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FAQs on Glass Aquarium Repair, Braces/Cross Supports 1

Related Articles: Aquarium Repair, Acrylic Aquarium Repair, Cleaning Aquariums, Marine Tanks, Stands and Covers, Used Gear for Marine Systems, Designer Marine tanks, stands and covers,

Related FAQs: Cross-Braces/Bracing 2, 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, & Acrylic Aquarium Repair, Used Aquarium Gear ,

Yes... they're often necessary for larger, taller tanks... there are limits to how much all glass can bend...

Glass Tank Brace Question 04/03/09
Dear Crew,
First, thank you all for the great info you provide. I am sure the reef-keeping hobby would not be what it is today without everything you do.
<Mmm... well, am sure we have a pervasive effect, helping others help themselves, their systems, livestock... but don't know re this stmt.>
Now, to my issue. I recently purchased a 60"L x 18"D x 24"T glass aquarium. The glass is 1/2" thick. Both the top and bottom have plastic rims, which are heavily siliconed in place. There is also a center brace at the top, which is 16"W x 1/2". As you've likely guessed, here lies my problem. The tank will be used for a saltwater reef, lit by 250W MH.
<Mmm, wait... only one fixture? I would not do this... see below>
With the brace in place, I could only place MH fixtures at the ends of the tank. Even if usable light could penetrate the 1/2" glass brace, I still would not put a MH lamp over it, as I'm sure it would crack.
<Mmm, not if placed high enough above>
The solution I have come up with would be to remove the brace and have it cut from a 16" x 18" piece into two 8" x 18" pieces. I would then reinstall them, spaced 10-12 inches apart. I think this would leave adequate room for a center light, while still keeping the bracing as close to the center as possible. I could also add 4" braces on the ends of the tank for a little more support if needed. I would appreciate any opinions on this solution. I did consider Eurobracing, but I would rather not have to remove the top rim and buy all the extra glass if not needed.
<Mmmm, no... the bracing glass strips can be placed/secured lower down, below the plastic rim>
Thank you.
Best Regards,
<Well, what you propose could be done; but I wouldn't do it... IF you elect to remove the present brace, you might well be better off installing a "Euro-brace" See WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm
and/or the Net re... But, if it were me, mine... I'd instead go with either moving the one 250W fixture to one side (looks better than centered) or better, use two such fixtures, even go with smaller wattage (150s), one over each "open" area... All depends on what you hope to accomplish, but looks and function-wise these are better options IMO than cutting out the existing centered brace. Bob Fenner>

Serious problem with broken center brace on 1991 125 gal O'Dell tank! 3/31/2009
Hello. I've had this 125 gallon salt water set up since 1991. It has a plastic removable center brace that 5 years ago started to bow in the middle and break apart.
<Yikes... good brand/manufacturer (though defunct), bad situation with the brace>
I super-glued the part that began to crack and separate on the other side of the bowing and turned it over and continued to use it with no problems. I might add that this tank came with a (by the way it is 72Lx18Dx24H) 72 inch light fixture that rested on the ends of the top and barely touched the glass where it rested on the center brace. This fixture went bad after a few years and i could not find a replacement so I purchased 2 36 inch fixtures that rested fully on the glass. Over the years
(and my wife putting knickknacks on the fixtures *&%^&*) the center brace began to bow and started to split under the bowing area. So then my super-glue repair and turning it over. After a few years of the it broke completely in half and the glass and lights fell into the tank.
This was about two years ago. I have it poorly rigged with the glass and lights cocked at angles with much open space because I have nothing to hold up the glass and light fixtures in the center. I have tried everywhere and no one has a replacement center brace for this tank.
<There are two "good" retrofits... making, siliconing in a center brace yourself (1/2 thick glass...) or "Euro-bracing along inside edges... read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm>
Luckily I had only had this Red Miniatus grouper in there. Hardy guy. He once jumped out thru one of the wide open spaces when I first rigged the tops. He was out for quite awhile but survived. I've had him 11 years. But with the tank in this manner I can't clean it and he doesn't eat algae and it is over run with it. This once eye-catching beauty of a tank with coral skeleton and lava rock is a horrible sight now.
What can I do to get it back to its potential - mainly about the broken center brace?
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

Do You Have to Have a Brace? <Mmm, nope> (Glass Tank Design) -- 01/19/09 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have been looking through the questions on your site and Google and have not found an exact answer to my question yet. <<Okay'¦how can I help?>> Very nice site by the way. <<Ah, thank you'¦ Quite the collaborative effort>> I just inherited a 70 gallon tank and have never had an aquarium before. <<Mmm'¦ Much research ahead of you then>> My uncle whom owned it before recently passed away so I can't ask him any questions about the tank. <<I'm sorry for your loss>> As I was talking with the local pet store about breaking a piece of glass on top of the aquarium, she seemed concerned about the length of the glass, 4ft. That is what was on top of the tank, two 4 ft. pieces of glass. <<Likely the tank covers/top>> She said that all aquariums that big have to have braces in the middle. <<Usually, yes'¦ Unless otherwise 'braced' around the perimeter in a manner commonly referred to as Euro-bracing. But unless this tank is a custom build or indeed of European design/construction then it likely was originally constructed with a center brace of some sort (if there is not one there now)'¦often an integral part of the plastic frame around the top of the tank (assuming it has one), or a piece of glass spanning the top center of the tank>> I looked at the top of the frame and saw what might have been a bit of old silicone in the middle about 4 inches wide on the front but couldn't see anything on the back frame. <<Hmm, I see this in the photo. Since it doesn't appear there was any attachment in the back, this strip may just have something to do with cushioning the front lid. Attaching a glass brace to a plastic frame is not advised as the silicone will not adhere well enough to the plastic. Judging from the photo, it also appears there is/was no center-brace molded as part of the plastic trim>> The tank measurements are 48 x 18 x 22 and the glass is a 1/2 inch thick. <<Wow, heavy-duty'¦ Most tanks I've seen in this size range were of 3/8' glass (or less)'¦though I did once have a custom 80g English-built tank that was constructed of ½' glass. Perhaps your tank is indeed intended to go without a center-brace'>> <RMF concurs> I found the receipt and it was built in 1990. When I filled it up to check for leaks, I measured the top in the middle and the sides and the middle was about a 1/32 to a 1/16 different, bowed out. <<Mmm'¦>> There were no leaks by the way. When I drained it and measured again, the middle was actually 1/32 to 1/16 bowed in compared to the sides. <<Strange'¦ And maybe an indication that the deflection is even more than measured>> My question is, do tanks this size have to have braces or are some strong enough without them? <<As mentioned, they can be designed and constructed to go without. Whether or not this is the case with your tank I do not know. Ideally, you should contact the manufacturer (if that can be determined) and consult with them re>> Attached is a picture of the top of the tank with the mark from what appears to be silicone? <<Can't tell for sure from the pic'¦ If it is soft/rubbery it may be silicone. If is it hard/crusty it may simply be a water stain/mineral deposit>> Thanks in advance for any answers. <<Don't know that I've been much help here>> I'm really excited about getting this up and going but I don't want to end up with 70 gallons of water on my floor. <<Indeed'¦ Do try to contact the manufacturer if possible, or at least get someone knowledgeable (preferably someone who builds/installs glass tanks) to lay eyes on this tank and see what they think. Unless you can be sure, and especially considering the age of the tank (19yrs), I don't think it is worth the risk otherwise. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Do You Have to Have a Brace? (Glass Tank Design) -- 01/19/09 Hi Eric, <<Hello again unsigned query writer [grin]>> Thanks for the reply. <<Quite welcome>> Of course there is nothing listed on the receipt other then 70 gallon tank, top, and light and the aquarium shop he bought it from is now closed. <<Bummer>> Perfecto is the only name I could find and it was on the light, <<Ah well, if it came as a set this may be the tank brand>> so I sent them an e-mail for the fun of it. <<Good>> It looks like they may have joined up with Marineland because everything I saw with Perfecto had /Marineland on the back of their name? <<Indeed'¦ I didn't think to check before, but I ran the numbers (dimensions) you gave on the tank in our first exchange and the volume listing would be 82g (actually 82.2857 ~ 48x18x22 divided by 231). This isn't a 'standard' dimension/size, and from the picture with your first email this doesn't look like a custom tank'¦could your measurements be off a bit maybe? A standard 75g tanks outside measurements are 48x18x21 >> There is a company that sets up tanks locally so I will give them a call and see what they have to say. <<Excellent'¦best to have someone there to advise that can actually 'lay eyes' on the tank>> Thanks again for the information. <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>
R2: Do You Have to Have a Brace? (Glass Tank Design) -- 01/20/09
<<Hey Shannon!>> Actual dimensions are from end of glass to end of glass, 48 X 18 and bottom of wood/plastic to top of wood/plastic 21 5/16. <<Ah! The plastic trim will protrude somewhat so I'm certain what you have here is a standard dimension 75g aquarium'¦which should help with your exchanges with Perfecto/Marineland>> All 5 pieces of glass are exactly 1/2 inch thick. <<As I mentioned before, this is very heavy-duty for this size aquarium. Do be sure to mention the purchase date (1990) when speaking to the manufacturer>> I have no idea if this was a custom made aquarium, probably not though as you said. <<No, I don't think so either'¦but possibly 'limited edition' or such, considering the thickness of the glass and the lack of what appears to be a manufacturer installed center-brace>> Of course I have heard nothing back form the company, maybe they are celebrating MLK day? <<Just poor customer service maybe. Have a look here (http://www.marineland.com/sites/Marineland/CustomerService/ContactUs.aspx?id=1814), there's even a phone number>> I'll let you know what I find out. <<Please do!>> Thanks for all the information again. I really appreciate. <<Happy to share>> I'll let you know what I find out from the local company that sets up aquariums. <<Thank you>> Thanks again, Shannon <<Be chatting! Eric Russell>>
R3: Do You Have to Have a Brace? (Glass Tank Design) -- 01/22/09
Hi Eric, <<Hey Shannon!>> Well we got a response from Perfecto/Marineland and we got an answer from the guy that sets up tanks locally. <<Great!>> The answer is "no" on a middle brace. <<Okay>> They both said that older tanks were built with 1/2 inch glass and they were not built with center braces, so that's a good thing. <<Excellent'¦ But do want to add that this is the stated case with this particular tank size and dimensions (75g'¦48'x18'x21'), and that hobbyists should not take this as an endorsement that 'any' tank built with ½' glass will not need bracing>> The bad thing is my tap water took 24 drops when testing the KH level so it looks like I will not be filling up my tank tonight =( <<Hmmm'¦perhaps and RO/DI filter unit is in your future [grin]>> Thanks again, Shannon <<Has been a pleasure my friend, thank you for the follow up. Eric Russell>>

