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Old 11-15-2003, 04:09 PM   #1
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Glass Thickness

Hey all,

I'm looking into building a 55 gallon tank (mostly as practice for larger tanks in future). I've looked at several sites that give glass thickness to use for different dimensions of the tank (including GARF's calculator).

I've compared these "recommendations" to the glass thickness of 2 store bought tanks that I have access to. One is a 10 gallon tank with dimensions 20"L x 12"H x 10"W and the other is a 55 gallon tank with dimensions 48"L x 20"H x 13"W.

The thickness of the glass for these 2 tanks is 1/8" glass for the 10 gal tank and 1/4" glass for the 55 gal. However, the recommended thickness by GARF's site (and 2 other sources I've found) is 1/4" glass for the 10 gal and 3/8" glass for the 55 gal.

So, I'm wondering what the reason for this discrepancy is. Both of these tanks have tempered bottom plates, and in the case of the 10 gallon tank, I know the sides are plain, untempered sheet glass (I called the manufacturer). I'm assuming the same for the 55 gal tank.

Does it have to do with the plastic bands around all the seams of the tank (and the plastic cross brace in the case of the 55 gal tank)?

If so, can someone give me a hint as to what calculations to use to determine glass thickness WITH the braces around the seam and the cross brace? Would I be safe using the same thickness of glass as the store bought tanks?

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tarl
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Old 11-15-2003, 05:01 PM   #2
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GARF uses those thicknesses as a general rule of thumb.... That is why they put that size in the instructions... Most of the store bought tanks of those sizes do have 1/8 and 1/4 thick glass. These would be good to use in DIY but pay close attention to how the store bought tanks are made... They have a solid brace holdong the glass on the bottom and one on the top that includes a center brace... or two... IF you were to create the tank, lets say a 55, you could have the 5 panels cut out of 1/4 inch and then have pieces cut to make inside lips and a center brace and it would be just as strong.

You could use 3/8, and just incorporate a center brace and be done with it.. However, I like the inside lip idea..

I would stay with 1/4 glass.. It is almost 1/2 the cost of 3/8 anyway...
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Old 11-15-2003, 05:33 PM   #3
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Thanks Timbo2 for replying. That helps a lot.

I'm assuming when you say "and then have pieces cut to make inside lips and a center brace" you're talking about having 1/4" glass strips cut and glueing those in (and together) along the inside of the top and bottom of the tank (plus one center brace at the top)?

If so, could the same end be acheived by building a tight fitting hardwood lip to go around the outside of the top and bottom (sort of like the plastic bands that are on the store bought tanks) with a 1/4" glass brace glued top center from front to back?

Also, in future, I'm hoping to build a 300+ gal marine/coral tank. I could build it out of plywood with a glass front, but I'd prefer all glass. Could it be done the same way (using slightly smaller thicknesses than recommended by GARF and others with the extra bracing)? Or would that be tempting fate a bit too much??

Anyway, thanks for all your help. You've already made me feel much more hopeful.

When I do build the 55 gal, I'll send pics of all its glory (or its spectacular disaster). You'll get top billing either way!!! :P

Really, though! Thanks a lot.

Tarl!
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Old 11-15-2003, 05:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
I'm assuming when you say "and then have pieces cut to make inside lips and a center brace" you're talking about having 1/4" glass strips cut and glueing those in (and together) along the inside of the top and bottom of the tank (plus one center brace at the top)?
Yes you got it

Quote:
If so, could the same end be acheived by building a tight fitting hardwood lip to go around the outside of the top and bottom (sort of like the plastic bands that are on the store bought tanks) with a 1/4" glass brace glued top center from front to back?
Absolutely, great idea! I bet that would be beautiful.. It would have to be sealed to prevent rottage though...

Quote:
Also, in future, I'm hoping to build a 300+ gal marine/coral tank. I could build it out of plywood with a glass front, but I'd prefer all glass. Could it be done the same way (using slightly smaller thicknesses than recommended by GARF and others with the extra bracing)? Or would that be tempting fate a bit too much??
I think that would be pushing it a bit too far.. For 300 gal I would personally look into Acrylic or 1/2 glass...

Glad to have helped.
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Old 11-15-2003, 09:27 PM   #5
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I agree with Timbo 100%.
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Old 11-16-2003, 09:57 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate the help.

Tarl
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