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FAQs on Glass Aquarium Repair, Braces/Cross Supports 2

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Related FAQs: Cross-Braces/Bracing 1, Cross-Braces/Bracing 3, Cross-Braces/Bracing 4, Cross-Braces/Bracing , Euro-Braces/Bracing, & Glass Aquarium Repair 1, Glass Aquarium Repair 2, G lass Aquarium Repair 3, Glass Aquarium Repair 4, Glass Aquarium Repair 5, & FAQs on Repairing Glass Tank: Scratches/Blemishes, Leaks, Chips/Cracks, Whole Panes, Tools: Cutting Glass, Silicone, Moulding/Frames; Techniques; Olde Tank (Slate Bottom, Metal Frame, Pecora...) Repairs, Troubleshooting/Repairs, & Acrylic Aquarium Repair, Used Aquarium Gear,

Crack in Center Brace 6/25/11
Hi Crew,
Here's a hardware question for you. Is the center brace on a 55 gallon tank essential to the tank's strength and stability?
I have a Perfecto 55 gallon. The top center brace is cracking. It hasn't totally broken, but the plastic at the rim of the tank is pulling away from the brace and it's probably safe to assume the brace will crack completely.
Does this mean the front of the tank is likely to rupture?
<Mmm, not likely, but will subtract from the effective lifetime of the tank... the seals>
Is this essentially a reptile terrarium from this point?
<Mmm, no. I'd contact the manufacturer, or any extant one... making this dimension tank (48 by 13 by 20-22"...) and have them sell you a replacement top frame... carefully cut off the present one and Silicone the new on (while the tank is empty...). See here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkmoldng.htm
and the linked files above in areas you need input (e.g. Silicone perhaps).
Bob Fenner>
Luckily I'm just (re)setting up the tank, so there are no fish in it now.

55 Gallon Middle Brace 3/1/11
Hello WWM!
<Hello Jeremy.>
I love your site! I am "new" to this hobby with only a 29g Oceanic brand freshwater aquarium running for about a year. I have had a 55g long tank (two 22" or 24" sections split by a middle plastic brace). I got this tank on craigslist for $20, and it cam with a stand, so I couldn't pass it up. It holds water perfectly and all seals seem perfectly intact. When I received the tank, it had been used for a reptile, so I cleaned the tank out initially very thoroughly. The only damage I could find was "warping" from various lights having been mounted on the top rim, and starting to melt the plastic.
<Uh oh!>
It was still solid, so we filled it on the porch, to pressure test it. It was fine for about 4 days, filled up with no leaks. I proceeded to empty the tank, and get it set up for another freshwater setup. We had it running for about 6 months with no issues, and then one Saturday morning I awoke to my 4 year old dumping two whole canisters of flake into the tank!
D'oh!! Call it a blessing in disguise, as during the process of moving the fish to another tank, and cleaning this 55g out, I noticed the middle brace was broken through, and the sides of the tank were slightly bowing. This is a thinner, tempered glass tank, not Plexiglas. I learned the
hard way, how important that middle brace is, with a 75 or more gallon tempered glass tank....
I have read throughout your site, a multitude of different fixes for this.
Due to the nature of the warped plastic, I do not see my being able to use Weld-on for this.
<Wrong material anyhow.>
I would like to get a strong, metal u-bracket to place over this, to give the sides the support they need. I guess my questions are:
1.) should I be considering securing the existing middle brace pieces to the u-bracket in any fashion and/or
2.) what gauge/type of metal should I be looking at that will adequately support the tank, and not bend or give out over time?
<I would not use metal at all. In fact I just answered another query on using an acrylic sheet and actually bolting it on with nylon nuts and bolts. See the dailies here in a bit for more info.>
Aesthetics are not as important of a factor, but obviously I can't keep my24" c-clamp on their permanently.
Picture attached.
<For this situation you may just wish to contact the tank manufacturer and get replacement trim. Most are fairly inexpensive.>
Thanks for everything!!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Another possible way to fix a broken cross brace? 3/1/11
Hey, WWM! Great site!
I have a 125 gallon tank (72" X 18" footprint) with a center cross brace. I used to use two 36" fixtures with one 250 watt halide in each. I just recently bought a 72" fixture with three 250 watt metal halides. I thought that I could swap the trim out for a double braced trim, but the difference in brands did not allow me to do this. I was told that I could cut the center cross brace, leaving roughly 1-1.5" stubs on each side, then replace the plastic brace with acrylic and attach with vinyl nuts and bolts. Have you ever heard of this method?
<Have done it, works fine.>
Would you suggest giving this a shot, or should I just hang the fixture higher from the trim
than the legs would allow (which is only 3" or so)?
<Tough one. This is why I really hate center braced 36" and 72" tanks.
The acrylic will be stronger, but no good comes to it by having the light too close either. But it will not cast as much of a shadow. It is a lot more work, especially since this tank is up and running, but in the past I have actually cut the center brace out all together and installed euro bracing to get around this. Otherwise the acrylic may be a better bet. It will craze and fail over time if the light is heating it up. But, unless you have a catastrophic failure (the big if), it will be easily replaceable with another piece since it is merely bolted on.>
Thanks for your time
and all the help you've given over the years.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

135G Oceanic Center Brace Collapse 1/21/11
Hey Bob and the rest of the gang,
<Hello Joe, Scott V. with you tonight.>
It's been a little while. I've got a 135G Oceanic Reef Ready tank (72 x 18 x 24). To my dismay I woke up this morning and found that the large glass center brace had pulled free from the front of the tank and was hanging in the tank (I actually used to have their 150G that is the same dimensions but 4� taller that this happened to. I returned it immediately and got the 135 which I told was �more stable�).
I've searched your web sight and I think I've pieced together what I need to do, but I had a few more questions before I do this. Wanted to hear your thoughts or if you could let me know if there's a step by step guide for me doing this.
<No step by step as far as I am aware.>
So here's my plan. I've got 6 oz of All Glass Silicone and have purchased two 24� wood clamps. I was take drain about ¼ or 1/3 of the water in the tank (or whatever it takes to get the bowing down). Then I was going to dry and razor clean the brace and the glass where it was attached. Then I'd generously apply the silicon to the brace and clamp it shut (using wood block so I don't damage the tank). Wipe off the excess silicone when I clamp it and wait 24 hours.
<24 hours is generally considered plenty of time for the silicone to cure, but in cases like this I would give it a good two if not three days to make sure it is 100% through.>
So what do you think, does it sounds like a plan?
<Sounds good.>
Another question I had was the silicone that's still on the tank where the brace was. Any chance I can
leave that and just silicone over it?
<Not on the glass. New silicone will not really stick to cured silicone. You will need to remove it all from the glass surfaces. Where the support will touch the plastic trim it really does not matter. The bond there is not structural. Just clean enough silicone off the plastic to get your brace in place.>
It looks really thick and I'm worried
it may be tough to get it all off and that I may wind up doing more damage to the seal than good. Also, the back piece is still hanging on a bit.
Should I get rid of all the silicon on that side (really would rather not) as well or silicone over the silicone that's still there?
<Yep, start fresh. If it is sagging from that side you do not have the greatest of bonds left there.>
Thanks for any help or suggestions you can offer. You guys are always great and I love your sight.
<Thank you Joe, have a good one!>

