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FAQs about Tanks, Stands, Covers for Marine Systems 3

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 2, 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,

A pulley system makes life easier for raising and lowering MH fixtures.

Saltwater Tank Setup, Leaky Tanks? Hello again Bob. I wanted to say thanks for the advice on the in sump protein skimmers. Secondly I wanted to know if you had any info on the All-Glass 95 gallon wave tank. Two local retailers told me it was being recalled due to leaks in the adhesive. Do you know if there is any truth to this? <Have not heard this... and would be very surprised if this were the case... there is nothing inherently wrong with the shape, design of these tanks... and this is a fine company that knows what they're doing. They would recall all if there were such problems> Also if this is the case could you recommend a replacement tank? Thanks, Cory <The large aquarium manufacturing companies in the U.S. are to be trusted. Bob Fenner>

Re: All-Glass tank recall 28 Jun 2005 Just wanted to give you an update on the 95 gallon All-Glass wave tank. Apparently they were recalled, there was a problem with the glass in the tank. <Yikes> I just got an email from someone there and they said that virtually all of the flawed ones have been accounted for and destroyed. Thanks, Cory <Thank you for this update. All the more reason I guess, for filling out, returning registration information cards. Bob Fenner> Anybody Make A 48" Long 100-125 Gallon Reef Ready Tank? - 06/12/05 Hi gang: <<Howdy>> I recently saw a 48"x24"x24" Visio custom glass tank in my LFS. <<A very popular size/configuration.>> Evidently they ordered it for an SPS show tank. . . and decided not to use it for that purpose.  Anyway, they're looking to sell it. . . but the price is rather steep, and the cabinet is badly flawed.  I currently have a near-cubic shaped 105 gallon. . . bought used, but a custom job at time of manufacture.  Does anyone know of a manufacturer who makes something like this size in their standard lineup? I've looked at the Lee Mar/All Glass/Oceanic catalog descriptions. . . but unless I've missed something, I don't see anything close. Thanks in advance for any help on this. <<Well Chuck if I go by your title, I think you've missed something.  Google searches of both All-Glass and Oceanic show stock 120 gallon (48x24x24) aquariums.  I would suggest some key-word searches on the internet to see what you can find.>> Chuck <<Regards, Eric R.>>

New Setup Question Good day Bob, Anthony and everyone else on the crew,  <James, today> I have a quick question for you regarding my new marine tank I'm currently planning. After failing miserably on my first attempt, I gave up on marine aquariums a couple of years ago. I am now at the point where I want to make another attempt. I've learned a lot from my previous mistakes and want to spent a lot of time on planning and research this time around before buying a single thing.  The one thing that has been bugging me is the following - I still have my previous tank here, the dimensions are: 2metres long, 45centimetres wide, 60cm deep, with a capacity of about 135gallons. It has a good overflow, fancy canopy for lighting fixtures etc. and is still in very good shape. This time around I would like to set up a reef aquarium. From what I've read so far on your site and others it seems that this is not really the ideal type of tank for a reef system (I understand that it is better to have a wide/shallower tank instead of a narrow/tall tank).  <It is.>  The 45cm width presents some practical challenges to me with regards to aquascaping the live rock, but I was wondering what your opinion on this will be ? Would you rather buy a new tank with better dimensions or do you think there is no real disadvantage in using my current tank ?  <The <<main>> disadvantage will be the lighting required on a deep tank. The shallow and long tanks are better because of the large surface area in relation to the gallon size of the tank. This promotes better gas exchange at the surface and cuts the lighting expense somewhat. In my 30+ years of experience, I've always had better luck with long and shallow tanks. James (Salty Dog)> 

Leveling my tank Hi crew. I have a 135G glass tank and I checked to see how level the stand is by running my driver's license between the tank bottom and the top of the stand. <Good technique> There are a few spot where the license will fit through so I wanted to put Styrofoam underneath like the site suggests. My question is what size Styrofoam? Lowe's carries 1/2", 3/4", and 1". Which one would be best? <For this size tank, gapping, the half inch will do> Further more, will that solve the problem?  <Yes, very likely so> Thank you. Mike P.S. I have sent a diagram of my proposed setup twice now and haven't gotten a reply, but I think it could possibly be on my end.  <Mmm, we do have trouble (more rather than less as time goes by) with some emails, attachments... have asked our service provider re...> The file size is 1.67 MB. Is that too big for you to receive? <Maybe. Alternatively, please try sending to my personal address: fennerrobert@hotmail.com> I sent it with AOL first, then I used Picasa, a picture program. <A really neat program> Is there anything else I can do so you will get the diagram? Tanks! <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Leveling my tank, cont'd Hello again.  You recommended that I use 1/2" Styrofoam sheet to put between my 135G tank and stand due to the stand not being flat.  I have gotten it back onto the stand and it closed up most of the gaps, however there is still one corner that has a gap, probably 1-2 mm.  I am wondering if I should get a thicker piece of Styrofoam, or try to fill with tap water and see if it settles down and closes the gap.  What do you think would be the best way to go?  Thanks again.  Mike <Am feeling uncomfortable recommending a thicker piece here... I would shore up the stand (a wedge or two under the closer leg/s... and see if this brings the surface to level, planar. Bob Fenner>

Re: Leveling my tank, cont'd Bob, thank you for the reply.  I sent another message last night because I thought you had not gotten this one.  Sorry for that. <No worries. Did see this. We're running a bit behind... as usual> Also, my stand does not have legs, the bottom and top is 2X4's that are laying flat. <Mmm, well, there's got to be "some bottom" to the whole structure... this is what needs leveling, shimming> So the only way shims would work is if I put them directly under the tank which would mean that the tank would not be supported by the entire stand but rather just the shims. <No! As you know> Further more, then I don't understand how the Styrofoam would be effective.  Please help me, I am at a loss on how to remedy this.  Thanks. <The foam/base is good for a small amount of uneven-ness of the stand base... but not a good idea to rely on it for more than a few millimeters over a few feet run... The sealant, glass can "give" a bit, but not too much. Bob Fenner>

To Cover or Not to Cover, That is the Question - Or Is It? Hello Crew or Eric R., <<Hello, Marina here.>> In Tuesday's (05/24/05) FAQ, someone posted a question  "Wrasse Behavior - Jumping, Freaking And Hiding (Oh My!) - 05/23/05" and in the question the writer stated that he has the top 100% covered because the wrasse likes to jump. Eric R. then responded with <Mmm...not sealed I hope...possibly covered with egg-crate or similar?>  <<Yes.>> My question is why not 100%? Why use the egg-crate? <<Actually, those are questionS, not one question. And the answer lies in a couple of areas of concern for reef aquarists. First being O2-CO2 exchange; this exchange is greatly hampered if the tank is covered in such a way as to create almost a seal. Using something that does not allow fresh air to come across the surface of the water means that this exchange won't take place here. If one is running a wet/dry trickle filter, then it's a non-issue. However, many folks have eschewed this technology in favor of that which does not encourage this exchange. The other issue has to do with heat gain, again a problem in closed reef systems. Glass not only does not allow heat to escape, it creates a greenhouse. Higher heat means lower O2 saturation. Why eggcrate? Because it is chemically inert (unlike aluminum or brass window screening), relatively inexpensive, and very easily cleaned and configured to fit any system. Neat stuff to work with, actually.>> I'm asking because I'm currently running a 100% glass covered 150gal Oceanic RR tank. What am I doing wrong now?  <<Ha! You sound like my father-in-law ("Ron!" "What'd I do now?"), and I KNEW we'd catch you! Actually, not knowing anything else about your setup we cannot say that you're doing something wrong. But if I catch you then I will. <wink> >> Thanks in advance.  Stan <<You're welcome Stan. Now don't let me catch you doing something wrong!  Marina - The One Who WILL Catch You If You're Doing Something Wrong>> 

New aquarium repair I just received a 96x30x30 Starphire aquarium from Inter American. The front and side panels are 1/2 inch Starphire the bottom is 3/4 and the back and Euro- bracing is 5/8 regular glass. The problem is that there are hundreds of bubbles in every seam of the aquarium. The bubbles are large some around an inch long. Inter American said that it was normal to have this many bubbles because the glass is tempered <?> and they will not give me a refund. When I fill the tank about halfway the left front seal turns chalk white. <Not good> It first turns chalk white only at the bubbles but then I can see the white areas spreading the longer it sits. They told me to let it sit empty for a few weeks to let the silicone harden more and that everything would be fine. <Umm, the Silicone "hardens"... little... it cures in a day...> I'm guessing they are just lying to me and this problem will not fix itself. The only seam I have seen turn chalk white is the front left but every seam has hundreds of bubbles even the seams of the Euro- bracing. Can I fix this? I do not have any experience with building or fixing aquariums. Thanks <Fixing is difficult... requires cutting out the seals... including between the glass (the only functional seal)... I would be talking with your/their States General Attorneys re the legality of this sale, lack of exchange. Bob Fenner> 

225 gallon aquarium with no center brace Hello, My name is Curt. I recently bought an older 225 gallon glass aquarium from a dentist who was moving his practice to a different building. The aquarium had been used as a salt water tank for years and I thought it would be a good idea to reseal the tank before I use it. The tank has a floating bottom and the plastic molding on top and bottom are 4 individual pieces instead of the one piece construction. <This last is not uncommon... the plastic surrounds are more for holding the glass panels together during construction, and looks, than structural function> Also there was a fiber reinforced tape around both the top and bottom of the tank. Since the tank was together and running for years without any center brace is it truly necessary? <... don't know> Also, if I go without the center brace do you know where I can buy the original 4 piece molding? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. <If the manufacturer is still about... and you can ascertain who made it... you might contact them re. Bob Fenner, who would likely at least install a "Euro brace" along the inside front and back panels... much the same as Eheim's, Juwel... tanks>  Bees Wax on Driftwood? Hi Chuck! Sorry to write about that again, but what would you think of bee-wax to coat the wood? Some commercial products that are used to coat wood furniture are 100% bee-wax so they would not be toxic either. Dominique < All natural products will succumb to microorganisms over time and break down. As they break down they will probably float to the surface to create an unsightly scum on the surface of the water and inhibit the oxygen exchange between the air and the water in the tank. This piece of wood must be pretty special for you to work so hard to keep it around.-Chuck>

Eclipse sump? Does anyone know how to get an overflow and sump setup to work with an eclipse hood? or a way to modify it to work with it? <Yes... this is described on WWM, but even better shown by one of the regular contributors on our BB, WetWebFotos.com I'd go, search this there... with the terms: Modifying Eclipse Hoods. Bob Fenner>

Oceanic 175 Bow Front Glass Top Center Hello,  <Hello John> I've been scouring the country for an Oceanic 175 Bowfront glass top center, Oceanic part #30495 for several weeks. I've already been in contact with Oceanic Systems; they seem to be having the same difficulty locating this piece as I am. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.  <I think you've done all you can with all the email addies. James (Salty Dog)>

San Diego Aquariums Hello Guys.  I started reading The Conscientious Marine Aquarist yesterday and stayed up until 1 am reading it!  Great book!  The pictures alone are worth the price, and the information is priceless. I know that you are located in San Diego and I was wondering if you had contact information of an aquarium maker/manufacturer that sells directly to the public. <Mmm, there are a few... a retailer might make you a deal with about the best, Lee-Mar... though they don't sell directly to the public, some folks just add on a few percent for pass-through costs. I'd check with Ron Elander at Octopus' Garden re> I  want to upgrade to a larger tank, and the retail mark-up around here seems to be murderous.  Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank, Justin <Actually, having been a retailer in this town for a few decades, the practice used to be to virtually mark tanks up zilch. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a Hexagon Tank? Hello WW Crew... < Hi, Blundell here tonight. > A few years ago I moved into a Manhattan apartment that was too small for my 75gall saltwater setup.. this was devastating!! Anyway, recently I've been thinking of getting a 55-75gall hex tank.  This I would have space for, assuming I can fit the filter/skimmer/sterilizer all underneath in the cabinet.  < That is difficult to do. >  I know that these hex tanks are not ideal for marine setups...wider is better. However I was wondering if it was do-able and basically by how much would I have to trim down my fish load compared to a comparable rectangular tank??  < I would stock it like a 30 gal tank, just to be safe. It may be more difficult to set up, but these tanks can certainly look beautiful. >  Clearly it rules out tangs, angels, etc., I know this. I know you guys hate making stock lists for people but a few suggestions would be really appreciated!! < Anemonefishes and anemones if you have the lights. I'd also think nearly all gobies and blennies would be ideal. >  I was thinking of making a center tower to live rock that would go all the way to the top. This would be fish only to.. ... Thanks so much guys!!!  < If fish only, maybe a species or habitat tank. Something like a live rock tower and a frogfish. Personally I would still rather see gobies and shrimp and things like that. > Rick < Blundell > 

