I needed to get around to fixing the leak at the skimmer faceplate this weekend. It seems to have worsened once the water got warmer. So I did some research on various sealers.
Folks in the UK tend to like the loctite/PL brand roofing (black) or window & door sealer. However if you read their product descriptions it indicates it is not for use in under water applications. Additionally these take a full week to cure.
Aquarium sealer seemed like a good idea, until the guy at the aquarium supply place told me it does not stick to plastic well. It is designed for glass.
Other standard silicones for bath and tub contain mildew fighters, fungicides, and algaecides which are not fish safe.
So that leaves the expensive designed for pond poly silicones that you almost can not find except online.
Then I found several threads on folks using e6000 or the non drip version e6100 crafting poly-silicon glue. e6000 is also what my local pond supply store sells. It cures in about 24 hours and should be painted if exposed to sunlight. It is available at crafting stores cheaper than the pond supply shops. It also should be applied in temps above 70 degrees.
Preparation and Re-installation: I had to remove the faceplate from the skimmer and clean off all the old silicone on the edges. I left the screws in the faceplate and liner so I did not make new holes upon re-install. I merely had to remove the back of the plate holder by loosening the screws and pulled back the liner from the skimmer. I could immediately tell where it failed. There was no sealer on the back of the liner on the skimmer face, I had only put it on the front of the liner where the skimmer plate and screws penetrated the liner. I roughed the surface of the skimmer a bit with some sand paper. Dried every thing with towels and paper towels.
Applying the e6000 was easy since it came in an easily squeezable metal tube. I used a piece of cardboard to paint it on and move it around. I applied way too much this time but I hope not to have to do this again.
I leaned over the side of the pond rather than standing in the pond with the fish which in hind sight would have been easier. My back is aching a little. I reattached the faceplate to the skimmer and as I tightend the screws again some of the silicone oozed out and formed a good edge filler. Now I just need to let it sit until tomorrow to fully cure.
It took about 1/2 hour of total time to remove, prep, coat, and reinstall. Cost $3.99 per tube or 9.99 for the e6100.