135 Gallon Tank "No Center Brace" 12/2/10
Hi, How's it going?
<A bit blurry this AM>
I recently acquired an older 135 gallon tank. The glass is almost 3/4 inch thick. It does have the trim on top and bottom and is in good shape. It appears the tank does not have a center brace. Doesn't look like it was manufactured with a center brace. Is this something I should be concerned about?
<Mmmm, possibly. How tall is this tank? And long? Does it bow much in the middle when filled all the way? Is it of custom or commercial manufacture?
If it were mine, I'd likely install glass "Euro-bracing"... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm
I have been told that because this is an older tank and the glass is so thick, it was designed this way and not necessary to have a center brace.
<Mmm, there were no such "olde" times>
What do you think? Also, I am resealing the tank. I cut away the old silicone. scraped off around the seams, and cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
It is all taped off and ready to go. Any tips or pointers?
<... please learn to use the search tool, indices on WWM. Read here:
and the linked files above>
Anything I missed up to this point? How effective is resealing a tank? With a tank so big I do not want to worry about a disaster happening. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Regards, Aaron
<30-40k people every day use the site... Enjoy. Bob Fenner>
Re: 135 Gallon Tank "No Center Brace" 12/2/2010

> The tank is 72 long by almost 18 1/2 wide by 24 tall. I do not know if it is custom or not. I do not see a manufacture name anywhere.
<From the dimensions, lack of brace... this is a home-made job>
I have not set this up yet. The guy I got it from had it filled and running when I looked at it. I did not even think to look for a bow. I did see that he had done a horrible job sealing this thing. I asked about it and he said he was paranoid of it leaking, which is why he sealed it. I don't want to take a chance so I am resealing it. I have heard to use GE Silicone 1. But it states on the tube that it is not for aquariums. Is it ok to use?
<... read where you were referred previously>
My other problem is moving this thing. Right now it sits in position to be filled.
> This thing is heavy as heck. Is there any way I can seal it and fill it in the house?
<Yes... stand to the side... Mostly jesting here... I would install the Euro-bracing first>
Getting it outside in the freezing weather and filling I think would be a problem. Thanks Bob.
<Keep reading till you're confident of how to proceed here. BobF>

Cracked support piece on large aquarium 10/4/10
Hello, my name is Buddy and I am looking for some advice on how to go about repairing my large aquarium. I have been running aquariums with my neighbor for about 10 years now. I am a building contractor and have extensive experience with tools and building things from scratch
<Ah good>
so I have confidence that I can do this but I want someone with specific aquarium experience to lead me in the right direction as well. Here is my situation, I have a 440 gallon freshwater tank with about 60 African Cichlids in it. The tank is a glass tank, it is 10 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 3 feet deep, it is made of ¾� glass. I bought the tank new from a company in Calgary and had it shipped to me in Missouri, we also got a 220 gallon tank at the same time.
I got the tank new about 5 years ago and I built a stand for it out of oak plywood and we put it in the basement where the floor drops off two inches in the corner, but we allowed for that when building the support legs for the stand and the stand is perfectly level as is the tank.
The tank weighs 1750lbs empty and is in a basement down a hall that is only 28 inches wide so we built a special cart for moving the tank but it still took five of us to push the tank off the cart and onto the stand. Well that should be enough background, here is the problem. I have two lights that went out recently so I ordered more but before they got here, my neighbors son (he is 20 and should have known better) put a flood light on top off the middle support piece so he could see to clean the gravel on my tank. Well everything was fine while the light sat there for 20 minutes, but when he moved the light and hung it off the ceiling, I am guessing some water splashed onto the hot glass and it cracked (all the way through on part of it). So the tank was built by using a piece of ¾� plywood on the bottom (I guess to protect the glass), then they laid a 24� x 120� piece of ¾� glass on top of the plywood, then they stood up the 36� x 120� pieces of ¾� glass for the front and the back and then the 36� x 24� pieces of ¾� glass for the ends. Then for additional support they put a 6� x 120� piece of ¾� glass inside in the bottom along the front and another piece just like it in the bottom along the back of the tank as well. Then on top of the tank, at each end there is a 3� x 24� piece of ¾� laid flat and perfectly centered on top in the middle there is a 24� x 24�+ piece of ¾� laid flat (this is the piece that is broke) then they put about a 2� wide strip of ¾� glass laid flat along the front and one along the back from each end piece (3�) to the middle piece (24�+) (There are 4 � 2� wide pieces total). There is a nice plastic trim with mitered corners running around the top on top of the glass support pieces and it extends down 2� so you can't see any of the support pieces except when looking down on the tank. If you are standing on a ladder and looking down on the tank at the middle, the crack in the 24� x 24� piece starts 12� back from the front left corner of that piece and comes to the front of the aquarium at an arc to about 12� over from the left front corner of the piece. At the time of the incident, the water level in the tanks was down about 15 inches from the top,
<Thank goodness>
the piece that broke is cracked all the way thru out in the middle but as you follow the arc back to the front of the aquarium it is not all the way thru because the silicone there kept it from being worse I guess. Out in the middle where the crack is all the way thru, the glass was actually separated by 1/32� to 1/16� of an inch right after the break so we drained the tank down to only 12� deep (24� from the top). Now the glass is not separated at all, you can pull really hard and get it to move ever so slightly. This happened about 8 days ago, initially, I was not that worried about it, just replace the glass and move on right?? I ordered a piece of ¾� plate glass with sanded edges <Mmm, a hazard to hands... but best not to bevel/sand the edges on such pieces on their ends (where they're to be Siliconed) for more surface area>
24� x 24-5/8� that is now here for me to go pick up. It cost me $175 with tax and I have a fresh tube of perfecto aquarium silicone. I can get the plastic trim off without destroying it, it is on there with silicone but I can get it off with a 2� putty knife.
<Careful here! Use single edged razor blades... and a holder for such>
My plan at that point was to use razor blades to remove just the piece of glass that is broken and silicone in the new one, wait 24 hours, reattach the plastic trim, wait another 72 hours and fill it back up. I have not went on with that plan yet because I did some reading on your FAQ section and was reminded that new silicone will not bond with old. I am still going to do this, but my question is can I get by without removing all of the old silicone in the entire tank??
<Mmm, possibly... but it may not be attractive to you... The new center brace piece might be better fitted directly underneath the present cracked one... with only the Silastic at the joints (front and back) that is in the way of the junction to trim away... and the new piece Siliconed to the old (above)>
The piece that is broke does not have water against it, ever (it is above the water).
I only fill the tank to just above the plastic trim which is still ¾� from the silicone at the top of the tank, so if I remove the old glass and just silicone up to the old silicone in each corner of this piece of glass knowing that it will not bond to the old silicone will it still provide the necessary support to keep the glass from bowing out in the middle and eventually bursting. I personally believe that I will not end up with a leak because the water level does not go that high and except at the corners where it meets the old silicone I will be bonding new clean glass to old clean glass with new silicone. My two concerns with this plan are: 1) Will there be enough support long term since the bead of silicone along the front and back will not be one continuous bead?
<IF the surface is VERY clean... having all water, livestock out, using a solvent to remove all remaining residue... likely no problem>
2) Will the occasional water getting onto these four corners start getting between the new silicone and the old and eventually compromise either the old or the new silicone's bond with the glass?
<Not likely, no>
I know it will affect the bold between the new and old silicone but will it go farther than that over time?
<Not likely>
Now, if you tell me that I need to remove all of the interior silicone and redo it then I have other issues. First I left my filtration running with 300lbs of gravel and about 200 lbs of driftwood in 12� of water (moved all the fish) just so I did not lose my biological filtration that has taken time to build up. If you tell me that is what I need to do
<I would not do this... not needed>
then I will have my work cut out for me before I can start removing the old silicone, but my concern here is I am not so sure that removing all of the interior silicone is such good idea at least not for a tank that is this big.
<Not worthwhile to do>
I am pretty sure that the tank would stay standing if I remove all of that silicone as there is a good 1/16� of silicone between the big pieces of glass, but it will take more tubes of silicone to redo 60 feet of inside angles in my tank, and the new silicone here will not bond with the silicone that is still between the big pieces of glass. I can see how the new silicone in this method will be bonded to clean glass on each side and will likely take care of leaks, but will it be strong enough structurally to hold tank together without bonding to the old silicone or will the old silicone provide the structural support and the new silicone will prevent leaks and add some structural support?
<Depends on where, how much is removed>
I do not see me fully disassembling this tank as the pieces of glass for the front and the back weigh over 325lbs each and they used an overhead hoist with suction cups to build the tank originally.
A third option that has occurred to me as I am typing this is what if I just remove the plastic trim, clean the glass (broken piece), and silicone the new glass on top of the old glass?
<Yes... or below. This is what I would do>
This seems like I am kind of reaching at this point because I do not want to lose my tank, I do not want to pay $3000 for new one, and I am worried about what will happen if I remove all of the old silicone all the way around the inside of the tank.
<I would NOT do this>
I just do not know if �gluing� the new piece on top will give the needed support because I can build a new trim piece out of wood.
<The trim is non-functional... in terms of strength>
This idea is the least invasive to the seals inside the tank but I hate to just cop out and end up wasting the $175 for the new glass. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
<Do have some local aquarium folks take a look at your project as well and maybe call/contact the people in Calgary who fabricated the tank, but I would Silicone the new piece to the old, and the front and back... likely underneath. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cracked support piece on large aquarium
-- 10/4/10
Thank you for your wisdom. You confirmed a few of my thoughts and put a new idea or two in my head. I would have never thought to put the new glass under the old, I do not think it will be that unattractive because the plastic trim extends well over an inch below the existing glass.
<Ah good>
I would contact local aquarium people, but that is kind of a joke where I live. There are only 100,000 people here and I know more about aquariums than all but one of the pet store owners here and I am friends with him. He seems to know everything about fish, water conditions, breeding, aggression, disease, you name it. However, when it comes to structure, strength or fabrication, he scares me. I have built most of his displays in his store because I think he would have killed someone with the toothpicks he was building. I asked every local glass company for advice, again one of the owners is a friend, and every one of them could not get off the phone with me fast enough when I told them I was dealing with 3/4" glass and over 3000lbs of water. My friend ordered the glass and said he would help me with whatever plan I have, but does not want to be responsible for deciding on the plan. I think I will see if he has a break that will cut my piece down 13/16" off the front and back then I could fit it underneath as you suggest and I will get non-finished edges to silicone to and still have the finished edges that will be exposed. Thank you very much. Buddy Cox
<Welcome Buddy... Do look to see that you have some good wood/en clamps to hold the new piece in place while the Silastic is curing/setting. BobF>

