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

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reefinatl

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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.
Again I really doubt your average buyer has any clue about the risks, they see a more expensive better looking item and assume it is also at least as reliable. We, forum users, are a minority.
 
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iMi

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I've heard about Red Sea tanks busting and some of the stands bulging out and basically on the verge of catastrophic failure. I'm pretty sure I've seen a recall where they were sending out a part to add cross support to some stands, but don't recall details.

Yet, I bought one recently... they are just so pretty. I figured if it was a widespread issue, we'd see more info out there. The reality is that most problems, in my opinion at least, are user error or poor maintenance/setup, etc. Then again, I'd probably be signing a very different tune if that happened to me...
 

Ef4life

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I like the idea of mitered glass corners like on the uns aquariums.

the mitered corner seam gives more surface area for silicone to bond - making for a stronger tank. That mitered corner also keeps razor blades from damaged the silicone seams too without any fancy expensive armor.

but I do agree, things like multi layered bottoms and small glass corner gussets or full euro bracing
On the largest tanks would be nice options.
50DBEA3D-2D76-4378-B534-6029754A3E35.jpeg
D1A474D7-BF41-4BC2-A2DA-32867E41E962.jpeg
 

iMi

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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.

Relative risk is what I'd like to know. Flying American is statistically riskier than flying United. In reality the difference is negligible. I don't think those manufacturers would continue to knowingly make unsafe products with an unacceptably high risk of failure unless that risk was minimal.
 
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PanchoG

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With all due respect but I feel this like, we should not buy cars because you can have an accident and get hurt. People who are in the hobby I believe understand the risk. This is coming from a guy who had a failure in the return pump conexion and ended with a living room with hardwood flood at midnight.

In life, we were going to have accidents all the time, there are no risk free activities. If you don’t like rimless tanks buy the one with braces.
 

Sarcazian

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I have always wondered about this after scores of years of having aquariums. I picked up an evo 13.5 (yes small) for an insanely cheap price. It looks amazing, but wow the fear factor of will it break open always makes me keep at least 10-15 g of fresh SW on hand just in case.

Also, I picked up a radion xr 15 g5 light vs a AI Prime because it could have two arm distributing the weight as it scared the heck out of me stressing just one side.

Now, when I picked it up I thought nothing about the lack of bracing and as others have mentioned it is likely not a thought in most peoples minds. Outside of us crazy people that spend time of forums.

Does it keep me up at night? No. But, it was enough to buy a hydros with a leak rope to warn me if something happened. Would I do the same with a braced tank like a 40B? Maybe, because I have had my fair share of non-glass related leaks in my years, but all tanks can technically fail. That said, I would not be against spending more for popular options that were engineered better. The tank price is a small fraction of the overall hobby cost.
 

DeepintheReef

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I haven’t used other brands much but Red Sea has stepped up their game with improvements to their stand as far as leveling feet, braces and connections in their newer stand versions. The new larger line of tanks coming out are also now eurobraced up top and utilize an aluminum frame stand with a plywood skin as opposed to just plywood.
 

MaxTremors

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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 produces 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.

.
Nonsense. The manufactures and engineers of these tanks have a legal and ethical obligation to ensure that their products work as advertised. Even if consumers are clamoring for rimless tanks, it doesn’t absolve the manufacturer of any responsibility for putting out a product that fails (the failing of which can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the users home) at rate that is higher than the generally accepted fail rate for consumer products. If consumers demand a three-wheeled car, it doesn’t absolve manufacturers of ensuring that it doesn’t roll every time you pull out of the driveway. If these rimless tanks fail at a rate that is significantly higher than rimmed tanks, it is on the manufacturer to engineer a better tank or stop selling them, it’s not on the consumer to assume responsibility.
 

monkeyCmonkeyDo

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All the airplanes flying around these days. You hear that blahblahblah flight 33 had a succesful take off yesterday? No u dont. U hear flight 67 crashed and killed 183 ppl and 0 survivors.
Human nature to point out things bad and not good. Lol its life.
D
 
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Ross Petersen

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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 produces 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.

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

So if Honda comes out with an updated model and they have to do a recall, it's still on the customer? Your logic is baffling.

Holding tank makers to high(er) standards is the ONLY goal here.
 

Dolphins18

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Fear.
When driving behind the wheel of a vehicle there is a risk of injury.
When skydiving there is an even great risk of injury or death.
People Should understand the risks of putting a box of water in their home. If they are willing to take those risks then so be it. I doubt many hobbyists without knowledge of the risks are shelling out tons of money for these tanks, as rimless is quite expensive.
 
