In a perfect world, it’s a product that you wouldn’t need to buy. However, sometimes you must get aquarium silicone if your tank develops a leak. It can happen with an older tank where the sealant cracks with age. Perhaps, you want to make a custom aquarium and wants something to seal the glass panels together reliably.
Silicone has many applications outside of using it for your fish tank. They range from kitchen utensils to insulation to even Silly Putty. These uses mean that not all products are the same. What you can use in the garage is not necessarily the same one you can use on your aquarium. Our guide will discuss the different items available, along with reviews of what you can find.
We’ll explain what aquarium silicone is and how to apply it for the best results from emptying the tank to putting the fish back inside of it.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant||
|Best Value||ASI Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant||
|Premium Choice||Dap All-Purpose Adhesive Sealant||
|Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant||
|Aquascape Black Silicone Sealant||
The 6 Best Aquarium Silicones – Reviews 2023
1. Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant – Best Overall
The Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant has a lot going for it. It’s affordable and comes in a size for small jobs to reduce waste. The product works as described with a 48-hour curing time. It’s easy to work with and has a closure that can extend its useful period. It comes in both clear and black to match the use. On the downside, there are some quality control issues with packaging.
The product works well with glass, but you can’t use it on acrylic. That takes it off the table for customized setups. However, it’s only a dealbreaker in those cases. Otherwise, the sealant does the job well.
2. ASI Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant – Best Value
If you’ve got a big job or are making a customized tank, the ASI Clear Aquarium Silicone Sealant is the best aquarium silicone for the money. You’ll have enough sealant to take care of a large tank or several with one purchase with the 10-ounce tube. It has a long tube for getting into corners without worrying about messing up the line of the bead. It comes in both clear and black, too.
3. Dap All-Purpose Adhesive Sealant – Premium Choice
If you’ve worked in the construction industry or have done DIY projects, the name of this manufacturer is undoubtedly familiar to you. Its reputation in that field is sometimes less than a stellar statement about the user. As an aquarium silicone, it ticks off the right boxes. It is labeled for this use, which we appreciate to differentiate it from other products in the company’s line.
The highlights of this sealant are that it’s food-safe for a variety of projects, and it works on acrylic, too. The fact that it is a one-time-use-only silicone puts it squarely in the dealbreaker category.
4. Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant
The manufacturers of the Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant do it right. Yes, it’s a product to use on fish tanks. However, it is also appropriate for a plethora of other applications, yet it’s labeled to reflect its safety for aquariums to avoid any confusion. The downside is that you can’t use it for tanks bigger than 30 gallons because of the lack of tensile strength.
On the positive side, you’ll get your money’s worth out of your purchase because of its versatility. Unfortunately, the packing is lacking, which makes that second use questionable.
5. Aquascape Black Silicone Sealant
The name of the Aquascape Black Silicone Sealant tells you upfront what you need to know. This product comes in two sizes, 4.7 and 10.1 ounces. Both are too much for small jobs. It comes in both clear and black. There are two caps, which we appreciated to at least get the most out of storing it in-between uses.
On the downside, the two available sizes are too big for a small job so that you will waste a lot of product. It does have a second cap, which we appreciated.
6. MarineLand Aquarium Silicone Sealant
The MarineLand Aquarium Silicone Sealant was the only product we reviewed that came in a 1-ounce tube. That is so convenient if you’re repairing a small leak. It only comes in clear, which is a bummer if you need something different. The product worked as described, although it is expensive for having it available in this size.
The silicone is only available in clear, which is too bad if the sealant is a part of the design. The cap and consistency of the product are not the best. You’ll likely have a mess on your hands if you handle it improperly.
Let’s begin by discussing what silicone is. Essentially, it is a chemical compound or polymer consisting of silicon and oxygen. It gets its tensile strength from the addition of silica. The material is an excellent choice for fish tanks for several reasons. Silicone is one of the few compounds that form durable bonds to the glass. The seals are watertight, too.
