Tank question


New member
Hi Anthony, we meet at the MASM meeting in Macomb TWP. Michigan (Ken Gosinski's house with the 450 gal.) a while back, great talk. I'm thinking of having a 48x48x24 GLASS tank built, any suggestions to make it bullet proof? I'd like to have the reef in the center so cross braces in the middle would interfere with the lighting but am afraid to go without them. Mike
Cheers, Mike... a pleasure to hear from you :)

Building this tank without cross braces will be rather easy. What saves you is the height at only 24" tall. Over 28"... and especially over 36"... on even narrower vessels requires scary thick (often laminate) panes.

In this case, you may literally be able to construct this aquarium with 1/2" glass if you are willing to cap the corners with triangular plates... or... band the top and bottom (anodized aluminum or epoxied steel). The banding is simply known in the public aquarium biz as a "four-sided capture". Still... that is not necessary at all for a tank this size.

Are you going to have the Calgary folks build it? Inter-American? Whoever you choose... if they are experienced, they will see no problem with a 4X4 that is only 24" tall.

If you feel very frisky, you might even have them laminate white glass (starfire). It will be more expensive, but even better glass clarity and the laminate thickness (2X3/8" glass for example) may even spare you any stringers or caps at all.

You really have many options... no worries, this will be easy for your builder. And choosing glass over acrylic really will cut down on the need for interfering braces/trim.

best regards,

Anthony, Thanks for the info! I have yet to talk to any builders, I wanted to get some feedback from reliable sources such as yourself first so I would be educated before then. I need to find a reputable builder that is relatively close to the Detroit area. Calgary is a little to far away!!:D I want to feel very confident with the construction, I had a 90 gal. pop a seam along the bottom- a nightmare I don't want to relive. I was also curious to know what a fair price for this tank might be (a guesstamate of course).

Thanks again Anthony

Cheers, Mike :)

I'm really not sure what it will cost you for the custom work... so much of the expense would or could be freight unless you find a drivable local. I would expect that glass is fairly inexpensive in Michigan because of the sheer volume of material consumed for the auto industry. In general... glass is fairly inexpensive for us in the North-east and Mid-west (many large industries consuming it). Here in PA they get $2-3 per gallon for custom work for shallow aquaria. Towards $5 per gallon for taller tanks or tricky materials/cuts.

As far as the seam blowing... its a real bummer, but rarely a tank defect. Its almost always a problem with the stand or floor not being level or settling over time. Generally speaking, if the foundation is dead level and solid... and the tank holds water for a day... you are home free for many years! Do consider on future tanks. Improper shimming (avoid shimming when possible) of a stand is also a common problem... causing a pressure point on a tank or lending to a torquing of the aquarium as you lean on or work on the tank (or as it simply settles). There really are many issues without a solid foundation (concrete floor and rock solid stand). A sheet of 1" styro under the tank never hurts either :p

best regards, Anthony
Anthony sorry to jump in on the post but I was reading and something caught my eye. Where can I purchase the four-sided capture you were talking about? or the plastic trim that goes on the bottom and the top of an aquarium.
Thanks, Joseph
Cheers, Joseph :)

It depends on the size of the tank.

If you have a commercial size, you can buy them from the big aquarium mfgs... many of the mail-order companies like That Fish Place stock and sell them (you just have to ask sometimes if not on site).

Else, some folks simply make their own out of angle iron or aluminum. Spot welding and pop rivets (be sure to use the stainless rivets if the latter with aluminum).

Best regards!