180 gallon center brace cracked/Euro-brace mod 12/28/08 I have appreciated all the advice and good info on your site. <Great! Thank you.> This is the 1st time I have asked a question because I definitely want to ensure the stability of my 180 gallon room dividing custom tank. The tank itself is 13 years old and I bought it used and have had it set up in my house for 1 month. No problems until I upgraded the lighting to 400w MH x 2 over center portion of tank too close to center brace (4-5") and it cracked. <Oops!> I applied 2 bar clamps as a temporary measure. <And did so in a fine way.> I don't know who manufactured the tank but it is a full view room divider w/ standard dimensions 24x72x24 made of 1/2" glass. It appears to have a combo euro-brace (3" rim of 1/2" glass) w/ center brace (23" wide)). I measure the bowing after the center brace break and it is 1/16". I really hate the wide center brace b/c it makes it near impossible to get to main portion of tank and I have MH above it. <I agree, the stock design is strong almost to the point of ridiculous.> I would like to remove the cracked center brace and place a 3" glass rim to complete the loop around the tank. This would essentially be euro brace but with extra seam where the center brace was. Does this sound reasonable? <Yes. You will need to completely clean off any silicone where the brace will attach.> Another possibility would be to put the 3" ledge in as above, but add in 2 thinner (3-4" width) cross braces. This would give a total of 4 cross braces (2 on the ends and 2 in the middle). I request your thoughts. <The Eurobrace is enough, but cross bracing is a good idea, better to overbuild. In this situation I would do the Eurobrace with maybe two 6' or so crossbraces between where the lights will sit.> I've attached photo's. <Good photos too.> Thanks in advance. Michael <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Aquarium brace spacing during repair 12/30/08 Scott, Thanks for your advice. <My pleasure!> But you do bring up another question when you suggest a larger brace. Although I didn't buy this aquarium new I'm confident the existing brace which is 17d x18w x 1/2 inches is the original. <Possibly, this is quite a wide brace.> This is a substantial piece of glass. Is it really possible I need to go larger? <After hearing of the size I think not.> I begin to have accessibility issues if I do that. Right now it covers 25% of the surface area (72" tank). At the same time poor access is better than repairing yet again or 110 gallons of water on my floor not to mention possible safety issues. <Agreed.> If the current brace size is indeed adequate that begs the question: what might the root cause be and how can I prevent reoccurrence? <It sounds to me like this may possibly not be the stock brace. If a smaller/thinner brace was employed to begin with and failed, the silicone was likely not completely removed before placing the current piece. You will of course need to completely remove all the old silicone/residue from the mating surfaces. Using your existing piece will be fine, perhaps add some strips of glass along the top where the two pieces meet to strengthen the joint. The brace is definitely enough, you just need some good bonding/more bonding area here.> I did notice the mating surface of the brace is very smooth when I was removing silicon so if I reuse it I will use some emery cloth to roughen it up a bit. The aquarium too? <You can, but overall prep and design will be what lasts.> Thanks again for the quality info! <Welcome, Scott V.>

Cross Brace and Weight of Hang-On Filter 11/28/08 Hello Crew, <<Hiya Kristen>> A few months ago I received a 55 gallon tank off of Craigslist for free due to the fact that the glass cross brace had fallen and the gentleman was moving away. <<Sweet!>> I followed the advice I found on the internet to repair it to the best of my abilities. (i.e. scraped off the old silicon, cleaned it, re-silicone it) <<Okay>> The tank was up and running perfectly fine for about a month until I came home to find the glass had fallen again. <<Mmm>> (Right now the tank is about 1/4 full and I've repaired the glass brace again) The side of the brace that had separated from the tank is also the same side my Emperor 400 filter resides. When I was first setting the tank up I noticed how heavy the filter was when filled with water, and my concern is that the weight of the filter is what caused the brace to separate. <<A contributing factor in this instance possibly, but these hang-on style filters are used by many, many hobbyists without such problems. If the design/attachment site for the brace is sufficient and your repair technique was correct, this shouldn't have been a factor>> My questions are, does this sound likely to you, <<Cant really say without seeing the brace and where/how it is attached>> and is there a way I could support the filter so it doesn't pull on the side of the tank like it does? <<Sure'¦ This will require some kind of support shelf sitting on the floor or attached to the wall behind the tank and positioned such as to keep the filter at the same height as when suspended from the tank rim>> I'm considering attaching the filter to the wall behind the tank somehow to keep the weight off the tank. <<A shelf of some type (either free-standing or attached to the wall) for the filter to sit upon will be best>> I received the filter from the previous owner and I wonder if this is why it broke for him as well (No way to contact him or I would have.) Thank you much for any input you have on this. I would hate to have to keep repairing the tank if it's something preventable. <<Is really hard for me to say perhaps you could send some pics?>> After re-reading this before I send it, I figured I would include the glass appears to be 1/4 inch. The glass brace is approx. 5-6 inches wide. <<Hmm'¦ I wonder how much overlap is allowed for attachment?>> There are also two other glass braces approximately 3 inches, one on each far side, neither of which have had any issue. I did not measure the bowing when it occurred, but I would estimate it was anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Thank you again, Kristen <<Happy to assist. EricR>><RMF would add two strips of glass along the entire upper front and back length (on the inside... to give more space for attaching the new brace, as well as more strength to resist bowing here>
Re: Cross Brace and Weight of Hang-On Filter � 11/29/08
Thank you for such a quick reply! <<Quite welcome!>> I did my best to make sure all the old silicone was removed, and I didn't have a clamp so I used copious amounts of duct tape. I also did a bit of a stress test before I even brought the tank inside the first time. Pushed and pulled on the glass brace, and filled the tank up with water outside for a week. <<Wise>> It is literally a piece of glass siliconed to the inside. I have attached 2 pictures, one of the current state of the brace after removing almost all but one piece of duct tape. (Only 24 hrs of curing this time. The first time I repaired it, I let it cure for a week.) The other picture is one of the side glass braces to show as comparison. <<Mmm'¦ Kristen, from these photos it appears to me that these glass braces are NOT an original design/functional element of this tank. But rather these braces were added after the original brace broke/was removed (this was probably a piece of plastic that was molded to/was an integral part of the plastic tank trim). What this means is that this tank does not allow proper securing/attachment of the glass braces. It appears the braces are siliconed to the underside of the lip of the plastic tank trim. This will not hold as you have discovered. To have any chance of making these glass braces work here, an internal glass rim will need to be devised and attached to the front and back tank panels to provide an adequate attachment point for the glass braces. If this is something beyond your capabilities then I suggest you see about finding a local fish shop that can do this for you or at least advise you on the repair. Or if you have access to an aquarium club you may be able to find someone there to help you out with this repair. Another option is to try to contact the manufacturer of the tank and inquire about a replacement trim piece (with center brace). At any rate, I would not use this tank as is (I guess nothing is ever FREE). Even without the weight of the hang-on filter pulling on the panel I believe this tank to be an accident waiting to happen and a danger to you/yours>> As for the filter, I have a single shelf spice rack I haven't put up in the kitchen yet, I shall use that. <<Again I must reiterate I would not use this tank as is>> The reason the filter has been a concern to me is that it doesn't sit right on the edge. In the 29 gallon I had, the Aquaclear filter came with a little plastic piece that assisted in supporting and aligning on the bottom of the filter. This Emperor filter does not have that piece, and I don't know if it was supposed to as I got it second hand, so it seems askew on the edge. <<It seems there was good reason for this person to give away this tank and filter>> Thank you again for the wonderful information, Kristen <<Please do consider my advice and affect a proper repair of this tank. Or maybe just leave out the water and get a snake instead [big grin]. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Question, Glass tank brace replacement 11/18/08 Crew, <Adam> I preface my question by saying I have read many posts which were very informative but I wanted to ask my specific question related to aquarium cross braces (Top black plastic beam running from front to back) as the posts I have read dealt with cracking and/or bowing. I recently purchased a used 155 gal bowfront. I believe the manufacturer is All-Glass but I am not 100% sure. The previous owner cracked one of the cross braces while cleaning and repaired the crack with silicone. <Mmm, such repair cannot be made with simply siliconing> I was under the impression the brace was not structural in nature and it's purpose was to support glass tops, lighting, etc. <Mmm... not really the case. All commercial aquariums I am familiar with have such bracing for structural reasons first and foremost> I filled the tank with water and completed the salt water set up. The tank has been up and running for about two weeks now. The tank does not appear to be bowing and the undamaged cross beam still has flexibility. I am concerned this could turn into a problem down the road. What is your recommendation? <To take it down, replace the broken brace... perhaps by adding or supplanting with a "Euro" type> If it is to repair, should I support the damaged beam or both beams with glass/Plexiglas <Not Plexi-, acrylic... can't be effectively adhered to glass> (How thick?) <1/2" likely> or does the tank need a new top? Will I need to completely breakdown the entire set up or is a water reduction sufficient? <Completely broken down> Thank You for your time, Adam <Welcome. Bob Fenner, an "old-timer", including such repairs>
Re: Question, brace repl. 11/19/08 Bob, Thanks for the fast response. I am confused about the scope of repair. I was under the impression a brace was to be attached under the existing damaged cross brace using silicone. Is this correct? <Can be done... but may well show under the frame...> You mentioned attaching the brace to the glass itself. Will this work with a bowfront due to the curvature at the front of the tank? <Yes... the glass needs to be cut to conform to the front curvature... see your local glass shop re> Do you have a picture or drawing to share? <Only what is on WWM... you state you've perused...> Would the best/ lowest risk solution to this repair be replacing the top? <? Removing the existing, broken brace, cleaning away the existing Silastic, replacing all> I read on another post this could be done without a complete breakdown but since the tank is not mature I want to do the best possible repair. Thanks Again, Adam <Mmm... generally a poor idea... as the expansion due to the water is better used to put pressure, make the space between the new glass brace and front/back minimal... you want a very small amount of Silastic twixt the pieces... Is this clear? Do see WWM re Silicone Sealant use. BobF>

Help! My tank is broken, brace 10/23/08 Hi <Angie.> Was wondering if you could advise me. I bought a 48''x15''x22'' aquarium last week. I set it all up, filled it with water-fine no problems, and started cycling it. When I came to add my fish tonight, I discovered that the cross brace has come away from the tank and horizontal brace at the silicone joint. <Yikes!> There is a little damage to the horizontal brace but none elsewhere. I have dropped the level of the water in the tank, to reduce the pressure and likelihood of bowing. Is this going to be difficult/expensive to fix? <Neither, but a bit of work. It sounds like this is a glass cross brace? You will have to remove all the silicone adhering the brace and install another (with silicone), allowing a cure time of at least 24 hrs. Check out http://wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm for more information.> Should I be able to take it back to the guy who made it? <I would contact him, especially on a new tank.> In the meantime my poor little cichlids are swimming in only a few inches of water. Please Help! Thanks Angie <Welcome, Scott V.>

