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Old 08-21-2010, 04:07 PM   #1
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Will the 180 gallon tank I built leak/break once I fill it?

Thank you for your website. It is the only one I could find of it's type.

Here's the situation I'm currently in...

I purchased a 180 gallon glass tank (72Lx24Wx24H), 1/2" thick glass, which leaked because the silicon cracked along the bottom length. Using a razorblade I removed all of the silicon and disassembled the tank. I cleaned the glass with alcohol after virtually all the silicon was removed.

The building process:
I placed the bottom glass on the basement floor with no spacer. I taped the sides up around the bottom piece. (You know how the bottom piece should be flush up against all of the sides? It wasn't. When the sides were placed around the bottom piece, there was a 1/2" gap between the bottom piece and the lengths. In other words the bottom piece was the appropriate length for the tank, but it was about 1" shy on the width.) After the sides were taped into place around the bottom base, and the gap between the two length pieces was even (about .5") I laid a bead of silicon on all of the inside edges. I used an extra thick bead on the length sides where the gaps were. After it dried, I flipped the tank over and filled those gaps on the bottom with silicon. Later I glued the support glass across the top.

My concerns: The tank sits on an iron stand, it doesn't have plastic frames on the top or bottom, the bottom surface of glass is flush with the bottom edges of the tank, and there's gaps along each bottom length of the tank which are filled with silicon and have extra thick silicon beads inside the tank. ALL GLASS WAS PUT TOGETHER, THEN THE SILICON WAS APPLIED AS AN INNER BEAD, SILICON WASN'T PUT ON THE GLASS EDGES BEFORE SETTING THE PIECES TOGETHER. I'm concerned that if I fill it the seam along the bottom length will rip and it will pour water.

Questions: If I put Styrofoam between the tank and the iron stand will that be sufficient to fill the tank and would I be confident it wouldn't leak? If not, what do I have to do to make this tank work?

I've been an aquarium enthusiast my whole life. I'm a 23 year old University of Michigan Dearborn student whose among the top of my class. I tutor business and math classes. My point is that you're talking to someone who can figure things out well. I've successfully built a 30 gallon. I'm not confident in this tank because when I bought it I attempted a fast fix by cutting out the ripped seal, cleaning the glass, and laying fresh silicon down just along the ripped area, which overlapped the old silicon in the corners. That resulted in severe leaking days after.

I need your advice because this 180 has sat in my living room, appearing to be built for over a month due to my reluctance to fill. My 8 red belly, and 3 gold piranhas are squished in a 30 gallon and have been for months, resulting in about 3 cannibalism casualties thus far.

You're Experience, and Honesty in helping a fellow hobbyist is appreciated man!

Scott Gossett
Canton Michigan

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Old 08-21-2010, 06:08 PM   #2
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Wow. Yea if you have a gap between your glass and no frame I would be very leary of it (even with a frame) your glass should fit flush and tight against each other. And Ive never seen a tank that size with no frame I would be very hesitant. If your tank is a common size you can order frames for it. AND no do not use styrofoam or padding under a glass tank.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:58 PM   #3
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Exactly what brand/type silicone did you use?
I would not fill it. Silicone is not structural and won't provide any strength where there is no glass (a gap). There should also be a thin layer of silicone between the pieces of glass, not glass against glass.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgossett9 View Post
ALL GLASS WAS PUT TOGETHER, THEN THE SILICON WAS APPLIED AS AN INNER BEAD, SILICON WASN'T PUT ON THE GLASS EDGES BEFORE SETTING THE PIECES TOGETHER.
Tanks are not built this way. The inside seam acts as a sealant not an adhesive. The tank will leak before it's even full.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but I would sell/scrap the tank and look for a used one on craigs list. Even if you disassemble the tank and re-silicone everything the edges of the glass will not be 100% clean. It's near impossible to scrape every bit of silicone off and have that sucker 100% clean. Silicone sticks to glass, not old bits of silicone. It may look clean and feel clean, but there's microscopic bits you can't see still there. You're playing russian roulette here. 180g on the floor is not a puddle, it's $ in water damages.

If you're **** bent on doing this you NEED to talk to a tank manufacturer or someone who builds tanks for a living. But I'd strongly advise against going forward here.

