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FAQs about Tanks, Stands, Covers for Marine Systems 2

Related Articles: Marine Tanks Size Doesn't Always Matter! Thoughts on the Desire to Create Bigger Marine Aquariums By Scott Fellman, Aquarium Stands, Canopies, Covers & Lighting Fixtures

Related FAQs: Tanks/Stands/Covers, Tanks/Stands/Covers 3, Tanks/Stands/Covers 4, FAQs on Commercial, Custom Tank: Design, Shape, Materials: Acrylic, Glass, Other... Tools, Location, By Make/Brand/Manufacturer Name, & FAQs on DIY Tank & Sump : Design, Shape/Size, Materials, Tools/Construction/Sealants, Plumbing... DIY Acrylic Tanks, DIY Glass Tanks, DIY Wood Tanks, DIY Other Material Tanks... & Aquarium Stands 1, Aquarium Stands 2, What to Use, About Floors Underneath, DIY, Finishing/Coating, Commercial, Leveling, Modification, Repair, & Canopies, Canopies 2, & Aquarium Repair 1, Acrylic Aquarium RepairUsed Aquarium Gear,

Uneven support results in disaster... cracked acrylics at a HI wholesalers.

Tank Size  3/22/03 Hey Phil,<Hey Tyler> how's it goin<It's going good> i have a few easy questions for ya again.<Shoot> if you had to choose between two tank that held the same amount, would you pic the one that was 72x18x22 or the one that's 48x22x26.<I like tanks that are wider.  To me it's better for the fish.> i prefer the longer one but what would the fish prefer.<Depends on the fish>  Would it be better to have two hippo tangs in this tank or a hippo and then after the hippo gets a little larger ad a smaller yellow tang.<In this size tank, you can only keep one Hippo Tang.  Head over to www.wetwebfotos.com/talk  and talk to "Freckleface" on our forums.  She will tell you all about her little (well not anymore) Hippo Tang.>  also how come on a lot of people web sites their hippo tang look purple., It could be the lighting on the tank, types of foods that are fed, could be from a different part of the South Pacific.> thanks a lot again your really helping me out (i will hopefully have my tank this weekend)<Sounds very sweet... please keep me updated.. p.s. pictures would be nice!! :)  Phil>

Built-In Filters I have read that you like Tenecor's Simplicity Plus, and Advance Aqua's Uniquarium, but I haven't really seen any discussion about advantages/disadvantages to either one.  I am more curious about your comparisons of the built-in filtration in each. It seems that the Tenecor would be the better choice.  Thoughts? Tim McLaren <Well, Tim- both are well made, and come from reputable sources. My only real criticism of these systems is that they do not allow a lot of flexibility, as far as the installation of protein skimmers is concerned. You may be able to install a HOT skimmer, like the Aqua C. Remora, or maybe a Tunze unit, if you can figure out the mounting. I'd remove the plastic filtration media, if it were me. I'd use the back compartment as a "sump" of some sort, and place carbon and/or PolyFilter pads in there. The only other disadvantage to these units, IMO is that they tend to make the inside of the tank a bit more "narrow", which may or may not be aesthetically displeasing to you (I don't like tall narrow tanks, myself...Other than that, either one seems to be as good as the other. Regards, Scott F> Tim

Re: question for Bob F -- SeaClear Hi Bob. <Hey Trey> First, I've got say what a fantastic resource this web site is....Thank you all!!! <Welcome> My question is about SeaClear System II aquariums. I read a post where you called them "bunk" and I was wondering what you didn't like about them? <Two items: the inadequacy of the filter components and the difficulty of working on them (for other readers, these systems have integrated... part of the back of the tank itself...compartments for filter media, pump, skimmer...> What do you think is a good alternative to the self contained system? I know wet/dry filters cause a lot of nitrates and I was going to try and balance that out with 4 inches of live sand and Cell pore media. <Sump, refugium, skimmer set-ups. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm re filtration...> I'm just getting back in the hobby after ten years and thought they looked like a pretty cool design. All self contained with a spot for a protein skimmer and a heater. No drilling, no external plumbing, etc. <... yes, except they "don't work" worth a darn, and are a pain to get into, work on...> I'm planning a fish only, 50 gallon, with 4 inches of live sand to help with the nitrates. I'd like to keep all tank raised fish with little or no rock collected from natural sources. I'm thinking about False Percula Clownfish, Orchid Dottyback and a Neon Goby and few other tank raised fish with a clean up crew down the road. The whole idea is to have a complete marine tank that's not collected from nature. Any thoughts you may have on the SeaClear System II ( or alternatives ) and my choice of a tank raised fish with man made rocks would be great? Thanks!!! Trey <Read, keep good notes on going through "Marine Set-Up" section above. Bob Fenner>

Mental Gymnastics Is the correct way to measure gallons using this formula:  length x width x height multiplied by 0.00433? Example:  72L x 18W x 34H would be 190.80 gallons? Thanks. <I'm certainly no math expert, but I've always used L X W X H and divide the product by 231...Hence: 72 x 18 x 34 = 44,064/ 231 = 190.75. That has always worked for me. Both seem "close enough"...I guess. :)  Hope this helps Regards, Scott F, who somehow managed to get a "B" in high school Algebra..>

I could have sworn my aquarium was level... After reading about a leveling problem in today's FAQ, I decided to check mine.  Enclosed is a picture of what I found.  Now I'm freaking out.  Is this so far out of level that something needs to be done?  If so, do you have any suggestions?  The floor seems to be out of level also. Thanks, Brian <This tank does look like it's out of level. I would drain it down (likely necessitating the removal of livestock if not all decor, rock, gravel), and shore it up, set it on some cushioning material as per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm Bob Fenner>

