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FAQs about Commercial & Custom Tanks: Materials 

Related Articles: Size Doesn't Always Matter! Thoughts on the Desire to Create Bigger Marine Aquariums By Scott Fellman, Making Your Own Tanks, Sumps, Designer Marine tanks, stands and covers, Aquarium RepairMarine System ComponentsCanopies, Covers & Lighting Fixtures,

Related FAQs: Tanks, Stands, Covers, Custom Aquariums, Stands, Covers..., FAQs on Commercial, Custom Tank: Design, Shape, Tools, Location, By Make/Brand/Manufacturer Name, DIY Tanks, Sumps 1, DIY Tanks/Sumps 2, DIY Tanks/Sumps 3DIY Tanks/Sumps 4, & DIY Tanks, Sumps 1, DIY Tanks/Sumps 2, DIY Tanks/Sumps 3DIY Tanks/Sumps 4, & 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...

Pros/Cons to using all materials... Ask... how long will the material last, the seams stay strong? How easy does it scratch, fatigue? How simple is it to repair this? What is the difference in cost now, versus resale value later? What about clarity? Thermal insulation?

Advice Required For a Water Feature       11/28/15
Hi there
I'm trying to build a water feature which is technically a tank
and although I found some information I don't know what info to trust.
<Let's see>
Based on this article
I calculated the weight of the water in the tank rounded up = 400kg Calculated bottom glass area= 0.15 m²
Calculated the kg / m² exerted by the weight of the water = 2,667 rounded up based on the diagram 12mm tempered glass will be alright
L= 30 cm W = 50 cm H = 267 cm
<The height is 267 cm... this tank is to be some eight and three quarters food in height (?).... You won't be able to get into it to work....>

I will brace all corners with Stainless Steel L beams but I haven't yet decided on the gage aka thickness.
Based on other calculators I need more than 40mm but I'm assuming they are based on normal float glass.
<Mmm; about any standard glass.... Is there a reason you don't want to consider acrylic?>
any advice will be much appreciated
<What is the intended use/function of this tank? Will it have life in it? Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice Required For a Water Feature      11/29/15

Thanx for Replying Bob.
<Welcome big K!>
The Tank is a water Feature that will have a bubble curtain inside and spill into a spill way that feeds a waterfall that will spill into a koi pond.
<Again; I'd make/fashion out of acrylic instead of glass w/ a metal frame>
Very easy to imagine , very hard to execute .
Its going to be outdoor it will be exposed to the weather and sun.
Acrylic would be better but in my country , the UAE , everything costs 300% more than it would cost in the USA , Glass itself will be expensive but not as expensive as acrylic because there are probably 3 companies that make acrylic tanks.
<Mmm; I'd have it fabricated outside the UAE, flown or shipped in>
That's why I'm going to have to go with glass.
I'm not concerned on getting a clean finish inside so plenty of silicone and I'll put it together on its side and after its all together then we'll stand it upright and put it in its place.
I'm only concerned about the glass.
The Total Height is 267cm that's 8.75984 foot , 8'9.12''
What do you think about the link I sent?
this one
Do you feel its legit ?
<It is. BobF>

Glass thickness     12/18/13
Dear Wet Web Media,
I have a question regarding the glass thickness for a saltwater tank I am planning for a public room. The tank will be 20ft (600cm) x 16,7inch (40cm) x 22inch (20inch/50cm water height). The tank will be closed so center braces etc would be applied
I have asked different custom tank manufacturers, some saying that 12mm would be safe and others saying that 1 minimum of 15mm, preferably 19mm is advised.
<Well; at least the 12... better the 15... 19 is a bit much, but if you, the customer can afford it>
What is your opinion on this matter? I am asking because the tank is a lot longer than what you normally see.
Kind regards
<In theory, the length shouldn't matter (much) IF the bottom/stand/support is planar, level (and strong). In actual practice, the longer the run, the better to use thicker material (to resist breakage from twisting, torsion). Bob Fenner>
Re: Glass thickness    12/19/13

Thank you for the advise bob. I will probably go with 15mm with extra braces at the bottom for extra strength
<Just make sure the bottom is planar AND level AND strong. Cheers, BobF>

Q & A about acrylic    11/19/13
Thought this was interesting Bob, might want to share it.
<Ah yes; will do. B>

In Store Saltwater Pool. Const.        12/5/12
Hello Crew,
I have a quick question for you in regards to a project that we are working on here in the store.  We have a large indoor pool that we have built and are looking for the best way to seal it.  The pool is framed with 2x6's and plywood and cased on the inside with hardiebacker wet area cement board. 
The front panel of the pool is a 96"x30" glass panel recessed into the wooden frame.
<This will have to have a race built, installed to incorporate the liner>
 Our initial thought was to go with a pond liner, but the consultant for the liner was concerned that the corners of the pool would be too harsh on the liner.
<Mmm, no... An overlay of wood or other material should be placed as a "cap" over the top of the liner>
 Can you suggest a proper means of sealing this pool that will be safe for saltwater use?
<I would use a 32 mil Tetra Liner likely; otherwise a similar thickness butyl rubber liner>
 I can send pictures for you as well if that would be helpful.  Thank you in advance for your time.
<And you. Bob Fenner>