Aquarium silicone dries clear once it’s done curing. Aesthetically, that makes it very pleasing for creating a natural-looking aquatic environment. However, you’ll also find it in several colors for similar uses. The essential thing to understand is that not all products are suitable for aquarium use. Sealants used for other purposes, such as plumbing, may contain additives that are harmful to fish and plants.
Things to consider when buying aquarium silicone include:
You may think that this factor is a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. You’ll find silicone in several retail outlets other than pet stores. You may even see some marked waterproof for bathroom use. Products that aren’t meant for aquarium use might contain other additives like fungicides. The problem is that they may leach chemicals into the water that are toxic for fish.
Remember that the tank is your fishes’ environment. You’re in control. That means that you have to ensure that nothing is potentially harmful gets into the water. After all, that’s why you have a filter for your aquarium to keep it clean and a siphon to drain out the debris in the gravel occasionally.
Fortunately, you’ll find silicone that specifies that it’s safe for aquarium. Products meant for ponds are suitable, too. A pond is essentially a large aquarium, typically with goldfish or koi. Make sure that you get one that is labeled for either use.
The fact remains that this type of sealant requires time to cure and harden while still retaining some degree of flexibility. Yes, it is a pain to drain the tank, set up a place for your fish, and get it going again. Depending on the formulation, you can expect it to take anywhere from 24 hours to several days. We strongly urge you to wait for the recommended time.
Don’t rush it. Otherwise, your aquarium may leak if it doesn’t have the proper seal.
Ease of Use
This consideration covers a lot of bases. First, think about how much silicone you need for the job. It’s a critical factor when choosing the right size.
How Much Do You Need?
You don’t need 10 ounces of the stuff if there is only a small leak. There’s the cost difference, but there is also the waste. Silicone probably isn’t something you use every day. The tube will likely dry out before you need it again.
Look at the Applicator
Second, look at the applicator. Silicone is messy. There’s no way of getting around it. We appreciate it if manufacturers at least try to make the best of it. The good news is that you have time to make it right since it doesn’t dry right away. That’s a good thing about the curing time. It gives you time to work. We suggest reading the fine print about specs like drying time and shelf life.
One-time vs Multiple-use
Also, find out if it’s a one-time use an only product or one that you can use multiple times. This feature plays right into the ease of use. Bear in mind that the sealant will expand due to temperature differences. If you’re storing it in the garage, it might become unusable. Because of this variability, we recommend getting aquarium silicone in a size that is appropriate for the job.
The Odor Issue
We also have to address the elephant in the room. Silicone stinks, but some products are worse than others. Manufacturers try to make it less unpleasant. Rest assured that it doesn’t last. It’s usually only noticeable when you apply it. If it really bothers you, do the work outside so that it’s not an issue. Besides, the better light can help you apply it correctly. Make lemonade out of lemons.
Most often, you’ll see aquarium sealants available as clear only. Many people use it for other projects, like vivariums. Therefore, you may also find it in other colors, most often black. It is useful for creating borders and distinct lines that are attractive for customized projects. However, that also means you must take care in its application.
Using something other than clear puts the spotlight on your job. Just saying.
Using Aquarium Sealant
While the packaging and applicator look user-friendly, the use is more involved. The fact is that you must start with a clean slate. We are talking about leaks. Don’t skimp on it. Remember what is involved with the process, like emptying the tank, displacing your fish… Here are four tips for using aquarium sealant:
In our opinion, the best aquarium silicone for the buck is Aqueon Silicone Aquarium Sealant. The price is right in a size that is convenient for small jobs. It’s easy to use in a size that is ideal if you just have a little leak to fix. It is easy to use without an offensive odor. It’s a cheap and quick fix. The essential thing is to do it right. Use the right product. Apply it properly. Give it time.
For more info on Aquarium gear, check out these posts:
Featured Image: TIPAKORN MAKORNSEN, Shutterstock