Custom Eurobraced Planet Aquarium 180G

Martingale

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Tank is a custom 6’x2’x2’ tank from Planet Aquariums. It has a double-layered offset eurobrace with a lip for a lid to rest on. It came with their 16” tideline overflow. Front pane is low-iron glass, and all glass is flat polished with the beveled edges. It has seam-protectors/armored-seams along the bottom and on the vertical seams. It also came with its own pre-attached leveling pad, which I didn’t expect.

Currently planned to be lit by an Aquatic Life hybrid fixture with XR30 Blues.

Stand is made of 80/20 and is on casters with metal corrugated panels. The stand came from Alufab, who I highly recommend.

Definitely excited, but I have some nitpicking to do with Planet Aquariums. Am I happy with this tank? Yes, for the price. Would I choose Planet Aquariums again for a custom tank? Probably not. Here's a good rundown on this.

Tank was $3,715 (+7.5% tax) with free delivery. Ended up paying $350 to have someone else get it in the house and onto the stand.
 
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bluegrass_reef12

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Tank is a custom 6’x2’x2’ tank from Planet Aquariums. It has a double-layered offset eurobrace with a lip for a lid to rest on. It came with their 16” tideline overflow. Front pane is low-iron glass, and all glass is flat polished with the beveled edges. It has seam-protectors/armored-seams along the bottom and on the vertical seams. It also came with its own pre-attached leveling pad, which I didn’t expect.

Currently planned to be lit by an Aquatic Life hybrid fixture with XR30 Blues.

Stand is made of 80/20 and is on casters with metal corrugated panels.

Definitely excited, but I have some nitpicking to do with Planet Aquariums. Am I happy with this tank? Yes, for the price. Would I choose Planet Aquariums again for a custom tank? Probably not.

Tank was $3,715 (+7.5% tax) with free delivery. Ended up paying $350 to have someone else get it in the house and onto the stand.
Why would you not choose them again?
 
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Martingale

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I'm curious too? I have them on my short list.
Why would you not choose them again?


There's nothing inherently wrong with the tank, but Planet Aquariums felt very "assembly-line" when dealing with them for a custom tank. Your experience with a custom tank from them will also probably vary depending on how good of a relationship your retailer has with Planet. In my case I assume they had as good of a relationship as any as I know they order a lot of tanks and even had their whole store re-modeled and showcased by Planet Aquarium just this last year. I was even able to order the tank without paying any delivery fees to the store. Their turn-around on responses was okay, my LFS was very prompt though.

The silicone work on the tank is a little sloppy like they weren't careful pulling the tape, trimming the excess, or smoothing the edges. They definitely used plenty of silicone on the tank with all of the seams protected and such but they still weren't very careful with filling the voids on the larger fills. It's never anywhere "structural" or anything, though.

The overflow is intended to fit with very tight tolerances underneath the euro brace, but their tolerances when drilling the tank were not quite as tight. I had to use a spare piece of acrylic to ensure there was enough of a gap created so that the removable overflow weir had just enough room to to still come off. The drilled holes are slightly askew from each other so that this isn't possible if you just place the overflow bulkheads into the drilled holes, it makes it too angled to remove the teeth. The drilled holes also appear like when they are drilled from both sides simultaneously that the bits didn't quite line up and a "ridge" is created. It took a while to even get the overflow installed where removing the teeth was possible. I had also read iffy reviews on the tideline overflow being loud, but I was told to have them drill for a different overflow was like another $400.

The leveling mat they attached seems to only be glued/siliconed on in a few select spots which looks a little awkward if you intended to go barebottom as it shows through the bottom. Admittedly it will probably not be as noticeable once filled and definitely not when its covered in coralline.

The cut vinyl backing has some rough edges, and I'll have to be careful as there are some sections that seem very easy to start a peel/tear especially around the drilled edges.

You only get a 30 day warranty if the tank isn't placed on one of their stands. The pockethole-and-plywood-sheet stands look nice at a distance, but it's still just a bunch of plywood sheets.

A 180 gallon mega matrix with similar options as my tank is like $2450. You are charged 20% more than that outright for being "custom". They generally just said "no" to requests rather than offer an alternative, and I was trying to go trimless on the tank from the start. I was only able to get this eurobraced version after seeing it shown in a video off youtube and asking about it. They can do a PVC bottom but its $800 and isn't an insert, the entire bottom is then a PVC sheet. Their flat-polish glass is only available in the Mega Matrix dimensions. My tank is alledgedly rather unique in that it is 72" x 24" in full panes and not the 71.5" x 23.5" panes they use for the 180 mega matrix. I was told they had these panes left over from some other project, and was actually recommended to avoid having them cut and hand polish panes for more custom sizing as I guess it's not something they regularly do.

The same tank shipped from glass cages with a liftgate would have been essentially the same price but had any overflow I wanted and an actual PVC insert. It would have also had a longer warranty, and I could have avoided playing telephone with my LFS and just spoke to Glasscages directly. I basically started off wanting a slightly modified mega matrix, which really is a good deal I think, and it grew from there. In hindsight I should have just ordered a full custom from the start and hired some help to bring the tank inside. My LFS would only install if it was from Planet.