Are all acrylic aquariums reef ready?   10/14/12
Hi folks,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you for making the most awesome website for new hobbyists!
<Thank you, Keith - give yourself oodles of credit for being smart enough to notice!! SOME people just write us to complain about our spelling, so it's nice to get positive feedback from time to time>
I recently bought a tank, then broke it, and thus am in the process of getting a new tank.
<Several articles on your site strongly suggest that you don't break things that you intend to use>
I came a cross a post for an all acrylic tank (48x24x24) which was used as a hamster tank (photo attached).
<Holy smokes!!! Just how big WAS that hamster??>
The owner says it should hold water just fine, but that it wasn't used for that before. The tank has roughly 1" panels on the sides, and thinner ones (from what I can tell from the photo) on the bottom. I've asked the seller to measure again to confirm.
<The tank in the picture is a salt-water ready tank, Keith - the black boxes at the corners are the overflow boxes uses exclusively on marine tanks!!>
The tank also has 1cm diameter holes drilled into each of the sides as water holes for the pets.
<The picture doesn't show any additional holes … normally a tank like that will have holes drilled in the bottom of the overflow boxes and then holes near the top/center for return water.>
I intend to buy the tank, and have the holes patched by a local acrylic shop.
<Well - buy it, but don't have anything patched just yet>
My questions to you:
1) Are all acrylic aquariums typically saltwater ready? More specifically, should I be concerned that this was a hamster cage and wasn't used as an aquarium previously? Or, are all aquariums typically ok? I just don't want the setup to crack/break on me.
<No worries. Tanks that size are NOT made for hamsters, Rhesus monkeys or miniature cows - they are made as aquariums for holding water.>
2) I've heard that acrylic tanks can be easily patched by welding on larger acrylic pieces to the holes.
<It's done all the time - no worries>
This is what the local shop intends to do - is that sufficient for such a large tank?
<Yes -- *IF* it's needed - read on>
Or is there the danger that the tank may leak from the sides? If the holes were on the bottom, I'd be less concerned because it feels like the water pressure would hold it in place - I'm just scared that holes on the side may be subject to other kinds of forces (like powerheads, bowing, etc).
<A properly bonded acrylic panel is as strong if not stronger than the original panel>
3) what is the minimum thickness that this tank should have on the bottom and sides for me to consider it?
<Unless this tank was custom made to VERY low standards, it was already made AS an aquarium specifically FOR a marine tank>
4) I have a stand that is just a frame (hollow in the middle), should I be concerned with an acrylic tank on top of it since it will bow? Would buying
a 48x24 piece of plywood and placing it under be sufficient?
<Yes, bottom support is critical for all aquariums. A 48 long tank stand usually has a center brace (front to back right in the center). For a tank longer than 48 inches it would be required -- but at this size it's optional. A piece of plywood on the bottom would be a really8 nice safeguard, as long as it has holes drilled to match the equipment you'll be using>
Thanks so much for your help. It's truly appreciated.
<Keith - I'd buy it. The next step is to visit several marine aquarium stores around you … look at their acrylic tank setups and see what holes and access points should be there and what they're used for. -- DON'T have your acrylic shop patch up any holes you'll need for your circulation system.>
<Next, set it up OUTSIDE on the stand, see that it's all level - and then fill it to overflowing …. Let it sit for two days to verify no leaks.>
<Lastly, don't OVERLY concern yourself with bowing. Acrylic does bow a bit and should bow a bit and since you're not an expert, you can make yourself crazy worrying about things that aren't problems.>
<<Look at us - we ARE professionals and even WE are crazy!! Don't let this happen to you! - Ed>>
<Good luck! And have fun!>

More than 48" long

Tank Setup, acrylic manuf. sel., plumbing, circ.  4/13/12
Hi Bob and crew,
<Hello Kevin>
First off I'd like to say the site you have is just awesome, so much information.
<Glad you enjoy and thank you.>
I am getting ready to finish part of my basement and I am going to be putting in a new setup down there. Part of the wall will be bumped out and the tank will be viewable from the front and right side and I will have a small fish room to the left. Also, this will be my first attempt at a reef tank. I wanted to run the setup by you to get your opinion. I currently have a glass 150 gallon FOWLR and I am looking to purchase an acrylic 75 x 24 x 28 tank from Envision Acrylics. Have you heard anything on this company or recommend anyone else?
<Mmm, they do have a notable list of clients. I would be happy with them.>
Since I am able to customize it I was wondering what would be the best configuration for the two overflows. Should I put two boxes in the back corners, a trapezoid in the middle with two drains or I've seen coast to coast external overflows. Is one better than the other? I was leaning towards the trapezoid in the middle
with two drains in it.
<I would lean your way as well.>
As far as the drain size, would two 1 1/2 in pipes with Durso's be enough?
Looking on your site a 1 1/2 in pipe should handle about 750gph, and if I'm correct I want the tank to turn over 3-5 times.
<Actual flow rate will depend on your plumbing, avoid elbows if possible or other restrictive fittings. You should easily get 800gph through each drain. See here.
The tank is about 220 gallons plus about a 50 gallon sump, so I was thinking about 900-1000 gallons per hour? The two 1 1/2 in pipes will give me 1500 gph so I would have a little bit of cushion.
<Do you plan on supplementing the actual flow in the tank with powerheads?
I would shoot for a total flow rate, including powerheads of at least 2000gph.>
This leads me to my next question. For the return pump I would like to do an external pump, I was looking at the Iwaki's or the Reeflo's. Should my return run over the top or should I run the return to the top of the tank through the back and use loc line? Should I use 1 inch or 3/4 inch piping for the return?
<I would incorporate the returns in the overflow box and would go with the output size of the pump.>
I was thinking of coming up from the pump to the top of the tank and branching off a T fitting to the right and left side. Based on this, which pump would work the best? I was looking at Iwaki MD40RLXT, (don't know if this is strong enough).
<I would opt for a pump that would put out at least 2000gph. You should put a ball valve on the pump return for controlling the flow rate.>
I also plan on using a Vortech for additional flow so it would not totally rely on the return for flow.
<Great, you have answered my question above.>
My last question, I promise, is it safe to use the sand and live rock that I have currently in my FOWLR setup for the new tank. It has been up and running now for about 3 years.
<Mmm, depends on how nasty it is. Likely full of detritus/waste. In my opinion it's not worth the trouble and time to clean the old sand. Better to just replace and start anew.>
Sorry for being so long, I just want to make sure I do it right the first time.
<Do plan carefully.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tank Setup, through-put size, pb....   4/13/12

