Is the Common Super Glue Aquarium Safe?

There are a lot of things in an aquarium that requires fixing. We love to decorate aquariums into a beautiful home for our fish.

But there are some common issues aquarium owners face. The plants that are usually put in the aquarium tank do not stay in one place.

Then there are other decorations that need to be set in one place like reefs, rocks, and gravels, etc.

This often makes aquarium owners wonder whether they can you super glue in their aquariums or not and whether if it’s safe for the fish

If you’re also wondering this, yes the common super glue is quite safe to use in aquariums. I would say that not only is it safe for your freshwater or marine aquarium fishes, but it is also the best way to fix and decorate your aquariums.

How does the common super glue work?

The most active ingredient found in the common super glue is cyanoacrylate. This chemical forms a stable and strong bond with water.

The presence of moisture makes it inert, polymerizing the glue in about 30 to 45 seconds. The water essentially here acts as an accelerant/catalyst in the curing process.

How efficient is the common super glue for an aquarium?

The common super glue is very easy to use and is an excellent choice for arranging the decorations in an aquarium. It also helps the plants to stay fixed in one place.

Super glue is a type of fast bonding, high strength adhesive that will bond to almost any material.

It is valued for its resistance to temperature and moisture. It can be used on stones, rocks, metalwork, plastic, glass, and most other common substances that are found in aquariums.

While super glue can be used within an aquarium, it’s not a good option for sealing your tank walls. This is due to its rigid nature. It is unable to maintain a seal due to the microscopic gaps that it forms.

The end result is that your tank will not hold water very well. This can also lead to water leaking.

The common super glue is also not very efficient in those areas of the tank that have flexing. Due to its rigid nature, once polymerized, it will not have elasticity.

An aquarium safe silicone sealant is what you have to use for sealing.

What to look for in glue before using it for aquarium

There are a few considerations or aspects of glue that you need to keep in mind before using glue for your aquarium.

Let us understand briefly about the qualities that an aquarium safe glue must have:

It must have a good drying property

The superglue should be such that it dries quickly within seconds.

It gets really hard to hold the pieces together while waiting for the glue to dry. Thankfully, most of the common super glues dry up fast.

It must be safe to use with plants and fish

The glue must be rated safe to use underwater.

You certainly do not want a glue that will harm your plants and fish. Anything that releases harmful chemicals into the water must be avoided.

It should have a good thickness

The glue that you use to fix your decorations in the aquarium needs to have a good thickness. Thin and runny glue form light, unstable bond.

They also end up making a very visible mess.

It should be water-friendly

The glue you use in an aquarium should be compatible with water (i.e., it should be water-resistant).

It must have the ability to withstand saltwater or freshwater for your marine/freshwater aquarium.

Armed with the knowledge of desirable traits, let us look into the different types of super glue products available

Different types of Super Glue products

There are three types of glue products that can be used to fix decors underwater, to fix leaks of the glass walls, and for general fish tank maintenance.

They are common super glue products, silicone products, and epoxy products.

Let’s look at each of these!

Common Super Glue products

The common super glue products are the best adhesives for anchoring plants, rocks, and all decor. They form strong bonds very quickly.

The best ones are those that have cyanoacrylate as an active ingredient. Some superglues have “ethyl cyanoacrylate” as an active ingredient.

It works the same way as cyanoacrylate despite having a different chemical formula. They are completely safe.

All the brands of common super glue, whether they are in liquid form or gel, are suitable for use. Some of the common superglue brands include Gorilla, Krazy, etc.

Using common super glue has a lot of advantages. The first one being that they are cheap and affordable. They can be easily found in most stores. They have high strength and are resistant to temperature and moisture.

They can be used with stone, wood, or glass. They are also quite effective and will last for a long time.

Silicone products

Silicone adhesives are the best options for fixing cracks in the aquarium tanks. They can also be used effectively for sticking ornaments.

