Fixing broken center brace

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skald89

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Jul 18, 2012
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I drained it to 1/4 filled while curing. So you think there is no way to fix it or bond a new brace thats strong enough to keep it together? Replacing the whole brim is not an option, I can't do that without breaking everything.
 

the loach

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Aug 6, 2018
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You should be able to fix that by using a bar clamp, then filling the tank up and use 1 ±5" glass strip or 2 ±2 1/2" strips and silicone.
But I don't recommend you do that because the seals of the front glass have been stressed, and things like this causes sudden leaks later on. If you want to keep it, I would reseal the front glass, and also use a glass strip as a center brace.
 

Sploke

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Oct 20, 2005
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My initial thought is that if the adhesive you are using is peeling off that easily, it's either the incorrect adhesive for the job, or the parts to be adhered are not clean enough. That JB weld is a fast-setting epoxy. Just FYI, epoxies with longer cure times are generally of greater strength than the quick cure types. However, if the epoxy isn't adhering to the substrate it's a moot point. I would sand the area you need to glue with 220 grit sandpaper to rough it up, then clean with alcohol to get completely clean prior to applying epoxy. Dry-fit the parts you are gluing and have a clamp (or several) ready so once you apply the adhesive, you can get the parts into place and clamped (masking tape can also help hold things in place), and leave everything in place for 24hrs.
 

Sploke

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Its a 55 gallon display tank.

I think if I would cut a piece of glass to put under the brace and either bond it withe silicone or epoxy it would help reduce the pressure on the original brace. Then even a weak bond would keep the center brace in place and make it look presentable.

My question is if I cut glass with a glass cutter or the twine and fire method would it create a clean break that doesn't need sanding?
No - either method will result in a rougher, sharp edge. You can knock it down with aluminum oxide sandpaper, just be careful.
 

skald89

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Jul 18, 2012
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This is what I ended up doing. It seems to work for now. The screws won't stay straight and are being pulled back a bit. I hand tightened bolts under them to keep them in placeIMG_20200209_080055226.jpgIMG_20200209_080105849.jpgIMG_20200209_080101120.jpg
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I am in the process of repairing the center brace on a 33 long. This has the same footprint at a 55 but is way less tall. The break is in the middle of the brace, not the end.

Looking at the pics in this thread I would be very afraid. Did you use stainless steel screws? If not, they will rust due to the continuous exposure to moisture.

from the pictures of the break I would consider it to be non-repairable safely.

If you could look up from below that center brace, you would see that it is not a solid piece of plastic. The raised part running down the center of the brace is hollow. I am using a solid piece of plastic a couple of inches long which will be covered with a gel form of aquarium safe Cyanoacrylate Adhesive. I have a clamp ($15 at Home Depot) that opens to 14 inches to pull the brace together when I do the gluing. I will glue the place when the split is and then crank the clamp so they meet firmly. The I will cover my plastic patching piece with the gel glue and insert it into the hollow part if the brace and bridge the break from underneath. Finally, I will add a small strip of plastic to the top of the hollow part and glue it in place. The inserted and top plastic reinforcements will be held in place with C-clamps. All the parts used in the repair are tank safe.

Since this tank contains my most expensive breeding plecos and a ton of their offpring. I will be lowering the water level and then placing a plastic sheet taken from a clean drop cloth which I will tape in place under the center frame. This is to prevent anything I might drop or glue that might drip from landing in the water.

I see no way on the tank in this thread for it to be similarly reinforced. If it were my tank, I would replace it. If you are looking to buy a used 55 gal. make sure you see it filled all the way with water when you go to check it out. Make sure it has no leaks anywhere before you buy. Make sure it is not scratched as well. One small scratch is one thing, having them all over the glass is another.

I have tanks that are a few years old and some that are at least 30 or more, The biggest tanks I own were bought used and are also the oldest. The older tanks were made differently, they had thicker glass and, for some, no center brace. The science today allows for accurate calculations of stress and material breaking points. The result is we have thinner glass and somewhat stronger bracing. Common sense should tell one these newer tanks are pretty reliable. If they were not we would see posts about tank failures on both fish sites and social media. I have been in the hobby now for over 19 years. In that time I have never had one of my tanks blow out. I have a leaker or two, but no real disasters. I have only had one person tell me they had a tank blow out and dump the contents on his living room floor. It was a 135 gal. and the fish in it included a couple of clown loaches I had sent him.
 

skald89

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Jul 18, 2012
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These are the parts I used to fix it. Im not really in the hobby right now to invest in a new tank. I just want some type of fix like that would keep it together.

I thought the center that popped up would be solid. Good thing I didn't drill into that part. Ive had this issue for a couple of years now without anything happening. Im hoping with this fix it should significantly reduce any chance of it leaking or bowing out. Its been 5 days and it looks like its kept in place with no issues.

Stainless steel machine screws
1/4 in.-28 Zinc Plated Hex Nut
2 in. x 3 in. 12-Gauge ZMAX Galvanized Medium L-Angle


I put my hand under the center of the brace and see what you mean about it being hollow. What makes you think this fix won't hold the tank together to not run into issues?
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I firstly would be unlikely to fix a 55G and would just replace it.

If I wanted to fix as cheaply as possible, I would not use the top brace at all, instead construct something that connected the front and the back together, so instead on screwing into the old brace, another piece of metal that the angle pieces connected to.

my concern is that you are putting too much faith in the strength of the already broken plastic.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I got curious about galvanized and looked around.

I found this on this here https://www.tropicalfishforums.co.uk/index.php?topic=46134.0
Re: Galvanized metal in tank?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 05:05:37 pm »

I work in the steel industry...
Usually, if metal is galvanized, it tends to be galvanized mild steel.
The mild steel is bathed in highly concentrated Hydrochloric acid, then cleaned, then bathed in molten zinc.
When the steel is removed from the bath of zinc, the zinc cools and hardens and then the steel is known a galvanized.
The zinc itself will rust, but will take a VERY long time to do so even when submerged in water for a long period of time, BUT, the zinc (depending on the quality of the galv process and purity of the zinc) will probably start to flake off when submerged for a much shorter period of time, and mild steel will rust in a matter of hours leeching chemicals into you water...

So really I would avoid galved anything in a fish tank, and lean towards plastic, silicone or maybe stainless steel.
I am from the school of "better safe than sorry." I did my patch job today. I have 4 pieces of plastic in total. not only is the piece inside the hollow, but there is a plastic strip on top of that raised part of the brace and then there is one strip under each of the flat protrustions on which the lids rest. It is now solid as a rock. I did not drip any of the glue or anything else into the protective plastic box I managed to slide under the work. After using the clamp to rejoin the brace halves where it broke, I let it dry for 30 minutes, Next a plastic strip was glued to the top across the split site and it was then allowed to dry. Each strip applied to the underneath was done one at a time and allowed to dry. The hardest part of all this was finding things I could slice up with which to make the"patches."
 

northernlady

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Jan 24, 2020
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I agree with just getting another tank. Some pet shops even sell used tanks, its cheaper in the long run to get a new tank, consider a blow out ruining your floors and even leaking downstairs, a mess, not even to think of the horror of all your poor fish. I do agree that sometimes people want way to much for a used tank BUT I bought a used Oceanic 90 gallon, 10 years ago, still going strong.good luck on your hunt, there a tank out there for you.
 
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