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Old 09-11-2010, 04:53 PM   #1
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20 year old tank, good idea?

Hi everyone, I'm new around here, but only slightly new to keeping fish.
I have a 40g malawi tank at home and a 55g with guppies and gouramis that I maintain at work.

Well I was hoping for a bit of guidance, I may have the oppotunity to get a 110g tank for free, but my understanding is that the tank may be about 20 years old. I've seen the tank it looks in good condition other then needing a good cleaning, it seems to be 60"x18"x (24 or 30), my concern is leaks, i know it's been sitting for several years would leaks be an issue?

Any info will be appreciated
Thx
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:59 PM   #2
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one other thing i forgot to mention is that the tank has no crossbraces on top, now i havent looked into big tanks to much but this struck me as a bit odd because even the 55g i take care of at work as a center brace. One thing i guess worth mentioning is that the glass on the 110g is very thick, might be as much as half inch but im not 100% sure on that i would have to see it again to be sure.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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I would be worried about no cross brace myself. Can you see if it used to have one and it was removed? If you can find the dimensions you may be able to just get new framework for it and it would still be a good deal.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:00 AM   #4
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What's the purpose if a cross brace? Is it that bar at the top middle of the tank? I'd take it it wouldn't hurt if it's free. I'd just bring it home and see if it leaks and patch the leaks. If you don't want it I'll take it lol!
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:57 AM   #5
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What's the purpose if a cross brace?
To keep the glass from bowing. On a 5' tank, without a brace I'd be scared to death it would bow. A 55g will bow without a cross brace. I have heard that some older tanks dont have them, but not sure how accurate that is. The good part is that you can buy frames relatively cheap. I'm not sure where you would get one for that tank, but I know that glasscages has them for up to 90g and they're only $16 (no help, but just an idea on cost). IMO, your best bet is to throw a new frame on top and call it a day. If you wanted, you could even do a complete overhaul on the tank and redo the bottom frame, reseal the tank, and have one that will last for a long time
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:14 AM   #6
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Ok mine has a brace but what do you mean by bow? Mines a bow front but I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean.
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To keep the glass from bowing. On a 5' tank, without a brace I'd be scared to death it would bow. A 55g will bow without a cross brace. I have heard that some older tanks dont have them, but not sure how accurate that is. The good part is that you can buy frames relatively cheap. I'm not sure where you would get one for that tank, but I know that glasscages has them for up to 90g and they're only $16 (no help, but just an idea on cost). IMO, your best bet is to throw a new frame on top and call it a day. If you wanted, you could even do a complete overhaul on the tank and redo the bottom frame, reseal the tank, and have one that will last for a long time
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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When the tank is full of water that water will put pressue on the glass. Water weighs in at just over 8lbs a gallon and that is a lot of pressure to be putting on the glass.

I don't know anything about older tanks and if they can hold the water without that middle brace, but the idea is to help support the glass from bowing out from the pressure because as the glass bows out, it will get weaker. My (and I'm sure other's) concern would be a catastrophic failure and all the water would come rushing out along with all the live stock.

If you are concidering using the tank without a brace then I would recommend at the minumum you fill the tank somewhere where if it does fail, you don't soak your house (like do it outside or in a garage or something). You can see the bowing by putting a straight piece of wood or a long straight edge along the side. Without water it should lay flat, see how far off it sits with water. If it doesn't bow at all, then you *MAY* be ok... if it bows even 1/8" then you could be in trouble...
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:19 AM   #8
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Thanks I was wondering what that bar was for in the middle of my tank. I just thought it was to hold the light or something because it's just a flimsy piece of plastic on mine.
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When the tank is full of water that water will put pressue on the glass. Water weighs in at just over 8lbs a gallon and that is a lot of pressure to be putting on the glass.

I don't know anything about older tanks and if they can hold the water without that middle brace, but the idea is to help support the glass from bowing out from the pressure because as the glass bows out, it will get weaker. My (and I'm sure other's) concern would be a catastrophic failure and all the water would come rushing out along with all the live stock.

