FAQs on Glass Aquarium Repair, Braces/Cross Supports
Related Articles: Aquarium
Repair, Acrylic Aquarium
Aquariums, Marine Tanks, Stands and
Covers, Used Gear for Marine
Systems, Designer Marine tanks,
stands and covers,
Related FAQs: Cross-Braces/Bracing 1, Cross-Braces/Bracing 3, Cross-Braces/Bracing 4,
Cross-Braces/Bracing , Euro-Braces/Bracing, & Glass Aquarium Repair 1, Glass Aquarium Repair 2, G lass Aquarium
Repair 3, Glass Aquarium Repair 4, Glass Aquarium Repair 5, &
FAQs on Repairing Glass Tank: Scratches/Blemishes, Leaks, Chips/Cracks, Whole Panes, Tools: Cutting Glass, Silicone, Moulding/Frames; Techniques; Olde Tank (Slate Bottom, Metal Frame,
Pecora...) Repairs, Troubleshooting/Repairs, &
Repair, Used Aquarium
Crack in Center Brace
Here's a hardware question for you. Is the center brace on a 55
gallon tank essential to the tank's strength and stability?
I have a Perfecto 55 gallon. The top center brace is cracking. It
hasn't totally broken, but the plastic at the rim of the tank is
pulling away from the brace and it's probably safe to assume the
brace will crack completely.
Does this mean the front of the tank is likely to rupture?
<Mmm, not likely, but will subtract from the effective lifetime of
the tank... the seals>
Is this essentially a reptile terrarium from this point?
<Mmm, no. I'd contact the manufacturer, or any extant one...
making this dimension tank (48 by 13 by 20-22"...) and have them
sell you a replacement top frame... carefully cut off the present one
and Silicone the new on (while the tank is empty...). See here re:
and the linked files above in areas you need input (e.g. Silicone
Luckily I'm just (re)setting up the tank, so there are no fish in
55 Gallon Middle Brace 3/1/11
I love your site! I am "new" to this hobby with only a
29g Oceanic brand freshwater aquarium running for about a year. I
have had a 55g long tank (two 22" or 24" sections split
by a middle plastic brace). I got this tank on craigslist for
$20, and it cam with a stand, so I couldn't pass it up. It
holds water perfectly and all seals seem perfectly intact. When I
received the tank, it had been used for a reptile, so I cleaned
the tank out initially very thoroughly. The only damage I could
find was "warping" from various lights having been
mounted on the top rim, and starting to melt the plastic.
It was still solid, so we filled it on the porch, to pressure
test it. It was fine for about 4 days, filled up with no leaks. I
proceeded to empty the tank, and get it set up for another
freshwater setup. We had it running for about 6 months with no
issues, and then one Saturday morning I awoke to my 4 year old
dumping two whole canisters of flake into the tank!
D'oh!! Call it a blessing in disguise, as during the process
of moving the fish to another tank, and cleaning this 55g out, I
noticed the middle brace was broken through, and the sides of the
tank were slightly bowing. This is a thinner, tempered glass
tank, not Plexiglas. I learned the
hard way, how important that middle brace is, with a 75 or more
gallon tempered glass tank....
I have read throughout your site, a multitude of different fixes
Due to the nature of the warped plastic, I do not see my being
able to use Weld-on for this.
<Wrong material anyhow.>
I would like to get a strong, metal u-bracket to place over this,
to give the sides the support they need. I guess my questions
1.) should I be considering securing the existing middle brace
pieces to the u-bracket in any fashion and/or
2.) what gauge/type of metal should I be looking at that will
adequately support the tank, and not bend or give out over
<I would not use metal at all. In fact I just answered another
query on using an acrylic sheet and actually bolting it on with
nylon nuts and bolts. See the dailies here in a bit for more
Aesthetics are not as important of a factor, but obviously I
can't keep my24" c-clamp on their permanently.
<For this situation you may just wish to contact the tank
manufacturer and get replacement trim. Most are fairly
Thanks for everything!!
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Another possible way to fix a broken
cross brace? 3/1/11
Hey, WWM! Great site!
I have a 125 gallon tank (72" X 18" footprint) with a center
cross brace. I used to use two 36" fixtures with one 250 watt
halide in each. I just recently bought a 72" fixture with three
250 watt metal halides. I thought that I could swap the trim out for a
double braced trim, but the difference in brands did not allow me to do
this. I was told that I could cut the center cross brace, leaving
roughly 1-1.5" stubs on each side, then replace the plastic brace
with acrylic and attach with vinyl nuts and bolts. Have you ever heard
of this method?
<Have done it, works fine.>
Would you suggest giving this a shot, or should I just hang the fixture
higher from the trim
than the legs would allow (which is only 3" or so)?
<Tough one. This is why I really hate center braced 36" and
The acrylic will be stronger, but no good comes to it by having the
light too close either. But it will not cast as much of a shadow. It is
a lot more work, especially since this tank is up and running, but in
the past I have actually cut the center brace out all together and
installed euro bracing to get around this. Otherwise the acrylic may be
a better bet. It will craze and fail over time if the light is heating
it up. But, unless you have a catastrophic failure (the big if), it
will be easily replaceable with another piece since it is merely bolted
Thanks for your time
and all the help you've given over the years.
<Welcome, Scott V.>
135G Oceanic Center Brace Collapse
Hey Bob and the rest of the gang,
<Hello Joe, Scott V. with you tonight.>
It's been a little while. I've got a 135G Oceanic Reef Ready
tank (72 x 18 x 24). To my dismay I woke up this morning and found that
the large glass center brace had pulled free from the front of the tank
and was hanging in the tank (I actually used to have their 150G that is
the same dimensions but 4ï¿½ taller that this happened
to. I returned it immediately and got the 135 which I told was
I've searched your web sight and I think I've pieced together
what I need to do, but I had a few more questions before I do this.
Wanted to hear your thoughts or if you could let me know if there's
a step by step guide for me doing this.
<No step by step as far as I am aware.>
So here's my plan. I've got 6 oz of All Glass Silicone and have
purchased two 24ï¿½ wood clamps. I was take drain about
Â¼ or 1/3 of the water in the tank (or whatever it takes to
get the bowing down). Then I was going to dry and razor clean the brace
and the glass where it was attached. Then I'd generously apply the
silicon to the brace and clamp it shut (using wood block so I don't
damage the tank). Wipe off the excess silicone when I clamp it and wait
<24 hours is generally considered plenty of time for the silicone to
cure, but in cases like this I would give it a good two if not three
days to make sure it is 100% through.>
So what do you think, does it sounds like a plan?
Another question I had was the silicone that's still on the tank
where the brace was. Any chance I can
leave that and just silicone over it?
<Not on the glass. New silicone will not really stick to cured
silicone. You will need to remove it all from the glass surfaces. Where
the support will touch the plastic trim it really does not matter. The
bond there is not structural. Just clean enough silicone off the
plastic to get your brace in place.>
It looks really thick and I'm worried
it may be tough to get it all off and that I may wind up doing more
damage to the seal than good. Also, the back piece is still hanging on
Should I get rid of all the silicon on that side (really would rather
not) as well or silicone over the silicone that's still there?
<Yep, start fresh. If it is sagging from that side you do not have
the greatest of bonds left there.>
Thanks for any help or suggestions you can offer. You guys are always
great and I love your sight.
<Thank you Joe, have a good one!>
135 Gallon Tank "No Center
Hi, How's it going?
<A bit blurry this AM>
I recently acquired an older 135 gallon tank. The glass is almost 3/4
inch thick. It does have the trim on top and bottom and is in good
shape. It appears the tank does not have a center brace. Doesn't
look like it was manufactured with a center brace. Is this something I
should be concerned about?
