Whether you’re repairing a leak or creating a customized setup, silicone is a must-have for your aquarium. Silicone is a catch-all term for a group of synthetic materials used in various applications. Using it on an aquarium is just one of the many uses. Many chemical properties make it an excellent choice. It is water-resistant and chemically inert, but it won’t react with other compounds.
The most important thing to remember is to get a product that is safe for aquariums specifically. You should determine whether it’s safe for your setup depending on if you have fresh, brackish, or salt water. Our guide covers everything you need to know, along with reviews of available products to help you make a wise purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant||
|Best Value||Midwest Hearth Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant||
|Premium Choice||Fluval Sea Epoxy Stick Fish Sealant||
|Instant Ocean HoldFast Epoxy Stick||
|Aquascape Black Silicone Aquarium Sealant||
The 8 Best Aquarium Silicones
1. Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant – Best Overall
|Curing tim:||48 hours|
|Available sizes:||3 and 10.3-ounce tubes|
Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant is our pick for the best overall aquarium silicone. It comes in clear and black, although the latter is nearly three times more costly than the former. The clear product is affordably priced, adding to its value for a small job. The sealant creates strong, permanent bonds. It is suitable for freshwater and saltwater tanks.
It comes in 3 and 10.3-ounce sizes, and the smaller one is ideal for fixing leaks. While you can use it on glass tanks, you can’t apply it on acrylic aquariums. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is imperative to get a reliable seal. However, that’s not a reflection of the company but merely the nature of these products.
2. Midwest Hearth Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant – Best Value
|Curing tim:||24–48 hours|
|Available sizes:||2-ounce tube|
The value of Midwest Hearth Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant is in the amount you get for the money. The price is something we usually see with tubes much smaller. That makes this product the best aquarium silicone for the money. It also offers excellent adhesion that makes it something you can use for other projects after you fix your tank.
The product is easy to use. It sets in after roughly 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to work. The silicone is clear and dries that way, too. You should use it in a well-ventilated area since the smell is strong, though.
3. Fluval Sea Epoxy Stick Fish Sealant – Premium Choice
|Color:||Clear; dries light green|
|Curing tim:||24 hours in water; 48 hours outside of the tank|
|Available sizes:||4-ounce tube|
The Fluval Sea Epoxy Stick Fish Sealant is an excellent choice for gluing your tank’s decor in place. It is easy to use and malleable. It’s also safe to use with aquarium fish and reptiles. The curing time is relatively fast if you use it in water. Otherwise, it’s the 48 hours you’d expect from similar products. While you can use it in freshwater tanks, we can see it as being especially useful in saltwater tanks with coral.
It’s essential to clean the surfaces of any items on which you want to use it on. Again, that’s not unique to this product but par for the course with these products in general. It is relatively pricey, but it’s not out of line for what it does. It’s probably a better value for smaller tanks than large ones.
4. Instant Ocean HoldFast Epoxy Stick
|Curing tim:||30 minutes|
|Available sizes:||4-ounce stick|
Instant Ocean HoldFast Epoxy Stick is a unique take on holding things in place. Instead of a gel, it’s a solid stick that you break off exactly how much you need. Friction is what activates the product. It’s convenient to use and gives you time to plan the placement of your tank’s decor. Its name is appropriate since it sticks within 30 minutes. That’s a far cry from other items that take 48 hours. It’s also safe for freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
The product is for your decor items instead of glass. It won’t adhere to this material. It works well and dries to an unobtrusive white color. It is pricey, but you may find it a worthwhile choice for your specific needs.
5. Aquascape Black Silicone Aquarium Sealant
|Curing tim:||24 hours|
|Available sizes:||7 and 10.1-ounce tubes|
Aquascape Black Silicone Aquarium Sealant may have limited uses, but it does its job well. It works on various surfaces, from glass to metal to rock. You can use it to lock your decor in place or to repair leaks if the color works for your tank. It’s marketed for ponds because of its color and UV resistance. However, it also is appropriate for aquariums.
You can use this product for other projects where you need strong and reliable adhesion. That adds to its value. If you’ve used clear sealant, you should know that this version dries quicker. Nevertheless, we recommend testing its adhesion before filling the pond or aquarium. You should only apply it in a ventilated area since the odor is somewhat overpowering.