Thanks for the reply. I have a couple more questions now after reading your response. Based on your response and checking on pumps of 2000gph, the piping for the return would have to be 1 inch. Should I have one or two returns?
<A one inch line coming up and teed off and reduced to two 3/4" lines.>
You said to run the return through the overflow box. Would I want to run it over the top or would going up half way and putting a bulkhead be better?
<Bulkhead fittings through the overflow. Envision Acrylics should be able to do this for you. They will place the returns in the proper position.
Just tell them or whoever what you want to accomplish.>
Do they make any type of loc-line type returns for 1 inch piping?
Everything I see is either 1/2 or 3/4 inch, so what would my options be with a 1 inch return pipe?
<You will be teeing off into two 3/4" lines so there will be no problem.>
Also, I will not reuse my sand from my current tank and I assume the same would be said for the live rock?
<The rock could be bleached and put through several rinsings and be seeded with a few pieces of fresh live rock. You can use the old rock as base rock to build up bommies or whatever plan you have.>
Last question, are there any other acrylic company's you would suggest looking into?
<The Aquarium Company does nice work at reasonable prices. Might want to give them a call at (888)989-8988. Bob may input here with other suggestions.>
Thanks for all your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Glass aquarium longevity 9/17/10
Hello, hope all is well. I have a question (to try and satisfy wife) concerning a tanks lifespan. We have a AGA 180 g reef built into a wall, it has been up for 9 years (new when set up and never moved since set up).
Over the past weeks there have been a couple friends with new tanks blowing seals (Marineland DD tanks).
<Wow, not good!>
Now she is concerned about ours. I have told her I have had tanks for 20+ years without ever leaking.
Any opinion on glass tanks and the average expected lifespan.
<Not an expected lifespan. Many tanks ultimately get thrown empty into a hot garage, filled with junk that can tatter the silicone seams, etc. A properly built tank on a good stand up and running can really last
indefinitely. There is usually indications of failure before it happens.
Silicone seams between the actual panes discoloring, cross braces that crack or break. Tanks often get beat or dinged by careless people walking by them, but yours is in wall, so this risk is minimal. The failures you speak of above are certainly manufacturing issues. You are in good shape here.>
Mike Winston
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) -- Glass or Acrylic?   6/22/10
Hi Crew,
<<Hiya Rick>>
I'm in the design stage for a 96x30x30 aquarium (built into wall).
<<Neat, and is exactly what I did back in 2003'¦same size display tank and all!>>
After hours and hours of reading/research and evaluating the pros/cons,
<<Lots to consider>>
I was leaning towards acrylic (I was thinking Tenecor - we have a distributor here in Edmonton).
<<Mine is a Tenecor-built tank, I've had it since 2003. No complaints here'¦>>
But after recent readings, in particular on Jeff Turner's website (he is a strong advocate to glass), I'm having second thoughts...and Concept Aquariums (also here in Edmonton) make excellent glass tanks/black industrial strength silicone, etc.
<<There are certainly pros and cons to both. Do your research and go with what you are most comfortable/will be most happy with>>
My major concern is (as I suspect everyone's) a seam splitting/letting go.
<<Indeed (and have experienced this)'¦>>
Based on the Q&A section from your website, it occurs with both larger glass and acrylic.
<<Not just 'large' tanks at risk here>>
With modern construction methods, which has the better track record?
<<With quality construction of both, I would give the edge to acrylic. An acrylic tank will 'give' a bit more than a glass tank should there be a fault with the support structure (this is how my previous in-wall display ruptured). Regardless which tank material you choose, give much thought to the construction of a strong, level, and planar support stand designed for the material used>>
I also see comments about acrylic yellowing over time.
<<Has not happened with my 7-year old tank'¦though I have seen a couple 'older' and not as well/more cheaply made acrylic tanks that exhibited this. I suspect much has to do with the manufacturer/manufacturing of the acrylic, and the quality of the material used in the tank construction>>
Is this still a problem with the higher quality of cast acrylic now being used?
<<Not that I have heard about or experienced>>
Love the website and appreciate your feedback/expertise.
Rick Campbell
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
R2: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) – Glass or Acrylic? – 04/13/12