AGA Overflows I have been reading a lot about the shortcomings of the standard overflows that come with certain Aquariums. I have a 90 gallon AGA and was wondering if it makes sense to somehow convert the ? inch return line to another drain to increase flow and use a closed loop type of return instead. Thanks, John <Does make sense... either to A) use the current small lines for a closed-loop recirculation system (in place of submersed pump/s, powerheads), B) Re-drill over these holes to much larger... or C) do A and drill new holes... Bob Fenner> 

Lighting for S/W Hi James. <Hello Mark>  I can only afford one 150w M/h (Arcadia Series 3) for my 32x18x18 tank. Which will put it directly over the brace (Great) Never simple, is it?. Do you think I need more light? I have a few soft corals. Planning on an Anemone and some hard corals in my new system (Miracle mud refugium too!) Local shop told me that I could put two 3" braces either side of the 6" brace in the middle, then take the larger one out. Can the braces be put at either end of the tank to form a square with the other braces running along the back and front panels. Why does the tank need these braces at all? 8mm glass doesn't flex, does it? (Sorry, rhetorical questions ...) This brace is driving me bonkers. Great site, thoroughly enjoyed. That's all for now.  <Mark, to protect the warranty of your tank, I would contact the tank manufacturer about the change in bracing you want to do. My thinking is the manufacturer isn't going to spend any money on materials if they aren't required. That would be enough light for one side of the tank, or the middle area, but not enough to place corals anywhere in the tank, they will have to be under the light wherever it ends up. James (Salty Dog)> 

Divided tanks Hi, Bob I noticed in one of your threads that you were talking about a tank being divided by bead blasted partitions. I have 12 tanks this way, some divided into five compartments. The dividers are clear with slots top and bottom for flow through. Should I sand them so it doesn't stress the fish, or do I need to do that just for certain fish? <Just for certain fish more likely in your case... The wholesalers often crowd the same species next to each other... things like Centropyge, Pseudochromis... Bob Fenner> 

Tank Drilling Question, Tunze Adaptation Thank you for your reply. <Surely> The holes in the top of the tank will only be large enough for the mechanism the Tunze powerhead will hang from and the cord.  <Form follows function!> What type of hole saw do I use to make the hole and do I measure and just drill like I normally would, say for example like a doorknob? <I would call the retailer you purchased the tank from, and see what bit they've had success with.  They have likely had a bit of trial and error, if you know what I mean.  The important part is to go nice and slow.  I have used a Dremel for this in the past.> The tank currently has 1" of crushed see shells and about 50 lbs. of "Reef Bones".  Can I add the deep sand bed over the current substrate and use the "Reef Bones" as a base for the live rock? <You can mix the sands to provide a diversity, but I'd probably remove a good amount.  Larger particles tend to trap debris, which becomes a problem once it starts to be processed.> The tank has an acrylic canopy so I thought about using 2, 175w metal halides (55k) and 2, 96w actinic PC's.  My taste in corals tends to be of the soft variety but I do like the elegance coral and some other hard corals.  Will this lighting setup be ample? <Yes, a nice choice for the animals kept.> Also using the bulbs I've described will the lighting have a blue tint as that is what I prefer. <All about preference!> Thank You for all your help and Merry Christmas to you and all the Wet Web Media staff. <And a happy new year! Ryan> Tank not quite level... Hello, all! I have a 75 gallon all-glass aquarium on an all-glass stand.  It's on the third story of a very solid apartment complex, and the management has assured me that the floors will have no trouble supporting the weight. The aquarium is perfectly level the long way, but it tilts out from the wall at 0.4cm over 34.5cm.  So, if my math is right, that's roughly 4.2 degrees? The floor does not creek anywhere.  It's been exactly this way since I've first filled it; it has not changed a bit.  It's up against a wall that goes clear down to the foundation of the building.  It has about 170 pounds of substrate, and will have about 75 pounds of Fiji live rock. I'm afraid that anywhere else I'd move the aquarium, it would get too much sunlight... Do I have any options?  Is the 0.4cm anything to worry about, other than keeping my eye on it? Thanks!                 - Chad Btw, _The Conscientious Marine Aquarist_ came highly recommended, and was a wonderful read. <Hello Chad, The only option you have is to put spacers under the legs supporting the low side.  That would mean emptying most of the water and have two people to lift it while you put the spacers in place. BTW, a 75 gallon tank has not more weight than a twin waterbed.  James (Salty Dog)> A weighty question How much does a 65 US Gallon Fish tank weigh when filled with water and regular fish. Thanks Teresa Martin <Mmm, well, about ten pounds per gallon... including gravel et al... so approximately 650-700 pounds overall. Do read on WetWebMedia.com re stands, spreading out this mass on your floor. Bob Fenner> Help with minimum tank size evening everyone (again)<Hello> thank you Jim, I was wrong about the type of skimmer I have.. I don't have a red sea, I have a Prizm skimmer.  Sorry about the mix up.<It is MikeB here and mistakes happen all the time don't sweat the mix-up.>  Is the Prizm a good choice, and is 54 gallons big enough for a reef system or should I not try it?<It depends on what you want to do.  Generally a Prizm skimmer is sufficient.>  I went last night and got three books to start researching so I should have a good idea soon on what to do.<It is a great place to start.>  The only reason I'm asking about the aquarium size is because all three books gave me a different minimum size to start with.  So, from your experience what would you suggest??<It depends on who you ask.  Hobbyists have set up tanks as small as 1/2 gallon to thousands of gallons.  You have to decide what fits best to your time, interest and pocket book.> Thanks so much with putting up with me.  The marine aquarium hobby has quickly turned from an interest, to hobby, to addiction.  I'm sure you all understand how easy that happens. good day all!! <Don't worry about the differing opinions from the books you bought.  Scientifically they are all probably correct.  But, don't make the mistake in trying to do all three concepts at once.  Start with what you think would be easiest for you and go from there.  Remember, there is more than one way to skin a cat!!!  Good Luck, MikeB>

Aquarium Strength Hi- <Hello> I have the standard 75 gallon all-glass aquarium with the all-glass aquarium pine wood stand. I know that silicone and the glass are very strong, but I still am concerned and curious about the holding limits. I have A LOT of live rock, deeeeep sand bed.  Some live rock pieces rest on top of other live rock and against the glass, and even more on top of that, all securely placed so there is no movement.  Assuming there are never any rock shifts to break the glass, how much can this glass and silicone hold theoretically? It just amazes me that the glass and silicone can withstand   that much stress.  My top concern would be all the live rock and base rock weight. Thanks for any interesting extra info or details, Dennis <Don't know of any practical measure of glass strength that applies to aquariums, but also have never heard of a static (that is, not by dropping a large rock!) breaking of (commercially made) aquariums, nor splitting of silicone seams that were made "properly"... best to spread the weight of rock about... either over the substrate or on a support structure (e.g. "egg-crate", louver...). Bob Fenner>

Tank size query Dear WWM Crew!    I might have to move my tank!!! I just see an opportunity to upgrade here. I have my fianc? convinced that I cannot safely move the tank in one day that I need to have a second tank setup in the new house and have it running for a while and then transfer all the live rock and live stock slowly over a month's time! >>Nice work!>> BTW, rather than moving my DSB, I'm going to set a new one up in the new tank and seed it with sand from the current one! >>That's the way to do it. I even have permission to retain my existing 72G bow-front as a second tank!!!! >>Nice!>>   And now to the question…  The tank will not be on a concrete slab and so the weight does matter. Do you think a standard 90G tank of dimensions 48X18X24 inches is better or an oceanic 77G tank that is 60X13X23 inches is better? Volume versus length? The 77G may end up with a 15G sump, while the 90G may be sumpless or have a 10G at the most… >>Well, it depends on what you are keeping. If you are doing a reef I would go with the 90 - the depth allows for better aquascaping. If you are going with fish, the length may be better - although that 13 inch dimension worries me. So scrap what I said. I thin the 90 is better!>> I'm concerned most about the 13 inch width of the 77G tank. Live stock includes a Kole tang (currently 4") which will be my largest 'guest' by far! >>Although the 4 foot length of the 90 isn't really enough for a tang. Why not go with a 150? 60x24x24?>> Also I'm worried about the lack of width limiting my live rock aquascaping options. >>Me too!>> Narayan >>Rich>>

Re: Tank size query Thanks Rich!   Nothing is final right now, but the house is not likely to have a finished basement and so the tank may be on the 1st or second floor. The weight of the 150 gallon tank will require strengthening the floor. I'm concerned for my Kole tang who is currently 4" and maybe 2-3 years old. I want him to be around for the next 15-20 years at least and don't think my current 72G BF is going to be enough. The tank will not be a full-blown reef, but will contain a few colonies of mushroom coral etc. I really am looking for a setup that will be under 1000 lbs and the 77G is the longest tank I can get with that restriction. As for aquascaping, I'll just have to do my best with what I have, so will a Kole tang be happier in a 60X13 inch area or a 48X18 area? >>That's a toughie. If it were me I would go for the longer tank and leave as much swimming room as possible.>> Thanks, Narayan >>Rich>>

Re: Tank size query Thanks Rich!   Based on your reply it sounds like either solution is not acceptable. I was hoping to stay with glass aquariums, but I guess acrylic may be the way to go. Tenecor has a 90 gallon flat back hex that is 60" on the back side, 48" on the front side, 18" wide and 20" tall. This is almost twice the price of the oceanic 77G. In your opinion, is this worth an extra $600? Will it make enough of a difference to a Kole tang? Narayan >>I don't know about the hex. My gut tells me the 90 would be better because the extra panels reduce the swimming space. What about a 100 glass - I think they are pretty standard at 60x18x20 (or close to that). Rich>>

Re: Tank size query Rich. Tenecor, Tru Vu and SeaClear make acrylic tanks in a 100G 60X18X20 size. Unfortunately all-glass, oceanic and perfecto don't! Do you know who might make a 100G 60" GLASS tank? Thanks in advance, Narayan >>Sorry, I don't! I hardly ever say this but I think your best bet is to go to a couple LFS and see what they have to say - they have the catalogs right there. Let me know what you find out. Rich>>

Difference between tank brands 10/12/04 What is the difference between a Perfecto tank and an All Glass Tank?  It would be of great assistance to have this question answered.  <Generally, All-Glass is considered to be a better product than Perfecto, though the difference is probably insignificant in standard rectangular tanks up to about 75 gallons.  Compare both brands in the size tank you are considering, paying special attention to the thickness of glass, quality of seams and the top bracing (one molded piece vs. several pieces).  Best Regards.  AdamC.> To brace or not to brace Is it possible to construct a 4 ft by 21 in all-glass aquarium, filled with 2 ft of water (though the total height will be 30 in), without any top bracing at all? Or at least, without a centre brace? And what glass thickness would I need to avoid braces (I know this will be a more expensive option, but I just hate braces!) <Mmm, yes... but I do have an "alternative bracing suggestion"> I am thinking of using 1/2 in toughened glass for the sides and either 1/2 in or 5/8 in toughened glass for the base. There will be an enclosure on top of the tank, consisting of a wooden frame (1/2 in by 1 1/2 in timber) sitting on the top edges of the glass sides, then panels of 1/4 in thick MDF screwed/glued to the frame extending 6 in down the outsides of the glass to the water level. If the 1/4 in MDF panels are a snug fit to the outside of the glass, would they give sufficient anti-bowing support to the glass? <Should, yes> Or would I need a wooden centre brace extending across the frame? Or do I have to go the conventional route with a glass centre brace bonded to the tank walls and side braces bonded to the top of all tank sides? <I suggest siliconing a strip (two inches in width will do) either along the top or inside a bit down... front and back glass all the way to the ends. This will give you sufficient bracing to fill this tank all the way to the top, and not block your lighting, rock arranging, netting... Bob Fenner> Thank you for your help, Chris Peacock