<Mmmm, possibly. How tall is this tank? And long? Does it bow much
in the middle when filled all the way? Is it of custom or commercial
If it were mine, I'd likely install glass
"Euro-bracing"... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm
I have been told that because this is an older tank and the glass is so
thick, it was designed this way and not necessary to have a center
<Mmm, there were no such "olde" times>
What do you think? Also, I am resealing the tank. I cut away the old
silicone. scraped off around the seams, and cleaned with rubbing
It is all taped off and ready to go. Any tips or pointers?
<... please learn to use the search tool, indices on WWM. Read
and the linked files above>
Anything I missed up to this point? How effective is resealing a tank?
With a tank so big I do not want to worry about a disaster happening.
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Regards,
<30-40k people every day use the site... Enjoy. Bob Fenner>
Re: 135 Gallon Tank "No Center Brace" 12/2/2010
> The tank is 72 long by almost 18 1/2 wide by 24 tall. I do not
know if it is custom or not. I do not see a manufacture name
<From the dimensions, lack of brace... this is a home-made
I have not set this up yet. The guy I got it from had it filled and
running when I looked at it. I did not even think to look for a bow. I
did see that he had done a horrible job sealing this thing. I asked
about it and he said he was paranoid of it leaking, which is why he
sealed it. I don't want to take a chance so I am resealing it. I
have heard to use GE Silicone 1. But it states on the tube that it is
not for aquariums. Is it ok to use?
<... read where you were referred previously>
My other problem is moving this thing. Right now it sits in position to
> This thing is heavy as heck. Is there any way I can seal it and
fill it in the house?
<Yes... stand to the side... Mostly jesting here... I would install
the Euro-bracing first>
Getting it outside in the freezing weather and filling I think would be
a problem. Thanks Bob.
<Keep reading till you're confident of how to proceed here.
Cracked support piece on large aquarium
Hello, my name is Buddy and I am looking for some advice on how to go
about repairing my large aquarium. I have been running aquariums with
my neighbor for about 10 years now. I am a building contractor and have
extensive experience with tools and building things from scratch
so I have confidence that I can do this but I want someone with
specific aquarium experience to lead me in the right direction as well.
Here is my situation, I have a 440 gallon freshwater tank with about 60
African Cichlids in it. The tank is a glass tank, it is 10 feet long, 2
feet wide, and 3 feet deep, it is made of
Â¾ï¿½ glass. I bought the tank new from a
company in Calgary and had it shipped to me in Missouri, we also got a
220 gallon tank at the same time.
I got the tank new about 5 years ago and I built a stand for it out of
oak plywood and we put it in the basement where the floor drops off two
inches in the corner, but we allowed for that when building the support
legs for the stand and the stand is perfectly level as is the tank.
The tank weighs 1750lbs empty and is in a basement down a hall that is
only 28 inches wide so we built a special cart for moving the tank but
it still took five of us to push the tank off the cart and onto the
stand. Well that should be enough background, here is the problem. I
have two lights that went out recently so I ordered more but before
they got here, my neighbors son (he is 20 and should have known better)
put a flood light on top off the middle support piece so he could see
to clean the gravel on my tank. Well everything was fine while the
light sat there for 20 minutes, but when he moved the light and hung it
off the ceiling, I am guessing some water splashed onto the hot glass
and it cracked (all the way through on part of it). So the tank was
built by using a piece of Â¾ï¿½ plywood on the
bottom (I guess to protect the glass), then they laid a
24ï¿½ x 120ï¿½ piece of
Â¾ï¿½ glass on top of the plywood, then they
stood up the 36ï¿½ x 120ï¿½ pieces of
Â¾ï¿½ glass for the front and the back and
then the 36ï¿½ x 24ï¿½ pieces of
Â¾ï¿½ glass for the ends. Then for additional
support they put a 6ï¿½ x 120ï¿½ piece of
Â¾ï¿½ glass inside in the bottom along the
front and another piece just like it in the bottom along the back of
the tank as well. Then on top of the tank, at each end there is a
3ï¿½ x 24ï¿½ piece of
Â¾ï¿½ laid flat and perfectly centered on top
in the middle there is a 24ï¿½ x 24ï¿½+
piece of Â¾ï¿½ laid flat (this is the piece
that is broke) then they put about a 2ï¿½ wide strip of
Â¾ï¿½ glass laid flat along the front and one
along the back from each end piece (3ï¿½) to the middle
piece (24ï¿½+) (There are 4 ï¿½
2ï¿½ wide pieces total). There is a nice plastic trim
with mitered corners running around the top on top of the glass support
pieces and it extends down 2ï¿½ so you can't see any
of the support pieces except when looking down on the tank. If you are
standing on a ladder and looking down on the tank at the middle, the
crack in the 24ï¿½ x 24ï¿½ piece starts
12ï¿½ back from the front left corner of that piece and
comes to the front of the aquarium at an arc to about
12ï¿½ over from the left front corner of the piece. At
the time of the incident, the water level in the tanks was down about
15 inches from the top,
the piece that broke is cracked all the way thru out in the middle but
as you follow the arc back to the front of the aquarium it is not all
the way thru because the silicone there kept it from being worse I
guess. Out in the middle where the crack is all the way thru, the glass
was actually separated by 1/32ï¿½ to
1/16ï¿½ of an inch right after the break so we drained
the tank down to only 12ï¿½ deep (24ï¿½
from the top). Now the glass is not separated at all, you can pull
really hard and get it to move ever so slightly. This happened about 8
days ago, initially, I was not that worried about it, just replace the
glass and move on right?? I ordered a piece of
Â¾ï¿½ plate glass with sanded edges <Mmm, a
hazard to hands... but best not to bevel/sand the edges on such pieces
on their ends (where they're to be Siliconed) for more surface
24ï¿½ x 24-5/8ï¿½ that is now here for me
to go pick up. It cost me $175 with tax and I have a fresh tube of
perfecto aquarium silicone. I can get the plastic trim off without
destroying it, it is on there with silicone but I can get it off with a
2ï¿½ putty knife.
<Careful here! Use single edged razor blades... and a holder for
My plan at that point was to use razor blades to remove just the piece
of glass that is broken and silicone in the new one, wait 24 hours,
reattach the plastic trim, wait another 72 hours and fill it back up. I
have not went on with that plan yet because I did some reading on your
FAQ section and was reminded that new silicone will not bond with old.
I am still going to do this, but my question is can I get by without
removing all of the old silicone in the entire tank??
<Mmm, possibly... but it may not be attractive to you... The new
center brace piece might be better fitted directly underneath the
present cracked one... with only the Silastic at the joints (front and
back) that is in the way of the junction to trim away... and the new
piece Siliconed to the old (above)>
The piece that is broke does not have water against it, ever (it is
above the water).
I only fill the tank to just above the plastic trim which is still
Â¾ï¿½ from the silicone at the top of the
tank, so if I remove the old glass and just silicone up to the old
silicone in each corner of this piece of glass knowing that it will not
bond to the old silicone will it still provide the necessary support to
keep the glass from bowing out in the middle and eventually bursting. I
personally believe that I will not end up with a leak because the water
level does not go that high and except at the corners where it meets
the old silicone I will be bonding new clean glass to old clean glass
with new silicone. My two concerns with this plan are: 1) Will there be
enough support long term since the bead of silicone along the front and
back will not be one continuous bead?
<IF the surface is VERY clean... having all water, livestock out,
using a solvent to remove all remaining residue... likely no
2) Will the occasional water getting onto these four corners start
getting between the new silicone and the old and eventually compromise
either the old or the new silicone's bond with the glass?
<Not likely, no>
I know it will affect the bold between the new and old silicone but
will it go farther than that over time?
Now, if you tell me that I need to remove all of the interior silicone
and redo it then I have other issues. First I left my filtration
running with 300lbs of gravel and about 200 lbs of driftwood in
12ï¿½ of water (moved all the fish) just so I did not
lose my biological filtration that has taken time to build up. If you
tell me that is what I need to do
<I would not do this... not needed>
then I will have my work cut out for me before I can start removing the
old silicone, but my concern here is I am not so sure that removing all
of the interior silicone is such good idea at least not for a tank that
is this big.