<<Hey Rick!…my apologies for the delay, work has been brutal of late>>
I went with a glass tank after weighing the pros/cons (tough decision).
<<Indeed…But you can’t really go wrong either way as long as you research/know what to expect re>>
Tank is made of 3/4" glass.
<<Very good…and no doubt is a beast [grin] (my much lighter ‘acrylic’ tank of the same dimensions weighed in empty at about 500lbs)>>
Question in regards to moving the tank. Do you see any issues with setting the tank on its face (on a plywood/Styrofoam support), and carrying it in that position. I cannot imagine that it would be subjected to the forces compared to being filled with water.
<<If this were a smaller tank (or acrylic) I wouldn’t be too concerned, but considering the size/weight and monetary investment involved I would not do this unless it is absolutely the only way to transport it. Though the outward force of water when filled is indeed great as you note, this is not a jarring or “sudden” force as that from hitting bumps/holes in the road. If you move it this way, I suggest you fashion some internal supports from cardboard or foam to provide some additional cushion and to reduce movement/inward compression of the side glass during transport>>
Appreciate your feedback.
<<Hope it helps mate…good luck! Eric Russell>>
R3: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) – Glass or Acrylic? – 04/13/12

Greatly appreciated.
<<Most welcome>>
We will transport it in the upright position and only turn on its side to get through the front door more easily.
<<Ah! Very good>>
Thanks Again,
<<Any time! EricR>>
Re: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) -- Glass or Acrylic? -- 06/23/10

<<Hey Rick>>
Thanks for the quick feedback.
<<Quite welcome>>
In regards to your tank, (in particular) have you had problems with scratching (hazing/crazing) - either the interior or exterior?
This is obviously the other fear with acrylic
<<Indeed'¦ This is one aspect of acrylic tanks that needs to be kept in mind any time you do any maintenance in or around the tank. Crazing is normal and usually doesn't cause any problems if the tank was assembled/manufactured correctly (e.g. -- a sufficiently wide radius used when cutting corners for openings in the top panel). You're still going to get some amount of crazing here and at the joints, but in my observations and experience, this has not proven to be problematic. Scratching is a more serious concern'¦ EVERYTHING can/will scratch an acrylic tank'¦this does include your livestock. I've had Urchins mar the acrylic while munching on the Coralline I let grow in the corners for too long (this too mars the acrylic), and I have a Powder Blue Tang that slap at its' reflection in the panels as the lights go out, leaving tiny marks with its 'scalpels.' But these are miniscule compared to the greatest danger to an acrylic tank'¦THE AQUARIST! You will do far more incidental damage than any other organism'¦and ironically, mostly while 'cleaning' the viewing panels. But fear not, this is not as dire as some may think. Most 'marks' left on the panels are insignificant (though they don't 'look' that way), and while unsightly, they can usually be easily rectified. There's a wonderful product called 'Micro-Mesh' that every acrylic aquarium owner should have in their arsenal. This micro-crystalline abrasive can be used 'underwater' without harm to your tank's inhabitants, and there are even 'magnet kits' for use with your Algae-Free or Magnavore cleaning magnet. It's not cheap, but I find keeping a fine pad of Micro-Mesh on my cleaning magnet at all times not only speeds up the chore, but also keeps those unsightly scratches at bay>>
...although I presently have an acrylic sump that I abuse, and there are NO signs of hazing/crazing/deep scratches.
<<As stated, scratching is a problem'¦though not as much as most think with a little careful thought given re. I will warn though, stay on top of those Coralline deposits. It is difficult to remove (best done with a heavy-duty scraper 'made of acrylic,' not plastic'¦can be DIY'd) and etches the acrylic, getting worse the longer it is left alone>>
Also, any signs of your tank bowing along the front panel?
<<None'¦ But this is due to the quality ¾' acrylic Tenecor used, as well as the robust support web of the top panel (also ¾'). Pay the extra dosh to go with an established and reputable manufacturer>>
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>>
R4: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) – Glass or Acrylic? – 06/08/12
<<Hiya Rick>>
The glass tank (picture attached)
<<Ah yes…sweet!>>
will sit on a 2" steel square tube stand c/w cross brace (powder coated). I understand I need some plywood and Styrofoam between the tank and stand.
<<The plywood isn’t really needed for this tank (but doesn’t mean you can’t use it) as glass tanks are generally supported along the perimeter of the tank, unlike acrylic tanks which should always be supported the entire length and breadth of the tank bottom.>>
Should the plywood be "marine" plywood to resist moisture
<<A cheaper B/C or C/D “plain exterior grade” will do fine>>
and will 5/8" be thick enough?
<<It will…the metal stand is what is “supporting” here.>>
In regards to the Styrofoam, should it be the hi-density to resist the weight or the low density that will "crush" under the weight.
<<I would use something that will “crush” as you say to provide some filling of the small gap between the perimeter edge of the tank and the bottom glass, and perhaps a bit of leveling of imperfections.>>
I'm also unsure of the thickness.
<<Half-inch should suffice>>
Your help is so appreciated.
<<Sorry for the delayed response…always happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Acrylic Fish Tanks 2/27/10
My boyfriend and I are looking into building our own tank. Before getting into planning too seriously, we went around to local fish stores to look at the tanks they have to see the thickness of glass they were using and the
stand/canopy designs, to give us something to think about. While at one store, we noticed their largest tank was acrylic. After discussing with one of the employees the pros and cons of acrylic, we decided it would be best
for such a large tank (we're thinking 72" x 36" x 24").
<I'll assume this is two feet in height>
However, after browsing around the store a bit, my boyfriend realized that looking into every acrylic tank they had made him a little dizzy and his eyes hurt. When we left he had quite the headache.
It was only the acrylic tanks, not the glass. Why did this happen?
<Perhaps the prices? Maybe there is/was some sort of bent light going on here...>
Is there anything we can do so it won't happen again and we can build OUR tank out of acrylic? Thank you.
-Katie Rhodes
<When acrylic tanks are filled with water, the bent light issues are much reduced. Bob Fenner>