Re: To brace or not to brace Thank you very much, Bob. Just two points of clarification, please: <Okay> ><I suggest siliconing a strip (two inches in width will do) either along the top or inside a bit down... front and back glass all the way to the ends. This will give you sufficient bracing to fill this tank all the way to the top, and not block your lighting, rock arranging, netting... Bob Fenner> Would the glass strips be attached to the top of the glass (i.e. sitting on top of, and siliconed to, the top edge of  the front and back panes) or to the inside of the glass (i.e. siliconed to the inside face of the front and back panes, near/at the top of the glass)? <Actually one or the other... Eheim tanks are made with these braces on the inside... and I made glass tanks (back in the late sixties, sheesh!) with them on top> The reason for under filling the tank, BTW, is not to avoid stress on the glass. It is because, for reasons of weight/aesthetics, I intend to build a shallow canopy housing metal halides and T5 fluorescents. With no cover glass or canopy glass, I need the space above the water surface to minimize the risk of water droplets hitting the halide bulbs. <I understand... but would rather see you build, use either less glass (expensive) and hard to discount issues like heat accumulation and moisture... and instead build a higher-up canopy... with fans blowing air in and out> The MDF enclosure around the top of the glass is essentially cosmetic (to conceal the space above the water surface), but would hopefully give a bit of extra stiffening as well. <Okay> The second question concerns glass thickness. Entering this tank's dimensions (with height as 24", not 30", since 24" will be the water depth) into the GARF tank calculator, gives a recommended glass thickness of 3/8" for all four sides plus base, with bracing round the top of all four sides(www.garf.org/tank/BuildTank.asp). Entering the dimensions into Warren Stillwell's glass thickness formula (www.fnzas.org.nz/glassthickness.0.html) gives a recommended glass thickness of 1/2" for the sides and 5/8" for the base, plus bracing all round the top and across the centre. Huge difference in cost/weight/clarity! <Yes> If I follow your recommendation and brace the front/back sides, would you recommend 3/8" or 1/2" glass for the sides? And what about the base - 3/8", 1/2", or 5/8"? Would you have the glass toughened and/or laminated? <You could use the 3/8"s for the sides, front and back if going with the 24" height... but I would definitely go with the 1/2" if you are going to make the tank 30" WHETHER you intend to fill it all this way (Bob will sleep better at night... knowing that if this tank gets over-filled accidentally (this happens) or sometime later you sell it to someone who fills it all the way purposely...> Many thanks, Chris <Be chatting, building, Bob Fenner>

Re: To brace or not to brace Thanks so much, Bob. Still some weeks of planning/purchasing to go, but I will send you an image of the final design and a photo of the tank when completed. Deep breath ...... I've done lots of DIY, but never built a tank before ..... now, I wonder whether the floor of my 110 year-old Victorian house will take the weight .... ho hum, more sleepless nights! <When in doubt, call in a structural engineer (find them in the "Yellow Pages" likely) and have them take a look... It may be that you'll need to shore up the floor... do spread out the mass with a good piece of plywood under the stand/support legs... Good luck and look forward to seeing the results! Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Chris Hard aquarium questions Dear Mr. Fenner, <Lisa> I was wondering if you could answer some of my questions about the way aquariums tanks are currently made. I have seen the debate between using glass or using acrylic for the tank but I rarely see any mention of polycarbonate which has been used at Walt Disney World in the living seas. <Mmm, me neither. I know of the use of this impact resistant material in greenhouses... its order of magnitude strength greater than acrylic...> I rarely see it mentioned at any of the website businesses making aquariums. It's much stronger than acrylic and so it doesn't scratch. Why don't they use it more often? <Don't know... have you investigated internet sources of information re this materials properties? Perhaps it bows badly in small thicknesses...> Also why are the stands often made out of wood when they could be subject to water damage? Why don't they use a design more waterproof? <Mmm, cost of production, materials... legacy of using wood> I also have a question about how breeders advertise mailing people certain fish and corals. I wonder if that is safe, or will the sea creature be killed in the process? <Sometimes> Also is it truly possible to help the environment through the captive bred programs? <Not necessarily... I have asked friends/associates in the trade similar questions. What sense does it make to construct artificial "live rock" that utilizes cement made from... corals and their reefs?> Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail. Lisa <Thank you for writing> Should I get a pre-drilled tank? Hello WWM crew! << Blundell today. >> Thanks so much for your time and expertise! << In this case my time, I have no expertise. >>   I am switching from a 55 gal tank to a 125 gal.  I currently have about 40 lbs of live rock in my 55 gal tank and will be moving that and my 60 lbs of sand to the new 125 gal. tank.  I have a Fluval 404 canister filter.  Will that be enough filtration for the 125 gal? << With more live rock and sand, then yes you'll be fine. >>  I want to add more live rock to the new tank.  How much more would you recommend to help with the filtration? << As much as you can afford.  Or about 90 pounds. >>   Livestock consists of 1sailfin tang, 1 blue hepatus tang, 1 bicolor Pseudochromis, 2 ocellaris clowns, 2 yellow tail damsels, 1 lawnmower blenny, 3 pajama cardinals, 1 green brittle star, 2 cleaner shrimp, 4 camelback shrimp, 1 feather duster, some snails and hermits. Also, I have been searching for more information on advantages of predrilled tanks.  I don't know enough about why they are better to decide if that is what I want to purchase. << Worth every penny. >>  Could you direct me to some information? << They are so nice, and so trouble free.  I'd have a hard time buying a new tank that wasn't pre-drilled.  It is the way to go. >>   My LFS recommended a wet/dry filter with bioballs, but I think I would prefer to keep my canister. << I don't like either.  I especially wouldn't go with a Bioball system when that same area can be used as a refugium. >>  What would my advantage be to get a predrilled, if I stick to the canister filter? << You can easily plumb a sump for a refugium, or a closed loop system.  Two great ideas.  The refugium can really help out a tank. >>  I would like to find more information on sumps, too, and whether or not I should have one. Thanks for the info! << Yep, you'll want one.  They are like having a whole other tank for the addicted reefers. >> RC <<  Blundell  >>

Sump capacity and tank stand capability 8/16/04 Good evening.  I have a few general questions about a sump for my 55 gallon FOWLR tank.  I currently have a Fluval 304 and a Aqua C Remora protein skimmer as my filtration with 50 lbs of LR to help.  I have been reading hours worth of info on your site about sumps and was wondering how to trade LR for bioballs in a wet/dry filter?   <Hmmm... really not so. Its a matter of having enough live rock in the display tank (towards 2 lbs per gallon) to displace the need for bio-balls in the sump... but LR is not optimal if used as trickle media> Do you literally place LR in the chamber and only have the water draining into the first chamber of the wet/dry dribble over the rock, not submerge it or am I missing something.   <as per above> I also saw in some old facts on your site about how to calculate gallon capacity of a rectangle by dimensions in inches and was wondering how do you know the capacity of a wet dry as water doesn't fill the entire thing?   <just measure how high/full the sump is in inches and multiply L X W X H and then divide my 231 gall. to get gallons> I was somewhat confused about the difference between a wet/dry box without the bioballs and a sump (such as Oceanic Systems Sump) as the Oceanic Systems Sump looks just like the wet/dries I have seen.  Is there a difference?   <little difference from displacement by bio-balls> and my final question on sumps; Is there a way to use my Aqua-C Remora hang-on tank skimmer in a sump/wet/dry filter with LR in it instead of bioballs?   <yes... feed the skimmer from a divided well in the sump, or another otherwise primary vessel that catches all raw water first> My main goal with the sump is to increase water flow to get more oxygen and also to get my heaters and Fluval tubes out of the main tank. <all good reasons> On a second topic which is probably easier, the 55 gallon tank I am using is a Perfecto aquarium with the standard size of 48X13X20, could I put this tank on an Oceanic Systems oak stand?   <ahhh... what size Oceanic stand? That bit of info would help <G>. Well... do make sure the tank/any/every tank is completely supported by a stand of the exact same dimensions> As I view the 55 completely filled as a substantial bit of weight, I didn't know if I would be able to use an Oceanic Stand or if I will have to purchase an Oceanic 55 gallon tank? <no worries if the stands are the same size> Thanks for your help as despite my efforts to find my answers in the archived facts, sometimes I still need help interpreting the facts! Have a great evening, Amy <best of luck! Anthony> Glass, Acrylic, etc 11 Aug 2004 Good Day Crew!! <Hi Corey nice to meet you, MacL here with you tonight> This may not be a question that can be answered but I thought I would give it a shot. <I promise to do my best Corey.>  From all of the opinions and information I have gathered on the glass vs. acrylic tank debate, I have concluded that acrylic is far superior to glass in every facet except the one obvious detractant, its propensity to be easily scratched. <I think that there are people who would argue that point with you. I personally fine acrylic to be best for me and that's what I tell people. Look into both and figure out what works for you the best.>  I believe in the Today's FAQ's yesterday or the day before, one of the crew members mentioned that he had a 300 gal. acrylic tank that was so scratched up, he would never buy one again. <I haven't seen that one but doesn't surprise me. Let me just tell you that I have a 20 year old acrylic tank with no scratches on it whatsoever. Acrylic can also be polished and the scratches removed. If you get a scratch in glass its there permanently. But another option is that Starphire glass which is quite lovely.>  My question is have any of you read or heard of existing or developing material for tank construction that has all the benefits of acrylic but the scratch resistance of glass or better. <There are some stronger types of Plexi glass such as Lexan but its very cost prohibitive.> I know I am looking for the utopian tank, but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. <Never hurts to ask and don't forget there are those innovators who are making takes out of wood and other materials and lining them. I guess my point here is find what works best in your world. Yes be careful with Plexi it does scratch. I have a scratch on the inside front of my tank right now that I need to take out but it was my fault. I dropped a piece of rock and it ran down the front. BIG mistake. I do think with Plexi that you have to be very careful. But like I said for me the benefits outweigh the costs.> Thank you for time and knowledge <Hope that helps.  MacL> Corey

-Uniquarium? just wondering if you have any info on the 75 gallon Uniquarium,  I recently purchased one used and need to know how to make the filter system work, thanks. Jamie Jones <Hi, sorry.  I'd suggest contacting the manufacturer of the tank for specifics.  Thanks, Ryan>

Overflow gph? All-Glass aquariums lists maximum gph through the 2 built in "mega flow" overflows in their tanks at 1200 gph total. On a 180 gallon tank, isn't that a little low? shouldn't the gph be more like 2000 or more? <Yes... like most all such pre-made arrangements these are too small and few. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overflow gph? uh oh, what should I do then? I was just getting ready to slap down $700 for one of these, is there a better route? I thought it was better than using hang on overflows? <If you haven't done so, ask your dealer or the manufacturer directly to "up-size" the bulkheads... to 2" inside diameter if you'd like... or add another of the size they regularly provide. The big companies don't mind these "custom jobs". Bob Fenner>

Small Crack or Large Disaster (Crack in A Tank) Hi! Tristan here <Hey there! Scott F. here!> I just bought a 135 gallon tank and got it for a good deal because there was a chip on the Inside of one of the corners. It hasn't spread past the silicone and isn't sharp to touch. Is this going to effect my tank efficiency? I put some more silicone around the area it was cracked. Thanks <Hmm...I'm a bit hesitant to say absolutely that there will be no problem...Once the tank is holding water, the dynamic pressures are dramatically different. I'd consult the tank manufacturer before you fill the system. Better safe than sorry. Regards, Scott F>

- Special on Chipped Tanks - Hi Tristan here I just bought a 135 gallon tank and got it for a good deal because there was a chip on the Inside of one of the corners. its hasn't spread past the silicone and isn't sharp to touch. Is this going to effect my tank efficiency? <Hmm... probably not the efficiency, but possibly its integrity.> I put some more silicone around the area it was cracked <Well... best to test it out in the driveway or backyard. If the tank were to fail full of water and occupants in the house, you would be sad. Its hard to say exactly without seeing the crack, but personally I always err on the side of caution.> thanks <Cheers, J -- >

