Professional's answers on bottom glass and frame questions

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CWO4GUNNER

USN/USCG 1974-2004 Weps
Original poster
My long awaited questions has been answered by professional factory aquarium builders.

Fact. the decorative trim on the aquarium has no benefit whatsoever in strength or structure but invented purely as a manufacturing aid to hold the panels in place during the gluing process. It is the silicone that does all the supporting between the panels not the decorative or assembling plastic framing. If you took it off it would make absolutely no difference other then to hold new panels in place for the gluing process.

Fact. Added bracing comes in the form of the center top glass strap where aquariums are longer then 48 inches and hold more then 100 gallons. The alternative is Euro bracing.

Fact. The bottom glass in manufacturing is never tempered unless special ordered due to its catastrophic failure nature (explodes when fails). Non-tempered is used because when it fails it cracks and the leak is usually a controlled spill.

Fact. The cutoff between using the "capped method" of bottom glass placement (all side panels sit on perimeter of of bottom glass) or "free floating method" (bottom glass is recessed inside and even with all 4 vertical panels) is when 1 inch glass is used.
Because of the sheer weight of 1" or larger glass vertical panels and the amounts of water they designed to hold would be too much weight to be sitting on top of the perimeter of the bottom glass using the "capped method", the "free floating method" is use instead which is a more difficult assembly process but no more stronger then the "capped method" in so far as bonding strength is concerned.

Fact. aquarium manufactures recommend stand be made of solid wood with flat strong supported surfaces to support the entire bottom glass as most new decorative framing is only 1/32 inch thick on the bottom. Perimeter support is not recommended.

*Incidentally, please do not construed this posting as any kind of slam on opinions we have all given including myself and which have help greatly in perusing the whole answer. These particular and crucial questions I sought out from the factory so that they would help us all have a solid foundation as to WHY these method are used and preferred by manufacturers.
 
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Apr 2, 2002
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I would feel a lot better about accepting what is written above if it were credited to a relaible source of tank manufaturing such as Aqueon (formerly AllGlass), Perfecto or even glasscages.com.

I know for a fact that the statement:
Fact. The bottom glass in manufacturing is never tempered unless special ordered due to its catastrophic failure nature (explodes when fails). Non-tempered is used because when it fails it cracks and the leak is usually a controlled spill.
is not true. Read any AllGlass brochure that comes with their tanks and you will see at least 16 tanks that come standard with a tempered bottom.
 

Star_Rider

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I would feel a lot better about accepting what is written above if it were credited to a relaible source of tank manufaturing such as Aqueon (formerly AllGlass), Perfecto or even glasscages.com.

I know for a fact that the statement:

is not true. Read any AllGlass brochure that comes with their tanks and you will see at least 16 tanks that come standard with a tempered bottom.
I wondered about this too as all of my Allglass tanks have tempered bottoms in fact their drilled tanks (with overflows) are drilled prior to tempering(at least that is what they told me).
 
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CWO4GUNNER

USN/USCG 1974-2004 Weps
Original poster
Well please if you could guild me to the brochure or info Id appreciate it. My conversations on this subject were over the phone and with 2 separate techs involved in the manufacturing process at two different factories, one saying we usually do not and the other saying special order but both for the same reasons. If fact one thing I left out that I diden't agree with and left out is that the strength of tempered glass is only in the surface layer, whatever that means. Either way it important for me in particular to know the best method because I am about to order a 72x24x1/2" glass bottom and if tempered will give me a worthwhile advantage for the added cost of $10 with no safety concerns like exploding flood water, I need to know ASAP. For me this is not about disagreements but about a pursuit of the facts which is all I'm trying to uncover. If your conflicting info is better or more accurate, please by all means post, link or paste the details along with the platitudes, especially since as 1 person I cant possibly turn over every rock.
 
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Star_Rider

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my understanding with tempered glass is the added strength


particularly when adding rocks etc.
 

The Zigman

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Oct 5, 2007
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Hmm did a little research.

From Aquaeon (all Glass Aquariums) FAQ page:
http://www.aqueonproducts.com/education/faq/


Can I drill holes in my aquarium for external filters?
Maybe, many of our aquariums are made with tempered glass in the bottom. Tempered glass cannot be drilled. Non-tempered glass panels may be drilled by a qualified technician. In some cases, you may special order All-Glass aquariums pre-drilled with the MegaFlow or Twin-Flow overflow systems. You could also special order, in some cases, an aquarium with non-tempered glass if you wanted to have it drilled outside of our facility. If you have an older tank that you want to drill, don’t take any chances - if you are not sure that the glass is non-tempered, do not drill it.

And from Oceanic's FAQ page.
http://www.oceanicsystems.com/education/faqs/

Is the glass in my aquarium tempered?
The bottom pane of glass on all Oceanic tanks (drilled or not) is tempered except for the Ultimate series and custom drilled tanks. The sides, fronts, and backs are not tempered. Please keep in mind that any drilling of the tank or alteration from its original manufactured state will void the warranty.
 

CWO4GUNNER

USN/USCG 1974-2004 Weps
Original poster
According to the glass factory (special order) all work from cutting to finished edges must be complete prior to the tempering process which it is placed in an oven and heated to thousands of degrees, cant remember the amount. But he told me that if the tempered glass is off on size there is no way it can be altered after the tempering process and also recommended I go with non tempered if tolerances with less then 1/8 inch. However now that I know I can do a "cap method" bottom replacement (simple) I am still very tempted to go tempered for an addition $10.

Incidentally I forgot to mention that I will be speaking to a factory supervisor and QA specialist on Monday specifically involved in the manufacturing of standard and custom aquariums and methods of the building processes, to revisit all these questions for a 3rd and highest opinion. No one is more in a hurry to get started then me but I have to have all the input, the pursuit of which would not have bee possible without everyone's brainstorming comments which have energized and motivated me to find out the best method even though I am sure allot of recommend patch methods would have also worked. If I couldn't afford a couple hundred dollars to fix this I would definitely go with one of the recommendations for a patch job, the most unique proposed was fiberglass painted marine plywood bottom.
 
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CWO4GUNNER

USN/USCG 1974-2004 Weps
Original poster
Hmm did a little research.

From Aquaeon (all Glass Aquariums) FAQ page:
http://www.aqueonproducts.com/education/faq/

And from Oceanic's FAQ page.
http://www.oceanicsystems.com/education/faqs/
Thank you for those links, I have visited Oceanic site before buts its been about 6 months when I purchased a used one. Anyway Ill make sure I use the FAQ reference when I call to speak to the QA guy on Monday for a definitive WHY/ WHY NOT answer, not the FAQs "Maybe many our aquariums are tempered" and "The ultimate series are not", listed as a positive bullet in the ultimate product section as if non-tempered is a good thing (why). But if the reason why or why not information is not posted on their web site how can buyers make the an informed and responsible decision, Ill tell you one thing the sales people definitely don't know.

Of course you realize Im doing all this as a round about to get to the answers I or another DIY guy needs to replace a bottom panel. Overkill maybe, assured peace of mind, absolutely!
 
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Star_Rider

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According to the glass factory (special order) all work from cutting to finished edges must be complete prior to the tempering process which it is placed in an oven and heated to thousands of degrees, cant remember the amount. But he told me that if the tempered glass is off on size there is no way it can be altered after the tempering process and also recommended I go with non tempered if tolerances with less then 1/8 inch. However now that I know I can do a "cap method" bottom replacement (simple) I am still very tempted to go tempered for an addition $10.
this is what I was told too
 
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