Bowing glass tank 9/26/10
<Hi there>
I have a 150 glass tank with fish and corals. It's 72" L x 27" H x 18" D with ½" glass. I bought it used and have had it for a couple of years. I'm not sure when it happened, but the two plastic cross pieces have broken away from the back of the top tank framing and there is a slight bow to the front side.
<Lower the water level several inches NOW and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm
Given the floor of my house is a little off, the tank tips forward slightly so the front of the tank sits about ¼" lower than the back by the looks of the water level at the top of the tank.
<VERY dangerous. After draining the tank down, read here as well: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
and the linked files above>
I'm sure that's not helping any.
I've read on your FAQ sheets about folks with braces cracked/broken but it sounds like most have glass braces Siliconed to the frames. My cross braces are completely plastic. There are no glass pieces on top.
<Different models, makers use differing technology>
I don't know the manufacturer of the tank to see about a replacement and I'm wondering about
how to go about fixing it. Do I need to make a wood frame to enclose the top perimeter?
<Read where you've been referred>
I've never done repairs on a tank before and am leery of digging into this one.
<Get some help... the "Yellow pages", LFS...>
I can certainly make a frame, but wonder about a couple things 1) the need to pull off the existing plastic top frame or put one over the top; and 2) how sturdy does this frame/braces need to be... what sort of pressure will be on it?
Thanks for any help you can provide!
<Write back after doing the above if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bowing glass tank
Thanks for such a quick reply
<I felt/feel it was/is necessary>
- I'll read the posts right away.
<Drain the tank down first... B>

broken center brace on 150 7/19/10
Good evening,
<Mon. AM now here Mike, howsit?>
just tore down a 72 and installed a used 150 today ( yes I am tired!).
<Such big tanks (glass) ARE heavy!>
Unfortunately, cracked the center brace in the process. The tank is a Perfecto from 1996 with 1/2" thick tempered glass. The tank seems to be bowing in the center approximately 1/4".
<Mmmm, I'd lower the water to at most 3/4 full>
The tank seems well-built other than this. I plan on replacing the tank next weekend with a 125. As the 150 has 1/2" glass, should I drain the tank, or should I chance it for a week?
<I'd drain it down a bit at least>
(I'm tempted to chance it as I am dog-tired after the day from hell!) If draining is your answer, can I drain it 3/4 of the way (thus reducing the bowing) and run a powerhead for the live rock and put the fish/inverts in a smaller tank for the week?
<Oh! Yes>
Obviously, I won't be working on it tonight so let's keep our fingers crossed! Thanks as always for your sage advice. What did we ever do before the internet!!!
<Read, wrote even more. Bob Fenner>
broken center brace on 150 part deux! 7/19/10
Good morning,
<And you again Mike>
I wanted to amend my first email. The tank may not be as bowed as previously thought, it may be the plastic top bowing out where it broke away from the center brace. Awaiting your thoughts. Thank you for your time and consideration.
<I would still drain it down a bit. "Older" glass tanks, Silastic/Silicone do tend to age, too likely fail a bit to a whole seam given such uneven stress. BobF>
Re: broken center brace on 150 7/19/10

I had a feeling you would recommend the actions you did, so yesterday before I received your response, I took the tank down to about 1/3 full which solved the bowing problem (and helped save my marriage which would have ended in a wave of 150 gallons of saltwater cascading through our family room!) I have the three b/f fish (wrote to you about these guys a few months ago!) in a 30 gallon with protein skimmer, sponge filter, heater, power head, but wondered with their delicate nature might they be best put back in the 150 with a power head, heater, cycled sponge filter and about 30-40 gallons of water?
<I would place them back in the 150, maybe raise the water level to about half>
They may be in the tank for up to a month while I find a suitable replacement and they would not have the benefit of a protein skimmer nor a filter other than the sponge (and about 60 lbs of live rock). What do you think would be the best course of action?
<As above>
Thanks as always for your help. On another note, I am going to send an email with my b/f success story in regards to feeding, which may be of help to others.
<I thank you for this>
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Best regards,
<And you, BobF>

Photo of my brace repair-- 7/4/10
I enjoyed your forum and thought my story might help others. But, also had a question.
I purchased a used tank from craigslist like so many other people. It's 125 gallon (6 feet long x 18" high") with 3/8" glass. The single cross brace was broken and I didn't think about it. It's my first big tank. The tank was worth it as it came with the stand, tank, Magnum 350 (?) canister filter and lots of gravel, heaters, etc. The tank has that faux wood stuff and the guy I bought it from said it was a few years old. Hindsight 20/20 I think he purchased it used and it had the broken brace problem and he couldn't fix it and decided to sell it to the next newbie... me.
Anyway, I filled it up on the porch for a few days and no leaks. After I got it inside, I started to fill it up and heard the brace shift and realized it was starting to bow out by maybe an 1/8" of an inch. I quickly drained the tank and found your site with a google search for repairing the brace.
I went to the local glass store and got a 10" x 3/8" piece of glass, aquarium grade silicone, cleaned the glass attached the glass and let it cure for 48 hours. I must also note to anyone using silicone: USE GLOVES. I did not. It got everywhere and I didn't know how to remove it. I know. Stupid. The worse thing was I couldn't even google because it was all over my hands. LOL. Finally used Goof Off as a last resort and took off some skin. Lesson learned.
Tank held fine until four days later when I put the lights on it. Not sure if the heat from the lights made a difference, but it failed the next morning and was laying in the tank. Now it had bowed out 1/2" - 3/4". I didn't take time to measure as I was trying not to faint and drain the tank as quickly as possible. I figure I wasn't able to clean the glass as well as I'd thought. Still not sure. But, I WAS sure that I would never trust myself to do that type of repair again.
After coming up with several ideas, I finally settled on a wood frame. I used 1" x 3" red oak from Lowes, glue, #10 screws, and a countersink drill bit to make the screws flush. I built the frame over the existing frame so it would be a perfect, tight fit. I was only going to do 4 braces (one on either end and two in the center 2 feet apart) but decided to add a 5th in the center for extra support. The screws were difficult to drive in even with the pilot hole I predrilled. Each end got two screws. So, I feel pretty confident everything will hold. When I filled it with water, you could tell that the tank expanded a tiny bit when looking at the old problem plastic piece (1/32") but I guess that is normal since they DO have a plastic piece when manufactured and it moved a bit when full vs. empty. The wood frame hasn't budged and I don't expect it to.
So, the question is how do YOU think it will hold?
<I do... I would "paint" something over the screws, glue the wood joints to keep moisture out>
Nothing is rickety at all. It's all very solid. But, I've never had a large tank before. I just Googled my butt off and this seemed to be the least expensive way to fix it as well as just as stable as anything else.
I've attached a photo so you can see the repair. Hope you agree that it should hold.
<Thank you for sharing Lena. Bob Fenner>