- Integrity of Chipped Tank - I read through the forums and FAQ I found one similar situation and you recommended getting a new 55 gal tank *my tank has a chip in it, as well as several scratches on the INSIDE* chip is about 2/3's of the way down and is about 3/4 of a centimeter, am I risking a breakage with a small crack? <Always a possibility... best to test it outside in the driveway. Fill it up with a hose and see... those edges are important and a failure would be a really bummer.> or am I best off trying to sell it off as a terrarium, and buying a new 50/55 gal tank? <For the price of a new 55, I think it would count as cheap insurance.> thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Glass Tank Question Dear WWM Crew, <Hi Caylen, MacL here> I have a 50 gallon glass aquarium. Before I filled it up, it was 12 3/4 inches wide by 48 inches long. Now the glass is bulging 1/4 of an inch since I filled it with water. is this normal, or should I be worried? <I consulted with some tank builders I know and they said one quarter of an inch is nothing to worry about.> thanks, Caylen

Calculating gallonage how big is a 48x13x21 tank? thanks a lot <If these dimensions are in inches... multiply them together L x W x H, and divide the product by 231 (there are about 231 cubic inches per gallon). Bob Fenner>

DIY Acrylic Tank Fabrication - Confused about Light Diffuser Hello all <Hi there> I would appreciate it if you guys could answer two questions for me. <Will try> I am designing and building an acrylic aquarium.  I need to know how large the top (two) openings should be cut (to allow for addition of fish, rock, etc while maximizing the tank integrity, reducing bowing, etc.)  Material ? " nominal acrylic throughout, tank dimensions 48" long, 18.125" wide (front to back), 30" tall (not counting ? " floor) roughly 112 gallons. <Leaving a good three inches around all the cut-outs and routing about the corners of the cut-outs themselves should be fine. I would make the top at least 1/2" thick here as well.> (Planning on having a 6" DSB but I have fairly long arms) I plan on using a router for the cuts, with 1.25" radius corners in the cuts to reduce points of stress in the top. <Oh. Good idea> 1.   How wide should the lip be around the outside of the tank and how wide should the single center brace be? <three inches for all> (I plan on implementing Calfo's overflow trough inside the tank and drilling the tank at the top back for both input and output.  36" long spillway will be made of ?" acrylic since it presumably will experience little pressure.) 2.  Which way do you orient the light diffuser (egg crate) to concentrate light into aquarium as opposed to diffuse it…..skinny edge down or up? <Skinny side up as I recall> Thanks for all of your help. Sincerely, Michael <Bob Fenner>

-Covering Reef Tank Follow-up- <Wow, looks like you get both Marina and Kevin in this one, I hope you can handle it!> >Thanks so much for the advice -- I never would have thought about the glare off the eggcrate. <Neither did I, that is until I was blinded by it. It also seems to visibly cut down on the light, since the eggcrate is about 1/4" deep> >>I wish I knew who helped you previously, I'd put this in their folder. Glad whoever it was helped. <Me me me!> >I think I'm going to try your acrylic frame with netting solution. There's actually a plastics store a couple of blocks away from my apartment that does custom orders. >>So and so will be glad to hear it. Marina <Do send pictures if you finish it!!! I've yet to start it myself, and would love to see how yours comes out! -Kevin>

-Covering Reef Tank Follow up to the Follow-up- >Will do.  By the way, I'm having some free samples of PVC netting sent to me from a company called Internet (at www.internetmesh.net).   >>Oh, really?  How'd you find this place?  Is it resistant to UV and heat?  This may be a good solution for a LOT of people. >I'm told the "squares" in the netting samples I'm receiving range from 1/4" to 1/2".  If the netting is clear or at least very thin, it may also work well in a frame over the tank.  If it turns out to be good stuff, I'll let you know.  Thanks again, Kevin. >>Absolutely please do.  Marina WWM FAQ Crew <crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com> wrote:-Covering Reef Tank Follow-up- >Thanks so much for the advice -- I never would have thought about the glare off the eggcrate. >>I wish I knew who helped you previously, I'd put this in their folder. Glad whoever it was helped. >I think I'm going to try your acrylic frame with netting solution. There's actually a plastics store a couple of blocks away from my apartment that does custom orders. >>So and so will be glad to hear it. Marina

Used 55 acrylic hexagonal tank Hi.  Thank you very much for your website. I bought a used acrylic tank and the bottom is no longer flat. It is slightly bowed but there are no leaks.  I believe the bow developed because the tank sat on a stand that was hollow in the middle. I plan on putting the tank on a flat surface.  Will the bottom return to being flat over time, or will it leak?  Thanks for any advice. Bernie <Good question... should be okay to place with a full support underneath. Does the tank rest flat (planar) when filled? If so, no problem likely. Bob Fenner>

Butter Fingers! >Hi Marina, >>Hi Devin. >Were you able to use the hair creme, on your hair I am hoping, and not on a tank:) >>Yes, thank you. I got my nice, big bottle of Kiehl's, and my long hair shall remain relatively nice and manageable. >Anyway, I managed to run into trouble while adding some live rock to my tank this weekend.  >>Uh oh.. >I have a glass cover, will basically I dropped the cover and the cover broke into 2 pieces.  >>Sounds like a clean break came along with the bad break. >I have always had bad luck with glass covers, they are heavy and slippery when wet, which usually leads to me dropping them. >>I see. >Any suggestions on how to repair the glass? Right now I have no cover and no light on my tank, which is not a big deal since I still don't have any fish. Will regular silicone work, my light also will rest on this glass or is their a special glass glue I should use? >>Silicone would be the only material I would use, but honestly, if you're going to have your light fixture resting on this, I would take the two pieces to a glass shop and have them cut you a new piece. Be sure they grind the edges! I say this because the only repair I would try on it would make it even heavier, would block part of the light (likely a good part), and still wouldn't be safe. Shouldn't cost you more than, Ohh.. say $30? (It's been quite a while since I've had to purchase glass, but shops are often left with long, narrow pieces that they have little use for. 1/4" plate should do the trick, unless this is thicker.) >Hope you may have an answer. Thanks and hope the cream worked out for you:) Devin >>Indeed, this is the one Kiehl's product I have come to love.. even though it smells a little funky, it's da bomb. Marina

 Butter Fingers! Follow up >Hi Marina, >>Hi Devin, it's Marina, like where you park a boat? >I will try silicone to see how it hold, I also found out a new cover cost $55. so I may go that option if the hold is not strong. >>Ok. My advice is to be safe. >Well, while I have your attention... >>Which wanders.. >I have another dilemma brewing. I will keep my tank as a FOWLR (fish, live rock and some snails/crabs).  >>Great, that means lighting won't be an issue (unless you get bitten REALLY hard by "the bug"). >My question is regarding supplements, specifically, calcium and Kalkwasser. I have been reading the forums, and for the most part I hear a lot of support for using Kalkwasser.  >>Not really necessary for FOWLR. As long as your salt mix gives you an overall calcium level of 350-400, there's honestly no need.  >But I also believe I heard Bob say not to use Kalkwasser and to instead to use a "two solution supplement".  >>That's all dependent on ease of use, but really, Devin, you don't have to worry about it with what you're planning. You'll be lots happier keeping it simpler. See, if you do start dosing with supplements, you'll also have to start *testing*, otherwise you could end up doing real harm. >Sometimes the more I read, the more confused I get, seems to defy common logic. What is this two solution supplement or more importantly, based on what I plan on keeping in my tank, what supplements should I consider using? >>Salt mix, a hydrometer or refractometer (refractometer best if you ever need to use hyposalinity, otherwise good lab grade float hydrometer is fine), test kits for "the basics", pH, ammonia (NH3+), nitrite, nitrate, and a good thermometer. Really, truly, and honestly. Then, depending on needs, you move on from there. Go slow. >Thanks Again Marina, hey so when do I get to see a picture of this new and improved hair of yours :)? Should I consider using this hair cream too? I am a little considered the funky smell would pollute my tank, just kidding.. Devin >><giggle> It's not a new style at all, just long and straight. If I *didn't* use the Kiehl's it would be long and FRIZZY! Eek! You get used to the smell, but I don't think your fish would. ;) I had once submitted a piccie of myself for the crew "get to know ya" page, but I do believe one Jason C. never put it or the bio up. I guess since I'm holding the reins this month I'll do it! Marina 

Saving Himself the Hassle >Thanks boat, err, I mean Marina:) >>Heh.. my folks have some friends who love to call me "boatdock". Sheesh. Better'n that toilet paper! >I like your advice, for now I will skip the supplement hassle.  >>Thank you, I'm glad it's of help.  >In regards to the lights, I guess a little bug already bit me, I bought a 36" power compacts with 2 96 watt lamps.  >>D'OH! You better watch out! Next thing you know you'll be wanting soft corals, Corallimorphs, then you'll want clams, then LPS, next thing ya know.. man oh man.. Don't say I didn't warn you! >So I ended up putting my silicone glass top on the tank, it seems to be pretty strong.  >>Good. >I also put the light back on and did not notice any give in the glass. Of course, I could not sleep comfortably with the light on the cover, I kept worrying that the glass would break and my $200 bucks worth of lighting would fall into the tank:(. >>Hhh.. yeah, I would be experiencing the same worry. Especially now that you've spent some money on lighting. >I am wondering, does the heat from the lamp weaken the silicon bond? >>Heat can, but also the light quality itself can weaken that bond, too. I would avoid putting lights or anything on it for about a week. While silicone needs about 24 hours to cure, it's not completely cured for another week or so (depending on weather conditions, actually - sniff it - if it smells of vinegar, it's still curing). >I guess I will keep an eye out for your picture, should I be looking for frizzy or straight hair :) >>STRAIGHT! Thanks for reminding me.  >Thanks again for your support, it is reassuring to be able to discuss these issues with someone. Devin >>I know exactly what you mean, especially someone who doesn't have a financial interest in anything you decide, yeah? Marina 

Lee-Mar Aquarium Hi Bob, <Tom> Haven't seen you in a long time. Good to see you are still doing so well in our industry. You won't remember me but I had a couple stores in Vista and one in Fallbrook years ago and saw you each year at the trade shows in So Cal. Still remember some of the parties. <Ah, yes. How have you been?> Back then I bought from Lee-Mar, now I work for them doing customer service and custom tank design and sales. Our flat polished/Euro Style tanks have become very popular and we're about as busy as we can stand right now. If nothing else it's a sign that our industry is very healthy. This is a good thing as I doubt that you or I or any of the other "old timers" are up for a switch to another industry right now. Keep up the great work, Tom <Hope to "run into" you sometime soon. I hope/trust that Terri Boyd is still at the helm there and salute you for your fine manufacturing... I do see the products about. Bob Fenner>

Truvu Aqua System question Hello, I bought a used 50 gallon rectangular TruVu Aqua System tank, but I am missing the 2 rectangular pieces that go on the top to protect the light from moisture.  Do you sell these parts?  If so, how much?  If not, do you know where I could buy them? Sincerely, Sharene <The company has changed names a bit, but is still about in Hayward, CA... you can reach Aqua Plex here: http://yhst-32494300360055.stores.yahoo.net/ or call them: 800-800-6171. though most any acrylic supply should be able to make you pieces that will do the job here. Maybe take a look in your local to more regional "Yellow Page" directory/ies re "Plastics". Bob Fenner>