Re: Acrylic Fish Tanks 3/2/10
The tanks we were looking into were already filled with water. They had about twenty tanks at the store with various saltwater fish for sale in them. It doesn't make sense to me why it would happen. Does this mean we
just have to make our tank out of glass?
<Perhaps. Please read here:
scroll down to the tray/section on Tanks. Bob Fenner>

Question That Needs Answering (Concrete Aquarium) -- 01/17/09 Hi, <<Hello>> I am an experienced marine aquarist. <<Cool'¦me too!>> And after deciding that a reef aquarium and a new seahorse breeding program wasn't enough I decided that I would like to take a shot at building my own aquarium. <<Okay'¦>> I was wondering if it is possible to build the framework and the sides of the aquarium out of cement and then use some type of sealant? <<I seem to recall that Rodney Jonklaas, a marine expert/hobbyist from decades past had some outdoor aquariums (he lived in Ceylon) that were made from concrete. These appeared to be low cement 'boxes' with a viewing panel on one side. So the short answer is, yes, this is possible'¦given that the cement 'framework' is sufficiently strong enough to hold up against the weight of the water. Depending on size of the tank, and the strength (PSI load) and thickness of the concrete, it is likely some sort of 'steel reinforcement' will be required, especially if this tank will be indoors. I suggest you consult/discus this project with a structural engineer before you begin. As for sealing/waterproofing the concrete, I have used a product called UGL Drylok to seal an outdoor cement pond and various other cement water features. The product has worked well for me, and has proven safe for aquatic life (freshwater at least) once it dries/cures. Although being a cement product itself it does leach material that will raise pH for a while, and I don't have any idea how it would stand up in a saltwater environment. Bob has used a few such products and I will ask him to comment here re their suitability for what you plan. Regards, EricR>> <Can indeed be done... and Eric is spot-on re the ref. to Jonklaas. Such tanks need to have "massive" walls, but can be quite decorative in the "right" setting. Usually simple curing is sufficient to render these structural elements sufficiently chemically inert. BobF>

Glass or Acrylic? -- 10/20/08 Hi Eric! <<Hello again Guillaume!>> I'm Guillaume and I have an additional question! <<Alrighty>> I finished the conversion of my stand and it looks very steady & solid now thanks to your help! <<Ah! Excellent!>> (the stand was originally for a glass 46 gal tank and I'm planning to get a 36 gal bow front acrylic). <<I recall this>> But I'm wondering now: for such a stand and the size I'm looking for (36 gal bow front) for my goldfish, is acrylic a good option, or should I reconsider a glass tank? <<Pros and cons to both. But for this size tank I personally would choose glass over acrylic for reasons of ease of access and price. The empty weight of the tank and the clarity of the viewing panels is of little consequence here in my estimation>> Price is not an issue here. However I read that some acrylic tanks deteriorate and become yellow or cloudy over time... <<This may have been the case in past years, but it shouldn't be an issue today with a new tank from a reputable company>> I don't mind being extra careful for the easy scratch and the small aperture at top. But does acrylic tanks of that size that you buy on line really get cloudy and yellow overtime? <<Shouldn't be a problem, as stated>> Guillaume <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Glass or Acrylic? -- 10/20/08 Thanks again Eric. <<Quite welcome Guillaume>> And a 36 gal bow front glass would be OK on my reinforced stand, right? <<As long as the top of the stand is level and planar and will support the tank around the entire perimeter of its bottom frame then yes, it should be okay>> I appreciate all your expertise!! Guillaume <<Enjoy your new tank my friend. EricR>>

Concrete tank -- 07/10/08 Hi crew, <Mohamed...> I am looking for information on building a concrete tank, I can not find a lot of information. <There is a bunch to be found... look for some of the old articles, books by Rodney Jonklaas...> what percentage must the mixture be e.g. cement, sand, stone? <Depends on the size of the system...> is there a product that can be used with the cement that will make the concrete waterproof, etc? <Best to read re hydraulic cements...> how thick must the wall and base be? <Again, height mostly determines...> must there be a steel frame for the glass or can the glass be glued directly to the concrete? <Can be siliconed to the front inside in small/er sizes> is there any information with step by step information on building a concrete tank? thanks Mohamed <How big are you thinking here? Bob Fenner>

