How long can a glass aquarium last?

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mrlavalamp

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A friend had a tank split at the seems recently. He removed the top frame from an used big box store (maybe Aqueon or similar) tank so the cause is clear in my mind, he chalked it up to age though because "he saw it on youtube and it was fine". This got me thinking though.

I got my tank used last year, it is coming up on 15 years old or so based on what I was told when I bought it. I dont have the manufacturer info or any details unfortunately. Silicone looks good, no bubbles, not peeling anywhere, but there are some scratches in the glass from the years of use.

So my question is how long do tanks typically last before failure is a real risk?

Any signs a failure is imminent?
 

theishkid

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I don't think there is any exact timeframe you can give an aquarium if the seals are done properly and the glass isn't too thin and weak. If you're not bumping or creating pressures on the tank by piling equipment that is too heavy on it, it should last as long as possible. But any number of things can degrade that number.
 

Reefing102

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I would agree. I’ve had tanks last at least 15/20 years. With that said, I would agree with you on the cause. My understanding is typically, rimmed aquariums use a thinner glass due to the added support of the frame. Removing it could cause significant glass bowing over time and potentially seam failure due to stress. Just thoughts
 

BanjoBandito

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Silicone as a product can take anywhere to 50-500 years to break down. That's without outside factors such as load, environment, etc. Generally, most glass aquariums would need resealed after 7-10 years, but it's pretty common to hear people with glass aquariums that are older than 15+ years. Somewhere on this forum someone said they had one over 50 years old! I can't remember if it was fresh/salt or used for both? Biggest issues seem to be the tank being level, meaning that if it is not level it is point loading and that's an engineering no no. Before silicone "fails" by lifetime, it becomes dry and brittle, so as long as the joints are free of bubbles, feel "spongy" and aren't flaking I think you'd be OK.
 

ihavecrabs

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A friend had a tank split at the seems recently. He removed the top frame from an used big box store (maybe Aqueon or similar) tank so the cause is clear in my mind, he chalked it up to age though because "he saw it on youtube and it was fine". This got me thinking though.
It sounds like your friend's tank split at the seam because he removed the bracing... the thin glass required that bracing. I see a lot of things on Youtube that I would never do myself :)
 
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Tomorrow's Waters

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Silicone and glass are two of the longest lasting materials out there. My neighbor has had a 135 from 1992 sitting in his basement filled with water ever since it was made. He keeps the water topped off so the seams don't dry out on him and turns on the pumps once a week to keep everything fresh. I went over to his place to check it out about a month ago and it looks like it was just made. Seams are pristine! No degradation whatsoever. I bought it from him last week and I plan to finally put this bad boy to work. The company doesn't even exist anymore!
 

fish farmer

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Silicone and glass are two of the longest lasting materials out there. My neighbor has had a 135 from 1992 sitting in his basement filled with water ever since it was made. He keeps the water topped off so the seams don't dry out on him and turns on the pumps once a week to keep everything fresh. I went over to his place to check it out about a month ago and it looks like it was just made. Seams are pristine! No degradation whatsoever. I bought it from him last week and I plan to finally put this bad boy to work. The company doesn't even exist anymore!
What brand tank?

I recently took down an O'Dell 120 gallon tank. It was 20 years wet in my service...on the original particle board stand o_O(with some 2 by 4 bracing). It was in service in Florida prior to 2000, Amiracle sump, Emperor Aquatics skimmer. I think they stopped making those tanks in the early 1990's.
 
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Garf

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I had one fail at 2 years. Totally my wife’s fault. I was experimenting with 20k 150w metal halide on a 6x2x2. I turned it off and left it on the Centre brace. The wife liked the color so decided to turn it on without me knowing. BANG, the Centre brace cracked, front panel bowed about 1/2 inch. I improvised a wooden brace but 6 months later the end of the tank fell out. Probably not relevant to this thread, but I still ain’t forgiven her. :)
 

Jedi1199

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I got my 55g tank used back in 1990 or 91... It has run the gambit between fresh, then salt, then fresh, then empty, then fresh again and now salt again... Manufacturer was Aquarium Design, which was a supplier of box stores back in the day and considered to be a low grade builder...

This tank even survived a fire that started directly behind it when the old original light fixture cord shorted out at the plug one morning and set the drapes ablaze (Keep your smoke alarm batteries charged, AND charged fire extinguishers readily available folks!!!!)
 
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davidcalgary29

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I'd bet that the glass on my RSM 250 (the original, with curved edges at the front) will last for decades...while the rest of the AIO components, lighting, and stand corrode and rot away around it. That's precisely what's happening to it right now.
 

Joe Glass Cages

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this is a tough question. from mass-produced tanks to hand crafted tanks and all the different building techniques between. Then there is the stand or the surface the tank rests on. wow, so many factors. Well, we have some tanks in our fishhouse that are well over 20 years old. oh, then there is how the tank was maintained. And how many times the tank was moved. how the tank was setup. alterations to the tank. bracing changes after shipping and so on and on. I dont believed I answered the question though. Sorry about that.
 
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