There are a lot of options in the market available when it comes to aquarium safe silicone adhesives.

Most of these silicone products hold well under pressure.

Silicone adhesive products come with their own set of advantages. They dry up fast and quick. They are quite flexible and can be used in those curves areas effectively (maintains elasticity and stability).

There are multiple color options in the market for silicone adhesives. The best advantage is that they do not release anything harmful in water and are compatible with fish and glass.

The disadvantage is that they can take up to seven days to dry and are not suitable for acrylic fish tanks.

Epoxy products

Epoxy is not “real” glue. Epoxy adhesive consists of resin and hardener which are brought together in an exact mixing ratio. Epoxy glue is used to join materials where very high strength and durability are expected.

Epoxy glue is an excellent choice for an aquarium. Some of its advantages include fast drying underwater (five minutes curing time). It is best for tough repairs where a durable bond is required that can fill the gaps and is solvent resistant.

It is easy to apply and can be used on all materials whether they be plastic, glass, metal wood, leather, and many other surfaces. It is also BPA free.

It can be used to repair the water pump/pipe underwater. It can also be used to bind the rocks or gravel for decorations together. It is a perfect choice for overall aquarium tank maintenance. The only disadvantage is that it is relatively high priced.

When it comes to the aquarium, all of the above options are excellent choices.

Now it is up to you to figure out which of them works best for you.

Where to use Super Glue in the aquarium?

Super glue can be used to fix almost all decorations in your aquarium. They bond well, dry quickly, and have high strength.

They are compatible for use with rocks, gravels, wood, stone, metals, you name it. They can be used to fix aquatic plants within seconds to rocks. The rocks can be joined together and corals frags can be fixed to rocks.

The superglue can be used on reefs, castles, and other decorations as well. The only catch is that they hold good when applied to small areas. They form microscopic gaps in large-area applications.

Some tips on using the super glue for fish tank purposes.

Here, I am sharing a few important tips that I learned after research that will make it very easy for you to use the glue

Go for the gel version

Super glue comes in liquid or gel forms.

Liquids are good for penetrating cracks, fractures, and dry faster than gels.

The gels have a flexible bond than liquids and have higher viscosity. This gives way to less dripping and more controlled applications (with greater precision).

Don’t use the common super glue for underwater gluing

Always dry the surface before applying the glue. This increases the available surface area for the adhesive to bond thereby improving adhesion.

Cyanoacrylate, the active ingredient in glue cures really fast when it comes in contact with water.

It is advisable to remove from the tank, use the glue, and then place back the decoration into the tank after 7-8 minutes.

How to glue aquarium plants to a rock

Take the plant and the rock out from the aquarium.

Clean the surface of the plant where you want to apply glue and also the rock surface. Apply the common super glue on both of them generously.

Press and hold.

Wait for the glue to cure (approximately 7-8 minutes).

How to glue two rocks together

If you want the rock piece to be fixed to other rock surfaces, apply a good amount of gel on both the rock surfaces outside the aquarium.

If the other rock cannot be moved, take out the rock that can be removed from the tank.

Clean dry and apply glue on its surface. Then quickly (within seconds) place the rock inside the tank and fix it on the other rock surface.

Make sure to quickly do this before the glue cures.

How to glue aquarium plant to a driftwood

Make sure the driftwood is clean and dry. As super glue can bond with anything, even a little dirt will take up the surface area leading to unstable bonds.

The second step involves cleaning and drying the plant surface. Use a liberal amount of glue on the surface you want to glue. Be quick as the glue dries very fast

Apply gentle pressure and press the plant on the driftwood. Wait for 60 seconds. Release your hand. The glue will now support the plant. Wait for the curing (6-7 minutes) and it is ready to go in the tank.

Also read: How Long Should You Boil Driftwood for Your Aquarium?

Super glue can be difficult to hide once dried.

It dries off as white color. Use a steady hand and be neat with the glue. With practice, you will be using common superglue in aquariums like a professional.

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