Tank not Completely Level - Craig's Turn I just finished setting up my new 180 gallon acrylic aquarium. It was manufactured by Aqua Clear Aquatics in Jacksonville, FL.  The measurements are 72L x 18W x 34H.  It's made out of 3/4 inch acrylic on the sides and 1/2 inch on the top and bottom.  It seems to be very high quality from what I can tell.  However, while we were setting up the stand we made sure the stand was exactly level on the carpet (tank is sitting on a load-bearing wall with a concrete slab foundation).  However, when we got all of the live rock and water in the tank the tank itself seems to be leaning forward VERY slightly on the left side.  It's not completely level so I wanted to check with you and see if you saw a huge problem with this.  The weird thing is the stand itself is still completely level -- just the left side of the tank is leaning forward slightly so I really don't understand what's going on? Would you be overly concerned with this?  Thanks for your opinion.   <Whew Elizabeth! I would correct this for several reasons. One, any twisting on the welded seams is unneeded stress. Two, if you look at your guarantee, I'll bet the guarantee is contingent on the stand supporting the entire bottom of the tank and being true, flat and level. Three, 180 gallons X 8.8 lbs per gallon is a lot of water and a heck of a lot of weight! I would drain the water into plastic garbage cans or livestock troughs (big tank!) and move all your rock and stuff out as well. See if the carpet strip isn't the cause of it being up on one side. If so, move it forward until the whole stand is on solid concrete (off the carpet strip) OR if this isn't the case, shim the errant corner until the stand is perfectly flat and level.  Are you using a good level? Have you checked the level? Water CAN'T lie! The stand must be level side to side, front to back the entire length, and corner to corner. If the water says it isn't level, then it isn't! I would really suggest using a 4' level or laser level to set the stand (use door shims if needed) and attach it to the wall. Use a 1" thick sheet of Styrofoam on top of the stand to take care of any minor surface irregularities, but the top must be level, true and flat first. The concrete likely isn't level either. The thing about level is, most houses aren't, and water always is, so sometimes we have to make corrections..... sorry!  Best to be safe, not sorry.  Craig>

Glass tank top brace Hello, I was given an old 110 gal six foot long tank with no top. there is no center brace do you know how I can make one or buy one anywhere <Mmm, you can make one easily enough. Have a piece of 3/8 or 1/2" glass cut to a foot wide and the span (tight) inside front to back dimension. Either prop up the brace piece or clamp it in place first running a thin bead of 100% Silicone on the faces where they touch the front and back glass near the top... and run a bead (you can smooth it out with your finger or a tool) of silicone around the sides and bottom of the new brace. Let cure for a couple of days. Bob Fenner>

Water volume 2/18/03 What are the different formula's to use for measuring tank volume of the following shapes: Rectangular, Cylindrical, Octagonal and Pentagonal. Are there any others? Thanks, Marcelo Cannot say for non-square vessels... seek a physics book for that. For squares and rectangle though: Length X width X height (all in feet) X7.4= gallonage

Tank trim - 02/16/03 where can I find replacement tank trim for a tank 60"x 18" 1/2" glass? Do I need the top trim, or a center brace? thanks guys <You definitely want at least a center brace with a tank that large... I would contact the tank manufacturer for a replacement brace. --Ananda>

Re: Should I panic? Acrylic tank bowing I have 60 gallon Plexiglas tank which has been running for just over a year. I have not drilled it or altered it in anyway. The other day I noticed that the back was bowed out about 1/4" to 1/2". Is this normal? Thanks. <Mmm, well, this is quite a bit of bowing... some makers tanks bow more than others... not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Tank volume formula Please advise how you work out how many gallons of water are in a fish tank of 3ft length, 1ft wide and 18" high. <You can multiply the length times width times height in inches and divide by 231... to get the volume in gallons. Bob Fenner> I want to treat the water with AquaSafe and are unsure about how much of AquaSafe to use. Please reply as soon as possible. Your help is much appreciated. Thank you Pauline & Robbie.

The Secret Formula! Hi, <Hi there- Scott F. with you today!> I'm desperately looking for the formula how to calculate a tank volume for rectangular/square and also a hexagon tank.   If there is even a formula in how to calculate a pond volume, then I'd be very happy.   I have found numerous calculators on the web, but none of them tells me the formula they have used! Regards, Kjerstin Mossman <Well, I'm no geometry wiz, and I'm not too well-versed at formulae (but I do like original formula Coke.) However, the classic rectangular/square formula that I've used is Length x Width x Height , then divide the product by 231. I'm sure that there is a hexagon formula, too-but I'm pretty sure that I was out surfing when they taught that one! How about contacting a tank manufacturer and asking if they could share it with you? Hope this helped a bit?

Calculating gallonage Hi, I'm desperately looking for the formula how to calculate a tank volume for rectangular/square and also a hexagon tank.   If there is even a formula in how to calculate a pond volume, then I'd be very happy.   I have found numerous calculators on the web, but none of them tells me the formula they have used! <Mmm, there's about 231 cubic inches in a gallon volume. Approximately seven and a half gallons per cubic foot... A hexagon... hard to describe w/o a diagram... but looking from the top, a measure of the distance from "flat to flat" and the distance across from a point made from the point where two panels seams meet as a perpendicular to the opposing seam, multiplied times the height (in inches) dividing by 231... will give you gallons... Or you can/could fill a container (like a five gallon bucket, plastic milk gallon...) and fill the aquarium and counting the number of gallons it takes! Bob Fenner> Regards,   Kjerstin Mossman

The Secret Formula! (Pt. 2) Thanks for your speedy reply. <I hope that I was helpful!> I know you cant post this onto your site, <Wanna bet?> but I found a fantastic site down here (Australia) http://www.adelaideaquariums.com.au/faqs/freshwater/articles/volumecalc.html which will give you the exact formulae for all kinds of tanks.  You need to have finished high school though! lol <At least! LOL> I am running a mobile aquarium business and need these formula on my laptop so that I can quickly calculate any odd shaped tanks.  Now I need a formula for ponds (c: K.J <Well...think I have to go back to school for that one! Take care! regards, Scott F>

Re: reptile aquarium used as a saltwater tank Gentlemen, <Where?> I was wondering why you can't use a reptile aquarium as a saltwater tank. The tank, only a guess, is 48" by 24" by 16".I like the width it provides. I also think that the shorter height is an advantage as to let more light penetrate per watt. The cage top could be retro fitted with fiberglass screening to prevent fish from jumping out. Right now the cage is made of metal. I'd have to make a hood, or suspend lighting over the cage area. There is a sticker on it that says not to fill it with water. Is it due to the glass edge construction? It looks to be 1/4" thick. Is the glass not tempered? Is it due to the RTV that is used in their construction? I can replace that, if it was not Aquarium Safe RTV. Is it that it can't hold up to the pressures that the water displacement would put on the 1/4" glass, or the corners? I can't seem to find breeder's tanks online, but could make my own. This just seems like it would be a lot less work. Thanks. Steve Scott <Hey Steve, it has been my experience (I did not believe the sticker either) that reptile tanks are not designed to hold water, and in all of my experiments (outside of course) they hold for a while, then blow out and I no longer have a reptile tank or an aquarium.  I would not advise filling it with water.  Best Regards, Gage>