Re: Photo of my brace repair 7/5/10
Thank you for your quick reply! I have plans to cover the screws anyway. Just hadn't figured out exactly how I want to do it.
<Silastic, or a bit of Polyurethane-based material are my usual choices>
But, I definitely will! All the joints are already glued.
<Ah, good>
Thanks so much!
<Again, thank you for helping others. BobF>

Center-Brace Repair'¦A Common Issue -- 03/15/10
Hi Bob and Crew,
<<Greetings Gabriel'¦EricR here today>>
I have a 110 X-Hi Perfecto Aquarium at least 15 years old, with 1/2-inch glass front and sides. I just noticed a crack between the front trim and the center brace.
<<Yikes'¦thin glass, tall tank, and broken brace'¦not good>>
I have been running it as a reef for about 12 years. The tank is gorgeous and I don't want drain the tank.
<<Mmm, okay'¦you can still affect a repair with a drain-down of a few inches (have done this type repair on a couple of occasions)>>
I have some 1/4-inch glass (float) That I can cut and laminate to 3/4 to make a glass center brace.
<<'Laminating' the glass pieces is a good method of assembly as it will make the brace stronger and less susceptible to shattering/catastrophic failure>>
I used bar clamps to stabilize the glass while I prepare to make what I hope will be a permanent fix.
I have a few questions before I attempt the repair.
1) Should I tighten the clamp to the point that the crack is completely closed? It is about 1/8 inch.
<<I would leave the clamp holding things as it is, and wait to do this until you are ready to affix the new brace in place'¦and then, very carefully. Obviously, the ideal situation would be to drain the tank and let the glass ease back in to place'¦but this small amount of deflection can be corrected as is, with due care>>
2) Can I make the repair by draining about 4-6 inches of water? I can keep everything running properly at this level.
<<In this instance, yes you can>>
3) When I cut the glass strips to length (they are 4 inches wide), should I cut them to exact size or should they be a drop short to allow a thicker silicone bead between the aquarium walls and the end surface of the brace.
<<Try to match the length of the existing brace/spacing, 'exact' is good but I wouldn't go any shorter as any miscalculation here will add unnecessary strain to the repair bond'¦the tiny amount added to the length by the silicone shouldn't be of consequence. I also want to add that considering the width and thickness of the brace the bond at the 'ends' may be good enough, but you might want to consider adhering some built-up pieces of glass to the tank walls around the perimeter of the brace ends to increase the surface area to be bonded, if this does not detract too much from appearances>>
4) Is 48 hours long enough to let the silicone to cure before removing the bar clamps.
5) Is there anything else I should know, I have experience with both glass work and silicone.
<<It would seem you have the knowledge/skills to complete this repair just fine>>
Thank you in advance!
<<Happy to assist'¦ EricR>>

Tank Repair'¦Another Cracked Plastic Center-Brace -- 01/19/10
<<Hello Matt>>
I have a standard 55 gallon All Glass aquarium that has been in use for six or seven years now. Quarter-inch glass, plastic frame and brace. Today I noticed the center brace began to crack.
I would rather not take the tank completely down and relocate the plants and animals unless absolutely necessary.
<<You 'can' effect a repair this way'¦providing you have the tools (bar clamps) to stabilize the tank when the plastic brace is removed>>
The center brace hasn't cracked all the way through yet, there is about a 1" long crack with a little bit of separation in the lower left of the photo, starting where the wrench is located.
<<Ah yes, this is quite typical of these plastic braces'¦have seen this many times>>
It doesn't reach the center of the brace, but does dive all the way to the frame. Overall bowing of the tank is 1/8" between the edges and center (it appears much greater because the photo was shot at 18 mm). Reading through your guides I think this solution will work, but I'd like confirmation. I lowered the water as much as possible and had a 7" piece of 1/4" glass cut (they didn't have half inch in stock).
<<For uses such as this it is quite easy to 'laminate' the thinner sheets of glass together with silicone adhesive. The result will even be stronger and safer to use than a single 'thick' piece of glass>>
Silicone sealant on both ends to the tank walls and throughout the underside of the brace and frame rim. I know that the silicone won't bond terribly well to the plastic, but with that much surface area I'm thinking it should be able to stabilize the brace.
<<Don't 'count' on a glass-to-plastic connection here. Any 'real support' is going to come from the glass-to-glass bond. This really needs to be considered in your design of the patch'¦you should add some glass 'brackets' under/around the ends of the glass brace to increase surface area for silicone adhesion>>
The other thing I considered is having two more pieces of glass cut, maybe 7"x3/4" to silicone directly under both ends of the glass brace as supports, and to get more glass to glass silicone contact.
<<Ah yes! We are of a like mind here'¦>>
Sorry for the horrible photograph, I wasn't expecting anyone to see the salt creep today.
<<No worries, mate'¦ And short of removing and replacing the top trim and brace (you would likely need to contact the tank manufacture re), what you show and propose should work'¦just be sure to add those glass brackets to strengthen the end-bond. I would also be inclined to 'double-up' the brace by laminating another piece of glass to it to reduce the risk of a catastrophic failure should you bump it or drop something on it>>
Thank you for your time,
Matt Williams
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

Broken plastic center brace on a 55 gal aquarium 12/19/09
Greetings! I have read through your entire FAQ on Glass Aquarium Repair Braces and Cross Supports and have found a vast amount of great information on the subject. I am having a little bit of difficulty trying to decide which questions and answers are similar enough to my particular situation to help me determine what actions (if any) I need to take. At the risk of being redundant to what you've already published, I figured I would just email you with the particulars of my situation and ask for advice.
<Sounds good>
I have a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium. The dimensions are about 48" wide by 12 7/16" deep by 20 1/2" tall (including the frame - 17 ¾" of glass only.) I think this is a pretty standard 55 gallon size. I was given this tank about two years ago and at the time it had a broken center brace. The person who gave it to me said the center brace had been broken for several years and that it wasn't a problem and only was there to support the hood and lights. From reading your FAQ, I think I have come to realize that it is there for more than simply supporting the lights, and that it may be necessary to keep the glass from bending too far.
I had attempted to fix the break with a piece of metal I found out in the garage. As you can see form the picture that was not a particularly bright idea as the metal quickly began to rust. I've removed the piece of metal and am trying to determine whether I should leave it alone or should attempt another repair. Does the fact that the aquarium has been stable with this broken cross support for several years indicate that it is likely to remain so, or am I flirting with disaster?
<Mmm, at least gently cavorting with it>
If I do decide to repair this, would I want to put a piece of material underneath the existing broken center brace like you have suggested in some of the other answers? Or would it make more sense to try to buy an entire new top piece?
Thank you very much!
Bob D.
<If it were me/mine, I'd look into "Euro-bracing" instead here... (common in glass aquariums of European design/construction) Siliconing strips (about two inches in width) of glass (3/8" or 1/2" thick) along the top long runs (front and back panels) will work best here for not allowing excessive bow and giving you complete access, not blocking light. Bob Fenner>