6. DAP All-Purpose Adhesive Sealant
|Curing tim:||24 hours|
|Available sizes:||8-ounce tube|
If you’re a DIYer or contractor, you’ll definitely recognize the manufacturer’s name of DAP All-Purpose Adhesive Sealant. It’s the duct tape of these industries. That sums up its use for aquariums, too. You can also put it on acrylic tanks, and you can apply it to freshwater or saltwater aquariums. Considering its other applications, this product is appropriately named.
The product comes in a small size. Like similar sealants, it has an odor that some may find offensive.
7. MarineLand Aquarium Silicone Sealant
|Curing tim:||24 hours|
|Available sizes:||1-ounce tube|
MarineLand Aquarium Silicone Sealant is an excellent choice if you need a small tube for a quick repair. That makes the product stand out since many manufacturers don’t offer this size. However, you can justify the higher price per ounce with less waste from using a one-time product. It only comes in clear, but we didn’t think it was a con. The convenience of this size trumps it.
It’s not the most user-friendly packaging, but we can attribute it to its small size. It’s versatile, but you can only use it once. Just make sure to follow the label’s directions.
8. Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant
|Curing tim:||48 hours|
|Available sizes:||7-ounce tube|
Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant is a versatile product that is safe for use in aquariums, as long as they aren’t bigger than 30 gallons. That is a red flag for us since we haven’t seen this particular warning for comparable products. It speaks to an issue of the limitation of its tensile strength. Nevertheless, we see the usual claims of versatility and its waterproof capability.
The curing time is the same as most sealants. It’s value-priced but may have limited applications. However, it is safe for aquariums.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Aquarium Silicone
Aquarium silicone has several helpful uses. Its strength and bonding power are paramount. Many hobbyists have glass tanks. They work well but are also vulnerable to chips. That brings sealants to the forefront. It can also connect decor and attach it to the aquarium. Silicone makes these uses possible and adds to its versatility for other projects. Things to consider when buying it include:
Most sealants are clear. That makes them suitable for any project where color can affect its aesthetics. We also found these products are cheaper, presumably without the use of dyes that can add to the cost. It’s fitting when we consider its use. Silicone isn’t meant to stand out in an aquarium. Its purpose is to fade into the background. The only time we look at color is if it’s part of the look we want to create.
Ease of Use
Applying silicone sealant isn’t the hardest task in the world. However, it requires precision to get it right. Many complaints about products often boil down to user error. Therefore, we suggest reading the instructions and following them to the tee. That starts with a clean surface. It’s like paint in that if you don’t prepare the walls properly, it won’t stick and will make the job even more challenging.
You have wiggle room when using silicone. It doesn’t dry on contact. Nevertheless, you only want to seal a tank once. You can easily scrape off any existing product with a razor blade. Make sure to wipe the area with a damp cloth and let it dry before proceeding. These simple steps can make silicone much easier to use.
It’s worth noting that you must empty the tank and temporarily house the fish if you’re using silicone on an existing aquarium. There’s no way around that part. It’s probably the most challenging thing about repairing a leak. We suggest making it as manageable as possible for your fish. Use some of the water to fill the second tank to minimize their stress.
You must wait before you can fill the aquarium after sealing it. The cure time is usually around 24–48 hours. However, the amount you apply and the relative humidity of the room can affect the actual wait time. The product label will provide information about the ideal conditions for using it. We strongly urge you to follow them. You should also test the area to ensure the silicone is completely set. A finger test will do.
The bead shouldn’t feel sticky but solid. If it’s still tacky, let it dry for a few more hours. It’s far better to play it safe and wait than rush the job.
Silicone is a lot like Super Glue. Sometimes, you only get one use out of a tube once it’s opened. We recommend getting the smallest size to complete the task unless you know beforehand that you’ll need more. You likely find that the silicone is unusable if you store it in an unheated garage. You’ll find that most manufacturers have multiple sizes available. Besides, you’ll save money in the long run by only buying what you need.
Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant is our pick from all our reviews as the best overall product. It gets the job done with a lot less fuss. The only downside is not using it for acrylic aquariums. Midwest Hearth Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant is an excellent value for the price, considering how much product you get. It’s versatile, so it’s something you can use to complete several projects with one tube. Of all these reviews, we’re confident that you’ll be able to find at least one that works for your specific project.
Featured Image Credit: Hedgehog94, Shutterstock