Re: More questions Many thanks for your help thus far.  I can only imagine how many creatures I would have killed (also resulting in my untimely death from the wife for wasting money) by finding your site.    <indeed our desire and purpose to help you succeed> I have still not set up the tank, since I am installing a GFI per your recommendation and I'm modifying my Eclipse3 hood for a skimmer.  First question is regarding the stand.  It's a solid wood (pine) commercial model with no bottom (sits on the edges only). <no worries... this is all that is needed with commercial tanks (they do not sit flat-bottomed with trim)> Is this usable, given the weight of the water, live rock and sand?   <correct> Assuming I make sure I shim it to be very level, would putting some rubber molding/edging on the edge where the aquarium contacts the stand be advisable?   <not at all> Should I make a "bottom" for it?    not necessary, but a thin sheet of Styro to absorb minor irregularities would not be a bad idea> I'm stressing over this in a big way. <please don't> I also looked at the lights on the hood.  It states that I can use standard bulbs (there are two) up to (if I remember correctly) 18w.  So you recommend switching bulbs at the outset? (FOWLR)  If so, would you suggest the mix of the blue actinic (?) and daylight bulbs?   <mostly daylight 6500-10K> Many many thanks again.  I've steered a few others to your site, and they too rave about your hospitality and knowledge. Cheers! JPM <thanks kindly my friend. Wishing you the very best! Anthony>

Scratch in glass I recently purchased a 30 gallon glass aquarium.  I noticed it has a surface scratch on the back pane of glass that is about 6 inches in length across the back.  Should I be concerned?  Does a scratch typically lead to a crack or leak under pressure when filled with water? Thanks for your help. <scratches o the glass unless quite deep are unlikely to cause any problems left undisturbed. It would simply be a weakness if struck or torques there at best. If its on the outside, seek a filler of you prefer. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: scratch in glass I recently purchased a 30 gallon glass aquarium.  I noticed it has a surface scratch on the back pane of glass that is about 6 inches in length across the back.  Should I be concerned?  Does a scratch typically lead to a crack or leak under pressure when filled with water? <Not simple surface scratches. I would test fill it outside... and consider taking it back to your dealer if it concerns you. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help.

Aquarium and glow balls! HI Bob, I was planning to build my aquarium. Other than glass. what options do I have. Are there different kind of acrylic and can some sort of plastic to be used? I was thinking of having some sort of glow/light inside the aquarium...is there some sort of glowing material that can be used (like something in a glass ball maybe..) and what kind of underwater lighting can be used (and is it safe?). I plan a four feet by 2 feet freshwater aquarium.  Thanks for your help, Ashish <Most aquariums are made of glass or acrylic.  There is much more on this on WetWebMedia.com.  Try starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diytksfaqs.htm   There are some links for lighting as well.  Craig>

Diving Back In To A Reef Tank! I have been out of the hobby for several years (10). When I got out, I had a reef system that relied on a Berlin type system. Now, it is apparent that the better solution is a refugium system. <Well, it's not the "perfect" solution to everything, but refugiums do have many advantages, including supporting the main tank with biodiversity and nutrient export mechanisms> I am trying to do a big (175 gal bowed front) and am thinking of saving money by building as much as I can. I will be building the cabinet and hood. Are there plans or drawing available that show how to convert a smaller aquarium to a sump/refugium? <I'd check the do-it-yourself web site, Oz Reef. This site has lots of neat ideas and projects that you'll fin interesting> Second question is can I get by not putting a center support in the stand so I can get a larger tank in? <I would not do this! You really don't want to compromise the structural integrity of the stand in any way, IMO!> Thanks. Ty <And thank you, Ty, for stopping by! Regards, Scott F>

Tank glass bowing concern Small concern I have that is probably not worth having, but I'm going to ask it anyway. <Okey-dokey> I've been keeping tanks for a long time.  This is my first marine tank however, and compared to my 110 gal freshwater tank years ago this 20gal long has already surpassed it in costs (though I daresay it has been well worth it, just wish it were larger but no room).  Well, I've noticed that the front and back glass bow out. <eh... a little scary... normal to a slight degree> At its furthest point each pane (front and back) bow out about 1/4" at the center of the pane.  Is this a cause for concern?   <very good observation (measurement of bow... AKA deflection). Under the best circumstances for single pane float (plate glass), deflection of half the width of the glass is acceptable. For your tank to sustain a 1/4 inch bow... the glass must be at least 1/2" thick. Doubtful for a 20 gall. Thus... a little scary. Probably no big deal though> On the back glass I have a BakPak2 skimmer and an 18" CPR Aquafuge hanging there...  Is this a concern as well?   <they have little influence> The tank is made by Island Aquatics, and has a 5-year guarantee.  I'm more worried about flooding my place and killing my creatures than I am the tank being replaced though.   <hmmm... for a 20 gallon aquarium, 3/8" glass would be appropriate. If they used 1/4 inch glass... it's  a cheap tank in my book. So... my advice is sleep well on a 3/8" tank, exchange a 1/4" tank. Never heard of Island Aquatics by the way. Where are you/they located?> Thanks for any input on this concern of mine! <best regards, Anthony>

