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Thread: Tank of Death (Thoughts, and Advice welcome)

  1. #1

    Tank of Death (Thoughts, and Advice welcome)

    Sooooo I'm a little embarrassed to be writing this, but I'm so discouraged with this that I just need to vent and get some advice on how to proceed. Here is the story of how I managed to murder all my wifes prized angelfish. Here it goes:

    So my wife has been really wanting her own tank, we share several tanks, but they have been primarily my responsibility and I have chosen most of the fish. I wanted to get her something really nice so I scoured the interwebs and finally found what I thought was a super good deal on a 125 Gallon Tank with a Cherry wood stand and canopy for $400. I contacted the buyer arranged to pick it up and went out to pick it up.

    When I got there to pick it up the stand and canopy were everything I thought they would be, beautiful super nice, by far the nicest setup I have ever owned. The tank however, was less desirable with several large scratches on most of the panes, and even worse the silicon was probably the worst reseal job I've ever seen. It had clearly been resealed and whoever did it must have just cut a pinhole in the tip of the silicon tube and then ran the skinniest little round bead you ever saw, they didn't even bother to smooth it. The owner promised that it was holding water and that she had never resealed it. I should have walked away at this point, but the stand and canopy were so nice and I figured with some water the scratches won't be that noticeable and I can do a quick reseal no problem. The $400 dollar price tag was just to tempting so I went for it.

    I brought it home showed it proudly to the wife who loved it and I earned massive brownie points!! So far so good.

    At this point I did test the tank and it did hold water, however I wasn't about to trust that wimpy bead in my house with 125 gallons of water on our hardwood floors. So I carefully removed all of the old silicon and cleaned the glass wiped it down with vinegar and then masked it for a reseal. I wanted to make sure that the silicon would be strong enough for such a large tank so after some googling and interwebs researching I ordered some Momentive RTV108 for the reseal. I've resealed smaller tanks in past using GE products from Home Depot etc with no trouble, but I wasn't confident they would be strong enough.

    Anyhow, the reseal went well a bit uglier than I would have liked, but I got it done waited 48 hours, and filled it for a water test. Water test passed with no problem and I moved it into the house.

    At this point, my wife took over and added black sand plants driftwood the whole shebang and everything looks awesome by far the best looking tank in the whole house. I setup two fluval 406 filters on it, one fully mature from the 55 it was replacing and a new one for additional filtration. We added all of my wife's angelfish 6 or so large adults that we have had for years, 5 cories, a 5 inch BN that I've had for a few years, and a school of black neon tetras.


    Tank looked awesome! My wife was super happy with and everything was bliss. Then after about 2 weeks I noticed the the angelfish starting losing their appetite, I wasn't overly concerned because they were still eating some and I had just switched to using Kens Fish food and I figured they were just being difficult about switching since I seem to get that reaction when I switch new foods sometimes it takes a bit for them to decide they like it. But one by one they completely stopped eating and then no matter what I did started dropping off after a few died I pulled out the remaining fish into some of my other tanks and they still died. They never started eating again, and we lost all of the them, plus the pleco. The neons oddly enough are still doing fine after I removed them.

    Anyhow, needless to say we were pretty bummed out about the fish some of which we've had for 3.5 years at this point the oldest angel had moved with us 3 times all the way from TN actually. So, now what to do? I'm just discouraged with it so at this point I've just shut it all down and left it sitting full of water. Well it is evaporating slowly, but anyhow.

    I want to get my wife a tank setup again, but I'm not sure the best thing to do at this point. The only thing I can think of is that I didn't wait long enough for the silicon to cure, but I'm unsure of what to do about it if that's the case. Can I drain the tank remove all the sand clean it out and then let it cure now after it's been full of water this whole time? Do I need to replace the substrate as well if I do that or is there some way to rinse it? How can I be sure it is fixed if I do that/trust it without losing any other nice fish. :(

    I don't want to reseal the tank, but that is a possibility. Although if I'm going to do that I'd rather find a new tank that is less scratched.

    Anyhow, thoughts opinions? Water parameters were perfect the whole time never had any spikes or anything.

  2. #2
    I read through the material safety data sheet, and it says that the silicone is compatible with items intended to be eaten, so that's good. I did see that it takes 3 days to cure at a room temp of about 77*F.

    Is it possible that some of the acetic acid released during the process may have caused a pH crash? Beneficial bacteria will become a lot less efficient, and even go dormant, at water pHs below 6, and you can have some of the same ill effects as putting fish in an uncycled tank.

  3. #3
    I second Heather on the cure time. I am looking to reseal and replace the top frame for a 120 high that I found for $200 on CL. I plan to use SCS1200 and have read on the MSDS that for it to be FDA food safe the cure time is 14 days.

