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FAQs about Commercially Made Tanks, Sumps Made of Glass

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Reef Aquaria Design:

Tank origins; tempered glass? /Drilling        12/2/15
Hello all!
I've been out of the saltwater hobby for many years. I was just gifted a new-to-me 200 gallon glass aquarium that I'd like to set up as a reef tank.
I'm searching for the origins of the tank to see if it's tempered glass, as the first thing I want to do (need to decide) is drill it to accommodate for a coast to coast overflow-after checking to make sure it's not a leaker;)
There is a small sticker attached to the inside rim with the logo of a small anchor, the number '2' and what I'm assuming is a born date of Nov. 22, 1985. Are any of you aware of what brand that would be, and if the sides are tempered? I've Google searched to no avail -
Thank you so much!!!
Ginger New
(Yeah, I know...the 80's called and they want my email back)
<I think this is an Atlas aquarium.... most all commercial glass aquariums (production) were/are made of non-tempered glass; the few that were, only the bottoms were tempered. There are ways of detecting temper....
Bob Fenner>

<Ahh, now see the "Anchor" on the label.... this is an Oceanic; and the bottom IS likely tempered. I would NOT drill the bottom pane.

Master Tank Builder... gone missing?    2/15/14
Hi gang,
I've seen a couple of posts in various places that mention Lee Mar's former master-tank-builder left the operation some time ago... do you have any idea where he might've landed?
<I do not; but encourage you to simply call the company and ask them re>
I live in SoCal, and saw one of his tanks several years back... and it seemed really nice, but there's some thought that quality has suffered since he departed. So... I was hoping to find out if he was working with another concern in time to think about replacing my over-ten-years-old 220 gallon reef tank. Thanks in advance for any help on this...
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Glass thickness     2/20/13
I live in the uk so feel free to speak openly and frankly,
I bought a large reef aquarium in December, 96" long 30" wide 24" deep.
had it running for 6 weeks and suddenly the base cracked 7 ft long, total disaster. The manufacturer claims it can't be level otherwise it wouldn't break, however I am sure I got it almost spot on with the leveling and put 1" polystyrene under it. There is 2" bracing on the base front , back and sided except where the weirs are. It's been made in 10 mm glass.
<I would've gone w/ 12mm for the bottom at least>

 I would like to know your opinions on the thickness of this glass for such a large tank, a lot of other manufacturers I have emailed say they double the thickness of the base or increase the glass thickness. Please help as I don't think they are going to except <accept; am sure they'd rather be excepted> any responsibility.
Ian Marvell
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

New Aquarium, concern w/ glass thickness     1/10/13
I have received a new ~1,000 glass aquarium with the inside tank dimensions of 156”L x 40H x 34D
It looks like all 5 panels are made out of ¾” glass and the top has 6” wide strips of double layer ¾” glass every 2’ to secure the top of the tank (front to back) with two stingers ran across the entire front and back.
<Yes; bracing...>
Basically making the top of the tank very solid but allowing spaces 2’ wide for service.
<Am with you thus far>
Question is they filled the tank prior to shipping and sent photo, all good, but now that I see it and the mass size of it, I am questioning the ¾” thickness.  Any comments would be great, reading one of the stories about an 800 acrylic tank breaking has my nerves exposed.
Thank you,
<Depending on the (mainly) quality of glass and construction, you should be fine here... This was an aquarium manufacturing business? You did authorize the construction w/ the 3/4"? Bob Fenner>