How much bowing is to be expected in a 100 gallon glass tank? 11/29/09
My tank is bowing a 1/2" in the front and in the back. Should I be worried?
<Hi Ryan. It all depends on the dimensions of the tank, really. A higher, thinner tank is obviously going to bow much more than a short, breeder-style tank. Of course no one makes a 100 gallon breeder tank, but you get the picture. If your tank is within average dimensions, I wouldn't worry about 1/2". Just keep an eye on it. Hope this helps.>
<Will N.>

Top glass support in 150 gallon cracked 10/17/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya. Darrel here>
I have a 150 gallon tank. It is only three years old. The piece of glass that runs across the middle of the tank on top is cracked.
It has separated a little bit at this time. I have lowered the water to relieve some of the stress in the tank. Is there anyway to repair this? If so how? There are no other cracks in the tank.
<Yes, there is a way, Sherri, but it's not for the feint of heart and it's fraught with peril>
<I'm sure you'd like to repair it without breaking down & emptying the entire tank, but I wouldn't even suggest that a beginner think about that (I'll explain as I go).>
<What I'm going to say here is how it can be done ... but I'm leaving it completely up to you to decide if you have the .. um ... adventuresome nature ... to try it.>
<First, you need 2 pieces of solid wood, I'd suggest 2x4's that are as long as the tank and three wood clamps. (Thy look like these http://www.traderscity.com/board/userpix29/21453-light-wood-clamp-1.jpg ).
Place the 2 x 4's along the outside of the tank (front & back), 1 inch down from the top and then place two of the clamps over the top about 10 inches from each side of center and secure them LIGHTLY ... so that they are taking the pressure of keeping the front & back half together and off of the cracked center brace.>
<At this point the existing center brace is immaterial -- and you have two choices: ONE is to use a razor blade to slice it away from the front and back by breaking the silicone sealant holding it in place and then replace it with an identical piece that's not broken. Prepare the surfaces, add the sealant and the piece and use the third wood clamp to press gently on the 2x4's right on top of the new brace ... and tighten JUST UNTIL you see the silicone start to ooze. Wait for the silicone to cure. Done.>
<TWO, have an identical piece of glass cut at a local glass shop and use silicone to add it to the tank UNDER the existing piece, silicone to the front and back AND coat the entire "top" of the new piece with silicone so it ALSO bonds to the bottom of the existing broken one. This leaves the existing piece in place and "repaired" while at the same time adding an entirely new piece underneath which adds strength of it's own. Prepare surfaces, add sealant and pieces, press new piece UP and wrap several bands of duct tape to hold it UP and then clamp across the center like described
in "A">
<Now let's discuss the down sides. (1) Even using the top grade GE Silicone II 100% pure silicone, it's tricky stuff to work with. The surfaces must be 100% clean and free of ALL moisture and debris. Cleaning the glass surfaces with solvents, lightly sanding and scraping the target areas with a live tank underneath is itself temping fate ... and even if you did all that, the temperature and moisture of an area several inches above an active tank is exactly what the label on the silicone advises against. (2) If you replace the existing piece, you're replacing a piece installed by an expert with a piece installed by someone who isn't and you run the associated risks. That said, you COULD install the additional reinforcement piece UNDER the broken one (B option above). All of the risks still apply, but all to a lesser extent. BUT (every silver lining has a cloud) you've now just lowered, by perhaps 3/8 of an inch or more ... the maximum water level you can have while still having one single surface area (cuz there's now a piece of glass sticking 3/8 down into the water) -- this may or not be a problem.>
<That's how to do it Sherri. That's how I'd do it, but then I've been at this since movie theatres had only one screen. On the flip side, if you break the tank down, you can probably find an aquarium store or adventuresome glass shop in your area that can do a professional replacement for very little cost>
<aren'tya glad you asked?>

Repairing 55 gal tank, trim, brace... 10/5/09
Hey Guys!
<Hey DAngelo! JustinN here tonight!>
I recently received a used 55 gal tank that the previous owner had kept for years outside. After giving it a good cleaning I found the top trim very loose and cracked in half in a couple of places. The bottom trim is also a little loose.
<Ah yes, the baking of the sun. This former boat repair/body man knows it all too well.>
I decided to remove the old top trim and wanted to know if it could be glued with epoxy or super glue and then use silicone to reattach it to the tank?
<Does this trim include a brace for the tank? If so, I wouldn't bother... see below.>
After I removed the trim I thought about also removing all the old silicone inside and replacing it. The tank doesn't leak, but I thought it may be a good idea to do it due to the age of the tank.
<More so than the age, I'd be worried about the effects of the sun and time.>
After reading some old post here I found that you recommend keeping the top and bottom trim attached before resealing the sides and bottom seams. If this is so, should I fix the top and bottom first and let them cure before attempting to do the inside of the tank or can I do it all at once? Thanks for any help you can provide.
<Resealing a tank is a tricky feat to start with -- considering the deterioration of the frame (and potentially the bracing), I wouldn't trust the tank as far as I can throw it... and leverage for a 55 gallon isn't
real great in a wheelchair ;) Unfortunately, it really sounds like you've got a lot of work involved for a relatively common (and typically cheap) tank.. If you were to do a reseal job, I would likely reseal every seam first, and perhaps even look into buying/building an entirely new trim fascia for this tank. A less weathered tank might be more optimal. Good luck! -JustinN>

Glass Center Brace Repair -- 10/02/09
<<Hi Rob>>
As others have already stated, thank you for the great web site and the amount of information posted upon it.
<<It is indeed quite the collective effort'¦and you are quite welcome>>
I have used it for several topics and this will be the first time I have had to ask a question directly to you.
I have a 100gal tank, 60x22x18, recently cycled with live rock and only a few small fish. Unfortunately several days ago, one of the light fixtures for my tank caught fire and caused several problems to the tank.
In the process of attempting to put out all of the fire, I moved the light fixture causing small burning pieces of plastic to be dropped all along my route to the kitchen.
<<Mmm'¦is a good thing you were 'right there' when this happened. It's scary to think what might have ensued had you been out at the time. This may not be the case here, but there is some cheap (which can relate to more than just unreliable'¦read dangerous) stuff out there. Though it's not a guarantee against such, it's probably best to look for/purchase light fixtures that have been 'UL' approved.>>
After extinguishing most of the flames, a small fire remained on the top center brace of the tank (3/8" glass, approx 12 3/4" wide). Without thinking about the glass, mostly due to the panic of having my home filled with smoke, I thought it simple to put out the flame with tap water.
The instant cooling cracked the brace slightly
but the overall integrity appeared to remain intact.
<<Mmm, no'¦the 'integrity' of the brace is now compromised>>
After several days of clean-up around my home thanks to the blaze, I picked up two new PC light fixtures from my local fish shop. I installed them and after several hours run time, I heard several "pops" and upon checking the tank the crack had extended much further.
<<Yes, from the heat expansion caused by the lights'¦and nothing you could have done to prevent, as it was>>
Unlike some, I need the center brace for supporting the lights (hard to find 60" fixtures).
The new crack now separated the brace and the tank began to bow, which I immediately secured with a clamp.
<<Hmm'¦sounds like you need the brace for more than just supporting the lights>>
I now have 2 large pieces and 1 small piece in total, however the edges in contact with the aquarium appear to be intact and have not separated from the joints. After reading multiple posts on your site, seemingly near 100, I am planning on draining down the aquarium into a new garbage can and repairing the brace. My question after this extended story is if I am able to sandwich the old piece between two new 1/4" pieces with silicone on both sides of the original or do I have to remove the old piece completely and replace with new?
<<If the added thickness/height isn't an issue (you could even add a single 3/8' patch from the bottom side to keep the original height), sandwiching the old brace is an effective and simple solution. Use glass patches as wide as the brace and that reach lengthwise at least two inches beyond the repair'¦though for aesthetics or to eliminate the resulting 'hump' re, you might just want to use patches that extend the entire length of the brace>>
I would prefer to laminate the piece so that I would not have to try and remove the old piece (I envision multiple scratches on the glass from my handy work with a razor blade).
<<Laminating the brace is quite acceptable and strong. I have made similar repairs myself that always held quite well. Coat the entire expanse of the patch with silicone (i.e. -- don't just run a squiggly bead or two), carefully clamp lightly, and once cured the repair will be stronger than the original glass>>
Please see the below photo's of the brace in its current state.
<<I see this'¦ It's just an observation, but it appears to me that this glass 'center-brace' is not original to this tank. Note the adjacent narrow brace in matching trim material'¦and the lack of glass on the other side of it. If you obtained this tank other than directly from the manufacturer, I suspect someone added this glass piece shown in the photos'¦and likely for the 'bowing' you noted when it broke>>
<<Good luck with your repair'¦ Eric Russell>>