Glass vs. Acrylic- The Tough Decision!  Hello all out there, this question is to all of you, as I would appreciate as many opinions as possible.  <Scott F. chiming in today>  I am going to upgrade to a 180 gallon reef. I am going to be using the Aquamedic AquaSpacelight for lighting my LPS-dominant reef tank with 2-150w 10k MH's on the ends and 1-150w 20k MH in the center. I cannot decide whether to go with acrylic or glass.  <Ahh...a common cause of consternation!>  I would have 3 cut-outs on top where the light would be penetrating the most. I'm wondering if the existing acrylic top would interfere with the light getting into the tank, as I currently run my all-glass reef without any top.  <Well, the acrylic will definitely reduce some of the light. On the other hand, with high intensity halide lighting, you're not loosing all that much. If it were me, and I were ordering a new tank (as I am about to, myself!), I'd opt to go with a "Euro Brace" configuration, which is essentially a completely open top, with just a perimeter of several inches around the sides. This allows maximum light penetration and circulation. It can be a bit pricey to do in acrylic, though, as I am finding out. Extra-thick acrylic is generally used in these types of situations, as the acrylic can bow if not braced, unless sufficiently thick acrylic is used. Glass tanks do have similar issues in terms of thickness, but they are generally much more commonly found in this configuration>  Also are there any other factors that would make me lean either towards glass or acrylic besides scratching? (Is it really that bad?)  <As someone who has scratched up his acrylic tank pretty badly, I think it is a big issue. You need to be aware of the scratch potential when scraping algae, or performing maintenance and aquascaping tasks in the system. The other consideration that you should think about is what I call "DIY-ability". Acrylic is much more forgiving in this regard, and almost any reasonably competent and well-equipped DIY'er can drill acrylic (notice that I said "almost any"? And, by the way- I do NOT place myself in that category! That's what my reef-geek friends are for!), whereas glass really requires skills and equipment that most people just don't have. It's best to order any tank (IMO), especially a glass tank, pre-drilled to your specifications at the manufacturer. You also have to consider the possibility of accidents and, for us So Cal people, earthquakes. I have seen a 48 inch long, fully-filled acrylic aquarium shift right off of the stand, with absolutely no damage following an earthquake. Glass tanks can be downright disastrous in these types of situations. Even if you don't live in earthquake country, do think about other possible issues with breakage, including shipping and transport>  I have to make my mind up soon so I could order my tank and get it cycling. Thanks  <Gee.. I wonder if I was more of distraction factor here? Well, do make the decision based on your own set of pros and cons, and go from there. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Is Bigger Better (Large Tanks) Are large aquariums better than small aquariums? And if so, explain how? Thanks <Well- that is a pretty broad question, and it may not be as cut and dry as you might think! One of the big (no pun intended) advantages of large tanks is that they provide significant water volumes, which assist in the dilution of organic wastes. Larger water volumes tend to be more environmentally stable, more forgiving, and, if well-managed, create more optimum conditions for fishes and invertebrates. Additionally, larger aquariums give fish more "physical space", which affords them the ability to establish territories and engage in more natural behaviors. On the other hand, larger tanks require more equipment, can be more expensive to operate, and physically more challenging to clean, because of their larger dimensions.  Some fishes, such as Seahorses, are often kept more successfully in smaller aquariums, as they can be "closer" to their food sources. There is so much more to this debate than I could possibly mention here, but I think that these points can give you a good basis for your own further analysis. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

How Big Is That Tank?  Hello, I have a question for you. I got a tank and don't know what size it is. Tank dimensions are: 36" long 12" wide and 14" high walls are 1/4 thick  <The tank is about 26 gallons in capacity>  And I was wondering my gph also. Thanks for your time.  Ben  <I'm not sure what you mean regarding GPH...Do you meant how many gallons per hour you should run through the tank? If that is your question, it's hard to say...It all depends on the animals that you intend to keep. There are some standard "rules of thumb" for reef tanks, for example, that suggest 10-20 times tank capacity per hour as a viable flow rate, etc. Nothing hard and fast here...Do research the animals that you intend to keep, and provide accordingly. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tank Recommendations (4/24/04)  Dear Steve, <Greetings>  My shrimp established her cleaning house (a ceramic pumpkin shaped pot) as soon as she arrived. Trigger never leaves her, he seems to get intoxicated with the cleaning. <Glad to hear. I hope he's not also salivating ;)>  A quick question, you recommended a 240 gallon tank for me. What length, depth and height, glass thickness is best suited for me. I have a Lionfish, purple, yellow & regal tangs, a queen Coris wrasse and a Niger Trigger with live rock. Sorry for the crap question but I want to do my best for my fish and you know better than I do. <Actually, I am uncertain here. I'm the type to just o buy some pre-made tank from All-Glass or someone. You might want to check their site. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for acrylic for bigger tank. When you get this big, the glass gets thick and heavy. There is a special type of glass called Starphire that is much clearer, but much more expensive. Search WWM for info on the options. Are you planning on building something yourself? You can send another e-mail if you have further questions and I'll see to it that someone who knows more about this answers.> Kindest Regards, James. <To you as well.>

Concerns about tank thickness Hello Wet Web Crew, <Hi there> Wanted to first mention how great your site is, I've learned so much from browsing the FAQs. <Glad you have benefited> Quick question regarding minimal thickness on an aquarium tank. I've recently had built a 48x24x24 clear for life aquarium - unfortunately this was before I found the info on your site. They used 3/8" thickness, as opposed to 1/2" recommended by your site. Should I be concerned? <Mmm, minimally. There may be a bit of bowing but the system won't fail> I am somewhat paranoid that I'll come home to a swamp of 120 gallons in my living room floor slowly seeping down to my neighbors apartment. I hope that the only thing I should be concerned about is a little bowing. Also, anything I can do to prevent that (I was thinking of adding a strut in the back of the tank, but am fearful that this may make bowing more significant in the front!). Thx, Tom <This won't happen, unless there's a sizable earthquake... or a poor stand support. No worries. Bob Fenner>

New Tank recommendations 3/28/04 Hi Was wondering if I get your opinion on what you think of those acrylic tanks which you can buy that have the lighting and filtration built into the lid of the tank ? <I find them to be limiting if not poorly designed for advancing aquarists I am not sure what they are called and couldn't find a link, but I was thinking of buying one to start up a marine tank. (I am looking at a 3foot tank - not sure what that is in gallons) One thing I did notice was that it seems very difficult with these tanks to put in a protein skimmer as there is no room with the lid being used for lighting / filtration. <exactly... as per my statements above> Which leads me to the next question - do I need a skimmer? <I very strongly recommend it. Else you need to compensate with lighter bio-load, more water changes (weekly would be nice), etc> I know I need a skimmer in terms of the bigger debate - but in light of the tank logistics, can I get away with it. <can, yes... but not worth doing without it> How good would you say the filtration is in one of those tanks where it is built in ? <weak to moderate> I like the idea of having it all very compact and tidy. <understood... although it comes with a price> in my last tank I had a big Eheim on the floor a skimmer sticking out of hole in the glass which resulted in my carpet/furniture being eaten away by salt built up. What would your recommendation be? <if you'll keep a sump, then a EuroReef or AquaC skimmer in a (first water) partition... or if no sump, the a top (rail) mounted Tunze> Thanks Simon <Best of luck, Anthony>

Uniquarium I thinking of purchasing a 60gal 24x24x24 acrylic aquarium for fish only,  I'm choosing this size because it fits perfectly in my home.  I know this size i not ideal, however will it work.  I'm planning on using live rock.  I'm debating considering the all in one Uniquarium.   What do you think?<The tank size would be fine.  But these Uniquarium are often hard to clean and can become a pain.  I would post this question on one of the message forums like ours or www.reefcentral.com.  This way you can get some opinions of those who have used them personally.  Cody> Thanks, Gary Tank  design   I am building a 48x48 with full top out of .5 cell cast ,and would like to know if i can go 30" on height. I cannot find a acrylic thickness calculator or a definite on any thing.  Help would be greatly appreciated since the material is on the way, and the supplier is going to cut it for me.                                                          THANKS <You could make an acrylic tank of these dimensions from half inch material, but even with an annealed top it will bow badly on all sides. For thirty inches tall and this "run" (length of sides) you really should use 3/4" material. Bob Fenner>

- Tank Weight - I currently have a 75 gallon tank with a 10 gallon sump in the basement of my 12 year old townhouse. I would like to increase my sump to 20 gallons and add another tank of about 30-40 gallons. Is there any way to calculate or find out the amount of weight my foundation can withstand? <Don't think you've reached that limit yet, but... you can plan on 8.5 pounds per gallon of water... it's a little less than that but you're better of rounding up in these equations. Then your rock, sand, and equipment... and of course the tank itself and the stand. I think it usually works out to about 10-12 lbs a gallon, perhaps a little more if you use a deep sand bed or a lot of rock.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

- Tank Choices - WWM Crew I am going to be buying a new tank for a partial fish and reef tank.  I have been looking at two different set ups.  One set up is a tank with a wet/ dry filter system and the other is a DAS Aquarium with the filter built into the tank.  Both tanks are over 100 gallons.  Which system would you chose? <I suppose the tank with the wet/dry - although honestly if it only came down to filtration, I wouldn't pick either. I'm not at all a fan of built-in filtration options, and I really don't like wet/dries that much either.> I really can't make my mind up and have heard and read both the positive and negative aspects of both systems. <Indeed, would prefer just a tank with a skimmer and some live rock.> I am definitely more familiar with the wet/dry system, but I have heard a lot of good things about the DAS system. <I have heard very little about these... just going on my instincts regarding built-in/internal filtration.> Mostly looking for a 3rd opinion. Thanks Chuck <Cheers, J -- >

- Tank Choices, Follow-up - Thanks for the response.  I still haven't made my mind up as far as the tanks go.  The more I learn the more confused I get.  Sometimes impulse buying is better. <I don't agree - impulse buying is trouble for aquariums.> The DAS filtration system is internal to the tank.  The system consists of large venturi style protein skimmer and a polishing sponge and relies primarily on live rock and the skimmer. <Understood, still doesn't change my mind about being wary of systems with built in filtration.> I have been told you could add bio balls if you want to but it is not recommended. <Would guess the same. Cheers, J -- > Battle of The (Aquarium) Brands? My friend is considering purchasing a bow front glass aquarium to be used as a reef tank.  Right now he's considering either All-Glass or Oceanic. I know from what I've read that Oceanic is better quality.  But he wants a more definitive answer as to the differences (besides cost) between these two manufacturers.  He recently took a trip to the LFS and said that from visual examination he could not see a difference in materials between the All-Glass and Oceanic bow front aquariums.  He said it was easy to see the difference between the standard aquariums, but not the bow front models. Can you point me in the right direction as to where I can find some literature on the differences between the two?  Or can you tell me? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Chad <Well, Chad, to be quite honest, I've heard good things about both manufacturers. Personally, I have no experience with either, as I use acrylic, but I think that you'd be best served by posting a query on the WWM Chat Forum, to hear what your fellow hobbyists have to say. You just might meet some pretty cool people who can give you some great feedback! Have fun! Regards, Scott F> Tank weight 2/12/04 Hey Crew, I was wondering if anyone has any experience with tanks and old apartment buildings?? Here's the situation. My family has been "watching" my tank for months since I moved and they're understandably fed up.  I have to move it or shut it down. Shutting it down would break my heart and is also very difficult as New York is freezing and I have to access to an outside hose to clean it out. Not to mention the financial loss of letting all my live rock/sand die. Anyway, I live on the 4th floor of an OLD building. Built in the 1920's probably....brick walkup in Manhattan. My tank is a 75gall with an iron stand. The weight of the tank w water I've read is about 815lbs. So I estimate that minus some water but plus liverock and sand and stand it's about 1000lbs.....???  Do any of you have an opinion/experience w this?? Of course I "should" get an engineer in there but that's expensive I bet. Will my tank be crashing through my neighbors ceiling?? <I would first check with the building staff (engineer, maintenance) and ask them about it.  Also, if they allow waterbeds, I would compare total weight and weight per ft^2 of each.  I am quite sure that this is outside of the expertise of any of the crew, and none of us would be comfortable giving you a green light.  In general, putting the tank against a load bearing wall, perpendicular to the floor joists is always a good idea.  Best Regards.  Adam> Aquaplex/Tru-vu hello, can you give me any information on  Aquaplex/Truvu? I have some of there tanks from the 70's and would like to ask Bill or Ron a few question about them. thanks, tom <What great fellows. I/we bought their acrylic tanks for years... still think they're located up near Hayward, San Francisco, but am out in Hawai'i right now w/o my address book. Please check with Todd Gabriel of Custom Aquatic re their info.: http://www.customaquatic.com/customaquatic/listbrand.asp?brandid=TV Bob Fenner>