<Not worthwhile to do>
I am pretty sure that the tank would stay standing if I remove all of
that silicone as there is a good 1/16ï¿½ of silicone
between the big pieces of glass, but it will take more tubes of
silicone to redo 60 feet of inside angles in my tank, and the new
silicone here will not bond with the silicone that is still between the
big pieces of glass. I can see how the new silicone in this method will
be bonded to clean glass on each side and will likely take care of
leaks, but will it be strong enough structurally to hold tank together
without bonding to the old silicone or will the old silicone provide
the structural support and the new silicone will prevent leaks and add
some structural support?
<Depends on where, how much is removed>
I do not see me fully disassembling this tank as the pieces of glass
for the front and the back weigh over 325lbs each and they used an
overhead hoist with suction cups to build the tank originally.
A third option that has occurred to me as I am typing this is what if I
just remove the plastic trim, clean the glass (broken piece), and
silicone the new glass on top of the old glass?
<Yes... or below. This is what I would do>
This seems like I am kind of reaching at this point because I do not
want to lose my tank, I do not want to pay $3000 for new one, and I am
worried about what will happen if I remove all of the old silicone all
the way around the inside of the tank.
<I would NOT do this>
I just do not know if ï¿½gluingï¿½ the
new piece on top will give the needed support because I can build a new
trim piece out of wood.
<The trim is non-functional... in terms of strength>
This idea is the least invasive to the seals inside the tank but I hate
to just cop out and end up wasting the $175 for the new glass. Any
thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
<Do have some local aquarium folks take a look at your project as
well and maybe call/contact the people in Calgary who fabricated the
tank, but I would Silicone the new piece to the old, and the front and
back... likely underneath. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cracked support piece on large aquarium -- 10/4/10
Thank you for your wisdom. You confirmed a few of my thoughts and put a
new idea or two in my head. I would have never thought to put the new
glass under the old, I do not think it will be that unattractive
because the plastic trim extends well over an inch below the existing
I would contact local aquarium people, but that is kind of a joke where
I live. There are only 100,000 people here and I know more about
aquariums than all but one of the pet store owners here and I am
friends with him. He seems to know everything about fish, water
conditions, breeding, aggression, disease, you name it. However, when
it comes to structure, strength or fabrication, he scares me. I have
built most of his displays in his store because I think he would have
killed someone with the toothpicks he was building. I asked every local
glass company for advice, again one of the owners is a friend, and
every one of them could not get off the phone with me fast enough when
I told them I was dealing with 3/4" glass and over 3000lbs of
water. My friend ordered the glass and said he would help me with
whatever plan I have, but does not want to be responsible for deciding
on the plan. I think I will see if he has a break that will cut my
piece down 13/16" off the front and back then I could fit it
underneath as you suggest and I will get non-finished edges to silicone
to and still have the finished edges that will be exposed. Thank you
very much. Buddy Cox
<Welcome Buddy... Do look to see that you have some good wood/en
clamps to hold the new piece in place while the Silastic is
Bowing glass tank 9/26/10
I have a 150 glass tank with fish and corals. It's 72" L x
27" H x 18" D with Â½" glass. I bought it used
and have had it for a couple of years. I'm not sure when it
happened, but the two plastic cross pieces have broken away from the
back of the top tank framing and there is a slight bow to the front
<Lower the water level several inches NOW and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm
Given the floor of my house is a little off, the tank tips forward
slightly so the front of the tank sits about Â¼" lower
than the back by the looks of the water level at the top of the
<VERY dangerous. After draining the tank down, read here as well:
and the linked files above>
I'm sure that's not helping any.
I've read on your FAQ sheets about folks with braces cracked/broken
but it sounds like most have glass braces Siliconed to the frames. My
cross braces are completely plastic. There are no glass pieces on
<Different models, makers use differing technology>
I don't know the manufacturer of the tank to see about a
replacement and I'm wondering about
how to go about fixing it. Do I need to make a wood frame to enclose
the top perimeter?
<Read where you've been referred>
I've never done repairs on a tank before and am leery of digging
into this one.
<Get some help... the "Yellow pages", LFS...>
I can certainly make a frame, but wonder about a couple things 1) the
need to pull off the existing plastic top frame or put one over the
top; and 2) how sturdy does this frame/braces need to be... what sort
of pressure will be on it?
Thanks for any help you can provide!
<Write back after doing the above if you have further questions,
concerns. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bowing glass tank
Thanks for such a quick reply
<I felt/feel it was/is necessary>
- I'll read the posts right away.
<Drain the tank down first... B>
broken center brace on 150 7/19/10
<Mon. AM now here Mike, howsit?>
just tore down a 72 and installed a used 150 today ( yes I am
<Such big tanks (glass) ARE heavy!>
Unfortunately, cracked the center brace in the process. The tank is a
Perfecto from 1996 with 1/2" thick tempered glass. The tank seems
to be bowing in the center approximately 1/4".
<Mmmm, I'd lower the water to at most 3/4 full>
The tank seems well-built other than this. I plan on replacing the tank
next weekend with a 125. As the 150 has 1/2" glass, should I drain
the tank, or should I chance it for a week?
<I'd drain it down a bit at least>
(I'm tempted to chance it as I am dog-tired after the day from
hell!) If draining is your answer, can I drain it 3/4 of the way (thus
reducing the bowing) and run a powerhead for the live rock and put the
fish/inverts in a smaller tank for the week?
Obviously, I won't be working on it tonight so let's keep our
fingers crossed! Thanks as always for your sage advice. What did we
ever do before the internet!!!
<Read, wrote even more. Bob Fenner>
broken center brace on 150 part deux! 7/19/10
<And you again Mike>
I wanted to amend my first email. The tank may not be as bowed as
previously thought, it may be the plastic top bowing out where it broke
away from the center brace. Awaiting your thoughts. Thank you for your
time and consideration.
<I would still drain it down a bit. "Older" glass tanks,
Silastic/Silicone do tend to age, too likely fail a bit to a whole seam
given such uneven stress. BobF>
Re: broken center brace on 150 7/19/10
I had a feeling you would recommend the actions you did, so yesterday
before I received your response, I took the tank down to about 1/3 full
which solved the bowing problem (and helped save my marriage which
would have ended in a wave of 150 gallons of saltwater cascading
through our family room!) I have the three b/f fish (wrote to you about
these guys a few months ago!) in a 30 gallon with protein skimmer,
sponge filter, heater, power head, but wondered with their delicate
nature might they be best put back in the 150 with a power head,
heater, cycled sponge filter and about 30-40 gallons of water?
<I would place them back in the 150, maybe raise the water level to
They may be in the tank for up to a month while I find a suitable
replacement and they would not have the benefit of a protein skimmer
nor a filter other than the sponge (and about 60 lbs of live rock).
What do you think would be the best course of action?
Thanks as always for your help. On another note, I am going to send an
email with my b/f success story in regards to feeding, which may be of
help to others.
<I thank you for this>
Enjoy the rest of your day.
<And you, BobF>
Photo of my brace repair-- 7/4/10
I enjoyed your forum and thought my story might help others. But,
also had a question.
I purchased a used tank from craigslist like so many other
people. It's 125 gallon (6 feet long x 18" high")
with 3/8" glass. The single cross brace was broken and I
didn't think about it. It's my first big tank. The tank
was worth it as it came with the stand, tank, Magnum 350 (?)
canister filter and lots of gravel, heaters, etc. The tank has
that faux wood stuff and the guy I bought it from said it was a
few years old. Hindsight 20/20 I think he purchased it used and
it had the broken brace problem and he couldn't fix it and
decided to sell it to the next newbie... me.
Anyway, I filled it up on the porch for a few days and no leaks.
After I got it inside, I started to fill it up and heard the
brace shift and realized it was starting to bow out by maybe an
1/8" of an inch. I quickly drained the tank and found your
site with a google search for repairing the brace.
