Ticking time bombs in the living room: Is it time for kit aquarium manufactures to up their game?

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Ross Petersen

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The aesthetics of a rimless aquarium are noteworthy. Clean lines, top-down views, and the compelling physics of silicone's holding capacity. It's no wonder people are drawn to this look. With this said.. Almost daily, there's a post of rimless tank disaster, often a seam failure manifesting as a small leak or a full blown panel rupture.

I write this sitting beside a large ~500L (insert common kit tank maker) peninsula aquarium. No bottom euro bracing, no armored seams, no corner reinforcement, and the likes. The stand has what many engineers would argue is on the lower threshold of acceptable load capacity... some 1/2'' plywood or so with minimal vertical supports.

Given the reality that seams fail, earthquakes happen, people don't always perfectly level their tanks, and kids (and cats) run around... Is it time to put some pressure (pun intended) on the Red Sea, Waterbox, Cade, Innovative Marine, and other kit makers of this world to further bolster the structural integrity of their systems?

I suggest the following becomes standard options in larger kit tanks:
-Bottom eurobracing
-Corner bracing (e.g., with another small piece of glass)
-80-20 anodized aluminum stands
-Top eurobracing
-Thicker glass
-Top cross supports
-Warranty lengths extended to 5 years (original buyer only) given the retail of these systems (I'd be happy to pay more)


We are seeing some positive changes - cue Innovative Marine's metal stand and euro-brace on larger systems... Waterbox has added a second plywood support on larger systems... etc. We know the big-dog companies who make custom tanks (e.g., Reef Savvy) tend to use thick glass and have a higher surface area over which silicone is applied (e.g., armored seams), metal stand options, etc.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 
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wcroft987

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I think it’s more what people are willing to buy than anything. I have a full euro braced 180 sitting empty in my garage and am debating buying a new rimless tank just due to the aesthetics. If company A, B, C offered these tanks, they probably wouldn’t sell so what’s the point? (From a manufacturers prospective)
 
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Ross Petersen

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I think it’s more what people are willing to buy than anything. I have a full euro braced 180 sitting empty in my garage and am debating buying a new rimless tank just due to the aesthetics. If company A, B, C offered these tanks, they probably wouldn’t sell so what’s the point? (From a manufacturers prospective)
Still can go rimless - many ways to structurally support... like corner bracing or a bottom eurobrace, armored seams, etc. Stronger kit stands is a central variable as well.
 
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zukihara

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People will choose to go to Walmart to buy a $50 vacuum cleaner knowing it won't last 3 weeks rather than spend more on something that will last many years. Sit near a Walmart and watch the traffic stream in frantically all day to buy cheapo Chinese made products rather than support their local communities.

Aquariums are much more pricey, so at least I can understand the mindset more. I opted for an SCA myself.
 

a hill

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People who buy cheaply mAde things get just that.

There are many talented custom rank builders who gladly will create a masterpiece of a tank for you. It’ll just cost more than the average hobbyist will pay.

Those of us who care about quality construction have no problem having the tank we want. We gladly pay for it.

Don’t expect a company that knows their customer base’s wants to change to your standard. You don’t matter by comparison to thousands of others.

Go custom and sleep easy.
-Andrew
 
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Ross Petersen

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People who buy cheaply mAde things get just that.

There are many talented custom rank builders who gladly will create a masterpiece of a tank for you. It’ll just cost more than the average hobbyist will pay.

Those of us who care about quality construction have no problem having the tank we want. We gladly pay for it.

Don’t expect a company that knows their customer base’s wants to change to your standard. You don’t matter by comparison to thousands of others.

Go custom and sleep easy.
-Andrew
You make some good points - if the customers shift their spending, big companies will adapt. We are seeing that with a few of the big companies... finally.

Custom tank makers, I have observed, are often comparable in cost to some of the big kit companies.
 

zoa what

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Lol... care to elaborate? PS: my buddy just lost about $10,000 on living room repairs on a kit tank that failed < 2 years. This is not sensationalism.
Your buddy really didn't think this through. Its on your buddy to know the risks. Mfgrs make product for general consumption not knowing the customers end use of the product. There's an inherent risk to anything you buy.
 

reefinatl

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People will choose to go to Walmart to buy a $50 vacuum cleaner knowing it won't last 3 weeks rather than spend more on something that will last many years. Sit near a Walmart and watch the traffic stream in frantically all day to buy cheapo Chinese made products rather than support their local communities.

Aquariums are much more pricey, so at least I can understand the mindset more. I opted for an SCA myself.
I'd venture a guess that many, even the majority buying redsea and other "kit" styles aren't even aware of the existence of custom builders. They probably walk in to an LFS see a more expensive and better looking product than a typical AGA/Marineland and go home thinking they bought the best. So your example, though I agree with the premise, isn't very good in this case.
 

reefinatl

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Your buddy really didn't think this through. Its on your buddy to know the risks. Mfgrs make product for general consumption not knowing the customers end use of the product. There's an inherent risk to anything you buy.
End use of the product is to hold water which it failed to do, good grief.
 
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Ross Petersen

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Your buddy really didn't think this through. Its on your buddy to know the risks. Mfgrs make product for general consumption not knowing the customers end use of the product. There's an inherent risk to anything you buy.
Of course there's an inherent risk to anything someone purchases... but if the product fails soon after purchase, and cost a penny, everyone and there dog has the right to share their academic observations and concerns with others. Especially their drive to make things right. Your comments discourage the latter from happening.
 
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monkeyCmonkeyDo

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I spent $1700 i think it was on a custom glass tank. Bottom euro brace. Not top euro brace... well. It was 8x4x20" and it blew seams twice. 3rd time wasnt gonna happen. Waste of money. I should have never purchased. Was i mad? Yes. At the maker? Yes. Did it all matter to everyone? No. Did i hold them responable even after their new employeer tried to make things right? No i did not. I bought it.
D
 

BeltedCoyote

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Of course there's an inherent risk to anything someone purchases... but if the product fails soon after purchase, and cost a penny, everyone and there dog has the right to share their academic observations and concerns with others. Especially their drive to make things right. Your comments discourage the latter from happening.

Describing a negative event which happened to occur, as bad as it was, does not make such observations “academic”. Fact of the matter is when there are items that are produced en masse, there is inevitably a chance of some failures. Statistics dictate as much. This doesn’t negate the damage or the need for change.

that said, let’s stop the torches and pitchforks language. Change is made by cooperation, not divisiveness
 

Brian_68

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End use of the product is to hold water which it failed to do, good grief.
Your buddy really didn't think this through. Its on your buddy to know the risks. Mfgrs make product for general consumption not knowing the customers end use of the product. There's an inherent risk to anything you buy.
I would hope a aquarium manufacturer knows the intend of an aquarium is to fill it with water and have it hold....
 

zoa what

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I just don't like the language "ticking timebomb" and a blame-game pointed at the Mfgrs

Consumers pushed their "want for a rimless look" onto the Mfgrs and they produced a product at a profit.

E v e r y o n e from the Mfgr, to the Salesperson, to the Buyer knows this type of design has a higher failure rate that traditionally braced tanks.

Customers clambered for the rimless look and they got one at an inherent risk.

Im just saying your Buddy didn't think it through and should have known the risks.

Dont want to risk it? Don't buy it.

If everyone quit buying rimless, their Engineers would either dump the concept or come up with a proven strategy on redesign

Buying a rimless and then complaining about it is totally 100% on you.

.
 
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