At the time of ordering I was a little wary of glasscages simply based on their reviews from couple years back before the change of ownership, but only ever heard great things about them. I did also end up hearing a very glowing review of GlassCages from a LFS that had toured their facility not too long ago. If you're going to buy at this price and have a toss up between Planet and GlassCages, I would go GlassCages.

Anyways it's a lot of nitpicking, but it does feel like I would have had the same tank exactly as I wanted it in the beginning from GlassCages within 24 hours after submitting the quote form through their site.



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There's nothing inherently wrong with the tank, but Planet Aquariums felt very "assembly-line" when dealing with them for a custom tank. Your experience with a custom tank from them will also probably vary depending on how good of a relationship your retailer has with Planet. In my case I assume they had as good of a relationship as any as I know they order a lot of tanks and even had their whole store re-modeled and showcased by Planet Aquarium just this last year. I was even able to order the tank without paying any delivery fees to the store. Their turn-around on responses was okay, my LFS was very prompt though.

The silicone work on the tank is a little sloppy like they weren't careful pulling the tape, trimming the excess, or smoothing the edges. They definitely used plenty of silicone on the tank with all of the seams protected and such but they still weren't very careful with filling the voids on the larger fills. It's never anywhere "structural" or anything, though.

The overflow is intended to fit with very tight tolerances underneath the euro brace, but their tolerances when drilling the tank were not quite as tight. I had to use a spare piece of acrylic to ensure there was enough of a gap created so that the removable overflow weir had just enough room to to still come off. The drilled holes are slightly askew from each other so that this isn't possible if you just place the overflow bulkheads into the drilled holes, it makes it too angled to remove the teeth. The drilled holes also appear like when they are drilled from both sides simultaneously that the bits didn't quite line up and a "ridge" is created. It took a while to even get the overflow installed where removing the teeth was possible. I had also read iffy reviews on the tideline overflow being loud, but I was told to have them drill for a different overflow was like another $400.

The leveling mat they attached seems to only be glued/siliconed on in a few select spots which looks a little awkward if you intended to go barebottom as it shows through the bottom. Admittedly it will probably not be as noticeable once filled and definitely not when its covered in coralline.

The cut vinyl backing has some rough edges, and I'll have to be careful as there are some sections that seem very easy to start a peel/tear especially around the drilled edges.

You only get a 30 day warranty if the tank isn't placed on one of their stands. The pockethole-and-plywood-sheet stands look nice at a distance, but it's still just a bunch of plywood sheets.

A 180 gallon mega matrix with similar options as my tank is like $2450. You are charged 20% more than that outright for being "custom". They generally just said "no" to requests rather than offer an alternative, and I was trying to go trimless on the tank from the start. I was only able to get this eurobraced version after seeing it shown in a video off youtube and asking about it. They can do a PVC bottom but its $800 and isn't an insert, the entire bottom is then a PVC sheet. Their flat-polish glass is only available in the Mega Matrix dimensions. My tank is alledgedly rather unique in that it is 72" x 24" in full panes and not the 71.5" x 23.5" panes they use for the 180 mega matrix. I was told they had these panes left over from some other project, and was actually recommended to avoid having them cut and hand polish panes for more custom sizing as I guess it's not something they regularly do.

The same tank shipped from glass cages with a liftgate would have been essentially the same price but had any overflow I wanted and an actual PVC insert. It would have also had a longer warranty, and I could have avoided playing telephone with my LFS and just spoke to Glasscages directly. I basically started off wanting a slightly modified mega matrix, which really is a good deal I think, and it grew from there. In hindsight I should have just ordered a full custom from the start and hired some help to bring the tank inside. My LFS would only install if it was from Planet.

At the time of ordering I was a little wary of glasscages simply based on their reviews from couple years back before the change of ownership, but only ever heard great things about them. I did also end up hearing a very glowing review of GlassCages from a LFS that had toured their facility not too long ago. If you're going to buy at this price and have a toss up between Planet and GlassCages, I would go GlassCages.

Anyways it's a lot of nitpicking, but it does feel like I would have had the same tank exactly as I wanted it in the beginning from GlassCages within 24 hours after submitting the quote form through their site.



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Wow, I thought the attention to detail and quality would be higher on a custom tank… thanks for your sharing
 

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There's nothing inherently wrong with the tank, but Planet Aquariums felt very "assembly-line" when dealing with them for a custom tank. Your experience with a custom tank from them will also probably vary depending on how good of a relationship your retailer has with Planet. In my case I assume they had as good of a relationship as any as I know they order a lot of tanks and even had their whole store re-modeled and showcased by Planet Aquarium just this last year. I was even able to order the tank without paying any delivery fees to the store. Their turn-around on responses was okay, my LFS was very prompt though.

The silicone work on the tank is a little sloppy like they weren't careful pulling the tape, trimming the excess, or smoothing the edges. They definitely used plenty of silicone on the tank with all of the seams protected and such but they still weren't very careful with filling the voids on the larger fills. It's never anywhere "structural" or anything, though.

