Injection method - Rimless build

Bill Nye

New member
I am going to attempt to reconstruct a Mr Aqua 48x18x18 rimless aquarium that I tore down because it had two broken side panels when I purchased it (unbeknownst to me). I was doing some research prior to trying to put the aquarium together and came across the injection method. For those who are not familiar, the aquarium is braced with the appropriate gap (a toothpick used as a guide) and then silicone is forced into the gap. Some people seem to use a bar brace to squeeze the panels together once they've completed the silicone job.

I haven't read much about this method compared to the normal way of adding silicone then placing the panel but it seems easier to create bubble free silicone beads this way. I was hoping someone with more experience than me could chime in and let me know if this will work. I also am planning on not resting the sides on top of the bottom pane of glass as that is how the aquarium was originally constructed so I'm a bit confused how I can apply silicone in this way without it sticking to the drop cloth under the aquarium.

Thank you for any assistance or advice you can provide.
 

JohnL

RC Staff
Staff member
Admin
I can't offer any advice but I'm interested to see how it turns out. Please keep us updated. Good luck. ?
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
I am going to attempt to reconstruct a Mr Aqua 48x18x18 rimless aquarium that I tore down because it had two broken side panels when I purchased it (unbeknownst to me). I was doing some research prior to trying to put the aquarium together and came across the injection method. For those who are not familiar, the aquarium is braced with the appropriate gap (a toothpick used as a guide) and then silicone is forced into the gap. Some people seem to use a bar brace to squeeze the panels together once they've completed the silicone job.

I haven't read much about this method compared to the normal way of adding silicone then placing the panel but it seems easier to create bubble free silicone beads this way. I was hoping someone with more experience than me could chime in and let me know if this will work. I also am planning on not resting the sides on top of the bottom pane of glass as that is how the aquarium was originally constructed so I'm a bit confused how I can apply silicone in this way without it sticking to the drop cloth under the aquarium.

Thank you for any assistance or advice you can provide.


A few thoughts assuming I get what you are talking about:

The toothpicks are going to become a pain. They will be in the way of that "bubble free" silicone bead so I think an exit strategy for removing them cleanly needs to be well thought out before moving forward. You certainly don't want a weak spot where they were.

I'm not sure why people would squeeze the panels together after doing this type of effort. Unless you are really good with a caulking gun, I'm not sure a clean seam is more likely with this method. I would do it just if I wanted that clean fat seam look. German tanks made by Juwel always had a fat silicone bead between the panes and they were considered the best back in the day (but they were not rimless).

If you know of any printing shops around you that do pressure sensitive labels, just ask them for a butt-roll of paper stock. They'll likely give it to you for nothing. The paper has a liner with a silicone face that will work great as your drop cloth and nothing will stick to it. Just peel off the face paper (what the "label" would have been cut from) and throw that away.
 

Crit21

Active member
I rebuilt a 180 years ago. If you're rebuilding an existing tank, you need to completely clean the edges to be joined of all traces of old silicone. That means thoroughly scraping with a razor blade, then removing residue with a solvent (I used mineral spirits), then cleaning with alcohol. Silicone doesn't bond well with old silicone. Due to the weight of the glass, I had to use spacers to ensure enough silicone remained in the joint. Toothpicks are a bit thick. I'd recommend straight pins or similar thickness wire (phone cable wire?). You can try to inject silicone after you pull the pins with a syringe and a wide needle that will fit between the pieces. Also, keep in mind that you'll be sealing the joint with a fillet of acrylic inside the tank (use painter's tape to ensure a clean edge).

As far as bubbles in the joint, no one will ever notice it. They'll be tiny, and most people put a piece of trim along the bottom anyway.
 

Bill Nye

New member
Thank you for all the responses.

I don't think I explained how this method works very well. Essentially the toothpick is used to set the appropriate gap between glass plates and afterwards it is held in place by corner clamps so the toothpick would be removed prior to silicone being applied.

The tank itself has been torn down and cleaned for years at this point. I used a razor blade and alcohol to clean everything off but I will reclean it once I get ready to put it together. After doing some further research I may just go the traditional route as it seems a lot easier to keep things square when you aren't resting any of the glass pieces on the bottom panel. With this method I would imagine there will still be silicone that leaks down through the bottom of the aquarium that will adhere whatever you are resting the aquarium on while working on it so I may research paper stock to see if I can find that anywhere. Either way I will update this thread with my success or lack there of afterwards. I ordered some SCS1200 that won't arrive till Sunday so I will probably give it a try next weekend.
 

schabiazabi

New member
Use your own imagination when building anything. Be creative. If you are afraid the silicon will stick to the bottom, use masking tape to cover the hole. Use masking tape to cover the hole on the side panels as well. Test with it. Best is to cut few small pieces of glass and play with it as a dry run. You will see some things take time and different approaches. Masking tape alone is going to give you tons of trouble. You put the tape too close to the glass and silicon will lift off with the tape. You put it too far, it will look ugly. What happens when you squeeze the panels? When do you squeeze them? Do you even squeeze them? When to remove the tape? 2 glasses for the bottom? Practice will help you.

Not resting the panels on the bottom vs resting them if the glass was already cut screws everything up. When you don't rest the panels on the bottom, the back and front panel is longer than the bottom panel in order to make nice visual from the front and back. If you change that, the side walls edges are not visible from the front and back. Go out and find yourself 1/4 inch glass someone on fakebook or junkyard (don't pay these idiotic prices). Cut it up and build yourself a 5 g tank for free. You will see what it takes.

Remember, silicon or glue for that matter has the biggest strength when there is less glue than more.
 
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