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Re: Aquarium lifespan

Eric writes:

>  My 55g is approaching 15 years of service, and I have never had any major 
>  problems.  However, I am seeing some of the silicone sealant on the 
>  (a thin bead inside a small bevel) fray and break off.  I am under the 
>  assumption this is from years of cleaning.
>      I was wondering: Is there a typical lifespan on silicone sealants, or 
>  there a suggested frequency on refurbishment of the aquarium?  Or is the 
>  lifespan of aquarium sealants indefinite?  

I suspect we have not yet reached the lifespan on the earliest "all-glass" 
tanks.  I have an 18-gallon Metaframe that dates way back.  It still works 
just fine.  There are silicone window caulks that are guaranteed for 50 
years.  That should give us a clue about its resilience.

The stuff peeling off on the outside of the tank won't afffect the strength 
of the tank.  Having built a number of them, and repaired even more, I am 
convinced that the strength of the sealant lies in that thin layer between 
the side of one pane and the end of the other.  That is also the part of the 
sealant that is not exposed to atmosphere or water.  I do know for sure that 
the thinner that layer is, the stronger the bond.  I don't understand it, I 
just accept it after observing over and over again.

Bob Dixon