Broken 55 Cross Brace 9/1/08 Hi Guys, I've looked all over the site but haven't been able to find what I'm looking for. Basically, the cross beam at the top of my 55 gallon tank has broken and the top of the tank spread out about 3/4 - 1". <Yikes!> Luckily I don't have any fish in it yet and I was just testing it out so I immediately drained the tank halfway and went online to see if I could find a solution. I'm intrigued by the idea of using a piece of glass with silicone to reinforce the tank like you've suggested, but I have a few questions: Should the glass piece get attached to the very top lip of the glass on the aquarium? My tank has a plastic lip that sticks out a bout .5" from where the glass starts. Should I try add the silicone around it? <No, you will want to silicone the glass to glass, as high up, right against the plastic trim as possible. You will want to use a piece at least the thickness of the tank and around 8-10' wide to provide a good wide bonding area.> Do you have any photos of a repaired cross beam that you can send? <Sorry, no.> I think once I see it I'll have a better understanding of what needs to be done. <A Google search of cross brace repairs will certainly show you some examples.> I've also though about drilling into the broken beam and using a piece of Plexi to reinforce it. Do you think that would be a suitable fix? <This can work, but the glass cross brace will be a better long-term fix.> The cross beam is awfully flimsy and I can't believe that something like that would be an integral part of the aquarium's structure. <Some of these are quite cheaply made, but the bowing/gap you are seeing shows how integral it is here. You could also 'Euro-brace' this tank, running a 3' or so wide strip of glass lengthwise down each side, but this will greatly reduce the open space to get into a 55. Do also consider contacting the tank manufacturer to buy new trim for the top and simply replace what is there; just another option.> Thanks! Scott <Welcome, Scott V.>

72 gallon bow-front brace snapped 4/7/08 Hi, <Michael> I have an all-glass 72 gallon bow-front tank, bought new about three years ago. About 6 months ago, the center brace snapped. I fit in a piece of Plexi glass to hold up the light, but I noticed that when I do a water change, the tank is bowing an extra inch with the water in it. Is this a disaster waiting to happen? <Could be> Should I buy a new tank? <I likely would... or try to effect my own replacement> The perimeter brace seems to be beginning to crack slightly in the corners. The guy at the pet shop told me the brace is there to hold up the light, and it is natural for a bow front to 'bow'. Please help!!! <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm Bob Fenner>

Tank Integrity 3/17/08 Hi crew, <Hello.> I have a 40 gallon and it has a plastic center support as part of the plastic top trim, recently I noticed that support has cracked and separated slightly. We recently had a mild quake and I suspect it as the cause. Do I need to repair or replace this tank? As of now the tank seems fine but I wonder. What do you think? Thanks <Although your tank could be fine without the cross brace, I would contact the manufacturer and order new trim for the top. There are other ways (epoxies, pieces of acrylic with plastic screws) to fix this, but for the time, money and aesthetics I would just replace the trim. It is very easy to remove and then just lightly silicone the new one on. This will give you a little extra piece of mind through the next quake! Welcome, Scott V.>

Old Style Oceanic 100 G Mod? 3/2/08 Hi Bob and Crew: <Hello, Scott V. with you.> It has been a while, so I don't know any of the new(er) crew, but Bob and Anthony, et. al. have been a major help in the past. As always, your service, devotion, and sacrifice are much appreciated. <Thank you, very much appreciated.> I hope I have what is a simple question. I have one of the old style Oceanic 100 g. tanks (5' l x 18' w) <18'?> with the glass center support that covers approximately 1/3 of the surface. I originally started out with a FOWLER tank so I thought it was a good/strong support when I bought it. However, several years ago I moved to an SPS (mostly Acro) environment. The problem (probably obvious) is that the lighting beneath the glass is really bad and the constant cleaning to keep it as good as possible has now worn thin. <I hear your trouble; I have modified many tanks because of the same issue.> I would really like to have that 1/3 of the tank available for across. The question is whether I can remove this glass and replace it with something much thinner (as with the newer tanks). And, if so do you have any suggestions or reading references for how to do it and what to replace it with? <I have no reference I trust to refer you to. You may be able to remove this brace and install a Eurobrace style in your tank. Perhaps something the same thickness of the panes the tank is constructed of at least 3-4' wide. Although, I am hesitant to recommend this without knowing the depth and thickness of your particular tank. The fact that your tank was constructed with its particular configuration inclines me to recommend keeping it as is. The Eurobrace option does work, although it is not as strong as a cross brace.><<Good idea. RMF>> I really appreciate all your advice. Thanks, Greg. <Welcome, do write back with the particular thickness and dimensions. Thank you, Scott V.>
Re: Old Style Oceanic 100 G Mod? 3/3/08
Hi Scott: <Greg.> Thanks for the response. First, I actually mistyped...the tank is 110 gallons, not 100. The dimensions are 60" L x 18" W x 26" H (and, yeah, the width isn't great for me either, but what are you gonna do?). The cross-brace is 18" wide. All is constructed of 5/8" glass. <A nice, sturdy tank.> I'm trying to get out of buying a new tank for a while, but it sounds as if that is the way to go (I'm thinking 6' x 3' x 2' and Starfire glass... aaaaahhhhh!!! Wait... I think I hear my wife digging in the kitchen knife drawer!!! LOL) <I have had tanks proclaimed structurally unsound in the name of getting a larger replacement!> The last point (probably again obvious) is that this tank is in my family room and MUST not break because of something I do to it (did I mention the knife drawer?). <Yes, safety is very important. If glass flying about does not get you, it sounds as though a knife may!! Given the dimensions and thickness of glass (this tank is overbuilt compared to most today), Eurobracing this tank is a good option. You will need to cut out the cross brace, thoroughly remove all silicone where the new brace will adhere, and silicone on/in strips of glass at least ½' thick and 3-4' wide that runs the length of the tank. This is a fairly large undertaking that will require you to tear the system down for at least 24 hours while the silicone cures. A larger Starphire tank can also solve your problem!> Thanks for your experience and advice. I really appreciate it!! Greg <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Re: Old Style Oceanic 100 G Mod? 3/5/08
Hi Scott: <Hey Greg.> Thanks again!! I agree that this tank is built very well. I got a good deal when I bought it and was very happy because it is a very sturdy piece of work...especially by today's standards. <Yes, indeed.> I'm sure I can Google the Eurobracing, but I am not familiar with the technique. Do you have any advice on reliable reading materials/sites? <Garf.org in their DIY pages shows the installation principles, although I would go the aforementioned 3-4' wide rather than the 2' quoted on their site.> Breaking down the tank will be a nuisance (as we all know) but if I could reclaim all this space, it would be more than worth it. <I would in this case. It will be a pain, but will serve you well.> Then again, maybe there would be a horrible construction accident requiring replacement of the tank with the aforementioned Starphire!! <I tend to agree, a new Starphire (the requisite glass in this case :) tank would be far better, for us, I mean the, addicts!> I really think we are all addicts!! <We, uhh, some of the people out there sure are!> Thanks again for your advice, Greg <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Question about tank integrity re: drilling -- 1/28/08 Dear Crew, <Brian> Hope all is well with you fine ladies and gentlemen. Once again, I find myself seeking the advice of the sea water sages. I know a few of you have prior tank building / fabricating experience, and wanted to run this by those who may have more experience than myself. I've drilled the back panel of my 75 gallon, which I believe is 3/8 inch glass, in preparation for the overflows to the sump, and intake and outputs for the closed loops. 6 holes in total, 5 are to accommodate 1.25 inch bulkheads, and one for a 1.5 inch bulkhead. <Okay> My question is re the integrity of the panel once filled with water. I understand people drill their tanks all the time, and even I admit that the process was much easier than I thought it would be. However, I read many threads on various forums with people stating their tanks have failed usually with cracks radiating from near the location of the holes. I am wondering, would it would be advisable to silicone a few pieces of glass length wise to the back panel in order to provide stability, and reinforce the weakened panel? I was thinking of adding three strips to the back of the panel on the long dimension (48"). Will I gain any added stability to the panel by doing this? Or rather, a waste of time? <Mmm, not an idea w/o merit... do look up the term "Euro-bracing" for ideas on how I would approach this> I appreciate your input, and await your advice. Cheers, Brian <Mmm, a few more statements, related... I encourage you to make sure there is no/little stress from the plumbing "hanging" from the through puts (VERY important) and that the bulkheads themselves are well seated (with a smear of Silastic on the inside and outside faces, including on the gaskets) and that these are securely tightened... once again, to distribute the force about their perimeters... Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about tank integrity re: drilling 1/28/08
Bob, <Brian> Thank you for the swift reply. After researching "euro bracing", I've decided that it would indeed be in my best interest to beef up the integrity of the tank. Will take the suggestion to heart, and visit the local plate glass shop for some reinforcing strips. <Ah, good> Also, I wanted to thank you personally, Bob. When I was new to the hobby and wandered into my LFS to purchase a tank and some fish a few years ago, after speaking with me for a few moments, the clerk told me that there was only one piece of equipment I would need to start with. He then proceeded to walk me over to the hobby literature section, pick up a copy of "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", and advised me to go home and read it over several times, then come back when I was ready to go. To this day, I still find myself referring to it for advice and guidance. Both I, and my reefs inhabitants thank you. <Welcome my friend> Next time you're in Chesapeake Bay country, drop me a line and the beer and crab cakes are on me! <Mmm, yummy!> Kindly, Brian Rinehart <BobF>

Tank Bottom Brace 1/20/08 Well I was in the process of loading my 125g tank into my truck earlier today, and wouldn't you know the center brace on the bottom of the tank caught my bed liner and snapped in half. <Ooops!> I was wondering if this will affect the tank in any way. <No.> I've been reading most of the posts and only found issues dealing with the top brace. My personal solution was to just super-glue 1/4in plexi to both sides of the brace and silicon it to the bottom of the tank altogether. Could you please give me your advice. <If you feel like repairing it look for 'plastic welder' type two part epoxies available at most hardware or automotive stores. The only reason the bottom frame even has the cross brace is that the use the same frame for the top, cutting production costs. These cross braces help (minimally) to reduce bowing of the glass on top, but do nothing for the bottom.> Thank you <Welcome, Scott V.>