The overflow is intended to fit with very tight tolerances underneath the euro brace, but their tolerances when drilling the tank were not quite as tight. I had to use a spare piece of acrylic to ensure there was enough of a gap created so that the removable overflow weir had just enough room to to still come off. The drilled holes are slightly askew from each other so that this isn't possible if you just place the overflow bulkheads into the drilled holes, it makes it too angled to remove the teeth. The drilled holes also appear like when they are drilled from both sides simultaneously that the bits didn't quite line up and a "ridge" is created. It took a while to even get the overflow installed where removing the teeth was possible. I had also read iffy reviews on the tideline overflow being loud, but I was told to have them drill for a different overflow was like another $400.

The leveling mat they attached seems to only be glued/siliconed on in a few select spots which looks a little awkward if you intended to go barebottom as it shows through the bottom. Admittedly it will probably not be as noticeable once filled and definitely not when its covered in coralline.

The cut vinyl backing has some rough edges, and I'll have to be careful as there are some sections that seem very easy to start a peel/tear especially around the drilled edges.

You only get a 30 day warranty if the tank isn't placed on one of their stands. The pockethole-and-plywood-sheet stands look nice at a distance, but it's still just a bunch of plywood sheets.

A 180 gallon mega matrix with similar options as my tank is like $2450. You are charged 20% more than that outright for being "custom". They generally just said "no" to requests rather than offer an alternative, and I was trying to go trimless on the tank from the start. I was only able to get this eurobraced version after seeing it shown in a video off youtube and asking about it. They can do a PVC bottom but its $800 and isn't an insert, the entire bottom is then a PVC sheet. Their flat-polish glass is only available in the Mega Matrix dimensions. My tank is alledgedly rather unique in that it is 72" x 24" in full panes and not the 71.5" x 23.5" panes they use for the 180 mega matrix. I was told they had these panes left over from some other project, and was actually recommended to avoid having them cut and hand polish panes for more custom sizing as I guess it's not something they regularly do.

The same tank shipped from glass cages with a liftgate would have been essentially the same price but had any overflow I wanted and an actual PVC insert. It would have also had a longer warranty, and I could have avoided playing telephone with my LFS and just spoke to Glasscages directly. I basically started off wanting a slightly modified mega matrix, which really is a good deal I think, and it grew from there. In hindsight I should have just ordered a full custom from the start and hired some help to bring the tank inside. My LFS would only install if it was from Planet.

At the time of ordering I was a little wary of glasscages simply based on their reviews from couple years back before the change of ownership, but only ever heard great things about them. I did also end up hearing a very glowing review of GlassCages from a LFS that had toured their facility not too long ago. If you're going to buy at this price and have a toss up between Planet and GlassCages, I would go GlassCages.

Anyways it's a lot of nitpicking, but it does feel like I would have had the same tank exactly as I wanted it in the beginning from GlassCages within 24 hours after submitting the quote form through their site.



IMG_3946.jpeg IMG_3944.jpeg

For what you paid, Id be full of pi$$ and vinegar with Planet and possibly the LFS for even allowing that to be delivered@ the price point. Scratch one brand off the 'custom' list.
 
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Yeah I mean I wasn't thrilled with all parties involved, but I am thrilled for the tank. I hopped in and cleaned up the silicone seam lines with a razor blade and will probably fill in the gaps they left myself just to hide them from view.

I will give Planet credit that they are definitely known to take care of you if something actually goes wrong, like with actually sending someone out to you directly. However, with a 30 day warranty I can't say I'm holding my breath that it wouldn't all be out of pocket if there were to ever be an actual issue.

I've started to leak test it while its still in warranty and will probably be adding dry sand and temporary plumbing while I wait for a sump.

I also noticed some wobble/racking of the stand from front-to-back. After consulting with Alufab I'll probably add a few 45-degree supports to see about eliminating that entirely. There's absolutely no movement side-to-side, though.
 
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Water and sand, boom, it’s practically finished already.

I’m only really waiting on the sump, I have everything else ready.

Casters worked really well, I was able to roll all 1,000lbs+ of this by myself. I had to push off the wall from the bottom to do it gently, and it was a little nerve wracking crossing each LVP plank as it takes an extra shove and some sudden movement. I think after addressing the front-to-back racking it’ll be much easier as there won’t be as much water movement produced, and there seems to be much smoother movement when rolling from side to side. Two people could also probably move this much easier. The casters are still very easy to adjust up and down despite the weight using their included wrenches that go over the thumb wheel.

I had placed two floor jacks under this room on the opposite side of the room where the tank was originally planned to go, jacks which I had planned to move to under the tanks current spot. Those jacks as they are however made every wall in this room load bearing, and I think it might be even better as the floor is very solid.

I think I will run two larger diameter pipes underneath this room and up into the wall for fishing cable/wires. Beneath this room is the only part of the house that has a crawlspace as opposed to a basement. One pipe will carry any electrical cables like longer aquabus cables. The other will probably carry an RODI line, continuous-length python tubing for large water changes, and some RODI tubing to a DOS for auto water changes.

The tank will get its own 20amp GFCI breaker, I just need to finish running some wire to an outlet.
 
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