Multiple 90 gallon tanks, one with center brace, one without Tank Maintenance\bracing\DIY 8/29/2009
<Hi Ben.>
Thanks a lot for all of your work on this site, it is a terrific resource.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I recently purchased two 90 gallon tanks (pre-drilled with overflows, dimensions roughly 48.5"x18.5"x25.25"). One has 3/8" thick glass all around, has a plastic center brace on the top, looks like
the top rim has been replaced (or re-siliconed) in the past, was built in 1996, and has a few small chips in the glass on the corners.
The other has no center braces, is built from 1/2" thick glass on the front/back and 3/8" thick on the sides, has no markings suggesting a year of origin, but the glass is in much better shape and so is the silicone which looks original at all joints.
My local LFS said "some older tanks came without center bracing, and given the additional glass thickness, I would not worry about using the brace-less tank". Do you agree with their statement?
<Yes, but since the age of the tank is unknown, I would test it first.>
I would very much like to avoid putting a new top on the brace-less tank.
<Understandable, it is a pain.>
Furthermore, I kind of like the idea of not having an opaque center brace from a lighting perspective (although I don't relish the thought of 90 gallons of seawater on my living room floor). Is the best course of action to fill the no-brace tank and measure deflection of the front/back glass?
<I would err on the side of caution here and test it. Given that the glass is thicker, I would not be too concerned, but I would still feel better knowing rather than guessing.>
Your advise would be very much appreciated.
<Test it, If anything, it will make you feel better about the tank.>
Best Regards,
<My pleasure.>
Re: Multiple 90 gallon tanks, one with center brace, one without Tank Maintenance\bracing\DIY 8/30/2009

Thanks Mike,
<Hi Ben,
I filled the no-brace tank and saw VERY minimal if any deflection of the glass. It looks like this thing is not going to have any problems going without a center brace.
<Excellent news.>
I just need to re-silicone the overflow and I am off to the races! Thanks very much for your advise.
<My pleasure.>
Now I can move on to installing lights in my homemade canopy... 2x 175W metal Halide and 4x T5. It is going to be snug in there.
Luckily, I put two 100CFM fans blowing into the canopy, so there should always be a breeze.
<Ventilation is very important. Do make sure there is some sort of barrier between the bulbs and the water. Halide bulbs can explode if splashed.>
Take care and thanks again, you provide a resource that is much appreciated.
<Thank you.>
Best Regards,

Cracked Center Brace 6/14/09
Hi Crew,
I need your guidance and expertise - again. A week ago, I just noticed that the center brace on my 125 is cracked. It's not broken from the middle but from the lip of the front side.
<I see this>
I have attached a photo so you can get a visual of what I am talking about. The tank isn't showing much of a bow due to the canopy having a tight snug fit around the top perimeter.
I don't want to take the canopy off because I am afraid ill have 125 gallons of water flooding my 5th story apartment.
I've read the treads about fixing center braces and It seems that a "Eurobrace" is suggested.
<Is one way/route to go>
I cant find anywhere on WWM, or the net, the process to make a Eurobrace.
<Simple enough... and FWIW, a project that one unfamiliar should seek/get help with from other/s who are...
Some WWM input re:
see the cached views... There are a few standard approaches/designs for such bracing, but all entail some Siliconing of glass strips along the upper front, possibly sides of the tank... of about the same thickness
glass as the tank is constructed... Clamps are useful... the tank must be clean, empty... Again, if you've never "done" any Silastic work with glass, get some help, at least hand's-on guidance from/with someone who has>
All the treads just mention that it be done but don't go into specifics of how it should or can be done. Can you shed some light on this for me or even direct me to a website that would give me more information on how to fabricate? I spoke to my reputable LFS and they suggested I use a 6", 1/2"-3/4" thick piece of
acrylic and, using nylon bolts, fix it to the lip of the tank.
<Mmm... is another approach... worth considering>
I got this tank from someone on Craigslist and have put a lot of time and work into this tank with resealing and don't want to replace it. If I don't do the Eurobrace option, would you think it would be safe to add a strip of acrylic to each 2/5th of my tank. Basically one on each side of from the center.
<Mmm, yes>
My LFS said they can order a brace for around $20-$30 but of course ill have to drain the entire thing to put this on. If I add the acrylic pieces I plan on draining the tank down a Little past half way to get the pressure off the glass and do the repair instead of removing everything.
<I'd drain it down most all he way...>
I just set everything up and the tank and is now beginning to reestablish itself with growth. Thanks for all your wisdom in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Broken Brace on All Glass 55 G tank 5/31/09
I've read your repair thread with interest as I too have a cracked top brace on my All Glass 55G tank. My idea was to fashion a piece of sheet metal into a small brace that would rest on top of the broken plastic brace. It seems like such a simple and logical repair that wouldn't interfere with the two piece hood or the light . . . am I missing something with this idea? The metal wouldn't have to be very thick as the pressure of the water pushing out would hold it in place. Part of the metal would be visible from the front but a bit of creative paint could help it blend into the faux wood look of the trim. I'm curious as to what you think.
<Well, even with the best of coatings the metal will eventually corrode and contaminate the tank. Many are doing the same thing you describe above with a strip of acrylic or polycarbonate and nylon screws. Look up plastics fabricators in your local phone book, a scrap like this can be had for next to or likely nothing.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Broken Brace on All Glass 55 G tank 5/31/09

Ah, that's the part I didn't think of (the metal eventually corroding).
Thanks for the head's up! :)
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Fish Tank Problem (72 gallon All-Glass Bowfront)--------No Date on Purpose ;-P 05/26/09
I have a 72 gallon All-Glass Aquarium 72-gallon bowfront set-up that I purchased in 2002. Recently the plastic top near the front bow has started
to split (see attached photo).
<Unfortunately all too common with these tanks over time.>
I was wondering what my options were to manage this (a) can I order a replacement top plastic piece (if so, any suggestions on how to install)?,
(b)any way to repair this without removing the top piece and (b) do I have to replace the tank?
<Well, there are a couple of avenues. You can fabricate an acrylic brace and bolt it in with nylon screws and nuts. Search some of the larger aquarium forums on removing the center brace and you will find much info on this. For my tank I would simply call up the manufacturer and procure a new top trim piece. They are not all that expensive. You will need to drain the tank down somewhat, enough to where the bowing at the top is small enough to fit the new piece. Replacing is fairly straightforward, you will need to rip off/out the old trim. This can easily be done with your fingers alone, they will just ache when you are done! Then cut off what silicone you can with a razor, followed by siliconing in the new trim.
Not all of the silicone needs to be completely off the glass as the plastic does not truly bond to it anyhow.>
I've attached two photos:
1) - top view of the split in the top plastic piece
2) - left front seam (all other seams seem fine, however; when I run my fingers along the seam it does seem to widen a bit toward the bottom of the tank).
<I do not see an issue with this from the photo, has it changed over time? Many times there will be larger gaps in the seam on the top or bottom, no real issue for concern.>
Any advice you can provide would be very valued.
With warm regards,
Mike Paul
Minnetonka, MN
<All above, Scott V., Fresno, CA>
Re: Fish Tank Problem (72 gallon All-Glass Bowfront) 5/26/09

