8 Common Reasons Why Aquarium Glass Breaks + How To Fix It

Image of a broken aquarium glass

The thought of aquarium glass breaking is terrifying. But why does aquarium glass break?

Aquarium glass can break if the stand or surface on which it resides isn’t level. An unlevelled surface can put undue pressure on one part of the tank resulting in cracks. Moreover, the other reasons why aquarium glass can break are poor glass thickness, improper cushioning, drilling mishaps, etc.

However, the good thing is that you can fix the cracks on the aquarium glass easily. So, let’s understand the various reasons that can cause aquarium glass to break and ways to fix them.

8 Common Reasons Why Aquarium Glass Breaks

Aquarium glass is made of tempered safety glass.

It has very high strength and durability, but it can break if the pressure exceeds its limit.

The most common reasons for an aquarium glass to break are mentioned below:

  1. Unlevelled base: Improper installation of the aquarium stand can put undue pressure on one part of the tank. This can put excessive stress on the aquarium glass, eventually leading to cracks.
  2. Poor glass thickness: The thickness of the glass determines whether it can withstand the water pressure depending on the depth of the aquarium. If the aquarium glass thickness is poor, it won’t be able to handle high pressures and can shatter.
  3. Low-quality materials: Glass made from low-quality materials can break easily. In addition, they have less resistance to cracking than those manufactured with higher-quality materials.
  4. Improper cushioning: Fish tanks should always have proper cushions and be placed on an even surface. Improper cushioning can lead to uneven distribution of weight and cause damage to the aquarium glass.
  5. Aquarium decorations: Big stones or rocks need to be carefully placed in the aquarium. If these decorations fall accidentally, they can cause cracks in the aquarium glass.
  6. Shifting the tank: Shifting a fish tank with rocks or stones inside can lead to cracks at the bottom of the tank. Hence, it’s advisable to avoid shifting an aquarium with any decorations inside it.
  7. Drilling mishaps: Drilling mishaps can cause cracks at the front, back, or sides of the aquarium glass. You can tape both sides of the glass before drilling to avoid cracks.
  8. Temperature difference: Aquarium glass can crack due to the temperature difference in the tank. It can split if warm water is added to cold aquarium water abruptly or vice versa. However, such incidences are rare.

Recommended Further Reading:

Has Aquarium Glass Ever Broken?

The incidences of aquarium glass breaking are rare.

The most common reason an aquarium glass can break is when something from outside hits the glass or when the tank falls down.

Also, aquarium glass can break while moving the tank from one place to another if proper care is not taken.

Hence, it’s advisable to never move a tank with inhabitants inside it as the risk of accidents increase.

Alright! Not many aquarists have faced the problem of aquarium glass shattering.

However, cracks in aquarium glass are common.

So, let’s understand what happens if the aquarium glass breaks or develops minor cracks.

What Happens When Aquarium Glass Breaks?

The breaking of aquarium glass is a rare incidence. However, it can’t be ruled out entirely.

If the aquarium glass develops a crack, nothing will happen except some water leak through the crack.

It won’t harm the tank inhabitants as long as there is water inside the aquarium.

On the contrary, if the aquarium glass shatters, all the water, tank inhabitants, and decorations inside the tank will spill out.

If someone is around, they can rescue the fish by immediately putting them in a container with non-chlorinated water.

However, if no one is around, then the fish will not survive.

Also, the leaking water can damage the furniture, carpet, etc. If the tank has plants inside it, they will also get damaged.

Moreover, the breaking of the aquarium glass can prove fatal if there are electrical outlets near the tank.

Related Further Reading:

How To Fix A Broken Aquarium Glass?

Often, minor cracks on the aquarium glass go unnoticed until they spread and cause leakage.

If these cracks are severe, they can break the aquarium and cause damage to the tank inhabitants and plants.

Therefore, it’s crucial to repair the aquarium glass right away.

Given below are the steps to fix a broken aquarium glass.

1. Move the tank inhabitants.

If the bottom of the aquarium glass is cracked, you need to first move the tank inhabitants to another container before fixing it.

Give your tank inhabitants an environment that closely resembles the aquarium.

This will ensure that the tank inhabitants feel secure and comfortable.

2. Remove all the aquarium decorations.

After moving the fish, you need to remove all the aquarium decorations along with equipment like filters, heaters, air pumps, etc.

Then drain the water from the aquarium.

Be gentle while draining the water from the aquarium because any undue pressure on the glass can worsen the crack.

3. Remove the old sealant.

It’s better to remove the old sealant as sometimes the old silicone doesn’t bond well with the new sealant.

You can remove the old sealant with a razor blade scraper.

Also, make sure that you don’t scratch the surface of the glass while removing the old sealant.

4. Clean the spot.

Cleaning the spot ensures that the new sealant sticks to the glass properly. It also helps prevent cracks in the future.

You can clean the cracked spot with a clean towel and dampen it with a small amount of acetone.

Also, you need to dry the area thoroughly before applying the new sealant.

5. Seal the crack with aquarium-safe silicone gel.

The next step is to seal the crack with a non-toxic sealant to protect your fish and live plants.

The sealant should be clear and without any fungicide or anti-mold additives.

You can place the silicone gel tube inside a caulking tool.

Then you can apply a thin layer of the gel on the crack from the inside of the tank.

After applying the gel, smoothen it out with a damp finger or caulking tool so that the gel is applied to the crack thoroughly.

It’s crucial that you apply the silicone gel from the inside of the tank to be more effective.

This is because the pressure of the water will help tighten the seal.

If you apply the sealant from the outside of the tank, then the pressure of the water will push the silicone away from the glass, making it loose.

Interesting Further Reading:

6. Dry the sealant.

Once is sealant is applied to the crack, allow it to dry completely for at least 48 hours.

You can even use a heat source like a heat lamp to speed up the drying process.

Once the silicone is set, you can then pour water into the tank.

Wait for a couple of days to make sure that the crack is completely sealed.

Also, avoid putting too much weight on the cracked part of the glass.

If this happens, then the crack may widen.

7. Restore the aquarium.

Once you are sure that the crack is appropriately sealed, you can put back the aquarium decorations and fish into the tank.

Make sure that the decorations and plants are cleaned carefully before placing them back in the tank.

This will ensure that there will be no chance of bacteria transfer between the tanks.

References