Here is a REAL good thread on reef central discussing tanks, glass thickness, bracing, silicone etc. It gets a little into engineering, but it's very informative.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:01 AM   #5
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Is it possible that you could have put the sides together incorrectly? Not saying that your stupid, I'm just wondering if the tank was designed to have an even gap all the way around, and it would have worked out that way if you had overlapped the lengths over the shorts sides, instead of the short sides overlapping the edges the front and back panels. I've illustrated it to explain what I mean...
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:24 PM   #6
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This isn't real help - it's just preventative help.
I recently bought a 38G tank off Craigslist that looked like it had seen better days. The bottom frame was broken at 2 corners and effectively useless. Then I read that those plastic frames are just to hold the tank firm while the silicon dries in manufacture. The frame serves only a decorative function. To put my mind at ease about filling this tank - I took the following precaution. -
I set a piece of old plywood on the ground in my backyard. I then put a wrought iron stand on top the plywood (so the legs wouldn't sink into the yard.) I put another piece of plywood over the top of the wrought iron stand and set my 38G tank on that. Then I filled it up with 4" of water and looked for any leaks. After about 10 minutes, I filled it the rest of the way up and let it set overnight. Happily it held water just fine, no leaks whatsoever, and if it had broke or leaked it would have only watered my lawn, not my living room
The tank now sits in my living room looking good and I'm confident in its 'structure'.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Aqua-fan View Post
This isn't real help - it's just preventative help.
I recently bought a 38G tank off Craigslist that looked like it had seen better days. The bottom frame was broken at 2 corners and effectively useless. Then I read that those plastic frames are just to hold the tank firm while the silicon dries in manufacture. The frame serves only a decorative function. To put my mind at ease about filling this tank - I took the following precaution. -
I set a piece of old plywood on the ground in my backyard. I then put a wrought iron stand on top the plywood (so the legs wouldn't sink into the yard.) I put another piece of plywood over the top of the wrought iron stand and set my 38G tank on that. Then I filled it up with 4" of water and looked for any leaks. After about 10 minutes, I filled it the rest of the way up and let it set overnight. Happily it held water just fine, no leaks whatsoever, and if it had broke or leaked it would have only watered my lawn, not my living room
The tank now sits in my living room looking good and I'm confident in its 'structure'.
You seem to fail to realize this is 180 gallons of water, not a measily 48 gallons.

180 gallons of water will weight about 900 pounds. Then he will have to add about 200 pounds of sand on top of that. I would not risk it.

Secondly you don't seem to understand the nature of the problem. The actual class is NOT set correctly. The edges are not flush meaning that the silicone would be providing the structural support, a job that should be done by cross braces and top braces.

And finally, the "rims" you see on a tank do indeed provide support. The larger your aquarium the more important it is to have those supports to keep the silicone from ripping apart. The silicone is a sealant, the braces hold the glass together so less pressure is applied to the silicone, preventing a failure.

We were providing help in the form of forewarning of a terrible catastrophe waiting to happen. Would you rather spend 400 dollars on another aquarium or 2000 on mold control, carpet replacement, wood replacement, and hours of headache cleaning up AND a new aquarium including livestock.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:11 PM   #8
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Actually, 180 gallons wieghs 1,530 pounds. Thats alot of pressure pushing against the tank walls....I believe the tank would fail at about 40% full.
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:15 PM   #9
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In response to Crepe's post

Crepe;
I'm sorry if I offended your advanced knowledge with my post. You apparently know better than most. When you use words such as 'fail to realize' and 'measly' - then I assume you are well, looking down your nose. You know, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. 1173 posts does not make you an expert on anything. You failed to read my entire post or you wouldn't have ranted on about 'mold control', carpet replacement, etc. You need to slow down a bit, perhaps.

You stated 'We were providing help . . ."
Funny I don't see any other post of 'yours' in this thread.

I'll also have to keep in mind now that 180 gallons only weighs 900 lbs, as you state. I didn't know that, I thought it was 8.34 lbs. per gallon. Live and learn, I guess.

Finally you say the 'rims' provide support to keep the silicone from ripping apart. Are you sure? That's some tough plastic then, isn't it? Another 'live and learn'.
Chill out Crepe. I was just relating my experience - not comparing it to yours
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:06 PM   #10
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Sorry for being so reactionary. Oh and I did a slight miscalculation, I was thinking 108 gallons, not 180 gallons. Furthermore, cloaking vicious remark in flimsy sarcasm doesn't make a post any less inflammatory. Flame baiting is against TOS, I'll ignore it though. I was trying to prevent someone from making a bad choice due to incorrect advice.

YES you do need cross braces and top braces in a large tank. I don't know where you're hearing that you don't.

Your pointing out that my calculations were incorrect actually further bolsters my point that it would be most prudent to find another tank or get the glass properly cut/set.

And finally, strawman fallacies are no substitute for substantive discussion or rebuttal.
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