I went to the local glass store and got a 10" x 3/8"
piece of glass, aquarium grade silicone, cleaned the glass
attached the glass and let it cure for 48 hours. I must also note
to anyone using silicone: USE GLOVES. I did not. It got
everywhere and I didn't know how to remove it. I know.
Stupid. The worse thing was I couldn't even google because it
was all over my hands. LOL. Finally used Goof Off as a last
resort and took off some skin. Lesson learned.
Tank held fine until four days later when I put the lights on it.
Not sure if the heat from the lights made a difference, but it
failed the next morning and was laying in the tank. Now it had
bowed out 1/2" - 3/4". I didn't take time to
measure as I was trying not to faint and drain the tank as
quickly as possible. I figure I wasn't able to clean the
glass as well as I'd thought. Still not sure. But, I WAS sure
that I would never trust myself to do that type of repair
After coming up with several ideas, I finally settled on a wood
frame. I used 1" x 3" red oak from Lowes, glue, #10
screws, and a countersink drill bit to make the screws flush. I
built the frame over the existing frame so it would be a perfect,
tight fit. I was only going to do 4 braces (one on either end and
two in the center 2 feet apart) but decided to add a 5th in the
center for extra support. The screws were difficult to drive in
even with the pilot hole I predrilled. Each end got two screws.
So, I feel pretty confident everything will hold. When I filled
it with water, you could tell that the tank expanded a tiny bit
when looking at the old problem plastic piece (1/32") but I
guess that is normal since they DO have a plastic piece when
manufactured and it moved a bit when full vs. empty. The wood
frame hasn't budged and I don't expect it to.
So, the question is how do YOU think it will hold?
<I do... I would "paint" something over the screws,
glue the wood joints to keep moisture out>
Nothing is rickety at all. It's all very solid. But, I've
never had a large tank before. I just Googled my butt off and
this seemed to be the least expensive way to fix it as well as
just as stable as anything else.
I've attached a photo so you can see the repair. Hope you
agree that it should hold.
<Thank you for sharing Lena. Bob Fenner>
Re: Photo of my brace repair 7/5/10
Thank you for your quick reply! I have plans to cover the screws
anyway. Just hadn't figured out exactly how I want to do
<Silastic, or a bit of Polyurethane-based material are my
But, I definitely will! All the joints are already glued.
Thanks so much!
<Again, thank you for helping others. BobF>
Center-Brace Repair'¦A Common Issue --
Hi Bob and Crew,
<<Greetings Gabriel'¦EricR here today>>
I have a 110 X-Hi Perfecto Aquarium at least 15 years old, with
1/2-inch glass front and sides. I just noticed a crack between the
front trim and the center brace.
<<Yikes'¦thin glass, tall tank, and broken
I have been running it as a reef for about 12 years. The tank is
gorgeous and I don't want drain the tank.
<<Mmm, okay'¦you can still affect a repair with a
drain-down of a few inches (have done this type repair on a couple of
I have some 1/4-inch glass (float) That I can cut and laminate to 3/4
to make a glass center brace.
<<'Laminating' the glass pieces is a good method of
assembly as it will make the brace stronger and less susceptible to
I used bar clamps to stabilize the glass while I prepare to make what I
hope will be a permanent fix.
I have a few questions before I attempt the repair.
1) Should I tighten the clamp to the point that the crack is completely
closed? It is about 1/8 inch.
<<I would leave the clamp holding things as it is, and wait to do
this until you are ready to affix the new brace in place'¦and
then, very carefully. Obviously, the ideal situation would be to drain
the tank and let the glass ease back in to place'¦but this
small amount of deflection can be corrected as is, with due
2) Can I make the repair by draining about 4-6 inches of water? I can
keep everything running properly at this level.
<<In this instance, yes you can>>
3) When I cut the glass strips to length (they are 4 inches wide),
should I cut them to exact size or should they be a drop short to allow
a thicker silicone bead between the aquarium walls and the end surface
of the brace.
<<Try to match the length of the existing brace/spacing,
'exact' is good but I wouldn't go any shorter as any
miscalculation here will add unnecessary strain to the repair
bond'¦the tiny amount added to the length by the silicone
shouldn't be of consequence. I also want to add that considering
the width and thickness of the brace the bond at the 'ends' may
be good enough, but you might want to consider adhering some built-up
pieces of glass to the tank walls around the perimeter of the brace
ends to increase the surface area to be bonded, if this does not
detract too much from appearances>>
4) Is 48 hours long enough to let the silicone to cure before removing
the bar clamps.
5) Is there anything else I should know, I have experience with both
glass work and silicone.
<<It would seem you have the knowledge/skills to complete this
repair just fine>>
Thank you in advance!
<<Happy to assist'¦ EricR>>
Tank Repair'¦Another Cracked Plastic
Center-Brace -- 01/19/10
I have a standard 55 gallon All Glass aquarium that has been in
use for six or seven years now. Quarter-inch glass, plastic frame
and brace. Today I noticed the center brace began to crack.
I would rather not take the tank completely down and relocate the
plants and animals unless absolutely necessary.
<<You 'can' effect a repair this
way'¦providing you have the tools (bar clamps) to
stabilize the tank when the plastic brace is removed>>
The center brace hasn't cracked all the way through yet,
there is about a 1" long crack with a little bit of
separation in the lower left of the photo, starting where the
wrench is located.
<<Ah yes, this is quite typical of these plastic
braces'¦have seen this many times>>
It doesn't reach the center of the brace, but does dive all
the way to the frame. Overall bowing of the tank is 1/8"
between the edges and center (it appears much greater because the
photo was shot at 18 mm). Reading through your guides I think
this solution will work, but I'd like confirmation. I lowered
the water as much as possible and had a 7" piece of
1/4" glass cut (they didn't have half inch in
<<For uses such as this it is quite easy to
'laminate' the thinner sheets of glass together with
silicone adhesive. The result will even be stronger and safer to
use than a single 'thick' piece of glass>>
Silicone sealant on both ends to the tank walls and throughout
the underside of the brace and frame rim. I know that the
silicone won't bond terribly well to the plastic, but with
that much surface area I'm thinking it should be able to
stabilize the brace.
<<Don't 'count' on a glass-to-plastic
connection here. Any 'real support' is going to come from
the glass-to-glass bond. This really needs to be considered in
your design of the patch'¦you should add some glass
'brackets' under/around the ends of the glass brace to
increase surface area for silicone adhesion>>
The other thing I considered is having two more pieces of glass
cut, maybe 7"x3/4" to silicone directly under both ends
of the glass brace as supports, and to get more glass to glass
<<Ah yes! We are of a like mind here'¦>>
Sorry for the horrible photograph, I wasn't expecting anyone
to see the salt creep today.
<<No worries, mate'¦ And short of removing and
replacing the top trim and brace (you would likely need to
contact the tank manufacture re), what you show and propose
should work'¦just be sure to add those glass brackets to
strengthen the end-bond. I would also be inclined to
'double-up' the brace by laminating another piece of
glass to it to reduce the risk of a catastrophic failure should
you bump it or drop something on it>>
Thank you for your time,
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Broken plastic center brace on a 55 gal aquarium
Greetings! I have read through your entire FAQ on Glass Aquarium
Repair Braces and Cross Supports and have found a vast amount of
great information on the subject. I am having a little bit of
difficulty trying to decide which questions and answers are
similar enough to my particular situation to help me determine
what actions (if any) I need to take. At the risk of being
redundant to what you've already published, I figured I would
just email you with the particulars of my situation and ask for
I have a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium. The dimensions are about
48" wide by 12 7/16" deep by 20 1/2" tall
(including the frame - 17 Â¾" of glass only.) I
think this is a pretty standard 55 gallon size. I was given this
tank about two years ago and at the time it had a broken center
brace. The person who gave it to me said the center brace had
been broken for several years and that it wasn't a problem
and only was there to support the hood and lights. From reading
your FAQ, I think I have come to realize that it is there for
more than simply supporting the lights, and that it may be
necessary to keep the glass from bending too far.
