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Old 07-09-2007, 10:51 PM   #1
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What are the chances of a tank bursting...

I just bought a used 20g tank. (It had only been sitting empty for 1 week; is in good condition; is on a pretty new stand (BigAls stingray), and is level.)

I'm still a bit nervous about buying a "used" tank, and am worried it might burst open at any moment. Does this ever actually happen? Has anyone experienced this? Or is it most likely to just develop a small leak?

Any comments?
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:59 PM   #2
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Leak from a corner is much more likely. Can you fill it up outside to test it for a week or so?
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:40 AM   #3
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IME it will crack and not explode. usually from a unlevel surface. With the old metal frame tanks the leak could be in the lower right rear corner but the water could come out almost anywhere, like the top right front. Most likely any leak will be found during the first fill (major) or within the first 24 hours (minor). I have even had a very small leak clog it's self, after several days.

When I fill a tank for the first time or move a tank, I fill it about 25% and check it for level. Then again at 50%. I'll bet i have had at least 50 different tanks over the last 30 years. Smallest was a 2 GAL show up too a 240 GAL custom, and I can remember only 3 as brand new. But every time I fill any aquarium it's the same, fill a little, check for leaks and fill a little more, ECT.

My latest is a 180 GAL reef plexi and it has a 3" crack across the top extending into the the front by a 1/4". So I marked the ends of the crack before I filled it. Then checked while filling, after a year it is still the same. Before that I bought a 125 GAL plexi where someone left the heater on when they drained the tank. With a burned spot on the bottom it took a little sanding, a scrap peice of plexi and some aquarium sealant it's good to go.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:45 AM   #4
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With the exception of one of my tanks, all my tanks are used. I have has some very minor leaks from top seals but nothing to worry about. I agree it is unlikely the tanks will explode. I don't even buy new tanks anymore, they aren't worth the money vs. used IMO.
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:05 AM   #5
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Unless there are apparent cracks in the glass, it's unlikely.

Either way, you should always test them for leaks before adding fish.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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I would also make sure you know what was used in the tank, such as copper or other meds. Like the others said, I would fill it up with water and let it sit for a few days to a week.
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Old 07-11-2007, 02:15 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. It's good to know others buy used tanks too.

I left it half full for 24hrs, then filled it up yesterday afternoon. So far so good! I'll leave it empty for few more days just to make sure.
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Old 07-11-2007, 02:27 AM   #8
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IMO your good to go!
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:37 PM   #9
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Yeah, this is an old post. But for the archives, yes a tank can explode. That's why all of the tanks you will see for sale have the plastic lip around the top and bottom edges.

There are some older or custom made tanks that do not have that cover on them. They can be dangerous. Usually to make up for it, they use heavier glass. That does nothing however to strengthen the silicon holding the tank together. They're usually fine for a very long time, however moving them will strain the seals and they should be left outside and filled for a week to make sure everything is still holding together. Smaller tanks usually fair better than larger tanks simply due to the weight involved.

These tanks are usually larger than 20 gallons. Mine was 75, I've seen a 90 and 120 gallon version. 75 gallons was more than enough of a clean up, I don't even want to think of the damage a larger tank would have done. And yes, black sand looks FAR better in a fish tank, than on the carpet.
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