180 Glass Tank Bowing 1/8/08 I recently acquired a 15 year old 180 gallon glass tank that was set up in a restaurant. The tank started leaking along the front bottom seam and the owner didn't want to deal with it. <Yes, no fun.> I took the tank apart, cleaned the glass, and re-sealed it with new silicone. <You put a lot of work into the tank!> I'm really surprised the tank held up as long as it did because there was NO silicon in the joint between the front pane and bottom (site of the leak), just on the outside. <Me too.> There were also areas were someone had tried to do repairs buy gooping as much silicone as possible in places. The tank is made of 1/2 glass and does not have a center brace. I tried to get in touch with the manufacturer to see if the tank was originally made this way but they are out of business (forgot the name, but they are out of Saginaw, MI.) I am aware that sometimes older tanks were made without bracing, but I've never seen one larger than a 55 gallon made this way. Anyway, I put a 6" wide brace made of 1/4" glass in the center top of the tank, but it didn't help. <Too small and thin.> When filled, the glass bows out in the middle top of the tank, about a 1/4". The brace fell out (silicon can only stretch so far) and now I don't know how to proceed. I can't tell the glass is bowed by looking at the tank, only by measuring (and the fact that the previously snug glass brace no longer fits.) The sides are not bowed and all seams are holding tight. The brace still fits very snuggly between front and back panes when placed on the tank bottom. Is this tank safe without a center top brace? <Well, ¼' is generally considered acceptable on a tank with this thickness glass, but I would still rebrace the top if it were mine.> My husband suggested building a wood frame for the top of the tank, would this help at all? <I would simply either install another cross brace (10-12' of ½' glass) or look into 'Euro-bracing'. The later entails strips of glass, say 3'by ½ in your case, that run along the perimeter of the tank. Either will require the bonding area to be completely free of the previous silicone of course. I would personally opt for the cross brace.> Thank you for your help. Sherry <Welcome Sherry, good luck, Scott V.>
Re: 180 Glass Tank Bowing 1/10/08
Thanks Scott V! <You are very welcome Sherry.> I'm going to do the "euro brace" like you suggested, but also drop the water down so that the tank is only 3/4 full. <I would completely drain it for this, you will still have some deflection at ¾ full.> Since I've got 300 watts of MH lighting over the tank I'm going to put water lettuce in the tank, the fish will like the cover and my tank will look like a true "slice of a lake." <Nice.> Yes, I did put a lot of work into this tank. It took me about a month to tear down and completely (meticulously) clean the glass. <I bet it did, but you did it right. The prep work is what counts toward your finished tank.> The actual re-sealing only took about 1/2 an hour with my husband's help, but I let it cure (braced) for two weeks before filling it up. <Wow! You made sure it was completely cured.> I am so glad that I don't have to give up on this tank. The brace solution is such a simple and cheap repair and I'll have my "dream tank" for many years to come. <Yes, this will leave you with a sound tank.> Again, thank you for taking the time to help me out this! <Thank you for writing, I am glad I could help. Congratulations on your new setup, Scott V.> Sherry

Shattered Glass brace 12/26/07 Hi, Today I was adjusting my new 135L tank for my first time as I went to install some air lines for my tropical fish tank. But I needed to lift a wooden hood and as I did the hood slipped one side and smashed the light in the glass brace caused major damage (picture of the damage http://doom56.co.uk/DSC00862.JPG ). I'm going to my local fish shop to see if they do replacement glass and glue so I can repair this myself. What can you suggest or advice me to do before I do this? <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm and the linked files above> Thank you for your help. Jason Pointer <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Shattered Glass brace 12/27/07
thank you for the link but I have one question since I cant find it Is it safe to use acrylic plastic to replace the broken glass brace. I do have some acrylic plastic laying around as its 5mm thick. would this be ok to replace with? or should I get a custom cut glass which is hard for me to get a hold of in this area. <Mmm, if you could fashion some sort of (heat bend?) overlapping lip to the acrylic, this might be able to be hinged over the top... But otherwise, no... there are no adhesives or solvents that will firmly secure acrylic to glass. BobF>

Center brace repair 12/14/07 I have read the articles on center bracing repairs. I have two questions, first if a tank originally has two braces, do I need to put two? <Likely.> Second is Can I put a single brace down the middle and how do I put it on? <Possibly. What size is the tank? What is the current situation with the brace(s)? Glass or acrylic? Pictures help if possible, Scott V.>

Large custom tank... no bracing... 11/21/07 I have just bought a tank 90" L x 29" W x 20" T - that comes in on the ends to 21" for about 10" <Mmm, can you send a photo or drawing of this?> this tank has a seam down the middle at the bottom and nothing going across the middle at the top. The tank is made out of very heavy thick glass. <How thick?> I bought this tank very cheap with a stand and hood. I am wondering what size it is <There are 231 cubic inches approximately to a gallon... multiply the three internal measures and divide...> and also is this tank safe with the seam on the bottom. <The bottom... s/b fine...> I have never seen this before in a fish tank. I am wanting to use this as a reef tank what do you suggest Do you think I should put glass or acrylic across the top for support and also to hold my glass lid and lights? <Was this tank set up before with water? The lights I would suspend... possibly build a two piece canopy for ease of manipulation/removal. Again, I will render my opinion re the bracing, utility, when supplied with the above info. Bob Fenner>

Question about external tank bracing. Aquarium Center Bracing 9/23/07 Hi, <Hello.> I recently bought an aquarium 60" long x 24" wide x 30" tall made from 1/2" glass that has no internal bracing along the top. It was bought at a going out of business sale it looks to be new/ never used. It has a black plastic molding around the top edge, but no cross bracing in the middle. It appears that the black plastic molding is in 4 pieces and each piece has mitered corners and is siliconed in place. Are there ways I could brace the tank externally rather than by using a eurobracing type system? I have no problems doing carpentry/woodworking. The tank will be a built-in style tank, so external bracing could be hidden easily. <The aquarium you have needs no center bracing. <<RMF would not make this assertion>> Center bracing is generally used with glass thicknesses less than 1/2" for a tank this size. I have a 60" long tank with no center bracing and have no problem with it.> Might it also be possible to use some sort of metal C channel such as unistrut? My own personal thoughts on either the metal or a wood solution would be to leave a 3/16" gap around the framing/bracing and fill that gap with silicone. Would that work? What should I do? <Nothing.> Thanks for your help and the fantastic website! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
In regards to the center bracing query.. - 09/24/07
"<The aquarium you have needs no center bracing. <<RMF would not make this assertion>>" Bob, I'm thinking that an aquarium manufacturer would not put out a product like this if it were not safe. They would be liable if breakage did occur, especially if an injury happened and/or damage to the floor etc. Your thoughts? Thanks, James <James... this is NOT a commercially made tank... at least not of any dimension I've encountered... and thirty inches tall by five feet wide? Very dangerous if it comes apart. B>

Center brace on a 36" long 65g-- 09/17/07 Hello WWM Crew, Thank you in advance for answering my question. I've poured over the site and can't find the exact answer. Many people seem to want to remove the center plastic brace from their tank, but I just want to replace it with glass. <Can be done> The tank is a 65 gallons, it's dimensions are 36"X18"x25". It is made of 5/16" glass, with a bottom made of 1/2" glass. Because of shadow over my tank, I'd like to take out the aged and worn plastic center brace and replace it with two sheets of 1/4" glass that are 5 1/2"wide each. These pieces of glass would be siliconed in place on either side of where the old plastic brace had been located. Would this be sufficient bracing? The tank is completely empty. Thank you, Dakota <Should work... though I encourage you to look into "euro-bracing" types instead. Bob Fenner>

Replacing Center Brace - 70 gallon Corner. Don't do it 8/20/07 Hi gang, <Rick from GWN> I almost purchased a 70 gallon corner bow tank today until I realized there was a 1" plastic center brace running from front to back (the 70 gal corner bow is more or a trapezoid shape with the rounded front). Anyways, the "sticker" on the brace said "do not remove". My concerns are obviously about the potential shadow cast in the center of the tank. Can I replace this with something less conspicuous in regards to casting a shadow ... thin fishing line (heavy strength)? <I would NOT do this... voiding your warranty and way too much likelihood of failure... Not much shadow expected here... and if you switch to MH/HQI you can use two lamps... one on either side... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Rick from Edmonton

On the Road Again.. Hi there, really need advice. We are moving, and my husband decided to clean out the tank by himself. Somehow he broke the center brace on the top across the middle (front to back). Is there a proper way to repair this? I am assuming it is quite important when it comes to holding the support of all the water....I think the tank is about approx 40-45 gal. < In tanks that large they use to have a plastic trim that included a plastic brace across the center. This usually became brittle over time as well as the heat from the lights contributed to its shortened life. I would recommend you get a tube of silicon and a piece of glass. The silicon should be for fish tanks only. Other types have fungicides that may harm fish. Silicon the glass in the center of the tank where the brace is just under the trim. Give a few days to set up before filling it up. Make sure that all the glass is clean before applying the silicon or it may not stick. I would recommend that you fill up the tank outside first and measure the area in the center and make sure it is the same as on the en. This way you can see if the new brace is holding. The glass should be six to eight inches wide and as long as the tank is from front to back.-Chuck>

The Shadow! A few questions.. <Hope I can provide a few answers! Scott F. here tonight!> I have a 55 gallon all glass tank with an all glass internal overflow in left hand side. I'm running 96 watt pc's and a 250watt metal halide bulb that's in the center of the tank. <Sounds like a nice setup!> First question. The tank has a hideous black separator at the top in middle of tank, I guess to support those cheapie light hoods. It's quite flimsy and doesn't seem to be providing much support. Anyway, my metal halide bulb is about 4-5" above it, and the >black partition casts one hell of an ugly straight line down the center of my tank (a shadow). <Yuck...> Can I remove this black piece of plastic? I mean, is there a "rule" saying that the plastic is for structural integrity of the tank and shouldn't be removed? I just thought it was to support an acrylic or glass hood, in the middle. <Well, I wouldn't remove it...No way! uh-uh...Anything that holds together a large glass container of water stays intact, as far as I'm concerned!> Next question: After a power failure recovery, my return line shoots out quite a bit of air mixed within the water. This causes a burst/splash at the surface of the water and it splashes up a few inches. My metal halide bulb is perilously close to this splash when the power comes back on. I'm afraid the bulb will burst when the cool water hits it. <Valid concern> I need to figure out a way to prevent the return from sucking in so much air when the prime breaks to prevent reverse siphoning of water into my sump. Is there a modification I can make down in the sump above my main pump (where the water heads up to the tank), that allows air to escape upwards while allowing water to gravity feed downwards? Some sort of pvc elbow perhaps with a vertical tube like 8" long to allow air to go into it as water bypasses it on the siphon way down into the sump? <That sounds like an interesting idea..> I'm just guessing that may work but wanted clearer instructions on how to correct this problem. <I'd give your idea a shot...it might just work!> Thank you all , once again, for your time and patience in answering all my questions. Regards, Steve <Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Support bar on tank Scott, Thank you for your comments. Do you think you could forward my email to a few other members so I can accumulate their thoughts as well? I really would like to remove the thin black plastic separator from my tank, as well as find a cure for my return line air/splash problem. <You mean the center brace on your tank? Dude....I wouldn't do it unless you are absolutely, positively sure that it's not part of the tank frame. Personally, I think it IS part of the tank frame therefore I would never attempt to remove it. If you can live with the consequences if the removal doesn't happen successfully give it a shot. But let me reiterate...I would leave it alone> I spend about 2 hrs a night on the wetwebmedia.com site filtering thru the FAQ sections, but have yet found a solution to the aforementioned problems as of yet. <As far as your splash problem...I have the same thing happen on my tank when the power goes out. I have accepted the problem because it doesn't happen very often. If you want to try something use a check valve above the return pump (I don't like them but you may). If it were me I would buy some kind of cover for the halide (like a UV guard) and let it go at that. It's cheap and easy> Warm regards, Steve <Hope I've helped! David Dowless>