Tank bowing and BTA Anthony, Oh boy you're going to love this tank. It is slightly larger than 1/8".   <Doh! that's not a tank... that's an aquatic hand-grenade. Don't stand too close to it :) Ahhh... what I mean to say is... Wow... thin glass.> I don't have a 1/16 ruler on hand but it appears to be constructed of 3/16" glass panes.   <indeed... commonly used to make 5 and 10 gallon aquariums. This is even a bit too thin here and better manufacturers offer a "thick-walled" ten gallon aquarium option> I re-measured the bow (deflection) and it is right about 1/8"-1/4", so approximately the thickness of the glass.   <again... likely not a big deal. But still thin... no worries> My father has been keeping fish tanks since 1970, and doesn't think it's a concern, <people also used to use leeches to cure diseases... er, wait a minute... they still do! That solves it... the tank is fine <G>> but I don't trust it.  Admittedly, he's put tanks through some rough treatment.  Real rough.  Even moving some while they were full.   <that is dangerous indeed... a good way to torque a seam and cause a leak> None were ever really name brand types.  So I tend to trust his experience, but at the same time I don't trust the tank.   <agreed on both counts> Very annoying... It was only a $30 tank, but that's still $30 to me, and I've had it too long to exchange it.   <still... you really can keep it and it will be fine. Just know for the next tank that thicker walled tanks are available... no biggie> I'm trying to get the money for an engagement ring, house down payment and more university, so I don't have a lot to through around, <kudos and best of luck across the board here> though I will if necessary. All that anecdotal stuff being said, is this a genuine cause for concern? <nope> Real quick BTA question too while I'm thinking of it... I've had my BTA about two weeks, and it was in the LFS for two weeks.  At the LFS it was doing well, except for being a creamy color which I thought was its normal coloration (I've read a lot but nothing on what to look for color wise in inverts...  after a big duh concerning color indicating health in inverts that use zooxanthellae I've learned my lesson, and thankfully without a large expenditure of money or the needless loss of life).  It had no tears or abrasions and within an hour of having it home I fed it and it gulped down the zooplankton.   <cool> Since then it still eats when I feed, unless the clown pulls it all out thinking it is garbage or what have you, and still opens up, but its mouth kinda gapes open sometimes and during the day it opens up a lot less than at night.   <hmmm...> Normally at night it is wide open, fully extended etc.   <should be for feeding on zooplankton... but not always> Its color *seems* to be coming back, but it is hard to tell.  Just wondering what your opinion on this animal is. <recovery of "color"/zooxanthellae takes many months. The anemone will take on a patchy or blotchy appearance in the interim. Know in the future too that they shrivel and look bad just before they reproduce/split. Do read these articles in the archives> So sorry for the extended e-mail to you - I know you are busy.  I relish the service you guys at WWM provide and since I already know you will answer (your reputation is such that I would never doubt receiving a reply and the best answers possible) I want to thank you with full sincerity. Happy holidays to you! Robert <and to you as well my friend. Thanks kindly. Anthony>

Overflow Box for a 180 gal All Glass tank Anthony, I need to find a overflow box for a new 180 gal ALL glass tank . The overflow box will be in center of back of the tank with two 1-1/2 inch bulkheads  off set hear the top to handle the water return to the sump, It will handle 5000 gal per hour. That should make it reef ready?  RGibson <Hmmm... this is very subjective here, bud. But relative to the complaints of many aquarists that find some of the so-called "Reef Ready" commercial tank overflows inferior... I would be content to have a 180 gallon overflow that could quietly handle 2000 gallons. This is reasonable in my opinion. The hard coral reefers will tell you that even this is inadequate. A 180 gallon SPS tank will have over 3000 gph of circulation or it will fail within 2 years due to complication in part from the inferior flow dynamic. I'll commit to that! So... what is enough? I understand the mfg's need to keep price low... and this my contentment at 2000gph for "reef ready" which will keep most common and hardy soft corals well. Best regards, Anthony>

Undersized overflows All Glass tank overflows i have tested can have a flow rate of 700 gal per hour for each one. The way to do this is to used 1-1/4 pipe or tubing on the leaving side of the bulkhead to the sump. Used a Durso set up on the top side. All overflows on the 75 gal 90 gal will have 700 gal per hour. <10X turnover is adequate for fish only tanks...perhaps. But with the modern popularity of packed reef displays and stony corals... this is about half of what is needed. Hardly "reef ready" as the claims go. And impossible to upgrade if the consumer buys it and wants to put an averaged sized water pump on (most mid range pumps fall 1000-1500 GPH). So one cannot run enough flow through these overflows to keep SPS corals, for example. A consumer must then contend with a custom drilling for extra holes (closed loop or other) or just have too many power heads in the main display to get enough water movement for coral health and growth (and to prevent detritus from building up). Adding heat from PHs and considerable expense overall to the project. Seems like it would just be more sensible for the mfg to provide larger holes. Plenty of room in the overflow tower. No harm if its bigger than some buyers need... it will just run at a safer level. Makes no sense to me if the R&D people actually own reef tanks and test these systems before they go marketing them as reef ready> The 120 180 gal tanks will have two overflows that will give 1400 gal per hour. <1400 GPH (and running dangerously at max for this overflow) is still a trickle in a 180 gallon reef). I have no qualm with the quality of construction... just the inappropriate marketing as "reef ready"> The elec. power has come back on too many days with out it. Thank you for the help solar works well. Gibson <that means the clam survived? I hope so my friend. Best regards>

Acrylic tank cutting I would like to cut part of the top of my tank out and was wondering if you thought this was safe.  I emailed to ask Clarity Plus, since they made the tank but did not get a reply.  I would like to just cut where the red line is.  Its a 125Gal, so what you see there is replicated on the other side, I only want to cut this one side though.  Due to the extreme bow and flex in this small piece, I think it will be ok...I just wanted a 2nd opinion.  Going to post on the forum too though not sure how to host the picture for that. <Mmm, well, I would like to see there be a much wider (a few inches) long piece of acrylic be along the back edge where the original cut-out is... to strengthen the sides from bowing. But the present cut-out is what, where it is... It should be okay to make the cuts as you show them... but if you can, do consider "running a strip" of acrylic (like two-three inches wide, the length of the back of the tank) and annealing this to the top (with solvent) to brace the tank from bowing. Bob Fenner> Mark

New JEBO aquarium problem Dear Crew: We just bought a new JEBO tank, 80 gallons. We discovered that there is a very strong plastic smell which does not go away. We put water into the full tank and leave it there for 3 weeks while turning on all the filtering system from an old tank (so that the bacteria will grow). The strong smell still stays and we put some fish into the tank, and they almost died. Is there anything we can do to the strong plastic odor? I feel that it is toxic and would kill our fish. <First, I would fill the tank, let it run for a day or two, and then drain and repeat. You may also want to use some activated carbon in the tank to remove the plastic odor. If this does not go away, I would contact the store or manufacturer for additional help or return.> Best, Anne Lam <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Re: aquarium question Hi, I had a quick question about buying a 30 gallon fish tank that will be used as a reef tank. Are there any websites that you would recommend that have 36" long glass tanks? Most of the common websites don't list them (FFExpress, premium, etc). Thanks, Ben <Well Ben, there are no online places that I know of that sell glass aquariums. They are too cheap to buy locally and too difficult to ship without breaking. I would shop around at the various local fish stores for the best price. -Steven Pro>