I had attempted to fix the break with a piece of metal I found
out in the garage. As you can see form the picture that was not a
particularly bright idea as the metal quickly began to rust.
I've removed the piece of metal and am trying to determine
whether I should leave it alone or should attempt another repair.
Does the fact that the aquarium has been stable with this broken
cross support for several years indicate that it is likely to
remain so, or am I flirting with disaster?
<Mmm, at least gently cavorting with it>
If I do decide to repair this, would I want to put a piece of
material underneath the existing broken center brace like you
have suggested in some of the other answers? Or would it make
more sense to try to buy an entire new top piece?
Thank you very much!
<If it were me/mine, I'd look into
"Euro-bracing" instead here... (common in glass
aquariums of European design/construction) Siliconing strips
(about two inches in width) of glass (3/8" or 1/2"
thick) along the top long runs (front and back panels) will work
best here for not allowing excessive bow and giving you complete
access, not blocking light. Bob Fenner>
How much bowing is to be expected in a 100 gallon glass
My tank is bowing a 1/2" in the front and in the back. Should I be
<Hi Ryan. It all depends on the dimensions of the tank, really. A
higher, thinner tank is obviously going to bow much more than a short,
breeder-style tank. Of course no one makes a 100 gallon breeder tank,
but you get the picture. If your tank is within average dimensions, I
wouldn't worry about 1/2". Just keep an eye on it. Hope this
Top glass support in 150 gallon cracked
<Hiya. Darrel here>
I have a 150 gallon tank. It is only three years old. The piece of
glass that runs across the middle of the tank on top is cracked.
It has separated a little bit at this time. I have lowered the water to
relieve some of the stress in the tank. Is there anyway to repair this?
If so how? There are no other cracks in the tank.
<Yes, there is a way, Sherri, but it's not for the feint of
heart and it's fraught with peril>
<I'm sure you'd like to repair it without breaking down
& emptying the entire tank, but I wouldn't even suggest that a
beginner think about that (I'll explain as I go).>
<What I'm going to say here is how it can be done ... but
I'm leaving it completely up to you to decide if you have the .. um
... adventuresome nature ... to try it.>
<First, you need 2 pieces of solid wood, I'd suggest 2x4's
that are as long as the tank and three wood clamps. (Thy look like
Place the 2 x 4's along the outside of the tank (front & back),
1 inch down from the top and then place two of the clamps over the top
about 10 inches from each side of center and secure them LIGHTLY ... so
that they are taking the pressure of keeping the front & back half
together and off of the cracked center brace.>
<At this point the existing center brace is immaterial -- and you
have two choices: ONE is to use a razor blade to slice it away from the
front and back by breaking the silicone sealant holding it in place and
then replace it with an identical piece that's not broken. Prepare
the surfaces, add the sealant and the piece and use the third wood
clamp to press gently on the 2x4's right on top of the new brace
... and tighten JUST UNTIL you see the silicone start to ooze. Wait for
the silicone to cure. Done.>
<TWO, have an identical piece of glass cut at a local glass shop and
use silicone to add it to the tank UNDER the existing piece, silicone
to the front and back AND coat the entire "top" of the new
piece with silicone so it ALSO bonds to the bottom of the existing
broken one. This leaves the existing piece in place and
"repaired" while at the same time adding an entirely new
piece underneath which adds strength of it's own. Prepare surfaces,
add sealant and pieces, press new piece UP and wrap several bands of
duct tape to hold it UP and then clamp across the center like
<Now let's discuss the down sides. (1) Even using the top grade
GE Silicone II 100% pure silicone, it's tricky stuff to work with.
The surfaces must be 100% clean and free of ALL moisture and debris.
Cleaning the glass surfaces with solvents, lightly sanding and scraping
the target areas with a live tank underneath is itself temping fate ...
and even if you did all that, the temperature and moisture of an area
several inches above an active tank is exactly what the label on the
silicone advises against. (2) If you replace the existing piece,
you're replacing a piece installed by an expert with a piece
installed by someone who isn't and you run the associated risks.
That said, you COULD install the additional reinforcement piece UNDER
the broken one (B option above). All of the risks still apply, but all
to a lesser extent. BUT (every silver lining has a cloud) you've
now just lowered, by perhaps 3/8 of an inch or more ... the maximum
water level you can have while still having one single surface area
(cuz there's now a piece of glass sticking 3/8 down into the water)
-- this may or not be a problem.>
<That's how to do it Sherri. That's how I'd do it, but
then I've been at this since movie theatres had only one screen. On
the flip side, if you break the tank down, you can probably find an
aquarium store or adventuresome glass shop in your area that can do a
professional replacement for very little cost>
<aren'tya glad you asked?>
Repairing 55 gal tank, trim, brace... 10/5/09
<Hey DAngelo! JustinN here tonight!>
I recently received a used 55 gal tank that the previous owner had kept
for years outside. After giving it a good cleaning I found the top trim
very loose and cracked in half in a couple of places. The bottom trim
is also a little loose.
<Ah yes, the baking of the sun. This former boat repair/body man
knows it all too well.>
I decided to remove the old top trim and wanted to know if it could be
glued with epoxy or super glue and then use silicone to reattach it to
<Does this trim include a brace for the tank? If so, I wouldn't
bother... see below.>
After I removed the trim I thought about also removing all the old
silicone inside and replacing it. The tank doesn't leak, but I
thought it may be a good idea to do it due to the age of the tank.
<More so than the age, I'd be worried about the effects of the
sun and time.>
After reading some old post here I found that you recommend keeping the
top and bottom trim attached before resealing the sides and bottom
seams. If this is so, should I fix the top and bottom first and let
them cure before attempting to do the inside of the tank or can I do it
all at once? Thanks for any help you can provide.
<Resealing a tank is a tricky feat to start with -- considering the
deterioration of the frame (and potentially the bracing), I
wouldn't trust the tank as far as I can throw it... and leverage
for a 55 gallon isn't
real great in a wheelchair ;) Unfortunately, it really sounds like
you've got a lot of work involved for a relatively common (and
typically cheap) tank.. If you were to do a reseal job, I would likely
reseal every seam first, and perhaps even look into buying/building an
entirely new trim fascia for this tank. A less weathered tank might be
more optimal. Good luck! -JustinN>
Glass Center Brace Repair -- 10/02/09
As others have already stated, thank you for the great web site
and the amount of information posted upon it.
<<It is indeed quite the collective effort'¦and
you are quite welcome>>
I have used it for several topics and this will be the first time
I have had to ask a question directly to you.
I have a 100gal tank, 60x22x18, recently cycled with live rock
and only a few small fish. Unfortunately several days ago, one of
the light fixtures for my tank caught fire and caused several
problems to the tank.
In the process of attempting to put out all of the fire, I moved
the light fixture causing small burning pieces of plastic to be
dropped all along my route to the kitchen.
<<Mmm'¦is a good thing you were 'right
there' when this happened. It's scary to think what might
have ensued had you been out at the time. This may not be the
case here, but there is some cheap (which can relate to more than
just unreliable'¦read dangerous) stuff out there. Though
it's not a guarantee against such, it's probably best to
look for/purchase light fixtures that have been 'UL'
After extinguishing most of the flames, a small fire remained on
the top center brace of the tank (3/8" glass, approx 12
3/4" wide). Without thinking about the glass, mostly due to
the panic of having my home filled with smoke, I thought it
simple to put out the flame with tap water.
The instant cooling cracked the brace slightly
but the overall integrity appeared to remain intact.
<<Mmm, no'¦the 'integrity' of the brace is
After several days of clean-up around my home thanks to the
blaze, I picked up two new PC light fixtures from my local fish
shop. I installed them and after several hours run time, I heard
several "pops" and upon checking the tank the crack had
extended much further.
