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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok so I was recently given a 20 gallon metaframe tank. I think it most likely needs rebuilt please take a look at the pictures and give your opinion. I have never rebuilt a aquarium before little alone one with a metal frame :icon_conf so if anyone has a link for a rebuild it would be awesome :D....
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
the dark line in the bottom is a groove that's in the slate bottom it flakes if you mess with it... the gray stuff is I don't know what I think caulking of some sort... the guy that gave it to me kept his fishing bait in it so I know it does hold water as it is.. but looks awful...
 

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Most rebuilders are getting a piece of glass cut to fit over the bottom slate and siliconing into place. Then siliconing up the corners to the top frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yeah

Most rebuilders are getting a piece of glass cut to fit over the bottom slate and siliconing into place. Then siliconing up the corners to the top frame.
look at the pictures of the sides I posted someone tried sealing the tank back up with some type of grey caulking lol the only silicone is on the inside...
 

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Glass over the slate is the best way to go. That slate is old. And can develop cracks at any time. Removing the glass can be tedious. So, think it over, if you can live with the scratched glass. If you enjoy unique tanks, these are fun. Looks like it might be a Pemco brand. I have a great rebuild link, on my computer. I'll try to post it tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
uhhh

Glass over the slate is the best way to go. That slate is old. And can develop cracks at any time. Removing the glass can be tedious. So, think it over, if you can live with the scratched glass. If you enjoy unique tanks, these are fun. Looks like it might be a Pemco brand. I have a great rebuild link, on my computer. I'll try to post it tonight.

The glass is just filthy I think I looked it over and didn't see any scratches. The slate is coming apart in that long dark line down just off center... my issue is that gray crap they used that everyone keeps ignoring.. its all over the bottom and in the cracks between the glass and the metal...
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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STOP!!!
Don't do a thing yet.
Fill it yourself and see if it truly holds water. Then see if the chrome can be brought back. If it can't anything else you do is moot.
If the chrome is salvageable yet it leaks first thing is to try adding dirt to the water and see if that stops the leaking. (Worked on one of my tanks)
If it's the glass areas leaking above the slate try the black silicone and reseal that. (Silicone doesn't stick to slate very well.)
If that fails then try heating the asphaltum with a heat gun and see if remelting it will seal it up. (Needs to be empty of course.)
Slate will flake. The determination is whether it is structural or not. If the slate has failed then yes, cover it with glass.
Contrary to what has been said those of us that collect these don't cover the slate with glass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
lol

STOP!!!
Don't do a thing yet.
Fill it yourself and see if it truly holds water. Then see if the chrome can be brought back. If it can't anything else you do is moot.
If the chrome is salvageable yet it leaks first thing is to try adding dirt to the water and see if that stops the leaking. (Worked on one of my tanks)
If it's the glass areas leaking above the slate try the black silicone and reseal that. (Silicone doesn't stick to slate very well.)
If that fails then try heating the asphaltum with a heat gun and see if remelting it will seal it up. (Needs to be empty of course.)
Slate will flake. The determination is whether it is structural or not. If the slate has failed then yes, cover it with glass.
Contrary to what has been said those of us that collect these don't cover the slate with glass.
Is that gray gunk asphalt um???
 

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The original sealant is the black tar like substance called asphaltum. The gray stuff was probably added by a previous owner.
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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I seriously doubt it. Asphaltum is black.
Have you filled it yet?
From the photos I can't really tell if that crack is a problem or not. I just can't see Metaframe using a piece of slate with a fault in it.
Fill it up outside and see if it leaks.
The tank I got a year (or 2?) ago was fine when I leak tested it our side. Carried it in and put the dirt substrate down planted it and filled it. Darn thing leaked. Decided to leave it full. After a day or 2 it stopped and has been fine since. The worst thing on those tanks is leaving them empty. If you have to empty them you always want to leave an inch or two in the bottom.
 