If you are concidering using the tank without a brace then I would recommend at the minumum you fill the tank somewhere where if it does fail, you don't soak your house (like do it outside or in a garage or something). You can see the bowing by putting a straight piece of wood or a long straight edge along the side. Without water it should lay flat, see how far off it sits with water. If it doesn't bow at all, then you *MAY* be ok... if it bows even 1/8" then you could be in trouble...
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:23 AM   #9
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Thanks I was wondering what that bar was for in the middle of my tank. I just thought it was to hold the light or something because it's just a flimsy piece of plastic on mine.
no its not

I cut one in two that was starting to break on a 55g. They have metal bands in them for support, the plastic is just there for cosmetic/lighting reasons, the metal is what provides the support
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:31 AM   #10
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So it is or isn't a cross brace? It's on the top middle but it's just a flimsy piece of plastic. Also do bow front tanks bow? Or do they have less chance of bowing? Thanks
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no its not

I cut one in two that was starting to break on a 55g. They have metal bands in them for support, the plastic is just there for cosmetic/lighting reasons, the metal is what provides the support
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:57 AM   #11
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custom make a center brace.. my 55g brace broke, i custom bent a [iece of metal to hold the tank square... been working fine for months now.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:06 PM   #12
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ok, thanks everyone for the input, so a cross.brace should definently be there? from what i can recall it didnt appear that there ever was one or if there was then someone did a very good job of removing it. as i said nefore the glass on this tank does seem very thick but ill double check it if i get the call to pick it up. thanks smitty for the wood idea for checking for bowing ill definently give that a try. but as for leaks just because of age and the fact that its been sitting for so long none of you seem to concerned about that, i mean i will obviously be filling it to check it out before i set it up in my house, but i was just trying to get a little feed back about what to expect.

thx
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:08 PM   #13
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If the glass is not very thick at all, it could be a terrarium? They use pretty thin glass and are not water tight.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:19 PM   #14
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mfdrookie, the glass seems to be very thick actually at least gwice as thick as my 40g, i mentioned this because i was wondering if it could have anything to do with it not having a cross brace, i do know it was used as an aquarium, but it has been sitting for quite sometime , but i have no way to find out if there orginally was a cross brace or if the glass is thick enough to not need one.
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:23 PM   #15
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oh ok.. gotcha.

Like I said way back, I'm pretty sure I've heard that alot of the older tanks did not have the braces on them. I cant seem to find that anywhere though, so I could be mistaken.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:51 PM   #16
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This is true. We have a 1984 Perfecto 75 gallon that has no center brace, and you can tell that it never had one. The glass is thicker on the old tanks than what the manufacturers use now.
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:41 PM   #17
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Well, it is up to you if you want a center brace. If it has really thick glass than it may not be needed, but I would still want one. On the larger (120+ tanks) they actually have more than one sometimes. Again, check to see if there is any bowing. In the end, it is your house that would get flooded, not ours if there is a problem

You are right about any leaks, we really haven't covered that. I would recommend you get a sharp new razor and cut out the old silicone and put new stuff on all the corners (just cut the exposed part, not inbetween the panes of glass). I've never done it before so really don't have any advice but many have done this. You MUST use aquarium safe silicone and I can't recall what the brand and name is... something like GE III or close - please check. You may also want to check the DIY forum because I know some people have done this.

Put in the new and let it sit for a couple days then fill it with water. I would do this before even testing for leaks because you will want it done regardless of whether it leaks or not because the tank is 20 years old afterall...
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:01 PM   #18
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Ok, once again I just want to say thanks for all the great input, I think I just might look into some crossbraces, just because of how old the tank is and I don't want to blow any of the seals from bowing.

It's still good to know that it was built this way and wasn't modified. I'll also be looking into resealing the corners.

Now I just have to hurry up and wait for the call to go pick it up.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:49 PM   #19
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he said it was very thick glass. I think someone on here cut a piece of acrylic and attached it with nylon bolts. That is what I'd do.

the plastic is probably brittle as all get out too.

that free tank will get very expensive if it breaks or leaks when it is full. I would clean the heck out of it and cover every seam with new silicon, right over the old. 20 years is OLD for a tank. How is the glass? is it very clear or is it colored at all?


Honestly unless it was in great condition you can find 120's very cheap. the 5' length will be an issue for stands and lights. I would fill it up in the back yard to test it and then use it for FW in a place that can handle a leak or on a tray with a drain.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:05 PM   #20
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oh is it a metal frame tank?......


my 120 has no center brass.
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