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Aquarium braces - urgent help needed

Discussion in 'Equipment & DIY Ideas' started by Drmavis, Jun 11, 2017.

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  1. Drmavis

    Drmavis CCA Members

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    I have a 210 gallon aquarium (7' x 2' x 2.5') and tonight all of a sudden the 2 braces broke off and fell in the tank. The braces were at ~28 inches and ~56 inches. From what I have read, this could be a sign of aquarium bowing and impending failure, so I am draining half of the water and moving fish as I have space.

    Does anybody have experience with building/repairing aquariums or a referral to someone who is good at this? I am certainly willing to pay for time/materials and would appreciate help as soon as possible.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. Robinhud

    Robinhud CCA Members

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    Mike a little more info please and I maybe able to help a little. If it is glass I would guess more likely someone leaned on your braces and broke them and they just now fell in is all. This is what I would do if it was my tank. Go to hardware store and get 2 rail clamps (large enough to reach across your tank plus a little) if you don't already have them. You said your tank is 24" so you will need 30" ones. place them on your tank where the braces were and just barely snug them in place. Be really careful not to over tighten because you don't want to brake the glass in. Fill the tank back up and let sit over night. Because of the coarseness of the clamp screw I would then only release a 1/8 turn of pressure and wait. examine seams to see if anything is stretching. give it 6-8 hours of time and release another 1/8 turn. If your tank is not expanding your clamps should start to be loose or loosening. give it 6-8 hour and back off a little more but don't take them off as they will also be a safety devise if your tank is trying to fail. by this time you should be pretty sure one way or the other. I really hope this helps and your tank isn't failing.
    Good Luck and God Bless
    Robin Smith
     
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  3. Drmavis

    Drmavis CCA Members

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    Hi, this is very helpful. Getting these clamps is a good suggestion. Would you connect them at the top of the tank?

    The two braces that came off were pieces of glass that were siliconed across the top of the tank - it looks like the tank must have been bowing out, which pulled the silicone loose. Would you recommend trying to re-silicone the braces back in place after the tank is clamped?

    Mike
     
  4. FishEggs

    FishEggs CCA Members

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    If you have room to move the fish out do so and empty the tank of water. The braces are there to keep the glass from bowing. How old is the tank? It may be so old that more than just the top brace silicone joints are failing. Inspect the corners for any signs of failure. If they look good it might be OK just redoing the top braces. Clean all the old silicone off the glass and install the top braces back in place with new silicone. Wait 48 hours and slowly fill the tank back up in steps. There are lots of videos on the YouTube to show how to do it. Watch a bunch of them til you feel confident you can do it.
     
  5. chriscoli

    chriscoli Board of Directors
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    these threads don't usually end well....
     
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  6. Becca

    Becca CCA Members

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    Honestly, I'd recommend just getting a new tank.

    Buy yourself a 100 gallon stock tank or 2 to house the fish in while you wait for the replacement.
     
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  7. Robinhud

    Robinhud CCA Members

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    yes by all mean if you can reseal the braces and let cure 48 hours, big tank has a 4" peace of glass 1/2" thick running full length of tank. that ties and supports corners and full length of glass.
     
  8. FishEggs

    FishEggs CCA Members

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    Definitely the best recommendation is to buy a new tank but some people love the thrill of "when is it going to burst." the whole living dangerously thing. :eek:
     
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  9. CSnyder00

    CSnyder00 Well-Known Member
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    I agree. It's a time bomb. Full bracing and reseal is needed, but this is not easy.
     
  10. Drmavis

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    Thanks for the suggestions. The tank manufacturer recommended a similar approach of removing the old silicone, cleaning the glass, and re-siliconing the braces in place, using bar clamps to ensure proper tank width and c-clamping the braces to a board while they cure.

    I am wondering if the braces got weakened during my cross country move - for example if movers were using the braces to help lift the tank. The tank is now clamped and the braces are re-siliconed and curing for 48 hours. Fingers crossed,

    I considered the new tank option, but the manufacturer seemed to think this was not necessary and that re-siliconing the braces should do the trick. I really hope so, as a tank failure with loss of livestock and water damage might be enough to discourage me out of the hobby for a long time...
     
  11. JLW

    JLW CCA Members

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    Ultimately, something weakened those braces and caused the silicon to pop. As I mentioned in e-mail, it could be that they were improperly glued in, or just plain inadequate. If so, over time, the tank has bowed and popped them out. If you seat them better, you might be okay. If you replace them with something better, you might be okay. If its just from some idiot mover using them as handles, you might also be okay.

    But, the issue is that the tank has bowed and bent on the seams, enough to have caused the centre brace to tear out. Your seams and seals are now weaker than they should be. How much weaker, no one knows. But, you may now have a ticking time bomb, even if you get everything back together.

    210-gallons is a lot of water... Depending on where the tank is located... well, you might want to make sure your homeowners insurance covers this sort of thing. :)

    A new tank will set you back about a thousand dollars, which ... hey, I don't have a thousand dollars, I get it. But, you may want to think long and hard about the costs of having a potentially damaged aquarium in your house, and the damage it'll cause, and your deductible.
     
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  12. JLW

    JLW CCA Members

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    This is also why I would never, ever, ever buy a used tank over about 90-gallons. I don't know that I'll ever be able to afford a new 200, 300 or bigger tank.... but, the thought of putting that much water inside of something that's history I don't know, and that I have no recourse for failure? Too scary. :)
     
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  13. Robinhud

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    CSnyder really helped me with info on redoing my 220 gal. tank I bought used. I am very technically sound so I took on redoing that tank and it came out well. But it did take 3 weeks of my time and a couple hundred in money to get it where i wanted it. and yes more than a few people said be careful you can have a real disaster on your hands. I by the way acknowledge them for that. On close inspection my seams looked real good but my corners were terrible so I cut out all the corners and recaulked them with silicone after intensive cleaning job. I also filled it the first time outside, after it cured so if it did fail all I lost was the tank. BTW getting the tank into the house was a real chore, because of the weight involved. You need 5 really strong guys to move something like that. I say all this to say Be Really careful how you choose because the risk is real. I also say that The rewords are great as well. After further hearing about what has gone on with your tank I would pull the whole front pain off. reseal and let cure then do the same to the back pain. and then finally redo the cross members as explained by someone else. when finished you will have a trouble free tank for a long time to come. You will of put in allot of work which may not be worth it to you. Sorry to hear you gone thru all this and hope it all works out in the end. also someone may still be willing to pay a little for your tank in the condition it is in or at least be willing to haul it away for you to get it out of you house. That would be my offer as I am paying for my daughters wedding right now and have no extra money till it is over.
     
  14. FishEggs

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    If you redo any of the panels it has to be all of them at the same time. The silicone has to be applied as one continuous wet seam before any of it skins over. Silicone won't seal to itself and will peel right off if you apply it over dry silicone. That's why you need to take care to clean all the old off.
    I've had to recaulk plenty of windows that have layer after layer of silicone caulk and the window still leaks. Have to cut it all out, clean it and then redo it and the layers peel right apart.
    Joey (The King of DIY) just recently had a video of Custom Aquariums process of building a tank. You should watch it.
     
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  15. Robinhud

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    DRMavis plz give an update on how things are going sir. I hope well
     

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