<<Yes, from the heat expansion caused by the
lights'¦and nothing you could have done to prevent, as
Unlike some, I need the center brace for supporting the lights
(hard to find 60" fixtures).
The new crack now separated the brace and the tank began to bow,
which I immediately secured with a clamp.
<<Hmm'¦sounds like you need the brace for more
than just supporting the lights>>
I now have 2 large pieces and 1 small piece in total, however the
edges in contact with the aquarium appear to be intact and have
not separated from the joints. After reading multiple posts on
your site, seemingly near 100, I am planning on draining down the
aquarium into a new garbage can and repairing the brace. My
question after this extended story is if I am able to sandwich
the old piece between two new 1/4" pieces with silicone on
both sides of the original or do I have to remove the old piece
completely and replace with new?
<<If the added thickness/height isn't an issue (you
could even add a single 3/8' patch from the bottom side to
keep the original height), sandwiching the old brace is an
effective and simple solution. Use glass patches as wide as the
brace and that reach lengthwise at least two inches beyond the
repair'¦though for aesthetics or to eliminate the
resulting 'hump' re, you might just want to use patches
that extend the entire length of the brace>>
I would prefer to laminate the piece so that I would not have to
try and remove the old piece (I envision multiple scratches on
the glass from my handy work with a razor blade).
<<Laminating the brace is quite acceptable and strong. I
have made similar repairs myself that always held quite well.
Coat the entire expanse of the patch with silicone (i.e. --
don't just run a squiggly bead or two), carefully clamp
lightly, and once cured the repair will be stronger than the
Please see the below photo's of the brace in its current
<<I see this'¦ It's just an observation, but
it appears to me that this glass 'center-brace' is not
original to this tank. Note the adjacent narrow brace in matching
trim material'¦and the lack of glass on the other side
of it. If you obtained this tank other than directly from the
manufacturer, I suspect someone added this glass piece shown in
the photos'¦and likely for the 'bowing' you
noted when it broke>>
<<Good luck with your repair'¦ Eric
Multiple 90 gallon tanks, one with center brace, one without
Tank Maintenance\bracing\DIY 8/29/2009
Thanks a lot for all of your work on this site, it is a terrific
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I recently purchased two 90 gallon tanks (pre-drilled with overflows,
dimensions roughly 48.5"x18.5"x25.25"). One has
3/8" thick glass all around, has a plastic center brace on the
top, looks like
the top rim has been replaced (or re-siliconed) in the past, was built
in 1996, and has a few small chips in the glass on the corners.
The other has no center braces, is built from 1/2" thick glass on
the front/back and 3/8" thick on the sides, has no markings
suggesting a year of origin, but the glass is in much better shape and
so is the silicone which looks original at all joints.
My local LFS said "some older tanks came without center bracing,
and given the additional glass thickness, I would not worry about using
the brace-less tank". Do you agree with their statement?
<Yes, but since the age of the tank is unknown, I would test it
I would very much like to avoid putting a new top on the brace-less
<Understandable, it is a pain.>
Furthermore, I kind of like the idea of not having an opaque center
brace from a lighting perspective (although I don't relish the
thought of 90 gallons of seawater on my living room floor). Is the best
course of action to fill the no-brace tank and measure deflection of
the front/back glass?
<I would err on the side of caution here and test it. Given that the
glass is thicker, I would not be too concerned, but I would still feel
better knowing rather than guessing.>
Your advise would be very much appreciated.
<Test it, If anything, it will make you feel better about the
Re: Multiple 90 gallon tanks, one with center brace, one without Tank
I filled the no-brace tank and saw VERY minimal if any deflection of
the glass. It looks like this thing is not going to have any problems
going without a center brace.
I just need to re-silicone the overflow and I am off to the races!
Thanks very much for your advise.
Now I can move on to installing lights in my homemade canopy... 2x 175W
metal Halide and 4x T5. It is going to be snug in there.
Luckily, I put two 100CFM fans blowing into the canopy, so there should
always be a breeze.
<Ventilation is very important. Do make sure there is some sort of
barrier between the bulbs and the water. Halide bulbs can explode if
Take care and thanks again, you provide a resource that is much
Cracked Center Brace 6/14/09
I need your guidance and expertise - again. A week ago, I just
noticed that the center brace on my 125 is cracked. It's not
broken from the middle but from the lip of the front side.
<I see this>
I have attached a photo so you can get a visual of what I am
talking about. The tank isn't showing much of a bow due to
the canopy having a tight snug fit around the top perimeter.
I don't want to take the canopy off because I am afraid ill
have 125 gallons of water flooding my 5th story apartment.
I've read the treads about fixing center braces and It seems
that a "Eurobrace" is suggested.
<Is one way/route to go>
I cant find anywhere on WWM, or the net, the process to make a
<Simple enough... and FWIW, a project that one unfamiliar
should seek/get help with from other/s who are...
Some WWM input re:
see the cached views... There are a few standard
approaches/designs for such bracing, but all entail some
Siliconing of glass strips along the upper front, possibly sides
of the tank... of about the same thickness
glass as the tank is constructed... Clamps are useful... the tank
must be clean, empty... Again, if you've never
"done" any Silastic work with glass, get some help, at
least hand's-on guidance from/with someone who has>
All the treads just mention that it be done but don't go into
specifics of how it should or can be done. Can you shed some
light on this for me or even direct me to a website that would
give me more information on how to fabricate? I spoke to my
reputable LFS and they suggested I use a 6",
1/2"-3/4" thick piece of
acrylic and, using nylon bolts, fix it to the lip of the
<Mmm... is another approach... worth considering>
I got this tank from someone on Craigslist and have put a lot of
time and work into this tank with resealing and don't want to
replace it. If I don't do the Eurobrace option, would you
think it would be safe to add a strip of acrylic to each 2/5th of
my tank. Basically one on each side of from the center.
My LFS said they can order a brace for around $20-$30 but of
course ill have to drain the entire thing to put this on. If I
add the acrylic pieces I plan on draining the tank down a Little
past half way to get the pressure off the glass and do the repair
instead of removing everything.
<I'd drain it down most all he way...>
I just set everything up and the tank and is now beginning to
reestablish itself with growth. Thanks for all your wisdom in
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Broken Brace on All Glass 55 G tank 5/31/09
I've read your repair thread with interest as I too have a cracked
top brace on my All Glass 55G tank. My idea was to fashion a piece of
sheet metal into a small brace that would rest on top of the broken
plastic brace. It seems like such a simple and logical repair that
wouldn't interfere with the two piece hood or the light . . . am I
missing something with this idea? The metal wouldn't have to be
very thick as the pressure of the water pushing out would hold it in
place. Part of the metal would be visible from the front but a bit of
creative paint could help it blend into the faux wood look of the trim.
I'm curious as to what you think.
<Well, even with the best of coatings the metal will eventually
corrode and contaminate the tank. Many are doing the same thing you
describe above with a strip of acrylic or polycarbonate and nylon
screws. Look up plastics fabricators in your local phone book, a scrap
like this can be had for next to or likely nothing.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Broken Brace on All Glass 55 G tank 5/31/09
Ah, that's the part I didn't think of (the metal eventually
Thanks for the head's up! :)
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Fish Tank Problem (72 gallon All-Glass
Bowfront)--------No Date on Purpose ;-P 05/26/09
I have a 72 gallon All-Glass Aquarium 72-gallon bowfront set-up
that I purchased in 2002. Recently the plastic top near the front
bow has started
to split (see attached photo).
<Unfortunately all too common with these tanks over
I was wondering what my options were to manage this (a) can I
order a replacement top plastic piece (if so, any suggestions on
how to install)?,
(b)any way to repair this without removing the top piece and (b)
do I have to replace the tank?