Scott, thank you so much for the well thought response. I will go with replacing the top piece!
Many thanks,
<Sounds good. Best, Scott V.>

Re: Fish Tank Problem (72 gallon All-Glass Bowfront) 9/3/09
I just wanted to follow up and let you know that your advice was right on.
<Ah, good to know when one feels like they are losing their mind.>
I ordered the replacement top piece from Aqueon (All Glass Aquarium).
* I used a common moving strap that I put around the tank (about 10 inches from the top) as a safety net as I removed the existing top piece (I used a Dremel and small hand saw to separate into four pieces).
* After removal of the existing top piece and old silicone, I put down new silicone and fit the new piece in fairly easily.
* I let the silicone set for 15 minutes and then removed the moving strap....everything went smoothly and the tank is in great order.
Definitely felt good about spending $50 for the top piece vs. the cost of a new tank and hassle of scrapping an old one!
Again, thanks for the sage advice.
<Thank you for the update.>
Mike Paul
<Scott V.>

Tank with no center brace bowing
30 Gallon Center Brace? 5/12/09

Hello Bob,
< Hello David! GA Jenkins with you today. >
Love the site!
< So do I !>
I have a 30 gallon long (36x12x16) Perfecto aquarium that does not have a center brace. As a result, the tank has a slight bow on the front and back pane. In a reply to my email, the manufacturer states that this bowing is normal; however, I am not convinced. Should I be worried, and is it common for tanks of this dimension to lack a center brace?
< I myself currently run a 30 gallon Perfecto. I would say a slight bow (1/8" to 3/16") can be expected. Mine has been running about 2 years with a 1/8" bow. So under normal aquarium conditions ,I would not be worried. You could always make a brace using a piece of glass or Plexi if it keeps you up at night. It is common for a 30 gallon (36x12x16) standard AGA to come without a center brace. >
< Your welcome. >

80 Gallon Long Center Braces Broken -- 04/12/09
I have looked through your articles and have found a lot of helpful information on how to possibly fix this broken center brace issue.
I do not even know how it happened to begin with. I have an eighty gallon long which is approximately 72" long 24" high and 18" wide.
<<Mmm, never heard of an 80-gallon 'long''¦but actually, these are the dimensions of a 'standard production' 135-gallon glass tank>>
There are two center braces.
<<Yes'¦and likely integral components of the tanks top trim piece>>
One of them completely broke on the rear end and shows sign of a crack on the front side. The other brace shows signs of a crack on both the front and rear side.
<<Not good'¦ As you are probably aware, these braces do have a structural support function>>
The only thing I can think of that caused this was the glass tops that I put on there. They were about a 1/16 of an inch to big so I basically just wedged them in there. This is the only thing I can think of that caused these braces to break/crack.
<<This was likely a factor'¦though these plastic braces do often just harden and crack>>
I saw the possibility of using a stainless steel support... someone suggested just to me to just bolt it to the bottom of the existing plastic brace. I also saw on WWM about the one who actually left excess on the steel for "legs" to wrap around the front and back.... but thought that would be an eyesore.
<<I agree'¦ I'm of the opinion that fashioning 'glass' cross braces of adequate size (minimum 1/4' float glass about 4' wide) and siliconed in place with glass reinforcement blocks to bolster the attachment surface area is a better option. But have you tried just obtaining a new top trim piece to replace the old?>>
I have also been suggested to JB Weld it or epoxy it. Could that work?
<<If the breaks are in such a place that you can bond overlapping pieces of material over the break'¦possibly'¦but I would still be hesitant to trust this>>
I would like to find a whole replacement trim piece but have no clue on where to find one, and being this is somewhat of a rare tank, I don't think that is helping this cause either. A web search comes up with nothing.
<<I take it then you don't know the manufacturer of the tank or they are not accessible/still in business? If the dimensions you provided are accurate'¦try contacting some of the production glass tank manufacturers (e.g. -- Perfecto/Marineland, Aqueon/All Glass, etc.) or even your LFS and see if you can obtain a top trim piece for a standard 125g or 135g glass aquarium (the trim pieces are interchangeable between these two tanks sizes as the only difference is the height dimension)>>
All help is appreciated and any other info I could provide to you, just let me know and I will do just that. Thanks for all your help.
<<Do give a new search a try with updated info re the tank's volume. And do also consider that sometimes with the hassle and expense involved (and the risk); especially with old tanks, it just makes more sense to replace the tank outright. Cheers, EricR>>
Re: 80 Gallon Long Center Braces Broken -- 04/13/09

Hello again,
<<Hi Kevin>>
First off I want to say how impressed I was with the quickness in response time.
<<You get lucky sometimes [grin]>>
Second, I goofed on the width of the tank... it is 13 inches, not 18...which now makes a big difference in the size of the tank.
<<Ah, yes indeed'¦still about 97-gallons though'¦and is a custom tank I'm guessing>>
Sorry about the mix up on that.
<<No worries'¦does make finding a new top trim piece a bit remote though'¦as you have already noted>>
I have considered getting a replacement tank from Craigslist... and have stumbled upon a 125 gallon.
<<Might be best>>
My glass tops wouldn't be wide enough,
<<You could easily have new ones cut to fit at most any glass shop>>
but would be long enough for temporary coverage and my lights would still fit length wise.
But for the time being, I would like to do at least a temporary repair. I would like to possibly pursue your glass cross beams.
<<This is not a difficult project if you are a little 'handy''¦or can enlist the aid of someone who is/is familiar with working with glass and silicone>>
My questions regarding that would be what exactly is float glass?
<<It's nothing special...this is the most widely available flat glass type. Any glass shop, hardware store, or home center (Lowe's/Home Depot) will carry 'float' glass (It is called float glass because the manufacturing process involves 'floating' the molten glass on a bed of molten metal)
How big would the reinforcement pieces need to be (length, width, and thickness)?
<<For this tank I would use ¼' thick glass and have the cross-braces cut to 4' wide>>
And where exactly does all this mount?
<<On this 6-foot tank, I would place the cross-braces 2-feet in from each end (in other words, divide the length of the tank in to thirds)>>
Do you trim out some of the upper trim that wraps the top of the tank to be able to get the glass to be as close to the top as possible?
<<Depends'¦ You may want the top of the braces to be level with the inner lip of the trim to support your lighting fixture, if necessary...or you may just want to hide as much as you can behind the trim...otherwise it is not that critical, and you can just butt them up to the underside of the trim piece>>
What am picturing is essentially the same as the stainless repair with the legs, only made out of glass, and the legs being on the inside of the tank.
<<A good analogy'¦only the glass will let light pass through from the light fixture and is less obtrusive'¦and completely rust-proof. Do be sure to fashion a glass 'ledge' upon which to fasten the cross-braces (don't just try to silicone the 'ends' of the braces to the tank panels). This 'ledge' can be fashioned from ½' wide pieces of glass cut long enough to span the 'width' of the brace. Have two of these made for 'each end' of the cross-braces (eight pieces total). Silicone two of these together in a laminated fashion to create a ½' ledge which is then attached with silicone to the tank panel to support the end of cross-brace positioned as discussed (will probably require light clamping). Let the ledges cure overnight, and then securely silicone the cross-braces in place. Be sure to let all cure for at least 24-hrs before adding water to the tank>>
I apologize if I seem ignorant when it comes to this, but I have never built a tank, or repaired one like this before.
<<No worries'¦ It's not overly difficult, but do enlist aid if you're unsure about any of it>>
Once again, thanks for all your knowledge.
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
R2: 80 Gallon Long Center Braces Broken -- 04/13/09

