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Safely gluing stone to plexiglass

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:37 am
by ljapa
Years ago, I made an ATBA out of plexiglass I cut myself for a 20 gallon long and then another for a 55 gallon tank. Years later, I upgraded to a 155 gallon, and I’ve kept the same 55 gallon ATBA, supported by 2x4’s.

I’m finally ready to build a much nicer one for the tank. I’m going to order pre-cut and routed plexiglass.

For the ramps on the first two, I used shower tile formed from small glass or stone tiles on a mesh backing. I think I superglued the mesh to the plexiglass.

Over the years, some of the stone has fallen off, though it’s still serviceable.

It strikes me that the glues used in that may not be as safe as I’d like, so I’m looking for recommendations. I’m thinking of just individually gluing stone. What glue do I use?

Are their better alternatives?

I may still go with the tile, because in the seven years we’ve had Tobie, fish and shrimp, I’ve noticed no issues.

Re: Safely gluing stone to plexiglass

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:03 pm
by litefoot
Some only use a type that clearly states for aquarium use only ! In my research of (MSDS’s) most silicone’s are a safe polymer with virtually no toxic effects to the environment or my turtles. I always look deeper ( material safety data sheets required by law in the US ) than what marketing tells me. Doing good homework (research) goes a long way in this hobby. It’s the chemicals used in them to keep them liquid/soft . Ever notice the smell when you open them. Most hobbiest stick in the water to fast . Not even letting them skin over , that’s bad. Once “fully cured” the smell (chemicals) will offgas and is safe. Due to different chemicals in different products that “cure” time may be 24hrs or longer . Let it cure properly and most all are safe. There are only a few I would not use those are the type’s that has chemicals in them so to be fuel safe , I stay away from them. It is stated on the label if for fuel use. An aquarium safe type just cost more ( marketing) than a regular silicone that offgas too. My opinion based on my research. Do homework to double check me for peace of mind is always good. See the research yourself to help you decide. I like DAP products ( 100% silicone) give longer working time.

What about using natural cork as a ramp last for decades. Easy to work with.

Re: Safely gluing stone to plexiglass

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:25 pm
by ljapa
I agree with you on silicone, both using aquarium safe with anti-fungal additives and waiting for it to fully cure.

The problem is that I don’t think silicone bonds to plexiglass.

Re: Safely gluing stone to plexiglass

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:08 am
by litefoot
Knowing what you have for sure is key!
Acrylic / Lexan is a polycarbonate and Plexiglas is based on a polymethyl methacrylate. Big difference.
Silicone adhesive for me works on Plexiglas well and has longevity and strength under pressure. For Acrylic and Lexan silicone is not well under pressure but as long as "no" load on it silicone adhesive works for them too! Acrylic and Lexan has a "special blend" for pressure use. Watch labels carefully !

I used silicone adhesive on plexiglass , to give grip to a ramp , I spread all over the plexiglass with my finger then used a cheap floor trowel to make ridges on it for better grip. ... 1000290227
Today being an old man cork is easier for me. Just don't have the patience any more and keep everything simple.

Also watch labels for silicone , sold as silicone for a filler and others silicone "adhesive" for pressure ! Big difference there too ! Read carefully on how it's marketed ! Yes regular silicone is sticky and holds for a little while but "silicone adhesive" will last decades. Make sure the plexiglass surface is cleaned well for any glue /adhesive to work.

Todays technology has everything specialized even glues....