<Well, there are a couple of avenues. You can fabricate an
acrylic brace and bolt it in with nylon screws and nuts. Search
some of the larger aquarium forums on removing the center brace
and you will find much info on this. For my tank I would simply
call up the manufacturer and procure a new top trim piece. They
are not all that expensive. You will need to drain the tank down
somewhat, enough to where the bowing at the top is small enough
to fit the new piece. Replacing is fairly straightforward, you
will need to rip off/out the old trim. This can easily be done
with your fingers alone, they will just ache when you are done!
Then cut off what silicone you can with a razor, followed by
siliconing in the new trim.
Not all of the silicone needs to be completely off the glass as
the plastic does not truly bond to it anyhow.>
I've attached two photos:
1) - top view of the split in the top plastic piece
2) - left front seam (all other seams seem fine, however; when I
run my fingers along the seam it does seem to widen a bit toward
the bottom of the tank).
<I do not see an issue with this from the photo, has it
changed over time? Many times there will be larger gaps in the
seam on the top or bottom, no real issue for concern.>
Any advice you can provide would be very valued.
With warm regards,
<All above, Scott V., Fresno, CA>
Re: Fish Tank Problem (72 gallon All-Glass Bowfront)
Scott, thank you so much for the well thought response. I will go
with replacing the top piece!
<Sounds good. Best, Scott V.>
Re: Fish Tank Problem (72 gallon
All-Glass Bowfront) 9/3/09
I just wanted to follow up and let you know that your advice was
<Ah, good to know when one feels like they are losing their
I ordered the replacement top piece from Aqueon (All Glass
* I used a common moving strap that I put around the tank (about
10 inches from the top) as a safety net as I removed the existing
top piece (I used a Dremel and small hand saw to separate into
* After removal of the existing top piece and old silicone, I put
down new silicone and fit the new piece in fairly easily.
* I let the silicone set for 15 minutes and then removed the
moving strap....everything went smoothly and the tank is in great
Definitely felt good about spending $50 for the top piece vs. the
cost of a new tank and hassle of scrapping an old one!
Again, thanks for the sage advice.
<Thank you for the update.>
Tank with no center brace bowing
30 Gallon Center Brace? 5/12/09
< Hello David! GA Jenkins with you today. >
Love the site!
< So do I !>
I have a 30 gallon long (36x12x16) Perfecto aquarium that does not have
a center brace. As a result, the tank has a slight bow on the front and
back pane. In a reply to my email, the manufacturer states that this
bowing is normal; however, I am not convinced. Should I be worried, and
is it common for tanks of this dimension to lack a center brace?
< I myself currently run a 30 gallon Perfecto. I would say a slight
bow (1/8" to 3/16") can be expected. Mine has been running
about 2 years with a 1/8" bow. So under normal aquarium conditions
,I would not be worried. You could always make a brace using a piece of
glass or Plexi if it keeps you up at night. It is common for a 30
gallon (36x12x16) standard AGA to come without a center brace. >
< Your welcome. >
80 Gallon Long Center Braces Broken -- 04/12/09
I have looked through your articles and have found a lot of helpful
information on how to possibly fix this broken center brace issue.
I do not even know how it happened to begin with. I have an eighty
gallon long which is approximately 72" long 24" high and
<<Mmm, never heard of an 80-gallon 'long''¦but
actually, these are the dimensions of a 'standard production'
135-gallon glass tank>>
There are two center braces.
<<Yes'¦and likely integral components of the tanks top
One of them completely broke on the rear end and shows sign of a crack
on the front side. The other brace shows signs of a crack on both the
front and rear side.
<<Not good'¦ As you are probably aware, these braces do
have a structural support function>>
The only thing I can think of that caused this was the glass tops that
I put on there. They were about a 1/16 of an inch to big so I basically
just wedged them in there. This is the only thing I can think of that
caused these braces to break/crack.
<<This was likely a factor'¦though these plastic braces
do often just harden and crack>>
I saw the possibility of using a stainless steel support... someone
suggested just to me to just bolt it to the bottom of the existing
plastic brace. I also saw on WWM about the one who actually left excess
on the steel for "legs" to wrap around the front and back....
but thought that would be an eyesore.
<<I agree'¦ I'm of the opinion that fashioning
'glass' cross braces of adequate size (minimum 1/4' float
glass about 4' wide) and siliconed in place with glass
reinforcement blocks to bolster the attachment surface area is a better
option. But have you tried just obtaining a new top trim piece to
replace the old?>>
I have also been suggested to JB Weld it or epoxy it. Could that
<<If the breaks are in such a place that you can bond overlapping
pieces of material over the break'¦possibly'¦but I
would still be hesitant to trust this>>
I would like to find a whole replacement trim piece but have no clue on
where to find one, and being this is somewhat of a rare tank, I
don't think that is helping this cause either. A web search comes
up with nothing.
<<I take it then you don't know the manufacturer of the tank
or they are not accessible/still in business? If the dimensions you
provided are accurate'¦try contacting some of the production
glass tank manufacturers (e.g. -- Perfecto/Marineland, Aqueon/All
Glass, etc.) or even your LFS and see if you can obtain a top trim
piece for a standard 125g or 135g glass aquarium (the trim pieces are
interchangeable between these two tanks sizes as the only difference is
the height dimension)>>
All help is appreciated and any other info I could provide to you, just
let me know and I will do just that. Thanks for all your help.
<<Do give a new search a try with updated info re the tank's
volume. And do also consider that sometimes with the hassle and expense
involved (and the risk); especially with old tanks, it just makes more
sense to replace the tank outright. Cheers, EricR>>
Re: 80 Gallon Long Center Braces Broken -- 04/13/09
First off I want to say how impressed I was with the quickness in
<<You get lucky sometimes [grin]>>
Second, I goofed on the width of the tank... it is 13 inches, not
18...which now makes a big difference in the size of the tank.
<<Ah, yes indeed'¦still about 97-gallons
though'¦and is a custom tank I'm guessing>>
Sorry about the mix up on that.
<<No worries'¦does make finding a new top trim piece a
bit remote though'¦as you have already noted>>
I have considered getting a replacement tank from Craigslist... and
have stumbled upon a 125 gallon.
<<Might be best>>
My glass tops wouldn't be wide enough,
<<You could easily have new ones cut to fit at most any glass
but would be long enough for temporary coverage and my lights would
still fit length wise.
But for the time being, I would like to do at least a temporary repair.
I would like to possibly pursue your glass cross beams.
<<This is not a difficult project if you are a little
'handy''¦or can enlist the aid of someone who is/is
familiar with working with glass and silicone>>
My questions regarding that would be what exactly is float glass?
<<It's nothing special...this is the most widely available
flat glass type. Any glass shop, hardware store, or home center
(Lowe's/Home Depot) will carry 'float' glass (It is called
float glass because the manufacturing process involves
'floating' the molten glass on a bed of molten metal)
How big would the reinforcement pieces need to be (length, width, and
<<For this tank I would use Â¼' thick glass and
have the cross-braces cut to 4' wide>>
And where exactly does all this mount?
<<On this 6-foot tank, I would place the cross-braces 2-feet in
from each end (in other words, divide the length of the tank in to
Do you trim out some of the upper trim that wraps the top of the tank
to be able to get the glass to be as close to the top as possible?
<<Depends'¦ You may want the top of the braces to be
level with the inner lip of the trim to support your lighting fixture,
if necessary...or you may just want to hide as much as you can behind
the trim...otherwise it is not that critical, and you can just butt
them up to the underside of the trim piece>>
What am picturing is essentially the same as the stainless repair with
the legs, only made out of glass, and the legs being on the inside of
<<A good analogy'¦only the glass will let light pass
through from the light fixture and is less obtrusive'¦and
completely rust-proof. Do be sure to fashion a glass 'ledge'
upon which to fasten the cross-braces (don't just try to silicone
the 'ends' of the braces to the tank panels). This
'ledge' can be fashioned from Â½' wide pieces of
glass cut long enough to span the 'width' of the brace. Have
two of these made for 'each end' of the cross-braces (eight
pieces total). Silicone two of these together in a laminated fashion to
create a Â½' ledge which is then attached with silicone
to the tank panel to support the end of cross-brace positioned as
discussed (will probably require light clamping). Let the ledges cure
overnight, and then securely silicone the cross-braces in place. Be
sure to let all cure for at least 24-hrs before adding water to the
I apologize if I seem ignorant when it comes to this, but I have never
built a tank, or repaired one like this before.