Re: concrete tank 7/11/08 Hi Bob, <Mohamed> this is the size I have in mind (L)118.1" * (W)39.4" * (H)27.6" Thanks Mohamed <Mmm, well... for something of this size, I'd just go with "more conventional" construction materials... You can/could make one of cementaceous materials... with walls of about four inch thickness... but it will be so heavy it won't be likely you can move it. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm The second tray down... re Tanks, DIY, Materials... Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... dips/baths   7/7/08 This might be something you want to reference on your web page somewhere or just store away in your mind for future use, but I was in contact with All-Glass or Aqueon or whatever they are now calling themselves, a dry 180g aquarium weights 282 lbs and a dry 210g aquarium weighs 343 pounds. This is without glass covers or a stand or overflows, just a plain Jane empty fish tank. Anyway, you've helped me so much I figured I needed to give something back, I realize that was a small thing but interesting to know and it might help some hobbyist some day. <Thank you> New Tank...Glass or Acrylic 7/1/08 I'm thinking of setting up a new reef tank and I was wanting your opinion regarding this. I've looked into the pros and cons of glass vs. acrylic, <Of which there are many.> and I'm leaning towards the acrylic. I realize that scratching is an important concern regarding acrylic. The tank will be set up as a reef, so the lighting will be relatively strong, meaning more frequent glass cleaning with more potential for scratches. <More potential for scratches with glass too.> My main reason for choosing acrylic is for its weight. I will probably be moving at least 4 times in the next 4 years and I would like something that will be easier to move. <It can be done, but once you move a reef, you will not look forward to doing it again.> If I exercise caution regarding working with rocks and coral in the tank, and I use acrylic appropriate cleaning tools, is it a justifiable risk? <Hmm, yes, there is actually little to no 'risk'. Fact is both acrylic and glass scratch, with acrylic you can repair this yourself (glass scratches can sometimes be removed and in many cases will cost as much as the tank itself). Do note that many small scratches common on the inside of acrylic tanks will not even be visible with water in the tank. > Thanks for the help. <Welcome, Scott V., acrylic tank aficionado. >

Tempered Glass Panels'¦Just On The Bottom? -- 03/18/08 Hi Eric, <<Hey Linda!>> If a glass tank reads on the bottom: "the bottom of this tank is tempered glass - do not drill" - does this mean the sides are not? <<In my experience, yes'¦especially if this is an 'All-Glass' tank. Most any non-custom glass tank produced today of 75g or more will have a tempered bottom panel, at the least. And as I understand it, tank manufacturers are required to label all panels that are constructed of tempered glass. So if the tank is new, and the side panels are not labeled as 'tempered-glass,' then it's a good bet they are not. But (here comes the disclaimer [grin]), the best assurance is to contact the manufacturer re>> Thanks -- Linda <<Any time. EricR>>

DIY FRP Panel- tank construction 12/23/07 Hello to all, I enjoy the website as do many others. My question for today ; I am in the planning stages of a fish room. I am planning a 500 gallon reef 32" tall as well as 16, 14" tall, fish holding tanks, coral grow out tanks, sumps, refugiums, etc... <Wow, nice!> I was planning on plywood / glass front tanks, but I am now trying to find info on the use of FRP panels with glass fronts. I can't seem to find any info on bonding techniques for FRP. <Specialized FRP adhesives, basically fiberglass them together. Ultimately I would check with the manufacturer of the specific panel you intend to use for recommendations. These panels sometimes use different composites in them. Some will not yield a good bond (such as polypropylene).> I would like to learn more about this method so I can build bigger tanks this way in the future possibly using acrylic sheet for the front panels in the future. Thanks for your time! Thank You Mark Collier <I have never seen or heard of FRP panels being used in this application, could work. It will be very expensive for the thickness you will need. For my money I would stick with the plywood. Check out the link below for more info. Hope this helps, Scott V.> http://books.google.com/books?id=44hO4PM-gegC&pg=PA156&lpg=PA156 &dq=frp+bonding&source=web&ots=mex75TdwrM&sig =l9FEUVlMd2nHM7mAJUcPm6YL64Q#PPA145,M1 Fiberglass tank 11/28/07 WWM crew, <Hello Mark> I apologize for asking a question that might be somewhere in your vast vault of knowledge, but to no prevail I could not find what I was looking for. I will be opening my own coral business featuring LPS, SPS, Clams and inverts. I was wondering whether or not I could use fiberglass cloth with epoxy/resin as a sealer for a 10'x6'x12" tank made out of wood, of course properly supported. <Sure can, once completely cured.> This will hold only LPS, SPS and clams. Inverts will be placed in tanks. I'm not quite sure whether using ozone and calcium reactor and general additives will break down the resin. Or, would a liner be just as good? <Personal preference here, the wood/resin can incorporate a viewing pane.> I also worry that the ozone and U.V. sterilizer will degrade the liner. <Ozone, if used properly, will be out gassed by the time the water returns to the tank. As for a calcium reactor and U.V., they will not affect the materials of the tank.> I appreciate any help. I would like to get this right the first time. Also, may I ask at another time some general start up questions, and also share some of my ideas? <Sure> Thanks crew!!! Mark <There is a good page on building a tank just as you describe, check it out. http://garf.org/ in their DIY pages. Fact of the matter is we put resin materials in our tanks all the time. Even the acrylic that is used so extensively in aquarium products starts out this way. Some are more appropriate and durable than others, a quick Google search of plywood tanks will show you what people are using out there. Your welcome and good luck, Scott V.>

