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Check Your Tanks.


Prejudiced

Long time no see guys. After the tank episode, I'm finaly sorted out with a brand new 225L (about 57 gal) tank. Theoreticaly this gives me room for two more teles, but I will restrain myself ;) The girls have recovered well and are enjoying the new tank. I cycled it using media from the pond.

But I'm here to post about checking your tanks in the hope it can be prevented from happening again.

I would urge you to check your tanks. In the last month at the aquarist society here their have been 5 members tanks bust. After a thorough inspection of my old 150L (38gal) tank, I found one of the glass struts to be weakened and not connected correctly, hence not distributing the pressure as they should, which explains the dead centre split. These struts are the glass that braces the top of the tank. In some tanks, their are metal or plastic crossbars and frames etc instead on the top. Either way, I would suggest to inspect whatever bracing system your tank has semi regularly, as inadequate bracing seems to have been the cause for he 5 tank blowouts. If your tank is a flat glass tank and is starting to bow out from the water pressure, it either needs better bracing or replacing, depending on the age of the tank. Older, thicker glassed tanks or tanks in a re-enforced frame (NOT the decorative side strips on your average tank, but an actual frame to support the whole tank) may not be strutted, but should still get a check every now and then, as they rely on frame and thickness to stand the pressure, rather then distribution. Tanks over 2 feet generally need some kind of re-enforcement or pressure distribution in their construction, whether it be frames or struts.

Glass struts are what is used to hold coverglass in place (unless you sit it on the tank)

Top%20Side%20View-Maltese.JPG

Remember, their distributing weight and easing pressure, so keep them in good nick to prevent a blowout like what happened to me :) 40gal of water on the floor is not a great scenario at all!

Plastic/metal struts

10180.jpg

Signs of a tank not distributing pressure correctly are (assuming a standard rectangular tank)

-Bowing of the glass

-Glass 'chinking' noises at night (microcracking of glass)

-Weak or moveable struts or crossbars. REPLACE or REPAIR if they show any weakness.

-ANY crack, no matter how small. Above the waterline may be alright in some cases.

Keep your tanks in the best condition and prevent blowouts by...

-Keeping a foam underlay under them to stop a bump in the stand surface causing a crack

-Use the stand designed for that tank. It's made to distribute the weight of that modle in the most efficient way. If impossible, use a very sturdy surface.

-Inspect it semi regularly for chips, nicks or any bowing.

-Keep your silicon in good nick, replace it if needed. It stops leaks! :)

Happy fishkeeping guys! Hopefully this is of some use to someone! :)


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  • Regular Member

Very helpful information Thanks for sharing it with us :) Sorry you had to learn this all the hard way :(

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  • Regular Member

Thanks for the heads up. I will double check mine today.

Glad to hear you got another tank for your babies!

Edited by j-pond
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  • Regular Member

Thanks guys!

Hopefully people can learn from my mistake and prevent it happening to them. Good can come from bad, after all. :D

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  • Regular Member

Thanks for taking the time to put that information together--and especially for pointing out flaws in the bracing system as a main cause of tank blowout. That is really good to know. I would have been on the alert for cracks, but perhaps not checking the bracing. And the signs to watch out for are great, too.

gfish.gif

(But, sorry you had to go through this misadventure yourself.)

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  • Regular Member

Thanks for the tips. I have a wide 55 gallon that doesn't have any bracing. I am pretty sure it's safe but I'm going to give it a good check later today when I do my water change.

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Guest kaikousha

Posted

Oh geez. I just got a used 75gal off of craigslist. The previous owner said it didn't have any leaks but now I'm terrified :(

Thank you for the tips!

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  • Regular Member

A cracked brace is why I recently replaced my 55. The lids didn't fit either. I ran the tank for little over a year. Got it replaced before I had any problems. doh11.gif

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  • Regular Member

Probably a good move Hidr, I'm paranoid about buying second hand tanks now, you never know what damage they've acquired, and alot of that can be microcracking, and hard to see. :rofl

Ah well, better safe then sorry I guess. The new tank is nice thick re-enforced glass. The stand is good too. Its not overly pretty, just a standard rectangular tank with pine stand, but its sturdy! :rofl

I nearly went for the bowfront, but curved glass distorts the view of the aquarium, and it's weaker then a flat peice.

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  • Regular Member

I'm sorry if I'm bumping an old post.

Where exactly can you buy replacement frames? My second hand tank has plastic trimming and the crossbar on the top is split. I didn't figure plastic would actualy make a difference, but I filled it up for a water tightness test and watched the gap from the split sloooowly increase. Kinda scarey!

How would you suggest it be replaced?

Tank use is on hold until I can repair or relpace it!

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  • Regular Member

Older, thicker glassed tanks or tanks in a re-enforced frame (NOT the decorative side strips on your average tank, but an actual frame to support the whole tank) may not be strutted, but should still get a check every now and then, as they rely on frame and thickness to stand the pressure, rather then distribution.

How do you tell the difference between decorative and non-decorative/functional side strips?

I think my glass panel thickness is about 6mm, which I think is slightly above average relative to the tank size.

I've noticed relatively cheap "glass box" tanks don't have any plastic/wood strips around the tank at the top and the bottom at all, and the bottom glass in those tanks directly rest on the underlying surface completely. Is it true that for tanks with a bottom strip/border that goes around the tank, the bottom glass panel is not directly resting on the underlying surface? I seem to have noticed this when I was carrying around the tank, but I can't be 100% sure now.

(The underlying surface I place my tank on is very flat without obvious bumps, but it's a bit "rough" - i.e. not "glossy smooth" like some table surfaces, would that be a problem potentially?)

-Keeping a foam underlay under them to stop a bump in the stand surface causing a crack

Where do you get such foams?

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  • Regular Member

Iseul, you can buy sheets of styrofoam at building supplies stores. Cut about 1/2 - 1 inch bigger than tank on all four sides.

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  • Regular Member

How thick should it be? The foam comes in various thicknesses. (2 inch, 4 inch, etc)

Edited by Iseul
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  • Regular Member

This is a great topic. I can only agree, when I got the 55 gallon tank for the tropicals, its center brace was broken/gone. To test it, I slowly filled it with water and as soon as it was about two thirds filled, the glass REALLY started bowing. Steven eventually made a really cheap, not super pretty, but very secure improvised center brace from a strip of metal that goes over top of the lids (between the two lid halves) and it holds it really well.

I know that without it we wouldn't have been able to use the tank. I assumed it would either crack in the middle or loosen the seams on the corners too much.

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  • Regular Member

That seems about right :) It will make the weight of the tank distribute more evenly, so you will less likely have problems with higher water pressure at one side of the tank :)

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