Re: tank height -- 24" or 30" Regarding the 30" height and concerns about reaching the bottom.  I'm planning on having a DSB of 4-6".  Wouldn't that consideration suggest a 30" high would be more appropriate than a 24" high? <Yes, the actual water depth is what counts. Bob Fenner with long arms from carrying around fish buckets as a kid>

Glass Covers or Not I have read several different articles on the merits of covering your tank if you have a canopy. About half or more of the articles state that not having a cover is better because the lights from your Icecap system don't get blocked by the typical all-glass lids. What's your take? I plan on having a fairy wrasse, but does a canopy count as a cover? <Your Fairy Wrasse is a definite candidate for a jumper, so some sort of cover should be used. Glass covers or acrylic will indeed block out some light for your corals, so you need to consider this when planning your system. Using more intense lighting or lowering the lights are ways of taking into account the loss of intensity from the covers. You could also try using eggcrate material from the hardware store to create a cover of sorts. This should keep any fish in while allowing most of the light to enter the aquarium. FYI, eggcrate material is used for overhead fluorescent lighting fixtures. The salespeople should be able to help you find it. -Steven Pro>

Tank Height My tank will be 72" long.  I'm trying to decide how high and how wide it will be. <More of both!>     The prevailing opinion seems to be that 24" high is ideal, both for purposes of cleaning and with respect to light penetration.  I think, however, from an aesthetic point of view, a 30" high tank will look nicer.  Can another 6" really make it that much more difficult to light and clean? <Mmm, yes... unless you're a basketball playing body plan... it's tough to reach down that far... and light intensity does drop off badly with depth... however, there are tools... and brighter lights!>     With respect to width, Tullock's book recommends at least 18" because the aquascaping potential at 12" is too limited.  Will another 6" -- that is, a 24" width -- materially improve the aquascaping possibilities?  I suppose the wider width also means better side views. <Yes>     Is this all just a matter of personal taste or is there a right answer? <It's... a combo! A blend/mix between function and esthetics... I do think that 30" is a practical maximum for a six foot length system both-wise. Bob Fenner>

Acrylic Tanks You guys have been so helpful and WWM has been a god send.  Sorry to pester,  but another question. <Never a bother- that's what we're here for!> Standard acrylic tanks that are 72" X 24" X 30" made by Tenecor are 1/2" thick.  This seems a little thin, what do you think? They will make one in 3/4" but it will cost 50% more. <I'd be comfortable with this thickness, but if you feel more comfortable with 3/4", then go for it!> I was thinking to get them to change the dimensions to 72" X 30" X 24".  Would this help with the thickness at 1/2"? Less bowing/cracking possible? <Well- no one can guarantee the degree to which a tank will bow once filled, but Tenecor makes very high quality products, and I'd follow their recommendations, with regard to acrylic thickness> I currently have a glass 180, which I've had for 20 years, but have vowed to never move again.  So Acrylic, which you guys in all your post seem to like better. Thanks in advance.  Brian    <I love acrylic- so many benefits...just be careful when cleaning it so you don't scratch it, okay! Good luck! Scott F.>

Minimum Tank Sizes Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro at your service.> I'm setting up a 75 gallon aquarium, 48x18x24. I'm doing things right in that I'm researching and researching and researching. <Good to hear.> I am going to have fantastic filtration through an AquaC EV-180 and a Lifereef Berlin sump. I am going to have a refugium about 20 gallons. This will give me approximately 110 gallons of water, counting tank, sump, and refugium. However, that's not including liverock volume. <Correct, I was just about to mention that.> When a fish such as an angel, is listed at 100 gallons minimum, does that mean you tank should have the length dimensions of a tank that would be about 100 gallons, or are you looking at volume of water including from all sources listed above? <Actually both. They need the swimming room (dimensions) and the water volume to dilute pollutants.> I certainly don't want to crowd any animals, as I will not have very many in my tank. However, could an angel, or a butterfly like semilarvatus, listed at 100 gallons be happy in a 75 gallon as I have described? <No, not in the long run.> A very respectable marine fish retailer mentioned that most fish, if introduced to a tank when they are only a few inches long won't outgrow the tank. Is this true? <Yes, but that is because they will die prematurely.> I hope this wasn't too confusing. <Not at all. FYI, when in doubt, under stock. You and your fishes will be much happier and healthier.> Thanks for the help! Brandon Wilson <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Traveling tank Dear Sir/Madam, Do you know of any tank system available that would be suitable for taking and displaying fish in schools? I would appreciate any help in this matter.                    Yours Sincerely,                   Kenneth J. MacLeod  B.Sc. (Hons.)                      Loughs Agency,                     22 Victoria Road,                       Londonderry.                         BT47 2AB <Interesting possibility... An acrylic tank could be fashioned with a lip functioning as a baffle (have fabricated and installed same on ships years back) to prevent much splashing... but I encourage you to plan out a "static system" that can easily be disassemble and re-set-up at locations, placing the livestock in Styrofoam boxes, bags, oxygen... as if they were being shipped long-distance, and using a sturdy stand with a clear front, labeled filtration gear, an acrylic system (for its toughness against breakage). Do look up Bruce Ulmer of Sea Clear Aquariums in England (perhaps through Tropic Marine Centre: www.tmc-ltd.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1923 284151) for help in physically putting this rig together. Bob Fenner>