Re: Support bar on tank Dear Dave, The top piece of plastic....well, I don't know what you mean by it being "part of the tank frame". It's connected to the black plastic that wraps around the top of the tank...typical of all tanks. <Can you just lift it off or will you have to forcefully remove it? Is it for aesthetic appeal or does it have a function? I haven't seen it so I don't know> My question is "If i were to have a tank built by a glass maker, he wouldn't put any plastic brace in the middle. The top would just be wide open." <Okay> So i was just wondering if anyone u know has ever removed it? <I haven't and wouldn't...I don't know of anyone that has...> You mean to tell me that EVERYONE has this hideous black line going down the center of their reef tanks due to the shadow it casts? <Like I said...If you're a gambler, pull it out...gently. If you're right about this, you will be happy. If I'm right about this, sooner or later you'll be replacing your carpet and rebuilding a tank. It's your choice...really. But from this distance, without seeing it for myself, I refuse to encourage this...doesn't mean you CAN'T do it. Let me know how it turns out> Thanks, Steve <You're welcome! David Dowless> Re: Support bar on tank Dave, It's me again. I didn't get this email until I already sent my last one. My tank is a standard ALL GLASS tank that you see at the LFS. It's got the standard black edging all the way around, and the top is plastic with a black plastic separator in middle of top so a light will have a place to rest an edge on, or two separate glass tops can be placed on without falling into the water. When I wiggle it, it has some flex to it and doesn't seem rigid enuf to provide structural integrity . I mean, I was going to have a tank built at my local glass shop and there were no plans for any type of center piece at the top. He was just using 7/16" glass all the way around like a rectangle, that's it, with silicone sealant on all joints. Maybe you could ask around for me if anyone else has removed it. Regarding the backsplash on my return line after power comes back on....where do they sell U.V. guards? Can i just use a piece of clear glass over that spot where the water splashes? <I would contact the manufacturer of the lighting system. I'm sure they will sell some kind of cover for your lights. Clear glass would shield the light but it would also distort. Contact the manufacturer> They say you should never use any type of cover below your lights, as this decreases light intensity into the tank, so i am concerned. <That's why I said not to use glass. You simply need to find the right type of cover> have a 55 gallon aquarium that is about 20" deep or so and has two 96watt power compact fluorescents with reflector and a 250watt Iwasaki MH bulb in center. Thanks again. Steve <I hope I've helped. David Dowless>
Re: Support bar on tank
Dave, <Yeeeeeeeeesssss....> This was my response from the tank's manufacturer when asked if it'd be safe to remove the center brace from the tank. <Great!> <All right my friend...score one for Dave! I know the shadow is an aggravation. If I were you I would look for some way to arrange my lighting so that it doesn't shine directly over this bar. Another idea is: How about a small, let's say an insignificant light, that will be just enough light to break up the shadow effect. You could mount it to your canopy so that it shines directly through the shadow. Correct placement is the key. I would definitely experiment with the light before mounting and let me know how this turns out. Now aren't you glad you didn't move that support? I have owned an All Glass tank and they really are good quality and apparently provide good customer service IMO. David Dowless> Hello Steve, Though your aquarium would not collapse after removing the center brace it would suffer a loss of structural integrity which could cause leaking or cracking of the glass down the road, not even to mention how the glass would bow. I am not sure who the manufacturer of your friends aquarium is and if it is one of ours it's very old. I had been building aquariums here for 20yrs, producing 55 gallon aquariums with center braces for around 17 or 18yrs. With the injection molded frames having center supports we could reduce the glass thickness of our aquariums. Which resulted in a lighter aquarium that didn't cost as much. Had we not gone that route the aquarium hobby would not have been able to have grown like it has, the aquariums just would have cost too much. I'm sorry..... I'm not sure how to get around the shadow issue. What I would recommend is just what you are doing, which is seeking answers. If you wouldn't mind letting me know I would be very interested in the solution you find. I'm just not hearing the complaints of the center brace casting a shadow due to the light unit, so don't know how to advise. Best Regards, Dawn M Zimdars All Glass Aquarium Customer Service Supervisor (800) 255-4527 Phone (414) 421-9670 Phone (414) 421-4195 FAX

Re: Question about an old aquarium, bracing 5/16/07 Hey Bob, thanks for the reply. There's another issue i should have discussed in the first email. The tank is 80 gallons sized at 4 feet long, 30" deep, and 12.5" wide. The glass again is made out of 12mm thick glass all the way around. There is no center brace. Should I get a piece of glass in the center to help brace it from bowing? <Mmm, yes, I would... if my feeble memory serves, this (the early years of O'Dell, in TN), this size tank did have such a brace... If you're going to fashion one yourself, I would go with a "Euro-bracing" type here... use your search tool to see such on the Net... much more reliable than a simple cross-brace> I would feel much better if there was one there. What is a suitable thickness and width for the brace? 12mm thick glass is quite expensive and isn't available locally. Thanks again, -Vic <A thinner float glass of half or so this diameter will work with the "Euro-" type mentioned. A cross-brace will need to be at least 12 mm thick. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm Bob Fenner>

To Cut Or Not To Cut?...Don't Remove That Tank Brace - 04/19/07 I was hoping I could get some clarification on this before I go cutting up my tank. <<Ok...what's the problem?>> I recently built a canopy to house a 250W MH for my 65-gallon tank 36X24X18. The canopy looks real nice and I was quite proud of it until I turned on the light for the first time. <<Oh?>> The light is centered over the tank and lights up the tank beautifully except for the area under the center support brace. The brace is making a distinct shaded line down the center of the tank. <<Ahh, I see>> I tried mounting a T5 light fixture hoping it would fill in the dark area which it did not. <<Mmm, no...can't compete/match the intensity of the halide bulb>> I also have another Icecap 660 ballast I could use to mount another 250W MH which would mean reworking the lights to mount perpendicular to the tank instead of the one that is currently horizontal. <<This is probably your "best" option, though you will need a "different ballast" as the 660 is one of IceCap's VHO ballasts>> Is 500W on a 65 going to be too much for LPS, mushrooms, and a clam? <<If you can raise the bulbs above the tank a foot or more and use a higher Kelvin temperature (14000K-20000K) you might get away with it. I have a friend who put 800-watts of metal halide lighting over a 75g tank...but in the end conceded that the heating issues/excessive intensity was "too much" for most of the mixed-reef inhabitants. For what you want to keep, a pair of 70w (maybe even 150w) metal halide bulbs would be ideal I think...placing the clam higher up in the water column if need be>> The current light is a 10,000K Ushio light. <<A good bulb for most applications>> The other option and cheapest is to just remove the center brace. <<I do not recommend this>> I got the quote below from a previous FAQ which makes me think it is ok to cut it out. "The plastic frames on All-Glass aquariums have little to do with structural integrity/function other than supporting the individual panels during assembly, having a place for the top to be secured." <<Indeed, and I think this quote is from Bob. What I believe he is referring to is the plastic frame around the "perimeter" of the tank. The "brace" across the middle of the tank does provide "some" structural support as in keeping the glass from bowing excessively (allows the tank manufacturer to use a thinner glass). I can tell you from personal experience that removal of the brace will make the glass bow out in an unpleasing if not downright uneasy manner>> Adam F. Schrage, TSgt, USAF <<Eric H. Russell, MSgt, USAF (Retired)>>
Re: To Cut or Not To Cut?...Don't Remove That Tank Brace - 04/20/07
Can this not be posted in the Daily FAQ? <<Mmm, is up to Bob...most all exchanges "are" posted for the benefit of everyone>> Eric, <<Adam>> Didn't I see that you were from Columbia, SC on one of the questions? <<Not "from," but do live here now. I was stationed at Shaw (Sumter) when I "retired" in '95...I don't miss "that" commute>> I joined the AF out of Charleston, SC and was assigned right back at Charleston AFB as my first duty assignment. <<I see...I wouldn't have minded a tour of duty there...sure would have beaten the two "combat tours" I had in Wichita, KS [grin]>> I'm guessing you might have retired from Charleston. <<Nope (refer to previous statement re)>> My Brother went to USC so I spent a lot of weekends up in Columbia watching the Gamecocks lose. (Prior to Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier) Good Times! <<Not much has changed, though honestly I'm not a big fan of college football...that would be my wife)) I was reading on Reef Central that some people cut out a portion of the center brace and replace it with an acrylic piece which is tied into the remaining center brace with nylon screws. <<Yes...is doable>> This seems like it might actually make the brace stronger as I would be replacing it with a thicker piece of acrylic and not thin plastic. <<Hmm...more likely the strength/integrity will be determined at the attachment points...but this is not meant to dissuade>> Do you think this is an option? <<I do...in fact I have made similar "repairs" on tanks where the brace simply cracked/broke from years of use>> Also is the current setup 250W (10,000K) enough. <<Plenty, yes>> Would my current ballast power a smaller MH such as 150W? <<Nope... The ballasts are manufactured/rated to power a "specific" wattage. EricR>>

125 gallon Tank, FW, brace lost....! 4/3/07 Hi <Peter> I have a 125 gallon freshwater tank (48 inches long, 20 inches wide, 30 inches high, 10mm thk glass). Over the weekend the centre brace between the front and back panels gave way and sank to the bottom of the tank. <Yikes!> I emptied the tank by half <Mmm, really need to empty completely... to allow the front/back to come together completely... glass to glass contact with the brace... scrape off all old Silastic...> and then proceeded to dry and clean the ends to reinstall the brace with silicone. Do you think this is sufficient as my main concern is the structural integrity of the tank. Just to let you know that all the internal corners of the tank has an extra 1/4 inch added on to reinforce the edges. <Good> Do you think that the tank is stable with all that I just describe or should I do some more retro fitting? <I really like/prefer what folks call "Euro-bracing" (see the Net, WWM re...)> Regards Peter k. Marshall <Mmm, and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm and the linked files above, re general Silastic use.... Bob Fenner>

Equipment/Aquariums/Repair 04/17/2006 Bob, <James today.> I have an urgent question! This evening, I noticed that the center brace on my 55 gal saltwater aquarium had somehow melted and broken in two. As a result, the glass is bowed out about 1/2 inch on either side of the tank. Do I need a new tank immediately, and do you have any hints on transferring all of the critters to a new setup without die off? <Some braces are installed to support glass tops and lighting. A thin glass thickness will require use of bracing. You really need to contact the tank manufacturer and find out if it is necessary.> Thanks!!! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Philip J. Stokes Re: Equipment/Aquariums/Repair 4/21/06 Dear Mr. Dog, <Phil> Thanks for your guidance. <You're welcome.> For future reference, All-Glass Aquarium says that the center brace is required for the structural integrity of the tank. When the glass is bowed, it can cause the seams to peel apart over time, and with a 55 gal tank it could cause rupture or eventual leakage. All-Glass does sell replacement frame parts, but installation should usually take place in a clean, dry tank. I ended up repairing the brace using a piece of 1/4" plexi-glass and some nylon bolts. I drilled through the old brace and connected the two sides back together with the plastic. It's held up pretty well so far and I think it will do until I decide to get a bigger tank someday. <Problem solved.> Thanks again! <You're welcome and thank you for the update. Will post on our site. James (Salty Dog)> Phil