Tank volume or area Bob, I'm just starting out researching and reading a lot on your site and through books (just purchased Reef Invertebrates yesterday).  I'm at the stage of deciding on the size of the tank.  I want a tank that will fit an alcove in our family for built-in look. I'm looking at two bowfront reef ready tanks made by Oceanic to fit in the space: a 72 gallon (48Wx18Dx23H) and a 90 gallon (48Wx18Dx28H).   My question is whether its worth getting the larger tank, the 90 gallon, even though the added volume is due to the greater height of the tank, 28" versus 23".  Is the additional 5" going to require significantly more lighting and be more difficult to maintain?  Thanks.  <Good questions... if the lost space at the top doesn't present maintenance/access challenges to you, "bigger is better"... more stable chemically and physically, more pleasing aesthetically. You are correct that the other dimensions (length, width) would be better made large rather than height... for your livestock as well as you functionally... but I would go with the larger system, and not be overly concerned re lighting. Bob Fenner>

Reptile Aquarium for Fish?  1/13/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am thinking of getting a 200 gallon aquarium that recently housed a boa. <Cool!  Nice big tank.> What steps do I need to take in order to make this ok for fish? <The 1st thing you need to find out is if this aquarium was originally built for fish & is not a homemade tank for reptiles.  The glass should be 1/2-5/8" thick.  There should be a brace going across the top to prevent the tank from bowing with water in it.  Then I would wash it out with a bleach/water solution very well.  rinse very well & fill completely. checking for leaks & using Dechlor, to get rid of any excess bleach.  Dry out the outside & leave overnight. If there are no leaks, you can drain & fill again for fish.> And would the silicon seals have dried up and cause leaks? Should I change these prior to using it for fish? <If you do detect leaks, it is very easy to take out the old silicone with a razor blade & replace.  I've done this with several tanks.  My friend had a bottle go through the front glass of his 125g tank (party!!).  He replaced the glass himself & 15 years later, it still holds water.>     Thanks for your help.   <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Glass or acrylic for commercial lobster store Good evening crew. <good evening> We `are adding 7 tanks to our saltwater system. 4m long, 1m wide and 600 to 900 high. We will have lobster and shellfish in plastic cases. Water temp, 13oCelsius (Fahrenheit?..) Air conditioning in the room at 21o Celsius. We have been given mixed advice about using glass or acrylic. Is glass strong enough, will it crack, will it have condensation running down it. Your thoughts please.. Regards, Cameron <lets play it safe here and consult the specs sheet for a glass and acrylic manufacturer. Glass can easily do the job (has done so for many years in public aquaria easily up to 1000 gallons). But it is a poor insulator and sweats terribly when holding chilled water. Either way, seek tolerances of "deflection" (ability of pane to bow without breaking) to confirm that your expected capture of the panes is consistent with mfg recommendations/expectations. Anthony>

Coralline Algae and Acrylic Aquariums 1/14/03 Hi Bob or Crewmate, <Hi Joseph. Adam here tonight.> I haven't even received my custom acrylic tank and I'm already fretting over scratches.  Bob, in his book The Conscientious Aquarist recommended acrylic tanks over glass.  I just started reading The Reef Aquarium and Delbeek and Sprung suggest that acrylic tanks are more suitable for fish only because cleaning the coralline algae off the walls will scratch the acrylic due to the calcium. <A question for the ages!  Some folks swear by acrylic, some swear at it!  Acrylic is a better insulator, is clearer, is lighter and is more shatter resistant, but scratching can be an issue.> Just how much of a problem are scratches with an acrylic tank?  If I am careful and use the proper tools to clean the tank, will I be able to enjoy watching a marine environment in my home for many years without seeing obvious scratches on the acrylic panes?  Even though I am willing to invest substantial time, energy and money in setting up and maintaining a reef aquarium, I am not willing to do this if, after a few years, I am seeing a scratched viewing panel first and a reef second.  I would just as soon fill the 145 gallon tank up with freshwater and goldfish.  Thank You,  Joseph Rouse <There are a few tips for keeping acrylic tanks scratch free.  First, clean it often to prevent heavy build up of coralline (a cleaning magnet is a great aid here).  Second, be very careful to use acrylic safe tools and don't trap any sand or grit in the tool.  Lastly, just be generally careful in how you work in the tank, place rock, etc.  There is no doubt you will get some scratches, but under water they are nearly invisible and shouldn't detract much from your viewing pleasure.  Best of luck!  Adam>

Best size tank for first salt water I want to setup a saltwater fish only w/ live rock.   Now here is my problem, I don't have much space.   As of now I am considering a 46 gallon bowfront or a 55.   I own a 40 gallon breeder that I would consider using.   Which tank has the better dimensions for setting up my aquarium. <I would always go with the larger aquarium. so in this case I would go with the 55 gallon>  In this aquarium I want to have 1 Percula clown, 1 damsel, 1, dwarf angel, 1 blenny, 1 royal Gramma and various shrimp/ hermit crabs. <The 55gal aquarium will be perfect for your plans>   I should also add that I eventually might get into corals. <ok>  After checking out all of the message boards I still don't know what is the best skimmer to get so if you could help me with that it would be appreciated. <There are many different skimmers out on the market.. Red Sea and Berlin make decent skimmers>   Any other advise would be appreciated.< good luck, IanB> Thanks Billy

Unusual tank procurement... 11/4/03  Greetings and salutations to the WWM Crew, and thanks for taking the time to read this. I was referred here by Ananda who thought maybe Bob would have an idea.  <Anthony Calfo in your service... our friend Bob is away diving presently>  I'm trying to get my girlfriend a small FW setup for her birthday. The problem is I'm in Oman, and she's in the Philippines... What I'm looking for is an online retailer that carries a ~10 gallon acrylic "ready to run" type system and will ship it overseas. I'm really not overly concerned about the price, but I'd prefer something that comes wired for 240v so she doesn't have to put a transformer behind a tank full of water... I can't seem to find anywhere online that carries 240v equipment so I was hoping maybe some of you guys could lend a hand.  <Hmmm... I'm wondering if it wouldn't be best for us to find you a merchant in Australia or Asia (since American products are wired for 120v). I apologize for my ignorance as I am not sure which countries use 240v... but I have the names of a few reputable merchants overseas that might be able to help you. Do try:  SINGAPORE  Watercircle Hydroponics  Pte Ltd 33 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207535  tel:(65)62993025 fax::(65)62995679  website: www.watercircle.com.sg  e-mail: sales@watercircle.com.sg  AUSTRALIA  Aquasonic Pty Ltd  14 Commerce Rd,  Wauchope, NSW, 2446  Ph: 61 2 6586 4933 Fax: 61 2 6586 4944  Reef Online  www.reefonline.com.au  Reef Specialist Distributor  AUSTRALIA  ... In the USA we have a tidy little aquarium brand called "Eclipse" by Marineland that would fit your request I suspect (acrylic and integrated filtration). If for any reason you care to try an American supplier, do inquire with Marinedepot.com and ask Ken Wong if he can help. I recall that he ships some product to overseas clients and is a very savvy chap overall.>  Obviously the ideal situation would be an e-tailer in the Philippines that will let me place an order with a US credit card and have it delivered there. All I seem to find when I search for Filipino e-tailers are home grocery delivery sites..... lol  <indeed... I do not recall any Philippine e-tailers although there must surely be local merchants than can help. I have blind e-mailed a friend here (to respect his private e-mail address until he offers to share it) who lives in the Philippines. I'm hoping he can advise you of a viable merchant>  Thanks to all who help, and all who'd like to but can't, James  <thank you my friend... wishing you the best of luck>  P.S. What a phenomenal site! I've been reading your FAQs and articles for around 2 months now, and don't seem to have made any headway! It is truly a wonderful thing you all are doing for this hobby.  <heehee... yes, the site is enormous. Best regards, Anthony> 

Maximum Reef tank height? 11/2/03  Hi Crew,  <howdy>  What is the maximum height you can make a reef aquarium before you run into problems? I am considering a 48" tall tank.  Thanks, Greg  <for the very generic/vague nature of your question, I am not sure how to respond. By problems, do you mean from poor light penetration )mp worries here... scale lighting appropriately with metal halides for punch)... or do you mean "problems" regarding adequate gas exchange with water at depth (can be tempered by aspirating skimmers/reactors and ozone). Is this a DIY tank? If so, you cannot build safely over 30" without a laminate or 4-sided capture. You need to do much more research here my friend. Do browse our archives on big tanks. Anthony> 

- Sort-of Custom Tank - Thanks for your help. <My pleasure.> I guess I should have pointed out that the "custom" tank is already completed..... it was, however, not "customized" to my specs (i.e. background built in)...... at 1400 pounds and $700 in shipping, I was hoping to make do. <Doh.> And if you're wondering..... yes, and am not happy with the manufacturer for his missing the background, but everything else is outstanding, so we settled out of court, as they say. <Well... here's to hoping it holds water. Glad things are resolved on your end. Cheers, J -- >

Mirror backed tank (10-6-03) Hello this is Tracy from New Hampshire. <Howdy, Cody from Montana here today!> I have a mirror back tank that I purchased 15 years ago in Florida. There is nothing wrong with my tank but I am looking for a bigger one for my fish. I cannot find one anywhere! Most stores don't even know what I am talking about, and others say they don't make them anymore. I even called the original store in Florida but they have since changed owners and don't carry them either.   Do you know where I can get one? I am willing to buy out of state and pay shipping costs. They are so much prettier than a regular glass back!  If they in fact don't make them anymore is it something that can be custom built? And by who?  <I have only seen one and that was one someone brought into the shop a week or so back.  I don't think they make them anymore but you may be able to find a company that will custom make one.  Try posting on one of the message boards like the one on our website or www.reefcentral.com   You should be able to find something there.> My tank has never sprung a leak or had any problems and I have moved it several times. I would love to find a bigger one.  Please help if you can<Hope this helps, Cody.> Thanks,   Tracy

Does Size Matter? Tank Size that is... Hey guys, I currently have a 45(36x12) gal I am thinking about setup for FOWLR.  I only have a space large enough for a 36" tank.  I have thought about getting a 65 Gal(36x18).  I know that the additional depth will help far aquascaping. <It can, depending upon the biotope that you are trying to replicate...> My question is, will there be a great difference in water stability due to the larger size, to off set the cost of the new tank, stand, and the loss taken on the 45 gal that I have no use for otherwise.  Also what fish cannot go into the 65? <Well, when you take into account the amount of water displaced by sand, rocks, etc. that 20 gallons can make a difference. Even the 65 gallon tank will probably hold less than 40 gallons of water once it's ultimately stocked and aquascaped, so there is some validity to buying the largest system that you can. And, by the way, you could always use the 45 as a sump/refugium for your 65 or larger, which will effectively increase your system's capacity! Just a thought!> Dwarf angel, trigger, tang, puffer, will they be to large and work against my bio on the LR? <Well, I'd personally hold off on any trigger, tang, and some puffers in anything less than a 100 gallon tank. That's my personal bias, but it is mainly based upon the ultimate size that these fishes can achieve, their need for physical "space", and the quantity of metabolic wastes that they are capable of producing. A well-stocked 65, or even 45 gallon tank can be every bit as impressive as a much larger tank if a few simple rules are followed concerning bioload, equipment and aquascaping. If 45 gallons is what you have to work with, then try to assemble a system and animals to compliment a tank of that size. Have fun! Regards, Scott F. > Thanks again for a great site and service you provide to our hobby.    -Randy

-Glass tank MFG's- Looking for Manufacturers of Glass Tanks for Reptiles and Aquariums, in California and out to the east coast. I guess I have not found the right verbiage to find them online can you help? I am Manufacturing pet products that are for Reptiles and Fish Tanks, But would like to get the finished sizes of there Tanks. <Here's the main three large glass aquarium companies that sell to everyone from ma and pop to PetCo: www.all-glass.com, www.oceanicsystems.com, http://www.perfectomfg.com  with All-Glass being the most popular. There may be others in CA, but I'm a Massachusetts folk :) -Kevin> Thank you Bill