Using an Acrylic Tank with Built-in Components Hello WWM! After searching your Web site, I found that a handful of people have asked you about the Tenecor Simplicity Plus-type tank with the internal sump built in the back of the tank. I was wondering if you could answer my many questions about setting up one as a reef tank. <I will try.> Here's some background. The tank I am trying to modify is a flatback hex and measures 48" x 18" x 20". I'm guessing that the sump takes away around 15 gallons of capacity, which leaves about 50 gallons in the display area. If I could avoid drilling and external circulation plumbing, my wife will be happier and more comfortable with the project and my kids less likely to break something catastrophic to the tank. <Ok> I know this makes the setup less than ideal, but I am more than willing to limit the amount of inhabitants as a result. <That is nice to hear. There are probably many compromises we can come up with.> If I had to designate a critical species I would like to keep, it would be Tridacna clams. The "skimmer" area of the sump is inadequate. <I agree and difficult to work on.> Do you think a better alternative would be a hang-on skimmer? <Yes> I already have an Aqua-C Remora that can probably be made to draw water from the skimmer area. <Perfect!> In the wet/dry area of the sump, I would do away with the bio balls and place live rock rubble. The area is a kind of small. Do you think it can house enough rock rubble to serve as an adequate refugium for growing critters? <Time will tell, but anything is better than nothing.> For circulation, I am pretty much relegating myself to powerheads. <I agree in this situation. There is no way you will be able to force enough water through the built-in overflow.> I have already "tested" the use of powerheads in my 20 gallon mini reef. I have been able to keep the temperature around 79 degrees, even in the summer, with the use of a little fan bought at a hardware store. <Good, this is plenty cool enough.> I will be using a grounding probe, and the powerhead(s) is (are) going to be located in the sump. <I don't know if you will be able to get enough water circulation through this sump nor will it be possible in the standard configuration to create random currents. I have only ever see these units with one output or perhaps a spray bar. This in combination with another powerhead or two strategically hidden in the display will help.> Does this adequately address several drawbacks of powerheads: heat transfer, electricity leakage, and noise in the main display? <Seems ok for those concerns, but still need at least 500-1000 gph total and more importantly multiple outlets.> Will there be a problem with shearing critters from the refugium to the display? <That is debatable. If an adult amphipod attempt to go through a powerhead, I am sure it will get sheared, but their eggs, sperm, and larvae should be small enough to pass through unharmed.> The Hagen 901 is rated at 935 gph at zero head. Can it feed a mini version of the Calfo closed-loop manifold? <I am sure you can adapt the PVC to fit.> Since the manifold is fed by a powerhead, would I have to use vinyl tubing and accessories instead of PVC? <Perhaps at the point of connection between the pump and pipe, but the rest can be PVC.> Is this even a remotely realistic method for circulation via a powerhead? <Yes, but I am not sure the overflow can keep up with a pump this size.> Maybe I'll have to use multiple powerheads? <That is what I think you will have to do.> For lighting, is a JBJ 220-watt Formosa that has 2 10,000K and 2 actinic bulbs provide adequate and correct lighting for clams and the tank as a whole? <I think you said this tank is 20" deep. If so, you should be ok for Derasa and Squamosa's, but you may need to elevate Crocea and Maxima clams. Have you picked up Daniel Knop's excellent book, "Giant Clams"? For calcium supplementation. I would prefer to use a calcium reactor. Is it possible for a calcium reactor to be placed below the tank in the stand and still feed the internal sump? <I don't think that will be a problem.> Is this going to be the Achilles heel of my setup? While I (hopefully) still have your attention, I was wondering about the one and only fish in my mini reef. It's a lawnmower blenny, and I'm curious about his behavior. He seems healthy and is constantly munching on the glass and live rock. But he does other things that may be unusual. For instance, he seems to change color. I swear that sometimes he looks "darker." Are you familiar with this? <Yes, this is not unusual. Most fish have some ability to alter their coloration to fit their mood. Algae Blennies seem particularly good at using this to help them hide.> Also, he likes to rest in the strangest places: on top of the powerhead, wedged between the skimmer bubble trap box and the back of the tank, and wedged between the thermometer and the side of the tank. Is he just hanging out or is it a sign of stress? <This does not strike me as something to worry about.> I really want to move him to a larger tank and that is one of the reasons why I am looking to set up the Simplicity Plus as a reef tank. Thank you for your time and input. Your site is fantastic. J.D. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Brace Yourself? Cheers my saltwater heroes! Without you guys, my saltwater passion would have been a thing of the past, so I thank you for sharing all your knowledge! I have also added your books to my Xmas wish list, although I doubt that I'll be able to wait that long! <Everyone here feels as passionate as you do about the hobby/art of aquarium keeping!> I have read and reread your site in search of an answer to my question and I have found a few things, but I just want to be perfectly clear on what I have to do. Being a newbie I'm terrified of goofing up and having my animals suffer! <At any stage, we all feel the same!> Ok here's the dilly, I have a 55 gal reef tank and the top plastic center brace just broke. I quickly ran and placed a furniture clamp across the top to relieve the pressure. <Good emergency move!> So for now, everything seems fine, well if you don't mind a long metal protrusion with big orange handles! "Very attractive addition" was my roommate's comment. There's always one in the bunch.. Any way, from what I have read, I will need to silicone a glass piece across the top to keep it together? How will this work? Won't the glass just pull away from the sides where it is glued? I hate to sound so dumb, but I just can't quite picture this repair. Also what brand of silicone do you recommend and what size/thickness piece of glass should I use? Oh, and do I have to drain my tank to do this repair? Is there a step by step that you can offer for all thumbs kinda folk like myself? I would greatly appreciate any help you can send my way. Thanks again for all you brilliance!  :^) Sincerely, Dee Ryden <Wow, Dee- we sure appreciate the "props", but I'm afraid I have to recommend that you contact the tank manufacturer or even a glass shop for this type of repair. It seems simple enough, and there are lots of hobbyists who do repair tanks by themselves, but I would be remiss if I pointed out a simple repair technique! If the repair is not done correctly, or with the right materials, you have the potential for a disaster! So-please do contact a professional for this one. Thanks for thinking of us, though! Good Luck!  Scott F.>