Equipment/Tank Bracing 04/17/2006 Hello Crew, <Hello Garen> I am afraid I just did something stupid that I can't fix now. I have a 46 gallon bowfront aquarium and I just got a Metal Halide light to illuminate the tank. Well, there was this flimsy plastic piece that ran across the middle of the tank (front to back) and it is (was) attached to the plastic rim that borders the top of the tank. Seeing that this plastic piece was in the center and I of course wanted to center the new light over the tank, I proceeded to detach this center piece by means of an acrylic-cutting knife. I didn't know how much purpose this plastic piece served until I severed it from the front part of the aquarium. After cutting the piece from the front I noticed that the "bow" front of the aquarium moved out about 1/2" to 3/4" !! I figured that I was screwed anyway so I removed the center piece from the back part of the tank. Do y'all think that I am going to wake up to a bunch of carpet-surfing fish in the morning or will the tank be okay? If it isn't going to be okay, then do you guys have any suggestions on how to remedy this problem that I created? <"Uh oh" was an understatement, that is a sizeable increase on a tank that size. I'd ask the dealer where you bought the tank to order you a new top piece and replace. You will have to drain enough water until new brace fits on the tank. Obviously the light cannot be placed in the same position it was. You will need to raise the fixture and add a cooling fan between the fixture and the tank.> Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Garen Wright

Older tank - 04/27/06 Hi, I bought a 75g that never had a center brace (top or bottom). It is a lot heaver than my friends 75g. So I was wondering how old this tank could be, is the glass tempered and if adding a center brace to the top would be a good idea? Thanks Phil <Mmm... have never seen a commercially made 75 that didn't have a center brace... I would likely add one here. Bob Fenner>

Center Brace on 150G Oceanic - 05/10/2006 Hi, <Hello Joe> I'm looking at a used 150G Oceanic, and seller says he dropped it while moving, which broke the center brace. He removed what remained of the center brace. Can I safely go with this tank if I get the local glass shop to cut me a "brace" of the same size? <Likely so, yes> From reading FAQs, it looks like I'll first want to remove all traces of the old silicone. You've said to use an "organic" solvent? Which one is best/easiest for this purpose? <Xylene is best IMO/E, but others with a high evaporation rate will do. I'd wear chemical resistant gloves and use in an area of good ventilation... good single-edged razors remove most all. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Joe
Re: Center Brace on 150G Oceanic - 5/11/06
Thanks for the reply! Would a correctly-sized piece of acrylic work just as well, or is it best to "stick" with glass? <Good question, and no... should be glass... of adequate thickness... 3/8, even 1/2", and 100% Silastic/Silicone. Bob Fenner>

Juwel Vision 260 missing top cross brace... 6/15/06 Hiya <And you> I can't find any info on specifically Juwel vision 260l ( bow fronted) tanks where the top cross brace is missing and how to go about replacing it. <Maybe not this brand/model specifically, but here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Or use the Google search tool on WWM with the terms "glass tank center brace" and look at the cached versions> I bought this tank last week, set it up on Sunday and NOW i realize it should have a cross brace at the top (it has one as part of the plastic trim at the bottom) - why i never noticed i don't know. This tank is now FULL its bowing out slightly (as in the front and back flaps don't meet the sides of the tank by about 2/8" and i realize i must do something NOW. <Yes... drain it down at least halfway in the meanwhile> Do Juwel do replacements, the brace was plastic and has been removed possibly by the *insert expletive here* guy who sold it me who had used it as a marine tank with MH lighting, so i can only assume it was originally part of the plastic top trim (its not quite 'trim' it does seem fairly structural). Since its unlikely i can get a replacement quickly (I've looked and i can only find replacement hood flaps) can you suggest some sort of DIY construction - i do have available some pine planks and suitable screws to make a temp. cross brace but something made of metal that sits below the lighting unit would eventually be better. I'm also rubbish at DIY... <I would not do this then... have a stockist recommend someone> I'm going to drop the water level by about 2/3ds will that help or should i drop it more - tank is currently understocked but i have nowhere else to put the inhabitants. <And sell or lease you a replacement tank in the meanwhile> Hope you can help as i am panicking right now. Emma <I'd contact Juwel re or one of their larger, more local distributors: http://search.msn.com/results.asp?a=e44a7d1edf2ab77f1c37cb562cde7f61577fcd3f6225690ade0a d40bd4d3d7f5&RS=CHECKED&Form=HM&cp=1252&v=1&q=who+makes+Juwel+aquariums%3F Bob Fenner> Re: Juwel vision 260 missing top cross brace... 6/15/06 Thank you for your prompt reply and help. <Welcome Emma> I have contacted my best LFS who are Juwel distributors and whilst sadly 90% of the staff have gone to the pub to watch the football, <Heee! So is our roommate of 14 years... Peter, from Yorkshire> the person I spoke to believes it IS possible to order replacement plastic top trim and cross brace from Juwel so hopefully I can order that tomorrow. Meanwhile I have someone making me a metal cross brace that should sit under the hood. <Ah, good> I have dropped the tank level to just over 1/2 full (anything less and my angelfish cannot swim upright! they are BIG). <Mmm, good as well> Thank you again for your help - I have been reading the wetwebmedia for over a year now and have found all kinds of useful information, its now one of the first places I turn to when in doubt. Emma <A pleasure to serve. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Repair...Braces Broke Loose 8/14/06 Hi Bob, <James today, Steve.> I was given your name as someone who has significant expertise in tank repair. I have a 135 reef ready oceanic tank where both the top braces have broken. I am fearful that I will not be able to obtain a replacement before this could break. Is there anything I can buy - or do to provide some insurance? <I'd go with a 1/2 inch pipe clamp with wood backups on the clamps and just snug it up to a point where you can just feel some resistance in the screw, then give it another 1/4 turn.> <<... RMF would drain this tank first...>> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Steve Mc. <In future queries, do not auto sign with all your personal info. I have deleted this for your privacy as these FAQ's are read by thousands of people on a daily basis.>

-Removing the Supports- 8/29/06 Bob: <Evening, Justin with you tonight> First of all I am new as an aquarium hobbyist. Anyway my friend was moving out of town and gave me his 55 gallon tank. The only thing I needed was a light and filter to start my first planted freshwater aquarium. I purchased a canister filter and a light source that had a lunar light in the center. In retrospect, a very bone head move I made, I cut the plastic bracing strip in the center of the tank. <Uh oh......> So the lunar light was now visible on the tank. I have filled the tank and was unable to place the hood on. Then I realized the glass had bowed. I, however, then was able to force the hood on. I have since removed approximately 1/3 of the tank's water. I assume the plastic bracing strip is essential! <Yes, it keeps the center of the tank from bowing, and cracking, spilling 55 gallons of water on your floor.....> I have the plastic I cut out. Can I use screws to replace the cut out portion lengthwise leaving a little window in the center? Will that brace my aquarium enough? Or should I repair in another manner? I hope the tank is not doomed!!! thank you every much in advance for answering my question!! Sincerely, Michael Becht <Drain your tank down totally, and DO NOT fill it, it probably will crack under the pressure created by the bowing in the center. Ask your fish store to order you a new 55 gallon outer top brace. Once that comes, remove all the silicone from the old brace, and yank it off, resilicone the new one in, let dry for 24-48 hours, and you should be fine.> <Justin>

Tank Repair and Halide Question 2/5/07 Hello from Alabama, <Greetings from (today) sunny Southern California, though I will be literally next/next door in SC three days hence> Thank you for the great site and all of your help. I have two questions and will try to keep it brief. I have a small aquarium maintenance business <Ahh, I did this for 19 years...> and one of my customers has two marine aquariums, of which the questions are about. The first tank I have a question about is a 210 All-Glass reef-ready that when he had set-up (by someone else) the power compact strip light was laid directly on the glass lids causing both plastic braces to melt and break. <Yes... not smart> This of course has caused the front and back panels of glass to bow to a point where the braces have about a 1/2" gap where they used to meet. <Uhh... I would fashion, re-install these braces... they are functional... not just for looks> I'm not sure how long it has been like this, I have been servicing the tank for a couple of months and I feel like something should be done. <I agree> I know that the whole top trim can be removed and replaced with a new one, but I am a little scared to attempt this. <Not that hard to do... Contact All-Glass re... they will instruct you, sell you the replacement bracing... You may well be able to "get away" with draining the tank only mostly...> I was thinking about draining the tank down to a point where the tank receded to its normal width and the braces touched again, and then attaching a new piece of 1/4" plexi-glass that would bridge over the broken brace and act as a new brace. I plan to attach this new piece by drilling holes and using plastic wing nuts. Of course I will have the PC on legs like it always should have been. Do you think this would be a worthwhile remedy for the problem? <Mmm... I doubt if this repair would "hold" (just so much force), but worth attempting rather than doing nothing... If it were my account I'd effect the repair mentioned first> My next question is concerning this same customer's second tank. It is a 135 gallon (72x18x24) acrylic tank. It has the standard acrylic top with two rectangular openings. We recently placed an HQI strip light that has 3-250 watt HQIs and 4-130 Actinic PCs. The two end HQI bulbs align over the openings in the top but about 80% of the center one is over the 7" acrylic section between the two rectangles. I am currently not using the center light because I wasn't sure how hot it would get, fearing this tank would suffer like the above tank. <You are wise here... I would NOT place a 250 watt HQI fixture here> The bottom of the light fixture is about 5" off of the acrylic, <Too close... I would have at a minimum a foot of space twixt the lamp and acrylic... Plexiglas has a surprisingly low flash point> the top of the canopy is made with a plastic grid for ventilation, and the strip light has a cooling fan built in. The HQIs are on a timer and run about 9 hours a day. Based on this information do you think that it would be safe to use the center bulb? <I do NOT. Again, if the one fixture (or likely all) can be "lifted" the suggested height...> Thank you for your help, sorry I ran a little long. Jeremy <>< <No worries. Good to make your acquaintance. Bob Fenner>

Do you know where I can find a replacement part? I have an Aqua-Culture 55 gal tank. The top plastic brace (the one that crosses the center of the tank in the middle to brace the front and back panels) broke! I cannot see why it would be necessary to replace the entire tank because a piece of plastic broke. Do you know where I can find a replacement top frame? I can find no "Aqua Culture" website anywhere on the net. Thanks... Kirby L. Wallace Tulsa, Oklahoma <I am also unfamiliar with this manufacturer... have you tried back where you purchased/received this unit? It may well be that the best course of action is to make, install a brace from plastic or glass stock... insights on how this can be done are archived under "Aquarium Repair" for both glass and acrylic on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