Was curious. Old metal-framed aquarium for SW use...   8/9/07To whom it may concern.... Thanks for all the great info on your website. I have been reading for the last two days and realizing I still have much more to learn. I have a 220 gallon (approx.) tank set up as freshwater at the moment and want to switch it over to reef with a DSB of 6 inches or so and build a 55 gallon refugium. The 220 main tank is an older tank and has the steel frame and slate bottom and I was curious if there is any precautions or ways that you guys know of to make a steel framed tank saltwater safe from corrosion besides getting it reframed? <Mmmm... well... you might well be okay coating the metal, esp. the bit that hangs over the top... with an epoxy-based material to prevent its corrosion, and poisoning of the system.... But I would rather you sell this "antique" (perhaps at a good price!) and get/use an all-glass or acrylic (new) tank...> I asked around the local fish stores and they tell me nobody does it anymore. Everyone tells me I can't set it up saltwater because of the steel frame and you guys seem to know a lot more than the local fish stores I talk with. Or if there are any do it yourself modifications I can do to prevent the accelerated corrosion or to reinforce the frame that is on there. Or will this be actually pretty safe for saltwater? <Not w/o coating... which will/would negate its resale...> Also another quick question about the upstream refugium. If you place your pump to push the water back into the main tank then does the intake line to the fuge work as a siphon? <Mmm, an upstream sump relies pumping up and on gravity return... You've got this mixed up> If there is a power outage wouldn't it empty your main tank or overflow your fuge? Or am I just confused? LOL.... <The latter here> Please let me know at your convenience... thanks, Todd in Wisconsin <BobF, bleary in S. Cal.>

Juwel Vision 450 for marine use?  -- 08/08/07 Hi all, Jay here from the UK. <Hello Jay,> First of let me please say that your website is the best aquatics site on the net by far. I have decided to start a marine aquarium, I have kept fresh water tropical fish for over ten years, but am totally new to marine. My question is that I have purchased a Jewel Vision 450 set up, it will be used as a FOWLR to start with and then I may try my hand at a full reef set up. The tank came with a two stage biological filtration system that contains the following: <I'm going to take a pass at this question, if you don't mind. While not exactly a marine fishkeeping guru like some of the others here, I'm familiar with the Juwel tanks and have friends who use them for marine systems.> 1. Filter wool pad. 2. Active carbon sponge. 3. Nitrate removal sponge. 4. A coarse sponge. 5. A fine sponge. <Sounds about right. I'm not a fan of nitrate and carbon sponges, but that's perhaps because I'm a freshwater guy at heart, and those things serve little purpose in freshwater fishkeeping.> Would you leave this filter system in the tank ( its run by a 1000lph power head) or would you take it out to free up room in the tank ( 5ft x 2ft x 2ft, 100 gallons) and go with another form of filtration, such as an external power filter (Fluval FX5)? I wanted to add a sump but my cabinet is no designed to take one, plus drilling holes in my tank will invalidate my 3 year guarantee. <The short answer is you should do both. The Juwel filters operate at ambient water pressure, which is why such a small pump can push so much water through the media. An external canister filter is pressurised and has to work against gravity, and hence needs a bigger pump to get the same flow of water. Anyway, the Juwel filters have their good points and bad points. Because they are open to the air, oxygen is not really a limiting factor, and this combines with the huge sponges to give massive biological filtration. They are also very easy to clean, and because they contain the heater, there's no risk of fish burning themselves. On the downside though, the low water pressure means they have very poor mechanical filtration. Crud basically collects at the bottom of the tank, and siphoning out every week is essential in messy or heavily stocked aquaria. Now, if you add a canister filter, you will get the best of both worlds: excellent biological filtration from the Juwel filter, and then mechanical/chemical filtration at high pressure from the canister. Works like a charm. With a bit of fiddling, you can use the water outlets from each system to provide two different currents in the tank, and that's good for any aquarium. I've set up tanks where the canister filter outlet was on the bottom, for example. The main thing is to figure out how much turnover in litres/hour you need (I'd go for 8-10 times the volume of the tank, minimum) and then add extra filters accordingly.> thanks very much. Jay <Hope this helps, Neale>

Acrylic vs. glass tanks   12/19/06 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Well, you've got Jorie here instead of Bob- I'll try my best to help you out!> I read your article, "Tanks, Stands & Covers for Marine Aquarium Systems" <Great article written by Bob...> I am about to purchase a relatively large (280 gal) aquarium which will serve as a room divider in our new home.  I have been struggling greatly with my attempt to decide between acrylic or glass (Starphire).  I have read so many differing opinions on the two choices. Most of the criticism surrounding acrylic is related to its ease of scratching.  Others have stated it becomes opaque.  Can you speak further to this matter?  I simply do not wish to buy a tank of this size and for a significant amount of money and regret my purchase.  I wish for a tank to last many years. <I applaud you for putting so much thought into this decision - always best to research before buying, doing; the same holds true for when you're ready to stock your new tank as well!  With regards to glass vs. acrylic tanks, well, like many things, there are pros and cons to both.  The concerns you mention about acrylic are valid - indeed, it is quite easy to scratch an acrylic tank, and I have seen some become cloudy with age. Our personal experience reveals that the former is more likely to happen than the latter - indeed, all of our acrylic tanks are scratched in places. However, there are algae-scrubbing pads and such made especially for acrylic tanks.  The benefits of acrylic, in contrast to glass, are its strength and flexibility.  Also, it's much lighter than glass (weight-wise).  Ultimately, it becomes a matter of personal preference; these concerns generally balance each other out. The one personal suggestion I would give you with regard to investing in a new tank is to not get a bowfront (or any non-rectangular shaped tank, for that matter).  Our saltwater tank is a 46 gal. acrylic bowfront, I can honestly tell you that the viewing is greatly distorted by the curve.  All other things being equal, I (we - it's really my boyfriend's tank!) wouldn't purchase that same tank again.  I also have a 44 gal. pentagon-shaped glass freshwater tank - that one creates its own problems (e.g., proper lighting and being able to reach the bottom, both due to the height of the tank). This was my first tank purchase, and I thought it was great, since it was "unique".  Of all my tanks, I'm happiest with the "standard" 29 gal. rectangular tank which houses my brackish fish.>   The broad spectrum of information is very hard for me to digest and make my decision.  Can you help me any more than your article already did as far as your preference for acrylic? <That would be Bob's preference, it seems!  I think the glass vs. acrylic decision results in very personal opinions.  I do see some merit in going with acrylic for the larger-sized tanks (again, for strength reasons, if nothing else), but I won't lie - you will ultimately seem some scratches.  Not the end of the world, but they will inevitably happen.> <<I do prefer acrylic for most applications... but only have two glass tanks presently... with some scratches... RMF>> Thanks, Keith xxx.xxx.xxxx <Hope I've helped a bit, Keith.  No concrete answer here, all you can do is lots of homework, then weigh your options.  Either choice will be just fine, in all likelihood! Best regards, Jorie>