Shaken, Not Stirred Hi, I'm a devoted fan from Fairbanks, Alaska.  As you may or may not know, we recently experienced a 7.9 earthquake. <Yikes! Hope that you're okay!> Until recently, this type of experience has been a rare occurrence, at least at that magnitude.  This last quake left me with saltwater drenched floors and electrical components.  Obviously, I feel fortunate to have sustained such little damage, but the swaying tanks during the quake immediately made my mind race.  With such great interest in the aquarium trade, especially in California, are there measures commonly taken in earthquake prone areas to prevent the toppling of tanks and other associated damage? Thanks in advance, Andrea <Well, Andrea, as someone who lives in LA, and has been through a few quakes, I can certainly understand your concern! Some of the measures that I have seen aquarists do include actually strapping stands and tanks to the walls(!), utilizing acrylic tanks exclusively (That's the #1 reason why I swear by acrylic, having had one shift completely off the stand by about 18", and still not crack!), GFI outlets, and lots of different bracing methods. I'd recommend doing a search on the internet under "earthquake safety", and you may come up with some ideas (not always for aquariums, but nonetheless applicable) that can help. Do also visit our WetWebMedia chat forum for some feedback from fellow hobbyists. Good luck and be safe!  Scott F.>

Finding Glass aquariums Hi Rob, My question to you today is can you help me find a retailer on the web or phone to find large glass aquariums.  <Hmmmm... shipping costs are dear. Where do you live? And are you looking for custom or commercial (cheaper) size(s)> I have checked the sites you have links to and they have is acrylic, that seems to be more expensive and scratches easily.  <agreed... I prefer glass> My local fish stores don't have much of a selection and don't want to seem to help much, all they carry is all glass or top fin which seem to top out at 180g. please help. Josh, thanks again! <OK... and do look into FAMA (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) magazine. They have ads for huge aquarium therein. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: glass aquariums Hey, I guess I left a few things out. I live near Tampa, Florida. I would definitely go for commercial (cheaper). I'm looking for something between 250-300 gallons, but only 6' long. I will check for FAMA at my local pet shops, but if you can give me a couple names of manufactures of larger glass tanks off the top of your head so I can name them to my local pet stores. <Perfecto, All-Glass, and Oceanic are the big boys. Oceanic makes custom tanks, capable of making something in the size you are interested in. Perfecto's biggest tank is 265 gallons and 7 feet long. I think All-Glass's is something close to 200.> Thanks again, You guys are great! Josh <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tank and stand I have a 29 gallon wide tank that has been set up for about 2 years, and right after I first set the tank up I noticed a gap in between the center of the lengthwise section where the tank and stand meet. It's been in the back of my mind for a while and was wondering if I should do something about it. <I would... take the tank down (as in empty it as if you were moving... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm) and repair the stand (straighten it), and/or place material (like a cut sheet of plywood) under the entire bottom (edge) such that it is all coming in contact in the same way. Please read here re stands: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm It's not uncommon for tanks in your situation to "crack" w/o any (further) apparent cause. Bob Fenner>

Jebo tanks input shared from WWM daily reader/friend (Now Crew member!) Hello Everyone, <cheers> I was reading over the FAQs and saw a question about Jebo tanks. Although I have never owned one the store I used to work in sells them, so here is my opinion (for what it is worth) <excellent and with thanks!> The tanks are aesthetically pleasing with rounded edges, and the filter is all up top in the canopy, much like the eclipse tanks. The Lighting on the 25 gallon is (I think) a couple of power compacts (pretty cool). The filter is a trickle filter of sorts, the water is pumped up through a tube which drips the water across a filter bad that is on top of some biomedia, then returned to the tank (also pretty cool). The only problems I have noticed is that the light switches on the canopy tend to break, and if you use the tank for salt water the salt will creep and the lighting is not sealed well, so you will end up with a lot of rust.  <ahhh...common with imports> Also, the powerhead that pumps the water up to the filter has one of those tube dealies that you can add for extra aeration, this does not work well for some reason. If I were looking for a tank that was fairly easy to set up and ready to go straight out of the box the Jebo is pretty sweet. I would also check out the eclipse systems. I would lean towards an eclipse because almost everyone sells them so parts and maintenance are readily available. In theory the Jebos are pretty sweet, but not having used one I cannot say for sure. Hope it helps. Best Regards, Gage <again... kind thanks for sharing. The beauty of good aquatic fellowship and this vehicle we call WetWebMedia.com Best regards, Anthony>

Acrylic aquarium bowing Hello,  <<Hi, JasonC here...>> I have a question about my 55 gallon (48x13x20) acrylic fish tank. I noticed that my fish tank is bowing approximately a half inch from the middle of tank and was wondering if this is normal.  <<Normal perhaps for acrylics and certainly for the thickness of the acrylic used in your tank.>>  The tank is a couple of years old and the thickness of the acrylic is a quarter inch. Also, the water level is uneven about a one inch difference from one side to the other.  <<This is most likely because the tank is not sitting level on the floor, or even because the floor itself is not level.>>  Do you think it may be time for a new tank?  <<I don't think so... chances are good that you just noticed this, and it's been bowing since day one.>>  Also, I hear ticking noises coming from the tank. I'm not sure if this is related to the bowing of my fish tank or not.  <<Regular ticking like a clock or sporadic ticking... you could have a snapping shrimp in there. Many of these are quite small and usually don't present any problems. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/shrimp.htm >> I would greatly appreciate any information. Thank you for your time. Dave <<Cheers, J -- >>

Drilling Glass Tank Hello again.  <whassup?> I can't seem to find anyone near Naperville, IL (west of Chicago) to drill my 135 gallon glass tank so I was thinking of doing it myself.  <Hmm... what about Old Towne Aquarium? Better yet... there has got to be a Chicagoland/CMAS aquarium society member or three (!) that has access. Do look them up on the web> I have read up on the proper procedure and now I am trying to find a good source for the 2.75 hole cutting bit I will need (1.5 inch overflows). Any suggestions?  <D.L. Lawrence has such specialty items> I also will be painting the outside of the back wall of the tank black and was wondering if I need a special paint.  <indeed a silicone based paint would be best for longevity... expensive though. Krylon spray paint has been used reasonably well too! But can stain with water/salt creep> By the way, I recently purchased Mr. Fenner's book and devoured it in a couple of nights.  <hmmm... the first time I devoured it I had pages stuck between my teeth for days. Still... we agree that it is an awesome book!> I found it to be very informative and easy to read. Keep up the good work! <thanks kindly, Anthony>