  4. #4
    Board Of Directors Pierre's Avatar
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    I had a similar issue where my fish were lethargic from a very small amount of silicon in a 75G. I would remove the seal and replace it with what I have been using: you can find it at graybar in Norcross: Clear RTV from Pro Seal. Part # 80067. No need to replace substrate. I'd add cheap fish and see how they behave after 1 week.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
    I had a similar issue where my fish were lethargic from a very small amount of silicon in a 75G. I would remove the seal and replace it with what I have been using: you can find it at graybar in Norcross: Clear RTV from Pro Seal. Part # 80067. No need to replace substrate. I'd add cheap fish and see how they behave after 1 week.
    Acetic acid will drop the pH and can mess up the filter. But what you describe doesn't sound like ammonia to me. No red gills, no gasping at the surface, no biggest fish dying first, no recovery after removing fish from tank. If it were disease, other fish would've gotten sick, too. Nor does it sound like pH shock, that kills overnight and angels are tolerance of pretty low pH when changes are slow. There are things that kill fish that humans don't mind, copper for one. Anything not harmful to people won't show up on the msds and ingredients aren't required to be listed for sealants. Although something released in curing could potentially be gone by now, I would not put fish in the tank until it is replaced or resealed with something labelled aquarium safe.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Wow thanks for all of the input guys. I'll try to sort of address everyones comments in one response here.


    So it seems pretty clear to me that at the very least that in part if not wholly my issue is related to me foolishly not reading the cure time for the silicon. However, I'm not sure how to atone for this precisely. It seems to me that the silicon would still cure if I drained the water and let it dry out for a while?? I'm just not sure how to test the water for this, I'm not opposed to using a "canary fish" as Pierre has suggested since I certainly don't want to risk anything of value.


    Regarding the aquarium "safeness" of the Momentive RTV108 I feel quite confident that it is aquarium safe as this is something I researched pretty thouroughly online. There are quite a few forums and sites you can find that recommend it. I also searched on amazon, and if you read the reviews for the product over 50% of them are positive reviews from aquarium folks. https://www.amazon.com/Momentive-RTV...s&pageNumber=1


    My concern is two fold one is can I fix my mistake of not giving enough cure time without resealing the tank? The second, is what if the issue is something else as well and how the heck do I figure out what that is? My fish died slowly over at least a month period, and even after I removed them to other tanks they did not pick their appetite back up instead they just starved until they died. One thing I forgot to mention before is that it seemed like as they got sick and lost their appetites the belly area would seem to swell up a bit. I'm not sure if that's significant, but other than that they didn't show any outward signs and some seemed to show that a lot more than others. The angelfish that lasted the longest were the biggest oldest ones, and other than them my pleco was the only loss, the cories and tetras are still doing just fine, but they never showed any problems although I did remove them, but not until the very end when all the other fish were already dead. Primarily because they are just so hard to catch and I didn't remove them until I was sure I was breaking/shutting the tank down for a bit.


    If it is something like copper or some other evil substance that my typical water tests don't look for is there a way to check for that stuff?

  7. #7
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    "My concern is two fold one is can I fix my mistake of not giving enough cure time without resealing the tank? The second, is what if the issue is something else as well and how the heck do I figure out what that is? My fish died slowly over at least a month period, and even after I removed them to other tanks they did not pick their appetite back up instead they just starved until they died. One thing I forgot to mention before is that it seemed like as they got sick and lost their appetites the belly area would seem to swell up a bit. I'm not sure if that's significant, but other than that they didn't show any outward signs and some seemed to show that a lot more than others. The angelfish that lasted the longest were the biggest oldest ones, and other than them my pleco was the only loss, the cories and tetras are still doing just fine, but they never showed any problems although I did remove them, but not until the very end when all the other fish were already dead. Primarily because they are just so hard to catch and I didn't remove them until I was sure I was breaking/shutting the tank down for a bit."

    longshot response- but reading these details, it sounds to me like internal parasites could be a possible culprit (symptoms of: swollen bellies, lack of appetite, slow death by starvation- death even after being moved out of the culprit tank, oldest and healthiest survived longest) I know that this would seem less likely given that it sounds like the majority of the fish were already in your care, but is it possible that some of the fish you introduced (or i guess even plants or substrate hypothetically) were carrying something? I'm a little confused by this potential as it sounds like the only thing you may have added that weren't already yours would be the cories or tetras- and both are still living...so idk about that... but I guess you could've had tapeworm eggs or something in the substrate or on the plants that the angels and pleco picked off and subsequently died from... It does seem like the silicone would be a more likely answer, but given that you seem to have determined it was relatively safe for the fish, trying to come up with other possible answers. I suppose you could've already had fish that were carrying a parasite load (as many fish do, without adverse symptoms) but they didn't succumb to them until (possible) ph drop caused by uncured silicone impacted their health, and this combo caused them to die...

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