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>

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>

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>

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.>

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

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

Glass Aquarium Dear sir, I recently acquired a 105g Oceanic Aquarium w/stand. It is an all glass tank and therein lies my problem. I would have preferred acrylic but am not complaining as I got the tank at a very good price. <Nothing wrong with glass tanks... and definitely nada bad about a good deal> Anyway, here it is: I wanted to set it up with the water going down to a sump or refugium underneath the stand and place much of the filtration etc. there out of sight. However, as the tank is glass and is not drilled for that setup in tank, I would have to use an over the edge overflow or whatever. Now that that is my option, I have heard several horror stories about these malfunctioning and flooding the room when the siphon breaks etc. <Hmm, well... the tank can likely still be drilled if you want to investigate the possibility... but for the money, time, hassle, I'd get/use an overflow box... these are about foolproof... and you could always rig up two... if you're fearful that one might fail... take a look at the spec's of the ones offered on www.cprusa.com> So, my question is there any way to accomplish the under tank refugium w/o a great risk to my mothers carpet (and thence to me!) or should I do something else. How would you set up a nondrilled glass tank? I had planned to setup a fish and hardy invertebrate system w/live rock, sand-then later perhaps convert to a full blown reef system. When I decide about a year ago to get into this hobby, I thought that I should first read up on it-so have spent the last year buying and reading books on the subject, and I will have to say that your book is the most well worn of the lot. (smile) <And a very big grin here> I feel I have a decent understanding at least enough to get started-I hope! However, the plethora of gizmos and doodads has me somewhat confused anything more technical that a can opener confuses me I must admit!) So if you have any recommendations as to a best setup for my glass tank, I would be eternally grateful...(smile) Regards, Kim <I'm here to help if you get stuck, would like another opinion or three. Bob Fenner>

Aquariums: Glass/Acrylic? I would like to know what are the price difference between glass and Acrylic.  <Depending on? Thickness, quality....? Acrylic costs more wholesale and retail... for practical purposes... a rule of thumb so to speak, a good two to three times as much> I just read your website and you said you like acrylic better.  <For most applications, yes> I'm trying to buy a tank approx 65 gallons. I don't see any acrylic tanks in the pet store in my town so I might have to order one. So also read that if u scratch the acrylic tank it can be remove. We kind of gauze do u have to use to get rid of the scratches?  <My favorite simple remedy involves pastes of different grits... very fine scratches can be rubbed out with gritty types of toothpastes... But plastics dealers everywhere offer types of technology for this> Well I will appreciate if you answer those questions. And thank you for taking time to read my email, Aaron <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Material Choices Bob, <Steven Pro taking my turn answering a few questions this morning.> I would like to thank you in advance for all of your help. I am looking to make a major step in advancing my reef tank. I only have a 29 gal. glass reef, which I have had for 3 years or so. It is time to upgrade to the 90 gal. range. Do you have any suggestions on glass or acrylic? <I am going to give you a pretty lousy answer. Bob prefers acrylic. In California because of earthquakes acrylic is required. They are also easier to work with, drilling overflows, carrying do it lighter weight, etc. I prefer the better scratch resistance of glass, cheaper price, and in this area, glass tanks are readily available. Acrylic is consistently a special order product.> I know the pros & cons of each. After deciding to buy a glass tank, I went to my LFS to price them out. They pretty much told me that glass was a waste & acrylic is the only way to go. Are they just trying to get $$$$? <I cannot say for sure as I do not know them.> I like the durability of glass, but is a 90 gal. more likely to leak than my current 29 gal.? <No> Is the acrylic really worth the extra money? <To some people, but not to me.> I think I would prefer a tank with an overflow, do you agree with this idea? <Yes, very much so, with either material.> What is your suggested tank equipment for someone who is interested in stony polyped corals, anemones, clowns, gobies, tangs? <Sump, high quality skimmer, source of purified water, MH's, DSB, and liverock filtration. A refugium would be great, too.> Are wet-dry systems not advised for reef tanks? <Correct. -Steven Pro>

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