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The glass is just filthy I think I looked it over and didn't see any scratches. The slate is coming apart in that long dark line down just off center... my issue is that gray crap they used that everyone keeps ignoring.. its all over the bottom and in the cracks between the glass and the metal...
I have been able to easily remove the gray stuff, most of the time. Then resealed with black silicone. I've had some with cracking slate before. I just cleaned them, the best I could. Painted a thick piece of glass black. Put a layer of silicone down. Then put the glass on top of the slate and resealed the rest of the tank. Apparently some collectors cover the slate with glass and some don't. Your choice. I'll post that link, this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hmm

I have been able to easily remove the gray stuff, most of the time. Then resealed with black silicone. I've had some with cracking slate before. I just cleaned them, the best I could. Painted a thick piece of glass black. Put a layer of silicone down. Then put the glass on top of the slate and resealed the rest of the tank. Apparently some collectors cover the slate with glass and some don't. Your choice. I'll post that link, this evening.
It seems to me that if your going to go through the trouble of putting glass on top of the slate that you could just spend the extra dollars and order a cut to fit piece of slate to just drop in and call it done???
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
huh

I seriously doubt it. Asphaltum is black.
Have you filled it yet?
From the photos I can't really tell if that crack is a problem or not. I just can't see Metaframe using a piece of slate with a fault in it.
Fill it up outside and see if it leaks.
The tank I got a year (or 2?) ago was fine when I leak tested it our side. Carried it in and put the dirt substrate down planted it and filled it. Darn thing leaked. Decided to leave it full. After a day or 2 it stopped and has been fine since. The worst thing on those tanks is leaving them empty. If you have to empty them you always want to leave an inch or two in the bottom.
I'm thinking the slate must absorb water and expand just like slate will absorb oil that's why you find slate all under oil fields... so if you let it dry out it could possibly become brittle and crack... but anyways that crack looking mark isn't going to come "clean" its just going to keep chipping off. So should I maybe seal it with expoxy? If I seal the whole inside bottom with epoxy then it won't leak there's no way right??? If so can someone recommend a substance to use for sealing it??
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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Slate doesn't absorb water readily. If it did you couldn't use it on the bottom of a fish tank. Or for roofing shingles.

Using an epoxy resin might not be a bad idea. Is it fish safe however?
Slate has an extremely low water absorption index of less than 0.4%.
 

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It seems to me that if your going to go through the trouble of putting glass on top of the slate that you could just spend the extra dollars and order a cut to fit piece of slate to just drop in and call it done???
The problem is that silicone does not adhere well to slate long term, that is why the suggestion was made to insert a piece of glass on top of the slate and then use the silicone to reseal the inside of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
well

Slate doesn't absorb water readily. If it did you couldn't use it on the bottom of a fish tank. Or for roofing shingles.

Using an epoxy resin might not be a bad idea. Is it fish safe however?
Slate has an extremely low water absorption index of less than 0.4%.
I know that certain gorilla glues come in a pint as a gel... fish tank ornaments are made of resin... or what about that stuff you put on Styrofoam to make it look like rock or to make it stick together??? I'm just throwing ideas out... what about the asphalt stuff??? It would only require a small thin layer for water proofing... a thin piece of rubber liner? Cut to fit on top of the slate and then silicone around it??? Or what about .4mm plastic sheeting??
 

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The problem is that silicone does not adhere well to slate long term, that is why the suggestion was made to insert a piece of glass on top of the slate and then use the silicone to reseal the inside of the tank.

Yes, forgot that part. The silicone will not stick to the slate, very well. Unfortunately, the link to the restoration article no longer works. :(
Try searching this forum for "metaframe", you will see other's ideas.
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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You can't buy the asphaltum anymore. If the slate is compromised then glass is the way to go. Lay a bead around the perimeter and place the glass on top. Squeeze it a touch to seat the glass. After it cures lay a bead between the new bottom glass and the side glass.
The glass should just fit in between the vertical panels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
so....

You can't buy the asphaltum anymore. If the slate is compromised then glass is the way to go. Lay a bead around the perimeter and place the glass on top. Squeeze it a touch to seat the glass. After it cures lay a bead between the new bottom glass and the side glass.
The glass should just fit in between the vertical panels.
Ok so for 6 hours now the metaframe tank has held water all the way to the very top of it... I actually sat it in my bath tub and filled her to the brim lol so I'm currently using my lil sump to pump the water back out :D ok so concerning the groove in the middle of the tank??? I don't really want it unprotected because parts of the slate are flaking off of it anytime you touch it... so I'm wondering if I can simply supper glue a piece of plastic down along the crack to keep the sand and such from causing it to get worse???
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Btw I don't have any glass sheets laying around but I do a old plastic tote lol... I don't even have experience in cutting glass...
 
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