<<No worries'¦ It's not overly difficult, but do
enlist aid if you're unsure about any of it>>
Once again, thanks for all your knowledge.
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
R2: 80 Gallon Long Center Braces Broken -- 04/13/09
Absolutely phenomenal information, the best I have received thus
<<Ah well, maybe Bob will let me stay on for a bit longer then
[grin]. But seriously'¦I am pleased that you are
My local fish shop recommended WWM to me and I can see why.
<<Redeeming to know>>
If I am not able to sell my tank like I plan to in the next week, this
is definitely the route I will be taking. I am sincerely thankful for
your help during this stressful time.
<<It has been/is my pleasure to assist>>
I will let you know how it all turns out just so you can have the
satisfaction of knowing you helped yet another fellow fish
<<Always good to hear!>>
<<Cheers'¦ Eric Russell>>
DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and
In reading through your section on aquarium DIY bracing, I did not see
the fix that I came up with last week employed by anyone there. Having
acquired a nice, 15 year old tank, and having set it up full to the top
so as to make use of the drilled overflows near the top and on the back
of the tank, and having sat at one end of the filled tank that had been
running for 5 weeks, I noticed that the DIY, internal glass bracing
that was in the tank when I bought it had pulled away from the back
glass of the tank a quarter inch. I was only slightly alarmed at first,
but then, after about ten minutes had passed, the gap had grown to 3/8
inch, at which time I believed I had an emergency on my hands!
<Definitely not good>
After getting my wife to apply pressure to the back, center of the
tank, I went for my speed clamps to hold it temporarily. The design for
the fix came to me instantly. I would get a 1/8 inch thick piece of 3
inch wide stainless steel plate, and bend it 90 degrees at each end,
leaving the inside dimension 1/4 inch longer than the tanks designed
front to back measurement, and leaving the 2 legs about 2 1/2 inches
long, and after having removed half of the water in the tank, I would
clamp the center of the tank together and slide the brace over the top
in the center, shimming it to achieve the proper tank width. I used a
small piece of rubber shelf liner around the shims so they will not
fall out. I did this, and it is working great!
<Excellent in theory, but.....>
I was able to remove all of that internal glass bracing, which really
took away from the looks of the tank anyway. I think my brace will
outdo all that glass bracing jazz every day of the week!
Please tell me if I have missed something! The stainless steel is 1 1/2
inches above the water. Will it react with the water? Should it be
coated with epoxy? I don't think so. Please let me know what you
<..The reason you don't see metal bracing (anymore) is because
the metal reacts with water. Some to a greater degrees than others, but
any that can be reasonably worked with will react. Stainless grade 316L
is widely regarded as marine safe stainless, so for a freshwater system
it would be fine, but it is NOT resistant to warm sea water. Surgical
stainless steel is the least reactive of any of the stainless steels,
but is generally too hard and brittle, so any length thin enough to
work with will not brace the tank, not to mention it is very
If this is a freshwater tank, it is not as much of a concern as it
would if it is a marine tank, in any case, some sort of coating should
But again, here, the trick is finding one that will not react or
release toxins in the water.
Marine epoxy will work, but any version that is safe for livestock that
I am aware of is a thick putty. Most of the marine paints are toxic to
aquatic life. Non-toxic latex based paints generally do not stick
metals well. As crazy as it sounds, if you want a metal brace that will
not corrode or release toxins in the water, the solution is getting the
metal gold plated. Gold, for all practical purposes, does not react
either fresh nor salt water, thus will be non toxic to life in the
The downside is, getting the metal gold plated will cost somewhere
around $100 - $200.>
Ft. Worth, TX
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls When
Gold is cheaper than Glue.... 4/6/2009
Salutations back at ya, Mike, and thanks for the info!
<Hey David, my pleasure!>
It is a salt aquarium, and I found a place that will gold plate the
brace for $110.
<Rather inexpensive as these things go, the third of the cost for a
good halide fixture, half the cost of a decent T-5 fixture>
I found out also that a 2 part epoxy designed for use in potable water
storage has been used successfully by persons that have built, and used
salt tanks from plywood. This epoxy is NSF 61 certified.
But it is sold in such large minimum quantities as to be more expensive
than gold plating, since I have no use for 2 gallons of this stuff for
around $150 plus tax.
<... and there it is....Sadly, this is usually the case, it is
difficult, if not impossible to find such materials in "home
user" friendly quantities\prices.>
Question: could I just wrap it in Saran Wrap?
<Would not work in the long term, will trap moisture, thermal
breakdown from heat (lights), etc.>
My wife suggested coating it with aquarium silicone.
<Can work, provided it will bond with the metal, and you can live
with the aesthetics, watch for peeling, breaking down from the heat
from the lights, difficulty in sealing it completely etc. Now you see
why they don't use metal anymore....:-)>
Your help with this is greatly appreciated!
<My pleasure, do let me know how it works out. If you do go the
plating route, make sure the metal is rinsed completely before putting
it in contact with the tank.>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls When
Gold is cheaper than Glue.... Vinyl coatings. 4/6/2009
Thanks again for all your input, and I will wash the gold plated
bracket before installation, if I decide to go that route.
My wife particularly wants me to go another route!
<Heheheh... for the life of me I can't imagine
And she had just been considering investing in gold, too. Go
<Investment in gold, but in a different form I think.>
I think I have found an alternative, though: liquid electrical tape. It
forms a seamless vinyl skin that surely will work, don't you
Yes, with caution. A quick look at the MSDS sheet indicates it is toxic
to fish :
MSDS.pdf I'm assuming that this relates only to its liquid form and
not after it has cured, but you will have to check with the
We're talking vinyl electrical tape. It will be neat, unlike
silicone or plastic wrap, and cost much less than gold. If this
won't work, please tell me why!
<It could work, do double check its toxicity regarding marine life
after curing. For that matter, the toxicity of it when you are working
with it, as there is some pretty nasty stuff in there, Xylene, Acetone,
Methyl Ethyl Ketone, etc>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls Vinyl
Mike, I did see that MSDS sheet. The manufacturer says this on their
web site about their similar product called Plasti Dip, which has the
same MSDS you described:
"Is Plasti DipÂ® safe to use on children's toys,
animal containment, and/or on kitchen utensils?"
"Plasti DipÂ® does not contain any heavy metals, and
when completely dry, is considered harmless. However, it is not
recommended that it be used on items that may be chewed or inserted
into the mouth as it may present a choking hazard."
I think I have arrived at the solution, and I could not have done it
without your help! I should be able to apply 4 or 5 coats for $20 or
less. The $90 savings compared to gold plating will go a ways toward my
first fish, since my nitrites are just now on the way down, and a
cleanup crew too, because diatoms are developing as well.
<Ahh, attack of the Brown Scum.>
<My pleasure, do let me know how it all turns out.>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls Vinyl
I just wanted to share that the Plasti-Dip worked great on the
I brushed 4 coats on the brace. The brace is 1 1/2 inches above the
water's surface. Evidently this product has some sort of inherent
ability to repel salt, or certainly at least does not react with it,
after 4 weeks, barely a trace of salt can be felt on it's surface.
And this material seems to be very durable stuff as well! I am more
than pleased with it! I don't like the fact that the brace is
blocking some of the light
from the tank, but I will gladly sacrifice that to know that my tank is
not going to come apart!
<Thanks for following up, will be posted in the archives.>
Thanks again for all your help!