there is nothing to graze yet. I added Bacter AE to promote biofilm and plan to do so for the next few days, instead of twice a week. I also increased lighting period to 14 hours a day to see if algae would pop. My nerite snail and shrimps would need at least some. I hope they’ll all settle down quickly without hurt.

I guess I’ll let my old tank dry and see if it’s fixable later, but for now, it’s not an issue anymore.
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Happy mother of 4 Chihuahuas and a Pittie. Biggest challenge is to keep shrimpies happy, the dogs are easy!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 03:49 AM
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I guess you will be sleeping a lot better tonight than you did last night!

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MrT. View Post
I guess you will be sleeping a lot better tonight than you did last night!
Oh I did sleep well. It’s when I woke up to the sound of water dripping to the floor that I started to feel stressed out. My tank was sitting in a puddle... Almost unbelievable that it happened overnight. Well, I guess it is believable... This was my first experience of a leak. I’m sure it will happen again, but please, not too soon!

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 02:29 PM
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Hey, that's the same seam area where my old spec v started to leak 😛 it has since evolved to a 20 long. Sorry you had troubles, too. The spec v is a great little tank.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, that's the same seam area where my old spec v started to leak 😛 it has since evolved to a 20 long. Sorry you had troubles, too. The spec v is a great little tank.
So what did you do? Did you fix it or throw it in the garbage?

I asked my LFS how much it would cost to reseal all the joints and the price they gave me is roughly half the value of a new Fluval Spec... (new tank = $139.99+tx, repair = $70+tx). Since it's 4 years old and full of annoying tiny cracks on the glass, I think the repair is worth more than the actual value of my old tank.

One would probably say to repair it myself, but it would be a first for me. And have you seen that damn filter compartment? That thing is holding me back...

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 05:06 PM
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mine had a similar leak. I went and moved all fish/plants to a bucket. soil/gravel to another, wrapped filter pump with sponge and left it spraying on the bio filter in the fish bucket. (heater also in the fish one)
clean/dry working surface, also mark where filter divider (plastic) meets glass from outside with a permanent marker (rubbing alcohol removes it so no worries) this will come in handy later.

put one side standard blade (like the one you use for construction and such) through entire caulking then shaved off extra by finger nail.
glass surface: use the square corner against glass @ 60-70 degree angle and pull toward your body from one edge to another, this way the old caulk is removed as much.
remove as much as possible by using this blade, caulk on caulk does not provide good adhesion also when you smooth the surface it causes bubbling.
so I followed by cleaning with acetone (on glass) rubbing alcohol for plastic part.
(took about 30min from wiped dry empty tank to this point)

taped all edges with 6mm or so gap on the meeting surface on both side with masking tape (blue or whatever color it comes) |tape| |corner| |tape| <-- gap is about how much I left open.
dub some alcohol on a kitchen paper towel final wipe the grease from your finger (use a glove if you wish)
put the caulking without gap or bubble. I have cut the tip just about as wide as the previously shown distance (about 6mm/ 1/4 in opening), with a constant pressure to a gun or tube, start from one end then "push" the tip to the next. By pushing tip and moving excess amount onto the joint you can make sure the constant stream of caulk to be deposited onto the joint. (I think...)
Do this relatively quick if you are going to finish all at once. 5-10min include smoothing the surface.
To smooth the surface, run finger tip (thumb perpendicular to the corner) so the caulk will be y=1/x graph shape. (look up reciprocal curve, if not familiar)
Make sure there is no gap, no bubble etc when you do this.

before curing remove the tape carefully without touching any of the uncured caulk.

As for the filter section divider (which was pain in the A$$ imo)
As soon as you remove the tape which comes in contact lay caulking on constant line along with the previously marked line on the outside of the tank (the permanent marker line) about 6mm wide line as straight as possible, heavier on top of the tank.
once 4 meeting surface is caulked (2 sides, bottom and back) drop in the plastic part from top, caulking materials will be pushed down but do not worry at this point.
use metal chopstick (or similar with 6mm or so square stick would do) run the vertical sides from bottom up. also lightly push on the plastic as you do this so the parts wont wiggle.
remove excess as you do one line before another one.
do all meeting surface like this.

If you haven't done the front (across from the filter end) do that and caulking is done.

leave the tank in well vented location (near window with a fan on it) for 2 full days.

put the tank on a flat surface filled up water and leak test over night (since animal/plants in a bucket still)

All worked and zero loss on critters. tank is up and running.

** used half of the bucket water in the newly sealed tank, filled other with pretreated water. start with decoration and transfer heater in the main viewing section (to heat up water quick enough.)
once all good to go all the other goes in like you just bought a new fish/shrimp etc...

Bump: Sorry it was long and hard to read...
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