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  • acrylic vs. glass tank

    (This post has been taken out of context from it's original text as a sticky for information re: acrylic vs. glass. Ger)

    A couple of random thoughts ...

    Glass vs. Acrylic

    Glass Advantages: Less expensive ... until you enter the realm of Starfire; More difficult to scratch than acrylic; Allows maximum access to the top of the tank (except for crossbar/support); Cleaning of surfaces easier and less problematic; "Fixed" material ... glass won't "bow"/bend under longterm weight the way acrylic will; Durability ... withstands longterm "wear & tear" better than acrylic; Withstands exposure to heat ... MHs ... well.

    Glass Disadvantages: Silicone seams are inherently less stable than chemically welded acrylic seams; Weight ... Bob's not kidding about needing the varsity offense to move a large glass tank around (although a 180 ought to be reasonably manageable) ... then there's associated shipping/transport costs; Glass edges are more dangerous to small children and careless adults; Glass breaks/chips with heavy impact, acrylic just cracks; Glass is difficult to DIY drill/modify without the right tools and experience; Refraction/transmission of light through glass less "true" ... subtle photography color/resolution implications; Conducts heat better (poorer insulation) than acrylic ... higher chiller operation costs vs. acrylic.

    Acrylic Advantages: Very stable seams ... no leaking unless the manufacturers screw up (relatively rare); Lightweight; Rounded corners ... many people prefer this aesthetically; Less distortion of light as it passes through acrylic ... better "true" color and resolution for photography; Safer for small children and careless adults; Many more design/geometric options for tank design ... not really an issue for you; Easier DIY drilling/modification than with glass (... although even this can be problematic after the acrylic has begun to "move" ...); Better insulation than glass ... cheaper chiller operation costs.

    Acrylic Disadvantages: Material degradation over time ... it WILL get scratched no more how careful you are; More difficult cleaning maintenance ... unattended coralline algae can actually grow into the polymer structure causing permanent scarring ... more specialized products required to maintain luster of outer surfaces; Less Durability ... much softer than glass, so it's easier to injure; "Fluidity" of Material ... acrylic moves over time, under weight. There will be a slight/noticeable (... up to ~1/32" ...) "bowing" of the viewing planes, as well as a potential distortion of the bottom (... mildly problematic when moving the system to a new stand ...); Potential for Bending /Distorting after prolonged exposure to heat source ... MHs or bad heater placement; The "Biggie" for me is this: Less Access through the top of the Tank ... I'm into exotic aquascaping & rock fabrication. Because acrylic tanks must have a top plane ... to minimize bowing/movement of the viewing planes ... what you can put into the tank is limited to the openings cut into the top plane. You can special order larger than average openings, but it's still a limiting factor.


    Regarding sump size/volume ...

    I didn't see any specification regarding how the water gets to the sump ... I'm thinking you're going with a built-in overflow box, yes?

    If so, you might want to reconsider your sump size. When the power goes off, all of the water present in the tank that is above to bottom edge of the slots in a built-in overflow is going to gravity feed into the sump. Unless you enjoy flooding ... hehe ... I'm wondering whether or not the sump volume is sufficient.

    My general estimate on the "empty volume" requirement for sump space is on the order of 2 - 3 inches of display tank height ... depending on how much water is being pumped through the display.

    With a 180G tank, we're talking a range of:
    @ 2": (72" X 24" X 2")/231 = 14.9G
    @3": (72" X 24" X 3")/231 = 22.4G

    So ... you're going to need ~15G to ~23G of empty volume sitting there waiting for the power to fail. I'm alittle concerned that your 36" X 18" X 20" is right there at the edge of what's required ... although technically it's inbounds. When you additionally factor-in convenient spacing of sump components (... space relationship between skimmer, ZeoReactor ... etc ...), ease of manipulating and removing/replacing those components and their plumbing & electrical, minimum water height in the sump to prevent your return pump(s) from sucking air (depending on how its plumbed), ... AND the ability to raise the sump's "standing" water level in order to influence skimmer performance towards wet skimming (depending on skimmer type) ... I'm wondering whether or not a larger sump design is in order. Just a thought.
    Last edited by Ger; 04-02-2005, 12:33 PM.
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
    Hunter S. Thompson

  • #2
    you can get an acrylic tank with metal "brace" that runs just around the top rim. Even less obtrusive than a "eurobraced" tank. takes up maybe 3/4". It doesnt' get more wide open than that. I've got one for my office. It's pretty cool.
    10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
    BK400ext
    RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
    MRC kalkmixer
    IKS

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    • #3
      moonpod.. where did you get the brace from?

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      • #4
        Hey Chuck, I maybe interested also. Thnx. Bob
        "There might be something to this ZEOvit"

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        • #5
          Ed, Bob,
          It's not "aftermarket" to my knowledge. I don't think you can "add it on" and then cut out your top brace. The tanks are made that way. Advanced Aqua makes 'em (they have a very, very similar name to Clearforlife's parent company (advanceaquatanks), and actually my understanding is that they make CFL's large tanks anyways). It's majorly overkill for a small tank like my office tank, but for my NEXT home tank.....I've already got the prep work on my wife going....big tax refund....moving to a bigger house....
          10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
          BK400ext
          RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
          MRC kalkmixer
          IKS

          Comment


          • #6
            chuck, what is advanced aqua's website?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by moonpod
              ....I've already got the prep work on my wife going....big tax refund....moving to a bigger house....
              Ah huh, they let us play that hand & have us believing we're in control Bob
              "There might be something to this ZEOvit"

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              • #8
                Chuck, I asked in the other thread if you would post a pic. I didn't want to cross link your pic from RC.

                These open top acrylic tanks are getting popular in SC right now. I know about 5 people that have them now. They are really cool looking. I saw one that was reinforced with pvc and it was sweet.

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                • #9


                  Well, I'll cross post it and f'em if they don't like it. Now on my office 55, this is obviously overkill, but the trim doesn't get any bigger on a larger tank.
                  Last edited by GTR; 04-04-2005, 03:07 PM.
                  10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
                  BK400ext
                  RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
                  MRC kalkmixer
                  IKS

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    looks like they dont like it

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                    • #11
                      Greetings All !

                      Advance Aqua Tanks has been "consuming" smaller aquarium manufacturers in the southern California area for years ... we are aquarium-borg, you will be assimilated ... but they're good folks nonetheless ...

                      Advanced Aqua Tank
                      http://www.advanceaquatanks.com/

                      JMO ... HTH ...
                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
                      Hunter S. Thompson

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                      • #12
                        Just to be clear though, AAT (whom mesocosm is referring to), is NOT who you get these tanks through. It's through a company that, to my understanding, AAT subcontracts with for their large tanks. Currently, to my knowledge, AAT doesn't offer the metal braced tank. They (AAT) DID make my current tank and I'm pretty happy with that, but it's just TOO SMALL! MUST UPGRADE....
                        10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
                        BK400ext
                        RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
                        MRC kalkmixer
                        IKS

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          the beautiful people of RC show there true colors again....

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                          • #14
                            10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
                            BK400ext
                            RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
                            MRC kalkmixer
                            IKS

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nice, Chuck, I like the look & function, thnx. Bob
                              "There might be something to this ZEOvit"

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