Absolutely phenomenal information, the best I have received thus far.
<<Ah well, maybe Bob will let me stay on for a bit longer then [grin]. But seriously'¦I am pleased that you are pleased>>
My local fish shop recommended WWM to me and I can see why.
<<Redeeming to know>>
If I am not able to sell my tank like I plan to in the next week, this is definitely the route I will be taking. I am sincerely thankful for your help during this stressful time.
<<It has been/is my pleasure to assist>>
I will let you know how it all turns out just so you can have the satisfaction of knowing you helped yet another fellow fish hobbyist.
<<Always good to hear!>>
<<Cheers'¦ Eric Russell>>

DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls 4/6/2009
<and Salutations>
In reading through your section on aquarium DIY bracing, I did not see the fix that I came up with last week employed by anyone there. Having acquired a nice, 15 year old tank, and having set it up full to the top so as to make use of the drilled overflows near the top and on the back of the tank, and having sat at one end of the filled tank that had been running for 5 weeks, I noticed that the DIY, internal glass bracing that was in the tank when I bought it had pulled away from the back glass of the tank a quarter inch. I was only slightly alarmed at first, but then, after about ten minutes had passed, the gap had grown to 3/8 inch, at which time I believed I had an emergency on my hands!
<Definitely not good>
After getting my wife to apply pressure to the back, center of the tank, I went for my speed clamps to hold it temporarily. The design for the fix came to me instantly. I would get a 1/8 inch thick piece of 3 inch wide stainless steel plate, and bend it 90 degrees at each end, leaving the inside dimension 1/4 inch longer than the tanks designed front to back measurement, and leaving the 2 legs about 2 1/2 inches long, and after having removed half of the water in the tank, I would clamp the center of the tank together and slide the brace over the top in the center, shimming it to achieve the proper tank width. I used a small piece of rubber shelf liner around the shims so they will not fall out. I did this, and it is working great!
<Excellent in theory, but.....>
I was able to remove all of that internal glass bracing, which really took away from the looks of the tank anyway. I think my brace will outdo all that glass bracing jazz every day of the week!
Please tell me if I have missed something! The stainless steel is 1 1/2 inches above the water. Will it react with the water? Should it be coated with epoxy? I don't think so. Please let me know what you think!
<..The reason you don't see metal bracing (anymore) is because the metal reacts with water. Some to a greater degrees than others, but any that can be reasonably worked with will react. Stainless grade 316L is widely regarded as marine safe stainless, so for a freshwater system it would be fine, but it is NOT resistant to warm sea water. Surgical stainless steel is the least reactive of any of the stainless steels, but is generally too hard and brittle, so any length thin enough to work with will not brace the tank, not to mention it is very expensive.>
If this is a freshwater tank, it is not as much of a concern as it would if it is a marine tank, in any case, some sort of coating should be employed.
But again, here, the trick is finding one that will not react or release toxins in the water.
Marine epoxy will work, but any version that is safe for livestock that I am aware of is a thick putty. Most of the marine paints are toxic to aquatic life. Non-toxic latex based paints generally do not stick to
metals well. As crazy as it sounds, if you want a metal brace that will not corrode or release toxins in the water, the solution is getting the metal gold plated. Gold, for all practical purposes, does not react with
either fresh nor salt water, thus will be non toxic to life in the tank.
The downside is, getting the metal gold plated will cost somewhere around $100 - $200.>
Ft. Worth, TX
<Melbourne, FL>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls When Gold is cheaper than Glue.... 4/6/2009

Salutations back at ya, Mike, and thanks for the info!
<Hey David, my pleasure!>
It is a salt aquarium, and I found a place that will gold plate the brace for $110.
<Rather inexpensive as these things go, the third of the cost for a good halide fixture, half the cost of a decent T-5 fixture>
I found out also that a 2 part epoxy designed for use in potable water storage has been used successfully by persons that have built, and used salt tanks from plywood. This epoxy is NSF 61 certified.
But it is sold in such large minimum quantities as to be more expensive than gold plating, since I have no use for 2 gallons of this stuff for around $150 plus tax.
<... and there it is....Sadly, this is usually the case, it is difficult, if not impossible to find such materials in "home user" friendly quantities\prices.>
Question: could I just wrap it in Saran Wrap?
<Would not work in the long term, will trap moisture, thermal breakdown from heat (lights), etc.>
My wife suggested coating it with aquarium silicone.
<Can work, provided it will bond with the metal, and you can live with the aesthetics, watch for peeling, breaking down from the heat from the lights, difficulty in sealing it completely etc. Now you see why they don't use metal anymore....:-)>
Your help with this is greatly appreciated!
<My pleasure, do let me know how it works out. If you do go the plating route, make sure the metal is rinsed completely before putting it in contact with the tank.>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls When Gold is cheaper than Glue.... Vinyl coatings. 4/6/2009

<Hi David>
Thanks again for all your input, and I will wash the gold plated bracket before installation, if I decide to go that route.
<Very good.>
My wife particularly wants me to go another route!
<Heheheh... for the life of me I can't imagine why...:-).>
And she had just been considering investing in gold, too. Go figure!
<Investment in gold, but in a different form I think.>
I think I have found an alternative, though: liquid electrical tape. It forms a seamless vinyl skin that surely will work, don't you think?
Yes, with caution. A quick look at the MSDS sheet indicates it is toxic to fish :
MSDS.pdf I'm assuming that this relates only to its liquid form and not after it has cured, but you will have to check with the manufacturer>
We're talking vinyl electrical tape. It will be neat, unlike silicone or plastic wrap, and cost much less than gold. If this won't work, please tell me why!
<It could work, do double check its toxicity regarding marine life after curing. For that matter, the toxicity of it when you are working with it, as there is some pretty nasty stuff in there, Xylene, Acetone, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, etc>
Thanks again!
<No Problem.>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls Vinyl coatings. 4/7/2009

<Hi David>
Mike, I did see that MSDS sheet. The manufacturer says this on their web site about their similar product called Plasti Dip, which has the same MSDS you described:
"Is Plasti Dip® safe to use on children's toys, animal containment, and/or on kitchen utensils?"
"Plasti Dip® does not contain any heavy metals, and when completely dry, is considered harmless. However, it is not recommended that it be used on items that may be chewed or inserted into the mouth as it may present a choking hazard."
<Very good>
I think I have arrived at the solution, and I could not have done it without your help! I should be able to apply 4 or 5 coats for $20 or less. The $90 savings compared to gold plating will go a ways toward my first fish, since my nitrites are just now on the way down, and a cleanup crew too, because diatoms are developing as well.
<Ahh, attack of the Brown Scum.>
Thanks again!
<My pleasure, do let me know how it all turns out.>
Re: DIY Aquarium Bracing - Stainless steel: problems and pitfalls Vinyl coatings. 5/12/2009

Greetings all!
<Hi David>
I just wanted to share that the Plasti-Dip worked great on the stainless brace.
<Great news!.
I brushed 4 coats on the brace. The brace is 1 1/2 inches above the water's surface. Evidently this product has some sort of inherent ability to repel salt, or certainly at least does not react with it, because
after 4 weeks, barely a trace of salt can be felt on it's surface. And this material seems to be very durable stuff as well! I am more than pleased with it! I don't like the fact that the brace is blocking some of the light
from the tank, but I will gladly sacrifice that to know that my tank is not going to come apart!
<Thanks for following up, will be posted in the archives.>
Thanks again for all your help!
<My pleasure>

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