Tank longevity and fish selection     11/1/12
Thanks as always for the advice!  Your site is invaluable to us fish amateurs!  I have a question regarding tank safety and lifespan. We bought a used 90 or 95 gallon wave made by All Glass about 6 years ago.  It's a four foot tank with curved glass for the front panel.  I know nothing about the tank's age or history prior to us owning it. The stand was in so so shape when purchased and hubby reinforced the inside of it with 2 x 4s.
<Good. It is imperative that such curved glass tanks be on stands that are level, planar and strong>
 We have had several overflow issues through the years for assorted reasons which have obviously taken a toll on the stand. We are at a point that we want to replace the stand and add a covered canopy. However, we are unsure if we should also replace the tank. I don't see any discoloration of the seals and we haven't had an issue with the tank, but I'm nervous since its 6 years old and we don't know its history. So, do you have an
opinion...would you replace the whole system or just the stand and canopy?
<I would not likely replace the tank... This manufacturer, type of aquarium should last a good couple decades unless there's been some induced issue>
 We like the tank, but hate to spend money on a stand if the tank is on borrowed time.  Plus the whole safety issue!  It may be a mute point since All Glass is Aqueon, so I'm not sure if we can even find a new stand and canopy.
<Mmm, not this size/gallonage evidently:
    My second question is regarding fish selection. The 90/95 has LPS and a
Yellow Tang and one Clarkii Clownfish. It's plumbed into a 250 show tank, sump, etc for a total water volume of about 600 gallons. We'd love to add a blue Tang. I read conflicting opinions on whether a 4 foot tank is acceptable for any of the blue Tangs (Regal, Powder blue, or Atlantic). I'd love a Powder blue, but am concerned about tank size and ich potential.
<I might try the Paracanthurus here, but not a Powder Blue>
Any other Tang you'd recommend for a tank this size with a Zebrasoma sp already in it?
<The genus Ctenochaetus most likely>
 I'd also considered a single or male/female pair of Blue Throat Triggerfish. Any opinion on that selection?
<These would be happier in a larger volume>
  Again, thanks for any advice!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank longevity and fish selection      11/2/12

<Mrs. F>
Thanks for the reply!  We will consider the Paracanthurus.  It's a gorgeous fish, but of course that would make a tank with the three main characters from Nemo and I would cringe every time someone looked at the tank and said, "Oh look, it's a Nemo tank!"  We may just stay understocked with the Yellow Tang and Clownfish. 
Thanks for the words on the tank safety.  I feel better knowing you don't think we're wrong to keep it.  I went to the Aqueon link you provided, but our tank is not a typical bow front.  All Glass called it a "wave" and it has an asymmetrical bow.
<Ah yes; I recall>
 The right side of the tank is 18 inches deep, while the left side is 24 inches at the widest part of the bow.  We have found several places that advertise the stand, but then they say out of stock when we pursue it.
<Mmm, you may have to have one custom made>
 We will keep looking, though.  Do you have any opinion on "Deep Blue Professional" aquariums?
<Mmm, no. Have no experience w/ the line>
 They have a product line called "Edge" that are attractive.   They are rimless and predrilled for overflow.  Of course that means no canopy so no potential jumpers...   
<Easy enough to fashion your own chemically inert cover/screen>
Thanks again for the advice and the awesome website!  Hubby and I are huge fans!
<Ahh, welcome. BobF>

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

question. I need to know who can do a giant aquarium  -- 01/13/2010
<Hello Gianfranco>
Can you help me , I need to know who can do a giant aquarium , I need to do it for a sport store, I aprecied you for your help
<Mmm, there are a few fabricators...>
the store are located in Caracas Venezuela, but I need to send it to my forward in Miami the dimensions is 7 feet tall , 4 feet wide and 10 feet large.
if you have someone speak Spanish it better for me ,
Thanks for your attentions
Gianfranco Di Campo
Assisi Sport C.A.
<Am sending your note along to a fellow I know to be honest, capable and experienced; Jeff Turner, or Reef Aquaria Design:
If he doesn't contact you in a few days, please write back. Bob Fenner>

Re: question, custom glass aq.    1/14/10
JR Corvison, copied above will be able to communicate with Gianfranco in Spanish about this aquarium. We are located in the south Florida Miami area and can provide this large aquarium.
Thanks Bob. Hope all is well in California
<Hey Jeff! Fair to middlin', but trying to stay positive, keep moving forward. Hope to see you about (Orlando/MACNA maybe?), BobF>

Tempered bottoms, glass tank manuf. choice  11/23/08
After buying an Oceanic Tech 120 gallons and returning it 5 times (that's right 5) because of various problems including 2 that arrived cracked....I give up on Oceanic...their quality control is non-existent...I decided to get essentially the same tank but made by a local custom tank manufacturer.
<Used to be a good co.>
Now i have the option of a 3/4 inch non-tempered bottom just like the Oceanic tank had, or a 1/2 inch tempered.
I'm not planning any drilling...which is the way to go?
<... "Six of one...">
Seems to be some disagreement on what's better, though I notice that manufacturers making "higher end" aquariums tend to specifically state that they use non-tempered as if it is superior. Can you offer some advice?
<I'd likely go the 3/4 inch bottom route... as someone may at some point decide to drill it... these two choices are fine, near equivalents in terms of strength... the 3/4" inch being a few tens of pounds heavier to lift...
Bob Fenner>

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