After publishing our article going over the best aquarium glue for aquariums, we noticed people reaching out and asking various questions about using hot glue for aquariums and silicone for aquariums.
Both hot glue and silicone can both fill very similar use cases for aquariums helping you fix cracks or customize a tank but many people get confused about their aquarium silicone cure time.
Your aquarium silicone cure time will depend on the specific silicone product that you are able to use as the majority of specialist aquarium silicone products use a different formula to each other right now.
The majority of aquarium silicone products will usually partially cure within twenty four hours and fully cure within seven days but there are a few products that do take longer than this.
In our opinion, the best aquarium silicone on the market right now is ASI Aquarium Silicone that will partially cure within a day of application but not fully cure for around a week in most situations.
This is pretty standard and although a large number of people do apply water to their tanks that they have used their aquarium silicone on after a day or two, it is not recommended as the silicone has not fully cured yet!
Do You Have To Wait 24 Hours For Silicone To Dry In An Aquarium?
Many people within the fish keeping community think that you only have to wait twenty four hours for aquarium silicone to cure but this is not correct.
Most aquarium silicone products will take as long as a week to fully cure and become fully water proof and this is clearly stated on the label of the silicone and in the usage manuals that come with some products.
The confusion comes when people read the partial cure time that is usually twenty four hours but this just means that the product has cured to over ninety percent set. Many people think that this is enough and that the product is safe to add water too but this is not the case.
Depending on the specific type of aquarium silicone that you are using, it will probably not be inert yet until it has fully set, usually after around a week and it may present a potential hazard to your aquarium water parameters.
As the silicone has not fully cured yet it can end up regressing too resulting in it becoming weaker over time if it is submerged with some aquarium silicone products eventually starting to break up and peel off.
How Long Should Silicone Dry Before Adding Water To An Aquarium?
You should always always leave aquarium silicone to dry for as long as is needed for it to fully cure with this time frame clearly displayed on the label of the product.
In most formulas, this is around the seven day point with the formula becoming totally inert and water proof after this time reducing any potential risks or problems once it has fully cured.
There have been a few cases this year alone where people have made posts on social media saying that they have used a certain brand of aquarium silicone and that it never worked when in actual fact, the problem was user error on their part.
Due to the range of aquarium silicone products on the market being so small right now, the fish keeping community usually have a good grasp of the ones that work well when you follow their usage instructions.
When people comment on these posts on social media about how the aquarium silicone that they used didn’t work, they almost always reply saying that they only left the silicone to dry for twenty four hours rather than the full seven days.
As with most things in the fish keeping hobby, products do work well when used correctly but the problem is that many people don’t use the products correctly resulting in them having a range of issues that could otherwise have been avoided.
How To Make Aquarium Silicone Dry Faster In An Aquarium!
Most silicone formulas will dry faster helping to reduce the required curing time if you increase the temperature to them.
This is usually not recommended for aquarium silicone though as it makes it difficult to know when the silicone is fully cured and can be submerged in water as you are tweaking the standard drying time.
As we have covered in our article above, you may end up having problems with the silicone if you submerge it prior to it being fully cured and in the later stages of the drying process, it can be very difficult to work out if the silicone is fully cured or not due to the changes in the texture and consistency being minimal.
Our recommendation will always be to leave the silicone to dry and room temperature for as long as recommended according to the label of the produce.
An exception to this may be if you are working on a large aquascape base and you need your silicone to dry as fast as possible so you are able to start working on the upper layers of the aquascape.
Using the various methods available to make the silicone dry faster may be worth it in this situation as you will usually not be adding water to the tank until your aquacape fixtures are in place usually leaving you plenty of time to make sure that the silicone has fully cured prior to the water being added anyway.
Will Silicone Cure Underwater In An Aquarium?
Silicone will not cure underwater in an aquarium and some silicone formulas can actually regress if they are submerged before they are fully cured.
This can cause the silicone to peel off and potentially put your aquarium at risk if it is being used to seal cracks or keep tank decorations in place with this, unfortunately, being relatively common due to people not letting their silicone cure correctly.
In addition to this, you should only ever be using an aquarium silicone product in your aquarium, not a regular silicone product.
There are a number of potential problems and hazards that normal silicone can pose to your aquarium even if it is fully cured prior to you adding water to the tank so regular silicone should always be avoided as much as possible within the fish keeping hobby.
We know that the aquarium silicone products on the market do tend to be much more expensive than the regular silicone products but there is good reason for this.
It is difficult to make a silicone product that is fully inert and risk free once cured so it takes more time and resources to produce the aquarium safe silicone and thus, they retail for a much higher price point that normal silicone.
What Aquarium Silicone Has The Quickest Cure Time?
The majority of aquarium silicone products have a very similar full cure time to each other right now with most products needing around seven days to fully cure.
There are some products out there that take even longer than this but they are usually designed for use in saltwater tanks rather than freshwater tanks where the silicone needs additional ingredients that take longer for it to cure.
The majority of people really should just be going with ASI Aquarium Silicone or one of the other reputable aquarium silicone products and just accepting that they are going to be having to wait around seven days for their silicone to cure.
We know that there are a number of “hacks” on social media about how you can get the silicone to dry quicker but as we mentioned above, these may work but you still don’t know when the silicone is fully cured and can be submerged so you end up having to wait a week anyway.
We know that more and more people are starting to use non-toxic hot glue over silicone for many jobs in their aquarium due to it having a much shorter cure time too.
In many situations this can work and the non-toxic hot glue can work well but it is not a one for one replacement and there are some tasks where you will still have to use silicone to get the job done correctly.
That brings our article going over the aquarium silicone cure time to an end. There is so much misinformation out there about how aquarium silicone can dry and fully cure in around a day but this is not correct and should be ignored. The label of the majority of aquarium silicone products will clearly show the full cure time and most products will take around seven days to fully cure no matter what you try.