New All-Glass Tank Overflows - 9/19/03 Thanks for your reply Anthony.  I have to know your opinion on the new all-glass tank overflows.  I do plan on upgrading my 90 gal reef to a 120 in a few months.  My question is to you do you approve (or like) the new design location of the overflow boxes on the reef ready tanks.  Would you get one of the new ones or get an old one, what are the drawbacks of them being in the middle back of the tank?   I don't know if I like how they put them in the middle of the tank.  Do you think I should get one of the older styles while I still can , that is if it will suit the reef keeper better than the new style. <I'm grateful that they have addressed the issue in the hobby of having/providing drilled aquaria. My opinion of their old and new styles however, like any other commercial one I've seen, is that they are insufficiently drilled - lacking enough or large enough holes. What happens then is that aquarists often buy a properly sized sump/return pump for their display... but learn that the drains cannot handle them. So they throttle back the pump and need to add powerheads in the display... how ironic! And they are nearly as ugly, IMO, as those glass overflow towers <G>. My preference is to have overflow holes drilled high along the back wall... not the floor with a glass tower. I described modifying this with an internal horizontal overflow (more discreet and efficient) in my Book of Coral Propagation. We have several messages about it in our archives here at wetwebmedia.com too... do check them out with a keyword Google search - toggle terms like "internal horizontal overflow" and see what you get. Hmmm... not sure if I've helped here or not. Holler if not :) Anthony>

Tanks and earthquakes Hello everybody, <Howdy> I'm sitting in my leaving room 3 meters away from my 60 gallon glass tank and about 20 kilometers away from the north Anatolian earthquake fault line in Istanbul, Turkey. The fault line is told to be very similar to the Californian quake fault line. About 4 years ago a big earthquake hit the region and we wait for the next big one to happen, closer to the city of Istanbul this time, with a 60% chance if I recall correctly within the next 30 years, hitting 6.5 -7.4 on the scale. It may just happen next minute. Can you tell me anything about how to secure an aquarium against earthquakes? So far I have an anti-slip sheet between the tank bottom and the tank stand, and that's it. I want to upgrade to a 100 gallon 80" tank but the idea of 900 pounds of water and rock pouring on  me as the earth tries to shake us off it's back scares me a little. So, any ideas or experiences will be highly appreciated. Thanks, Husnu <I share your concern. Please take a leisurely read through the marine sections of our site (WetWebMedia.com) under "Set-Up", particularly "Tanks" "Stands"... and the accompanying FAQs files. We like acrylic tanks (over glass) where the ground shakes but good... and to build stands that are braced in three dimensions... wedging them into corners, between other heavy furniture... even attaching them to walls. Many other ideas apply. Bob Fenner> Aquarium cross braces I appreciate all your support in the past and am presently trying to solve a problem with my 330g tank. It is 84"x30"x30" and it is 3/4" glass. When the built the tank in my home they put two 1/2" glass 14" cross braces in 14" from each corner. This lead to a 14" opening 28" opening and then a 14" opening. The problem I am having now is the left and right halide is directly over the cross brace. This is dimming the light and I am sure must be changing the spectrum of the bulb. <Agreed> Not to mention also warming the brace itself. My question to you is do you know, or know someone that would be able to help me fix this with problem with smaller braces having to be thicker or some other solution? <Not smaller... but you could cut the current braces and move them to the middle of the tank> I know from what I have read that they should have spaced them out more evenly. This would have helped to some degree but the braces need to be about 8" wide to really help with the lighting. Thanks a lot for your help and have a great day, Ian. <Is it worth considering moving the lights out over the side cut-outs and adding a third (perhaps higher wattage and temperature) MH to the middle area? Bob Fenner>

Re: Aquarium cross braces I am sorry for not giving you the complete information on my lighting. Currently I have 3 175W Halides 10000K and two NO Actinics. I also have a combination of SPS and LPS corals, clam, leathers.  I don't mind your idea of moving the lights around. I could move the two end ones out over the 14" opening. Then I thought I could add another 175W Halide to the middle opening so there would be two. Would this be enough lighting for over my tank or should I consider getting two more halides of higher wattage for over the cross braces. <For this depth (30 total inches if memory serves) I might well increase the wattage of the center MH... perhaps a 250 Watt Pendant... and move your clam, perhaps some SPS there> If so what would you recommend for over my 30" deep tank? Thanks for all your help it is greatly appreciated. <Many possibilities... perhaps review the MH FAQs archived on WWM re others choices in lamps, fixtures. Bob Fenner>

Fiberglass tank Ok this is a short question. Is it possible to make a plywood tank and cover it in fiberglass to make sure it doesn't leak.   I was looking to make my wife a small clam pond in the house 36"x36"x16"   <Short answer, yes, possible. In the not so old days, fiberglass, resin and (marine) plywood were (along with large screws) often what marine wholesale facilities systems were constructed of. Viewing panel/s can be siliconed to inside cut-outs. Bob Fenner, who asks, "have you seen ClamsDirect. com's clam system units?">

Tank Capacity Hi Bob, <Jorell> This has got to be one of the best if not the best sites in the world.  I wish there were more people like you in this world, who loved to share their knowledge. Your patience must be rewarded. <They are my friend, here, by you> I live in Hong Kong and we are fortunate to have one of the largest Aquarium markets in the world, I have been keeping Marine Life in general for about 8 years, gave up in the middle because I was appalled by how some people here treat Marine Life, fish are stored in small plastic bags for hours daily.  However I could not resist keeping them again. And so I started and had a nice reef set up in a 50 gallon tank.  However disaster struck when I moved house and I lost all my corrals and fish when someone inadvertently put a metal bar on top one the tubs to support them, when I was transporting my stuff and rusty metal leached into the tub where I lost everything. I managed to salvage something and am running the same tank which with the exception of one plate coral (left back) is all fish. And they are doing well.  The only problem is that I have a constant battle with Hair algae. That I try take off weekly mechanically and combat it with Macro Red algae which I was fortunate to have sprouted out of a rock and is doing very well. (My phosphates are quite high).  I do not want to invest too much in this tank as I will be ordering a custom made 400 gallon tank soon (as soon as my financial position improves as I lost my job recently, just found one and am clawing my way back)., this will be a major investment. <And an adventure!> I just need some clarification: I have copied this from one of your Q&A's Quote "I am setting-up a 38 gallon 48"Lx18"Hx10"W tank that will be illuminated by 2 55 watt 10,000K CF bulbs. The tank will be filtered by live rock, live sand, a protein skimmer, and a mud/algae refugium. <Okay>" Unquote As per my calculations this person has a 28 Gallon tank (US Gallon) and not a 38,  unless my method is completely wrong.  If I am correct she needs to be informed. <Mmm, in approximate measures, multiplying the length times width times height (in inches) and dividing by 231 (the approximate volume of a U.S. gallon) I come up with 37.4... With the gravel, glass, not filling the tank all the way... it probably will hold about ten gallons less... Perhaps this is what you mean> Love your site and log on almost daily. Thanks Very Much, Bobby <Thank you for writing and your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Capacity Hi Bob, <Hello again Jorell> Hey, thanks for writing and Ooops!! No, I did not mean after Gravel and you are absolutely right, and my math is all messed up. <A lesson in serendipity... you are aware that there are about 231 cubic inches per gallon... and a "standard" aquarium "box" we can multiply its three dimensions (in inches)...> My calculation process was very complicated and I messed it somewhere. But I did it thrice and got the same results so I wrote. <I understand... repeating the same mis-formula> Incidentally when I calculated the Volume of my tank by my old method or yours I get about 50 Gal, So I probably typed a wrong number somewhere!!  This error is embarrassing. <No worries. Bob Fenner> Thanks a Ton.  Jorell

Tourist hit by flying sharks By Lorna Knowles August 7, 2003 TOURIST Hazel Swinden got closer to the sharks than she planned when she visited the Sydney Aquarium six years ago. In a scene straight out of a horror movie, the tank she was admiring exploded, unleashing seven thrashing sharks, 2.5 tonnes of water and fragments of glass. She is one of two people now suing the owners of the Darling Harbour aquarium for negligence. The tank cracked open on February 20, 1997. Four people were taken to hospital after they were hit by a "wall of water" and seven white-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks went skidding across the floor. Ms Swinden, 59, who lives in Western Australia, is claiming damages for physical and psychological injuries. She is suing for negligence, breach of contract and breach of implied warranty to render due care and skill under the Trade Practices Act. Her lawyer, John Pender, told the NSW District Court yesterday Ms Swinden suffered a severed tendon in her left ankle that caused her discomfort while standing and walking. She also suffered multiple cuts and bruises to her wrist, arm and forearm when she was slammed against a wall during the flood. Mr. Pender said the aquarium was negligent in failing to use laminated glass for the $12,850 "special exhibit Antarctic tank" installed in August 1990. "Laminated glass would have only marginally increased the cost," Mr. Pender said. "The defendants were negligent in failing to select special glass of a suitable thickness and/or tensile strength for the construction of the special exhibit tank . . . having regard to the volume of water in the tank and the probability of static fatigue occurring." He said the aquarium had applied a plastic film to strengthen the glass in 1994. But the film only held for a few seconds before the tank exploded three years later. The aquarium has denied liability for the accident and is seeking indemnity from the company that designed and installed the tank, Commercial Aquariums. Ms Swinden, a shop assistant from the Perth suburb of Pearsall, was taken to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where she had surgery and remained for four days. She said people had thought she was joking when she told her story. "I got swept across the floor with these sharks flapping around. I thought I was dying. I thought I was dead," she said. The case, before Judge Terry Naughton, continues. Herald Sun <Hoboy... something to keep in mind if/when building public aquariums. Bob >

-AGA new style overflows- This is for Kevin Sliech, if possible: <More than possible!> Kevin: I read an email that you replied to in the dailies on 6/24 (sorry, I am behind). I was wondering where you got your information on All-Glass' changes, <Straight from the horses mouth, our regular tank-delivering wholesaler along with a pamphlet from AGA. I don't believe they're available yet, truck loads had supposedly left but we still continue to receive old-style tanks as they blow out their stock of them.> and if you can point me to a link or elaborate further? <It appears that AGA has yet to update their website this decade, so it will be little help to you. In short, the overflows (now called Megaflow or something fancy-pants like that) will be located on the back tank wall instead of in the corners. On tanks with a single overflow it will be centered on the left (I think left..) back half of the aquarium. On the 4' tanks that require two they will be each centered on a half of the back. On the 6' tanks, it appears that instead of centering them on two 3' sections on the back, that they're instead centered on the first and last 2' sections. I hope this makes some sense... I believe the drilled holes will be the same, but due to the shape of the overflows, there will be many more slots. This is great for folks like me who have all kinds of crap growing and blocking them. The accessory kit has the "Durso" modification to silence the gurgling. I hope this long winded response helps! -Kevin>

Tank/stand I have a 120 gal glass tank with 3/8" glass. on the bottom of the tank I have a black trim all the way around in which the glass sets into. the basic floating bottom type aquarium. my question is do I have to set something between the frame and desk that the aquarium sets on? there is a 1/2" suspension (gap) between the glass and actual counter it sits on? but the frame sets even on the counter all the way around. .................. thanks for your time and sorry for the long ? <No worries. As long as the frame itself is well and completely supported, you're fine. Bob Fenner>

- Metric Conversion - Dear Crew: Just an FYI regarding the questioner who thinks that 600 liters is "close to 300 gallons US." This is not so--it is only "close to" 160 gallons:   600 L  times  1.06 Q/L  divided by 4 Q/G  equals 159 gallons. <Doh!> More simply: 600 L divided by 3.79 L/G equals 158G.  The discrepancy between these two formulas comes from rounding 1.057 Q/G to 1.06 Q/G. If one does not want to memorize conversion factors, here are three great links to online automatic converters for all sorts of measurements: <This is exactly what I do.> http://www.convert-me.com/en/ http://www.capitalsteel.net/about/calculator
http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/conversions.html Thanks for al your advice since I started this great hobby last Christmas, Steve Allen <Thanks Steve, will post on the dailies and hopefully everyone in the crew who can't convert metric will see it. Cheers, J -- >

Found a broken link to a metric conversion calculator on your site -- 11/12/09
<G'morrow to you>
I came across your site today and found a broken link on your site at
http://wetwebmedia.com/tkstdfaq3.htm and I thought I would contact someone so they could pass that along to whoever manages your website. I see that this links to a metric conversion calculator, and a company I work with also happens to have one at http://www.capitalsteel.net/about/calculator if you
would like to replace your broken link with a working one.
Adam Henige
<Where on the page? Will look for... Bob Fenner>
RE: Found a broken link to a metric conversion calculator on your site
Hi Bob,
The link can be found on this page: http://wetwebmedia.com/tkstdfaq3.htm
under metric conversion - the link points to:
Hope that helps.
<Adam... whereabouts on the actual page? I'll use the left side bar search tool to find. Thanks, BobF>
DAS system I adopted a 75 Gallon DAS system tank - previous owner did not know what kind of DAS and as a result I don't know if I'm running it correctly (What the hell are all these slots/chambers for etc.). <Hmmm... not familiar with DAS systems. I did a Google search for "das aquariums" and came up with thousands of German sites, lol> I come from a w/d SUMP, fish only system background and am a little cautious of the anaerobic system in the 75 DAS tank. I plan to ease it into a reef tank and wondered if I need more filtration on this tank - canister, ext. SUMP etc.. I have a small power head and the return from the DAS system for right now. <What's in the tank for sand, live rock, and filtration?> So, My Questions. 1. does DAS have a Website clearly defining their system's? <Couldn't find one, do you have a better name besides DAS or could you contact the previous owner about where he got it?> 2. do you think I need more filtration and what would you recommend? <Can't recommend anything without a description of the stuff mentioned above.> 3. the adopted tank came w/ two 47-48" 10,000K, one ACTINIC blue and the other SUPER DAYLIGHT. the ballast Says Max 40 W power - SO, am I running 40 W total (20 per bulb) or 80 (40 per bulb)? And is this enough light to start thinking about my reef. <Nope, either way. Please read this article to get you thinking about other types of lighting: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Thanks -Jake <Thanks for writing in Jake, let me know how the tank is set up. -Kevin> Dallas, TX. PS. Amazing website, thanks!