To brace or not to brace, actually to use or not to use Hi Bob <Chris> Thought I'd do this as a reply to your last email, rather than a new email, so you can see the texts of our previous exchanges. <Okay> Well, as of this evening, tank construction has finally begun. But problems have emerged, and I would really value your advice. I have used this glass supplier for a number of projects, but never for aquarium glass. I've always found their cutting accurate, and therefore this time I just quickly checked for overall dimensions, not for right angles on faces or edges. MISTAKE! A number of the glass edges are not at right angles to the face, and two of the sheets - a side and a front - are not perfectly rectangular. This means that the front glass - the final piece, and therefore the one where the mistakes accumulated - has masses of air bubbles in the silicon seal which I could not eliminate - even when banging pretty hard with a rubber hammer. <... not good> Where some of these bubbles reach the outside of the seam - inside and/or outside the tank - I intend to run more silicon into the gaps tomorrow. But numerous bubbles will undoubtedly remain. How disastrous is this? And if you think it is disastrous, what can I do about it? <Can be real trouble... the only real strength in these constructs is the silicone between the glass to glass surface area... less of this area, or more gap between the sheets, bubbles... equals less strength. And just for future reference, was I wrong to keep my bead of silicon to 1/4 inch for 1/2 inch glass? Should my bead of silicon have been of the same thickness as the glass (1/2 inch)? <Mmm, nope to all... as stated, the real strength of these joints is just a smear of silicone... the rest of the material is to protect, more or less, cutting into this area (between the glass sheets). Some tank manufacturers in Europe like Juwel, actually leave off any "extra" silicone... and folks who know how to use silicone really well, can make a whole bunch of tanks whereas sloppy folks (like myself) don't get near as much per volume of silicone> At the back left of the tank, where the side piece of glass is not perfectly rectangular, the gap at the bottom is 3 mm (1/8 inch), but that can be filled with silicon. Again, how disastrous is that? <Can be tremendous... I encourage you to make the current tank into a terrarium... or a snake et al. enclosure... really... and start over with panels that will leave NO gaps> And just to end my tale of woe, the left side piece is 4 Mmm (3/16 inch) above the top edge of the back glass, and the right side piece is 3mm above the top edge of the back glass. Which means that if I run my bracing strip along the top edge of the glass (as we discussed earlier), there would be a 3-4 mm silicon-filled gap between the bracing strip and the top edge of the back glass. Any thoughts on this? <This is not so much of a big deal... and some more bracing can be cut, fit, siliconed to fit inside and attached to this "on top" bracing if so desired. HOWEVER, I would NOT use this tank with the gaps stated as a water-filled container. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance for your help, Chris

Tank bracing Hi guys- <Steven> I am getting ready to move my glass tank (5x2x2 with 10mm glass thickness) and thought that this would be a great opportunity to possibly do something about the 12" center brace that is causing a bit of headache with my lighting. From the other posts that I've read that have had bowing issues, this is exactly the type of bracing that you have recommended to resolve their problem. However, I wanted to ask if it is possible (safe) to remove the center brace and replace with two braces that are not as wide (approximately 4-5") that will divide the top of the tank into thirds so that I can place my three MH in between each of them? I have looked on www.garf.org DIY tank building pages, and the only bracing that they recommend was a 2" brace (10mm thick) running the perimeter of the tank. I was thinking of doing this as well as the proposed two other interior braces to try and be as safe as possible. Does this sound plan sound alright to you??? Thank you so much for your help. Steve <This so-called European style bracing is useful... I have it with my Eheim units... But I would increase the width of the material to three inches, and if you had more than 10 mm thick glass (12 or even wider), I would use this for the strips... 100% silicone them inside, about an inch down from the top. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium repair I just picked up a used 150 gallon All Glass Aquarium. The tank is an older model aquarium, and has no center support braces. <I would likely add a good sized one... either in the middle... half inch glass... or "Euro-style" ones, spanning the inside front and back panels...> Fortunately, I have a couple of new All- Glass top molding frames, with dual center braces, left over from a 125 gallon aquarium rebuild project that was never finished. <Oh!> However, unlike the 125 gallon project, removing the old frame has been very difficult and I don't want to damage the glass. Would you know of or have any ideas on how the remove this old four piece top molding frame? <Mmm, "it's a bear" no matter which way it's done... all siliconed on... no "magic" solvent... but the use of sturdy bladed hand tools (there are some stout ones for glass install and vinyl flooring industries... sold at Lowe's, Home Depot... to "whack" the frame off in bits/pieces... by thrusting upward... with the blade flush to the glass... a lot of work, but the only way I know how> Would changing the top molding frame be enough or should I replace both the top and bottom molding frames? <For function, only the top... or go with the aforementioned bracing ideas. These are further detailed on WWM> The main reason why I want the change the top molding frame is so I can make use of an All Glass canopy which will not fit properly without the new top molding frame and a canopy definitely wouldn't fit if the tank was to bow out because of the old top molding frame. Let me now, thanks. <Ahh, So we are back to the removal/replacement plan... Take your time... can be done... with patience, muscle, tool. Bob Fenner>

Re: All- Glass tank repair Thanks for responding back fast. I was determined to get the frame off yesterday and after a couple hours of work I was able to get the old All- Glass top frame off. The only thing I noticed is that the tanks side panels are a little less than 1/2" thick, unlike the front and rear panels that are 1/2" thick. The new All Glass, dual center brace, frame fit nearly perfect (with exception to the slightly thinner side panels), there is absolutely new play front to back or side to side. <Good> So today I installed the new top frame and I also resiliconed all the inside edges to the tank. Some time within the next two days I will test the tank for leaks and if all goes well maybe by the end of the week I can put my 2 Tiger Oscars, 1 Butikoferi, 3 Plecos, 1 Lima shovel nose, and last but least one 24" and still growing Tiger shovelnose, into the tank. Their new tank will be right next to their old tank. Would you recommend using any of their old water in the new tank to help it cycle better? <Yes... as much of this as practical> Also, do you think using Marineland Bio-Spira would be helpful in getting the tank to cycle faster? <Mmm, yes, but likely not necessary... I would move a bunch of the "muck" in the current substrate (gravel-vacuumed) as well> I do have a slight disadvantage in filtration. The tank came with a forty gallon sump, which I have no space for, so I'll be using three Emperor 400s to filter the tank instead. Would you recommend using anything else to keep this tank clear? Let me know, thanks again. <The more... the merrier... I would add a big honking canister filter here as well... Bob Fenner>

Broken Tank Repair Hi Bob, Love the site. I acquired a large 156 gallon with the full black oak base for a relatively small amount. However the drawback was that this tank was in a fish store that a friend worked in. The reason they parted with it was that they were using it for reptiles and one of their employees left a heat lamp resting on the top of the glass which obviously cracked the glass. I was hoping you could offer me some advise on my repairs. The sides of the tank have no cracks. The tank is six feet long with about a two foot piece on top right in the middle. This whole piece would have to be replaced. The silicone appears to be in great shape all the way around but I am wondering if I should replace It anyway in case a small sliver of glass might cause me damage. The silicone holding the top in place is very hard and not to easy to scrape away. I was hoping you might be able to help me decide how to go about removing the piece to repair it. I know you have to use the right silicone but do you think that would have been all they would have used to secure such a structural piece? < Carefully remove the plastic trim along the top rim of the tank. I have used single edged razor blade and sharpened putty knife with a little effort it can be removed. With the trim removed, the razorblade can be used to remove the silicon attached to the broken piece. Remove the broken glass and remove as much of the old silicon as you can by shaving glass. Get a new piece of glass that will fit that is the same thickness and silicon it in place with silicon that is made for aquariums.> I carefully vacuumed up the glass that could possibly have been in the tank. What I am thinking is that I can replace the piece and fill it with water to check for leaks and should be able to drain out any Slivers when I remove the water. < Sounds like a logical approach.> I am also wondering if you think the guitar string idea might be the best to use here? < Don't know what the guitar string method is.> Also even if they had originally only used silicone do you not think it a good idea to use some epoxy to seam the replacement glass piece back in since this piece never resides below the water level. < I would replace the glass and use only silicon. It is a structural piece of the aquarium and it needed to keep the front and back pieces from bowing and then breaking. Aquariums are pretty well engineered already so I would recommend to just duplicate what is already there and don't get too fancy on making improvements.> I also seen online where experts like you recommend sanding the edges when seaming the pieces together however I think it would be safe to skip this stage on this particular piece cause this is not a piece that requires water tightness and the abrasion could be an eyesore <Only sand the edge of the glass that will come in contact with the silicon to give it better adhesion to the glass and thus making a better bond.> It is an Oceanic Systems aquarium and I could not afford one of this size any other way so any advice GREATLY appreciated. I have additionally added the Oceanic guys in case they can help answer or assist in my information. < Oceanic is a quality brand aquarium. I am sure once the piece has been replaced and the repair has been done that you will get years of pleasure from your new aquarium.-Chuck><<Mmm, and do check the thickness of the glass of the rest of this tank... It may have been built with thin material... for herptile use... NOT to be filled with water. BobF>>

DIY fix for broken 55 gal ctr brace Dear Mr. Fenner, I broke my center brace on a 55 gal glass tank and as you can imagine I was in trouble. At first I used a bar clamp to keep everything together, and then I came upon a " fix" The fix; was to use marine silicone and some oak I bought at Lowe's. Check it out, it was cheap and is bullet proof. I have removed the brace btw..... It's sort of " laminated" to the glass. <Mmm, I would still replace the wooden brace... with glass and silicone. Worth the piece of mind in the long haul. Bob Fenner>

Deflection (bowing tank) 5/22/03 My wife's 55 gallon long aquarium has a broken center support on top. She filled it and it is bowing in the center approx. an inch. Will this be safe or will it let go? <not safe at all... the acceptable tolerance for glass is half of its thickness (i.e.- a 1/4" bow on 1/2" glass).> I have braced it with a small bar clamp at this time. Is it possible to get it fixed or is it time for a new one? <easily fixed mate. Just drop the water level a few inches, have a glass brace cut at the local glass shop (say a piece of half inch glass 3-4" wide and the inside width of the clamped tank)... then silicone it in place (set for 7 days clamped to dry> We line in north eastern Ohio and cant locate any one close that repairs these. Paul <no worries... an easy fix. Else you can order a new top rim for the tank from most shops and mail order companies like That Fish Place in Lancaster PA. Best regards, Anthony>

