I think that it goes without saying that every aquarist knows that maintaining a sparkling clean tank is not only crucial for the health and happiness of our aquatic friends, but also so much more pleasant to the eye.
And one of the things that’s easiest to deal with is silicone from the aquarium glass. No matter if we’re talking about a brand new tank that has some specks of silicone on it or an old tank where the silicone sealing has started to degrade, we have to take care of it ASAP.
But worry not! Don’t worry, fellow aquarists! I’m here to guide you through the process of removing silicone from aquarium glass without damaging it or harming your fish.
First things first though…
Equip Yourself: Tools you need for the job
Arm yourself with the right tools to get the job done. You might not need all of these, depending on the state and amount of silicone you have to deal with.
- Razor blade
- Glass-friendly scraper tool
- Silicone remover solvent (affiliate link)
- Clean cloth
Now that you have these tools on hand – most of them probably already available in your home, it’s time to start removing the silicone from your aquarium’s glass without damaging the tank.
Noticing white spots on your aquarium’s glass? Read my previous article about this, as it’s probably not silicone!
How to Remove Silicone from Your Aquarium Glass
Use common sense, depending on the situation and take all or just the necessary steps below. It’s ideal to follow them all if you’re unsure, but in some cases, some of the steps below can be skipped.
1. Evacuate the premises: Temporarily relocate your fish and plants, and drain the water from the tank.
This might not always be necessary, depending on the type of job you’re doing. If you’re removing old silicone and sealing the tank again, it’s a must.
However, if you’re only removing bits of silicone from the outside of the tank, you should be safe to do it while there’s still water inside, as long as you only remove the excess silicone and nothing that actually seals the aquarium.
2. Razor precision: Gently slice away as much silicone as you can with a razor blade, taking care not to scratch the glass.
3. Scrape away: Time to switch to your glass-safe scraper tool to eliminate any remaining silicone.
4. Bring in the solvent: Apply the silicone remover solvent to the leftover silicone, adhering to the instructions on the package.
You will most likely need to add the solution onto a cloth and use it to wipe the glass.
Either way, let the solvent work its magic for the recommended time.
5. Wipe it off: Grab a clean cloth and remove the remaining silicone. Make sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. And never spray the solvent into the water!
6. Squeaky clean! Thoroughly wash the glass with warm water and mild soap, ensuring it’s spotless before the next step – which is optional, depending on where the silicone you had to remove was.
7. Fresh silicone: Seal your tank with a new layer of aquarium-specific silicone sealant. This obviously only has to be done if you have removed old silicone from your tank, and not just smudges that were left on the glass.
8. The waiting game: Allow the silicone to cure completely before refilling the tank and reuniting your fish with their upgraded home.
Now might be the best time to do some adjustments to your filtration system and overall setup. Learn if your filter should be under water or not to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Expert Tips and Safety Measures
Have these tips in mind when doing this at home and make sure to take all the necessary precautions to avoid damage to your aquarium’s glass (even a small scratch can end up breaking your aquarium when you fill it with water) or to avoid causing harm to your fellow fish friends.
- When using silicone remover solvents, always wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.
- Choose a glass-friendly scraper tool to avoid scratches. This is extremely important!
- Don’t use sharp objects that could damage the glass.
- Opt for silicone sealants designed specifically for aquarium use.
- Make sure the silicone dries fully before refilling the tank. Make sure to test it outside or in a tub, to make sure that everything is properly sealed.
Although removing silicone from aquarium glass can seem like a chore, with the right approach and tools, you can breeze through it.
Just follow the steps, read the labels on the solvents and sealants, and enjoy the results. Your fish will thank you, and you’ll be one proud fishkeeper with an amazing aquarium to look at.
And since we’re at it, make sure to check out my step by step guide for a planted goldfish aquarium set up, or learn which are the best jars for a jararrium.
Now, if you still have some questions about removing silicone from your fish tank, check out the questions and quick answers below. Hopefully I cover everything you want to know – if not, let me know by commenting below.
1. Can I use a hairdryer to remove silicone from aquarium glass?
No, using a hairdryer to remove silicone from aquarium glass is not recommended, as it can damage the glass.
2. How often should I replace the silicone in my aquarium?
There is no number set in stone. Some silicone might degrade faster than other types. But generally, it’s ommended to replace silicone every 5-7 years or as needed if it appears to be breaking down or becoming discolored.
I have a fish tank that hasn’t seen a single silicone change in over 12 years since I first purchased it and there are no problems with it. So don’t replace the silicone just because 5-7 years have passed, unless you really want to.
Instead, check out if everything is still OK and only replace it when needed.
3. Can I use a silicone remover solvent on plastic parts in my aquarium?
No, silicone remover solvent should not be used on plastic parts in your aquarium, as it can damage or discolor the plastic.
Always check the label of any solvent to ensure it is safe for use on the materials in your aquarium.
4. Is it safe to reuse the old silicone once it has been removed?
No, you should not reuse old silicone once it has been removed. The silicone may have been compromised or damaged during removal, and using it again could lead to leaks or other issues.
5. Can I use vinegar to remove silicone from my aquarium glass?
While vinegar is a natural cleaner and can be effective at removing some types of stains and buildup, it is not recommended to use vinegar to remove silicone from aquarium glass.
Vinegar can damage the glass and may not be effective at removing all of the silicone. Better use a solvent like the one I recommended above – it’s not too expensive, but a lot safer.
And this wraps up today’s article – you should know everything about removing silicone from an aquarium’s glass, no matter if we’re talking about old silicone that has to be replaced or various smudges that were left off there.
If you still have questions or additional advice that you can’t find above, don’t hesitate to comment down below.