Pre-Drilled, Twin-Flow Hi all- <cheers> Are you familiar with All-Glass pre-drilled Twin-Flow corner overflows?  <yep... inadequate flow for most tanks> I want to buy one of these but am confused about set up. I know I have to buy a separate accessory kit that has bulkhead fittings, pre-filter with media, float etc. But does this require a pump or is it past of the deal? <the pump involved will be sitting in your sump tank below... the kit is just an overflow assembly... and a small one at that> If I set up a sump can I put my skimmer and a heater down beneath?  <you will have to have a sump with a tank with an overflow. Very desirable anyways... and yes you can put most or all of your equipment down there. The skimmer will need a skimmer box though to keep a stable well volume (sealed baffle in sump or a drilled box within your sump)> And can I rely on this pre-bought system to circulate the water? <many complaints abound about weak flow from these units. A kind and knowledgeable aquarist that designed a better overflow for All-glass has worked with them on this topic but they have been disinclined to promote a higher capacity or modified overflow. I understand that you can special order a double overflow from them. Else, the standard issue will not allow you to run a large sump return pump that eliminates the need for power heads in the main tank. I personally don't feel like the inconvenience is worth it with an All-Glass aquarium. If you have a tank of fishes or invertebrates that wants or needs high flow, I would advise you to get a plain aquarium drilled with a bigger/better overflow. this could simply be 4 1" holes across the back top of regular tank> Would the downspout connect directly into my skimmer and how would I hook up the return?  <it could... but I would suggest that it would be safe to dump the raw water into the skimmer box in the sump which overflows into the sump proper before a sump pump (Mag drive, Iwaki, etc) returns it back up to the display> Sorry for my ignorance but most of your Sump/refugium FAQ's relate to DIY systems or ad hoc systems, whereas I am attempting to buy a system that is integrated from the start. The more I read the less certain I am of what minimum requirements I need to satisfy. <it is really simple, my friend... the overflow drains into an empty tank (sump)... the pump returns the water through a short u-tube up over the display. The only variation here is a skimmer box catching the raw water in-line as it sits in the sump> I will probably buy the 75 gallon rectangular model, but space/aesthetics may necessitate the 92 gallon triangular corner model. I hope to set up for reef with fishes in moderation. <do continue to review the DIY diagrams for ideas and variations you may wish to adopt. Pick out these basic components outlined above in the following illustration: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> Your help is greatly appreciated as I hope to make the BIG purchase sometime near the end of September. <let us help you find a good local aquarium society too... what city do you reside in/near? Anthony>

Custom Acrylic Aquariums Could you please tell me where I could purchase a acrylic customized aquarium. Thank You. <Sure. There are a few of the larger fabricators listed here on our Links pages: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm see the middle column under "manufacturers"... I encourage you to do a bit more looking in your geographic region (shipping can be an important cost)... and to ask your local fish stores what they might charge you to "piggy back" this job on their shipment (many do so for a nominal/minimal surcharge (ten percent), saving you much more than you can get the work delivered for direct... What else, let's see, oh, do check with the various BB's, Chatforums (ours: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ re opinions, experiences with the company/ies you're considering. Have you read through our "Designer Tank" sections?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dessysart.htm and the linked files. Bob Fenner>

Tank Dimensions Hi there. I hope everybody is well! I am buy a new tank and I have the following 2 options when it comes to size: a) 70" x 23"(w) x 23"(h) - 155 Gallons b) 78" x 18"(w) x 23"(h) - 125 Gallons Option (b) is the one that I really want to choose, because I like long tanks, but 30 gallons seem to be quite a significant amount of water and I'm not sure if the tank would be wide enough. If you had to keep a FOWLR setup with some "big" fish of say 8 inches in size, would the 18 inches be wide enough? The only problem I have with option (a) is that it looks "smaller", despite the extra gallons. <If you intended fishes have a maximum adult size of 8 inches, either tank would work fine. I would get what you want.> I have ready through many of your articles and FAQ's and it looks like you generally suggest the "long and low" approach, so would "long and narrow" be better than "short and wide" in this case? <In this case, neither tank is of the high variety and either would serve you well.> Thanks in advance, Chris <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

How tall is too tall? Hello Bob and the rest of the crew, <part of the rest of the crew says Hi! right back at you. Anthony Calfo in your service> Thanks for all your hard work. What an exhaustive amount of very helpful information! <a labor of love> I am considering buying a new tank from a guy who builds custom tanks for a living. For whatever reason, he has a new tank that did not get sold, so he is trying to get rid of it at a great price. The only problem is that it is a little taller than I would prefer. The dimensions are 48"long by 18"wide by 36"tall.  <if built out of half inch glass this should have sealed stringers (glass braces) or a meta capture (banding) if it is structurally sound. Is the tank maker a professional or a local with a caulking gun?> 120-125 gallons I think. I plan on doing a reef system with sand, LR, soft corals and a select few fish. I foresee myself getting into LPS, maybe SPS, and a clam or two in the future.  <the clams and SPS will be great together and in your case you might luck out with the LPS too in such a nicely deep tank (they will be kept in lower half of tank). Do resist too much mixing of these groups for long term success with either though> I am going to build the rock up in height as much as is practical to get the corals closer to the lights.  <necessary for the SPS and Clams> Do you feel this tank is too tall for a reef?  <not at all... a very nice tank with lots of lighting options for corals at various depths> I know, I know, what kind of lights am I going to use? Good question. I have been reading the articles and FAQ's extensively and I will most likely go with either PC's or VHO. <this will make it rather difficult unless you can keep most of your corals in the top 12" of the tank. Halides are more cost effective in terms of cost of power vs. light produced> I don't want to get in MH (too many other issues to deal with). <heat and expense of operation shouldn't be factors... marketing misrepresentations> Concerning lighting, I have a question. Reading through the lighting FAQ's, I noticed that Bob tends to recommend a mix of 75% full spectrum and 25% actinic blue whereas some of the other contributors recommend a 50/50 mix. Is this just a matter of opinion?  <nope... really a matter of the animals you keep. Emphasis on daylight for shallow water species (SPS and blue clams)... or 50/50 for deeper water animals (LPS, Zoantharians)> What would be better for my future setup? <2-175 watt 10K halides at minimum. If you will go mostly for SPS corals, then you are a candidate to 2-250 watt halides. Please don't let anyone talk you into 400watt halides unless you can rule out LPS and will go hardcore on shallow colored SPS corals> Thanks, Mark Miami, FL
<kindly, Anthony>

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