Bowing Tank Hi, <Hello there> I have read your faq's and have found several about tank bowing but I still need to ask. I have recently purchased a supposedly "NEW" 80ga tank from a friend. I finally got time to fill it last night and the tank sides bow. After taking some measurements the tank is bowing approximately 1" in the center of the tank at the top, the tank is 1/4" glass. No leaks yet. Would this be one of those cases where a brace would be needed. If so is there somewhere I could get detailed information on how this is accomplished. Thanks In Advance Sheldon <I am very concerned here... I would drain this tank down and investigate its "origins"... Is this a manufactured product? By whom? There is no "center brace" to prevent bowing? There should be in a tank of this gallonage, construction. It IS bowing too much and could be real trouble. Do remove about half the water for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bowing Tank
Bob, Thanks for your quick response. No, there is no center brace. Would it be possible for me to install one or should I consider a new tank. Sheldon <If it were me, I'd return this tank (or use it for other purposes... not filled all the way) for another... but it is possible to install a center brace. 100% silicone sealant/adhesive and a to-fit piece of glass... Bob Fenner>

Tank bowing... possible trouble, brace I do not see dates for these Q&A so this may be irrelevant, but just in case this guy is still tempted to remove THE SHADOW; When my Grandpa died I received his setup, of a stand and its two accompanying glass tanks (bottom tank 40gal, top tank 55 gal) everything 4ft long. Bottom tank is not as tall as the other but built of much thicker glass, this was not made with a connecting plastic strap molded in for top center support. However Grandpa wanted to use the same type of hoods that the top tank had, requiring a center support to imitate the molded support strap of the 55 gal. He was handy so this was not a problem. Our new house was not finished at the time we got these tanks, so we had to temp set everything up in a mobile home. We shimmed to level, but could not rectify for the movement of the trailer when walking etc., to stop the swaying of the tank. Awaiting the move we only had fish living in the top tank. One evening a very loud snap was heard out in the living room, went out there, saw no reason for the noise. Next morning at feeding time it obvious that the top tank's hoods are sagging into the water in the center. The molded strap had snapped off, Yikes!!!!! So extremely glad we did not get up to a flood and dried fish. What to do? We saw no leaks, but either way we needed our hoods supported. And we suspected the manufacturer put it there for more than one reason anyway. Rather than waste time setting up the other tank and transferring the "kids", we decided to just move Grandpa's homemade bracket to the big tank. We knew from playing around during our initial setup that it could fit either one. We were shocked to find out that the tank had bowed so much (first however the pressure snapped the strap, secondly a night of sitting) that we could no longer put the bracket on this tank. We had to drain it to only fish-deep to get it back to its 12". We've used the tank this way for 4 years now, realizing how necessary that support is to the tank's structure, and glad the tank and occupants did not die for the lesson. < The center support is needed. As you have found out that on the thicker tanks they are able to stay open without the center brace. As manufacturers try to cut costs to become more competitive they used thinner glass and tried to make up for it with a center brace. Unfortunately they used plastic that got hot under the lights and fragile. Many of these are broken or are about to break. Fortunately the fix is easy and not too expensive. Get a piece of glass that is at least 6 inches wide and fits inside the tank from front to back under the lip of the tank. Get some clear silicon from the local fish store and silicon the glass in place under the lip of the tank in the center. Place a 2X4 piece of wood over it and tie it to the glass to hold it in place. The next day the wood can be removed and you have a permanent fix for your tank. Make sure and use silicon that is safe for aquariums. The other stuff has fungicides in it to prevent mold and can be deadly to fish.-Chuck> Mrs. Williams

Ray question, and tank repair/bracing Hi, I was at my LFS recently and there was a ray there. I asked what kind and they said it was a Bluespotted Ribbontail. I didn't think it was but I thought I guess they are right. It was white with a lot of dark whitish spots on it. I was thinking it was a yellow stingray or possibly a Cortez stingray. But the question is are ribbontailed rays white when they are born? This one probably had a 4-5" disc width and I can't get any pictures of it either. <Mmm, the only Ribbontail ray, Bluespotted or otherwise that comes up on fishbase.org is Taeniura lymna, http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Taeniura&speciesname=lymma go see there, click on the one pic, look at the others... then look up this animal on www.WetWebMedia.com, not a hardy aquarium species.> I also have another question. The support beam on the top of my aquarium has fallen in on one side (one side is in the water). The other side is barely hanging on. We called around and my LFS said that my aquarium is shot (all the water would fall out). We immediately started draining the tank. <Good idea... for safety's sake. The brace can be repaired, re-installed...> Right now there is about 6" of water in it. It is a 200 gal. tank so I estimated there is probably about 40 gal. left in it. I took my eel to the LFS and they are going to take care of it for me. I currently have a bamboo shark egg and some snails in it. The shark still has a few months before it will hatch. Nothing is on in the aquarium right now. I was wondering will the shark be ok with no water flow or anything? <Not likely. Better to set up filtration like a canister or sponges with air or powerhead drive...> Also we are going to try to repair the beam. What do you think our chances are that it will still work and not break? <Very good if done "properly"... I would "double up" the current brace... with either more glass/pieces on top, bottom or along the two sides at the top. Bob Fenner> Thanks Adam Siders

Aquarium Structure Question <MikeD here> My 125 gallon tank is about ten years old and never had a center brace.<older ones were thicker glass> I would like to put one in so it doesn't bow.<NOT a good idea. This sort of work can only be done with the tank drained and empty. To attempt this while full will likely cause the tank to rupture or shatter>> A hood won't fit on top right now.<My suggestion is to get some acrylic and have it cut to the size of your tank (trace the outline of the bow with a pencil), then set a hood on this> My question is where should the piece of glass that I will use go? Will it be attached on top of the front and back pieces or can I attach it on the inside of the tank and have it pull the front and back glass together?<Again, the odds of doing this successfully with a full aquarium are almost 0%><<For clarification here, RMF would put in a brace... with the tank drained, cleaned...>> -Will

Perimeter Bracing Hi guys and gals at WWM. Love the site, and you're always the first people I turn to for answers, yet I can't seem to find the answer to this one... I've just bought my 6th tank in the house, though I am in need of it for a semi-emergency. (my 55 gal is leaking about 15 gal a day from a seal on the bottom). It's a 110 gal 72x18x20 with 1/2 inch glass. I got it from a random flea market type place for 75 bucks. couldn't pass it up. anyway, I've already stripped the sealant on the inside, and resealed it, and I've inspected the sealant at the joints holding the panes together, and it all looks good. My question though is this: I was told by one of my LFS that it should have some bracing. The plastic perimeter trim was only on 3 sides, and was broke in the corners...obviously this isn't supporting. Does a tank with these dimensions need bracing as in a cross brace from front to back or perimeter bracing to hold it together (if it even provides any support) or is the glass of sufficient strength to not bow? A few of the previous q.'s on your site concerning trim point to it's non-effectiveness on smaller tanks, yet no one has asked with larger tanks. Thanks a bunch! I tell everyone about the site, and will continue. :D < A 6 foot long tank needs some cross bracing in the center to prevent the glass from bowing at the center front and center back of the long pieces of glass. The easiest way to do this is to cut a piece of glass that is about 8 to 12 inches wide and will fit in the center of the tank from front to back in the upper edge of the center of the tank. It sound be siliconed in place and allowed to cure for a couple of days. A piece at each edge of about 6 inches wouldn't hurt. The perimeter decorative molding would be needed at the bottom to provide the same support along the bottom between the tank and the stand.-Chuck> Jeremy Tanner

Broken tank re-set-up Hi Bob, How are you today? <Fine my friend. I trust this note finds you well> I have the pictures of the new 135 gal tank at http://www.cia.com.au/winone and simply click on the 'The third Tank' link. <Yikes... the broken brace tank...> On Monday 30 October (1 week after the new tank was setup), I lost the orange-spotted goby. I do not understand what went wrong? <Stress, strain...> Everything else is doing great, even the corals that looked like they needed a holiday are looking great today. I do have a SeaChem ammonia alert and it indicated that there was nothing to be alarmed about. <Don't rely on this device alone...> The 7 other fish are also doing great. Could stress cause this? When I had him in the 2 foot tank, I put no sand in the 2 foot tank. When I put him back into the main tank he was hiding for a few days and then started peering out from under the rocks at the front of the tank and a day later he was dead. I noticed that he was not eating for about 5 or 6 days. It's very distressing when thing like this happens. Warmest regards Lucien Cinc <Is the Eheim pump attached to a line/through put in the bottom of the tank? I would "hard plumb" this, or at least place two secure plastic zip ties/panduits on each connection... If possible/practical, it's better (more disaster-proof) to just run such lines of the top of tanks... Bob Fenner>

Guess what? Hi Bob, You will never guess what happened? <I have a very vivid imagination...> The center brace let go on my fish tank on Thursday morning! <Yikes!> I have taking this as an opportunity to upgrade the fish tank again :) I now have a 72" x 24" x 18" tank, which I am going to pick up in about an hour. Everything is in buckets and waiting for the new fish tank to come. I am getting very good at moving fish tanks now. This is the second time I have had to do this and this will be my 3rd tank now. <Good to be in practice> I will put pictures up on my web site in a few day time and let you know. Warmest regards Lucien Cinc <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Guess what? (tank repair, RO run-in period)
Hi Bob, So far, so good. All the fish are fine and the soft corals made it okay. I did lose the feather duster starfish and a hard coral. They sat in buckets for 2 days. I guess that was to long for them? <Yes> I received my RO unit yesterday. I have started it off and will let it run for a few days, before I start using it for the fish. <A few hours is long enough> As soon as I get a chance to prepare the pictures I will let you know. Again, many thanks for your help. It is much appreciated :) Warmest regards Lucien Cinc <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Tank problem Mr. Fenner Thanking for your continuous dedication in sharing your knowledge with all of us, and hoping that everything is ok with you, this time I need advice about what to do or not do with a tank structure problem. Just in the center and between the back and the front glass there, use to be glued, at the top of those, and above the water level, a rectangular piece of glass glued with silicone on the inside of the mentioned rear and front glasses. <Yes, an important element of the tank's integrity. We call this a brace> This piece is a reinforcement with the intention of maintain permanently stable/fixed the distance between those main panels. The tank is a full open top 100 gallons, 1.5 m length, 0.55 m height, and 0.5 m width. For some reason the piece is not glued in one of the extremities, the front one, and as a consequence the main glasses are a little bowed at the central and up area. <Yikes, cuidado my friend. I would add a piece of glass over or under the present one (cleaned up thoroughly of course) with new, 100% silicone and anneal/silicone the two together and onto the front panels of your tank> The width at the middle point, where the bow is maximized is in now 0.51 ( more 0.5 in the back and more 0.5 in the front). Considering that little difference and the necessity of drain all the water to reglue the reinforcement, I am considering the possibility of doing nothing, but..... your experience, practice, opinion, are very important for helping me to decide what to do. <I would drain the tank down a good ways (medio/half or more) to do this improvement. Pues/but definitely do it.> Best regards and thanks Flavio Ribeiro
<Nos vemos, Bob Fenner>

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