-DAS system: take 2- > I adopted a 75 Gallon DAS system tank - previous owner did not know what kind of DAS and as a result I don't know if I'm running it correctly (What the hell are all these slots/chambers for etc.). <Hmmm... not familiar with DAS systems. I did a Google search for "das aquariums" and came up with thousands of German sites, lol> * Sorry, Dutch Aquarium Systems, D.A.S., I did find their site though. * > I come from a w/d SUMP, fish only system background and am a little cautious of the anaerobic system in the 75 DAS tank. I plan to ease it into a reef tank and wondered if I need more filtration on this tank - canister, ext. SUMP etc.. I have a small power head and the return from the DAS system for right now. > <What's in the tank for sand, live rock, and filtration?> *Live Sand, 20 25Lbs LR, D.A.S. H39 filter, Power head w/filter* THANK YOU! <Sounds like it would be fine for a reef tank, provided appropriate lighting was applied. No idea what their filter is all about, but in a naturally built aquarium, the live rock and sand will take care of all your bio-filtration and more. All you need to do is supply strong water circulation, and ta-da, reef tank! So, in preparation for a reef, I'd add some more cured live rock, increase the sandbed to at least 3-4" if it's not already that deep, and later begin to remove all the bio and mechanical filtration from the tank (i.e. run filters w/out floss/sponges). Good luck and read up on the gazillions of articles here on WetWeb! -Kevin>

Braces on 130 gals tank Hi, <Hello> I am in the process of making a 130 gals tank which is 30" high. I am using 1/2" glass. I have placed two 4" wide braces  from front panel to back panel at 1/3 the total length  each. Also I have placed 4 " triangles /braces  on each of the 4 upper corners for additional support. Do you guys think it is necessary to add some sort of additional braces on the bottom pane  or is the bond on the bottom enough? I was thinking of placing  some 4" wide braces  on the bottom as well. <How are the braces attached? Are they also made of the 1/2" glass? I would not make/place braces on the bottom (inside or out). Not useful here... and I would have made just one larger (as in a foot wide or so) brace for the top and siliconed it on the top edge in the middle... and maybe two four inch wide ones at either end, over the top including the side panels. Please do fill, test this tank outdoors. Bob Fenner> I appreciate any help you can provide me with. Kind regards, Harold Chamberlain

Re: Braces on 130 gals tank Thanks for your prompt reply, as usual.  Actually the braces are all made of 1/2" glass and are siliconed to the top of the aquarium, as are the 90 degree pieces I siliconed on each corner. <I do like the corner braces> Would it be a good idea then to put an additional brace in the center of the tank (aside from the ones already in place? <Yes. I would> You have no idea how much your website has widened my aquarium horizons, it is absolutely the most comprehensive information source anyone could have access to, electronically or otherwise. <Thanks to folks as yourself, writing in valid, meaningful content> Thanks for your help, Harold Chamberlain <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Braces on 130 gals tank Hi Bob, I installed the 1 foot brace on the middle and two more 4inch braces near the ends. Yesterday I filled it up with water all the way to the top (57"x17"x32") and no leaks, everything seems perfect. Is it o.k. for the glass to be deflecting 1.5mm (give or take.3 or so)? remember it is 1/2" glass. <Yes, to be expected> Other than that and if you think that amount of bowing is acceptable I am going to move tanks tomorrow. Thanks again for all your invaluable help. Harold Chamberlain <Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner>

Size DOES Matter! (Choosing A Tank Size) Hi, my name is Kristine and I am in the planning stages of a FOWLR set up with aspirations toward corals waaaay down the line. <If you're like most hobbyists, I'll bet that "waaaay down the line" comes sooner than you think it will! LOL> Ultimately, I would like to have a 100 g tank.  HOWEVER, I was thinking I would start very small (10 g's perhaps) with a small amount of LR and maybe 2 fish.  Maybe even 2 fish (1-2" each) is too much, I don't know...  My idea was to eventually move up and I'd still have a nice QT when it was needed. <A good thought!> Anyway, I had kind of decided against this idea since I understand that generally speaking, it is more difficult to achieve and maintain good water quality on a smaller system. So, I considered even starting out bigger.  Obviously the amount of money involved is a huge consideration, which makes me a bit leery of doing this.  SO, I'm back to toying with the idea of a 10 gal or so system just to start, just so I can learn as much as I can and get the basics down (H20 chemistry, maintenance, etc...) before moving' on up.  I am a voracious reader and I value your opinion and have read info on your site as well as anything else I can get my hands on. <Me, too! And I'm a voracious eater, too! And, on occasion, voracious spender on aquarium stuff...been accused of being a "voracious wave hog" by my surfing pals, and a "voracious fish geek" by my significant other! I know the meaning of voracious, man!> This is something I've wanted for about 16 years and I am willing to wait until it's right to "launch out into the deep", so to speak.  I want to take it slow and do things right the first time to minimize casualties (to both my small charges and my pocketbook). <Agreed. If you take a little more time to plan it right, you'll reap the rewards down the line- and, more important, so will your animals!> My real question is twofold:  1) is a 10 g set up as described above (including inhabitants)  a good or bad idea and   2) if it IS a good idea for me to start small and use this arena as an experiment of sorts, what equipment would you recommend to set it all up? <Well, I really think that you should consider a larger tank...a minimum of 40 gallons. To be honest with you, a small, or "nano" tank is not as easy to keep as you might think. In my opinion, The environmental fluctuations, maintenance demands, and lack of a margin for error make a small tank very difficult to maintain. There is a seemingly harsh, but possibly correct school of thought which suggests that, if you cannot afford the equipment for a 40 gallon tank, you can't afford this hobby! Now, that really is a bit harsh...but it may be true. Yes, larger tanks are more expensive to outfit properly, but I'd rather see you save your money and slowly assemble the equipment that you need for a larger system. We receive soo many emails from people who'd like to keep that "one extra fish" or invert in their small tank, and it can be frustrating to discourage them from adding that animal! However, a tremendous amount of restraint is required when you keep small tanks- something many of us don't have! Try to go with a larger system, and you'll think yourself many times over in the future! Really, in the end-"more is less!">     The wealth of experience and information you have all provided have been priceless.  Many thanks for your time and this wonderful resource! Kristine <Thank you so much for visiting the WWM site! Let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding your setup and future plans! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- What's the Difference - How much of a difference would it make going from a 90 to 100. <Not a whole bunch... about 11% more volume.> I know it's not much larger in gallons, but it is longer. <There is that.> I didn't realize that the 100's are actually less expensive, but I've already built a stand. Is there a large amount of difference in the size of aquaria I can keep? <No, is the difference of about one small fish.> James <Cheers, J -- >

29 gallon vs. 37 gallon tank Dear Mr. Fenner, I have a very sturdy cabinet in my office that is 32" wide.  I know you don't recommend tanks less than 40 gallons or tall tanks, but only 29 and 37 gallon aquariums have a 30" x 12" footprint.   My question is this: The 37 gallon of course offers more stable water conditions, but is 4" taller (22" vs. 18") than the 29 gallon tank.  In terms of lighting, does that 4" make a difference?  If not, I will go with the 37 gallon. <Can make a difference... though most photosynthetic organisms (e.g. clams, most corals, algae) can be placed on rock higher up in the water column... The extra gallonage can be a plus, and the added height of use for many types of captive life... as well as a more striking presentation, particularly in settings where folks will be observing the tank walking by (versus seated). Bob Fenner> Thank you. Brian

Tank shape, maker reliability I am thinking of buying an All-Glass bow shaped tank, but my son warns me that they are unreliable in terms of leaks and/or breakage.  Has that been your experience with them or are they just as reliable as a "standard" tank?  I am considering a 75 gallon for cichlids. Thanks! Alice Marshall <This shape is just as, if not more "strong" than rectangular aquariums... and this manufacturer has an excellent reputation (IMO) for quality and consistency. Bob Fenner>

"Tanks, Stands & Covers for Marine Aquarium Systems" - 4/21/2003 To the crew: I just read the above titled page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm, and I have a question.  Under "Stands" you wrote of the terms "level" and "planar".  In the "Level" paragraph, you wrote "adjust with shimming legs/base of the stand". In the "Planar" paragraph, you seem to refer to the area between the stand and the aquarium being flat to each other.  No problem there.  My problem is this:  I had to shim the base of my stand, which now makes the tank water "level", but the area between the stand and the floor no longer "planar". <Mmm, not the space here (betwixt floor and stand) that needs to be planar, but tween the tank and stand> Am I missing something (related to the subject, please :)?  Isn't the shim causing a problem as well as solving one?  Are there special shims and I only have regular shims?  Thanks, Rich <Shims are shims to my understanding. But better that they be long/er and wide/r and non-compressible than not. Bob Fenner>

- There's a Hole in the Tank - neighbor gave me a 150 gal tank, it has a hole drilled in the bottom of it, why?  (I'm sure this is a stupid question) <Not a stupid question at all... I'd start by asking the neighbor, but typically this is for an overflow device to move water out of the tank and into a sump or reservoir under the tank where it is pumped back into the tank.> J <Cheers, J -- >

MARS system (for sale) I am looking to sell a MARS feeder system. It is in great condition and includes a uv ster., chiller, Iwaki pump, and two "Tidepool" like bio-wheel units. It is a 125 gallon sump. I have used it to cure live rock and as a quarantine tank for large specimens. If there is anyone who is interested, email me. ygregory@gkginc.com thanks. I am in the Providence, RI region <Will post on WWM. Suggest you place on WWF as well: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ Bob Fenner>

Oceanic custom through-puts Hi there, I was curious if you can help me with something. I plan on purchasing a oceanic 38gal. cube tank due to room constraints. They don't come reef ready, so I was looking into drilling some holes for an overflow and as well as a return. My question is if the glass is tempered, is this a safe alternative. If not, how can I get water from the tank to an overflow? Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Better by far to have glass tanks drilled before they're assembled. Do ask your dealer re this possibility. They can contact Oceanic and have them drill out the openings for you. Bob Fenner>

Custom Aquarium Fabricators/ion These are the links   < http://www.building.com/communities/texis/db/go/+bwwrmwBeiNnw/community.html">Aquariums Companies at Building.Com</A>   < http://www.tenecor.com/">Tenecor - Manufacturer of Quality Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Aquariums, and Fres</A> <Thank you for these links. Bob Fenner>

Custom tanks By chance are you interested in the same type business? or interested in having a custom aquarium built?   TJ <No my friend. Our companies used to do such fabrication years back. Nowadays am mainly a "content provider" to the trade. Bob Fenner>

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