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Ross Petersen

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I haven’t used other brands much but Red Sea has stepped up their game with improvements to their stand as far as leveling feet, braces and connections in their newer stand versions. The new larger line of tanks coming out are also now eurobraced up top and utilize an aluminum frame stand with a plywood skin as opposed to just plywood.
This - precisely - Red Sea has upped their game on recent larger models to reflect pressure from the consumer (from threads like this) for more reliable products.
 

zoa what

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Nonsense. The manufactures and engineers of these tanks have a legal and ethical obligation to ensure that their products work as advertised. Even if consumers are clamoring for rimless tanks, it doesn’t absolve the manufacturer of any responsibility for putting out a product that fails (the failing of which can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the users home) at rate that is higher than the generally accepted fail rate for consumer products. If consumers demand a three-wheeled car, it doesn’t absolve manufacturers of ensuring that it doesn’t roll every time you pull out of the driveway. If these rimless tanks fail at a rate that is significantly higher than rimmed tanks, it is on the manufacturer to engineer a better tank or stop selling them, it’s not on the consumer to assume responsibility.
I asked my Italian friend Tony and he said,

"A-dont a-buy a rimless a-tank, then"

200.gif
 

a hill

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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.

my personal advice, never buy a kit tank. I’m not saying they’re all bad, but they’re made for the average customer. This is a great thing, however you lose the ability to guarantee everything component by component. All of my builds I begin from the ground up, literally checking the floor, then building the stand from dimensional lumber and an oversized safety factor. Everything is furniture grade, no particle board, only stainless fasteners and traditional joints. Then thoroughly sealed. Then the tank, be it an old AGA or a new ADA or fully custom beauty is filled to test for level and adjustments can be made and additional support added (drain tank and modify stand in shop).

That’s all before the tank is plumbed! I’m also ignoring the actual tank design and engineering.

A major manufacturer is unable to do this, especially if they need to turn a profit.

I recently reviewed the water box systems in person. They’re great for what they are. They won’t last 40 years though. The stands are good enough, but are definitely not heirloom quality nor furniture grade.

Expecting heirloom grade or furniture grade construction for an inexpensive tank that if of a great value for the consumer is ignorant. It’s a lack of understanding, and it’s easy to learn about what you’re purchasing with a little bit of effort. When housing thousands of pounds of weight, most of water, one would expect a bit of extra scrutiny.

Custom tank costs can be very very reasonable, and you generally get a very high quality. The actual price may be higher than commercially available mass market units, but that’s what a one off creation entails. Obviously you are in charge of the design/engineering and what you purchase is on you. Of course not all tank builders are created equal, and mistakes happen. Going this way requires a bit of extra knowledge on your end.

I should state I have a mix of aquariums from big AGA ones older than me, to sexy rimless designer tanks, to custom 180g acrylics, to affordable $50 15” rimless cubes (aqueon) from Petco. They all have their own merits.

The liability discussion is a bit silly to me. I recommend insurance if the tank failing may cause damage of concern.

The discussion of vehicles in comparison to aquariums is silly. However I’ll join in. My daily driven vehicle is a 1987 Porsche 928s4, it’s old enough that is does not have airbags. At the time of manufacture it was the fastest production car, and I have met people who commuted to work over 100 miles each way in 45 minutes (it was an unusual situation, I can’t endorse regardless, it was essentially a private road that was built for them) I have been in three accidents, twice while parked. The third was on the highway. I’ve been safe each time, I knowingly purchased an old potentially extremely dangerous vehicle. Porsche isn’t liable for problems that happen. I am. If I drive recklessly and am I hired or die? That’s on me. Going 120mph is increased risk of major consequences just like placing a tank with lower tolerances on an improperly constructed stand in a space that may have more bumps and external forces.

Porsche has had issues in engineering that slips past them. Occasionally they do recall parts. IMS is a great example. The thing is, the risk is known and everyone purchasing those cars is advised to have it inspected prior to purchase.

Similarly, we need to be inspecting our tanks very carefully before accepting delivery/taking it home.

In short? Risks exist and you get what you ou for. Quick fixes incur greater risk than carefully calculated and constructed solutions. Insurance and floor drains are good investments for some people.

A great counter example to everything I just wrote would be the Visitherm Stealth heaters exploding. The manufacturer was quick to make things right with those who were affected. I know if tens of thousands of dollars being sent to affected customers. Granted, defective heaters are akin to pipe bombs...

-Andrew

PS. Reaching out calmly to the manufacturer, and their teams making the problem tanks with concern and questions and potential input is often well received. It can sometimes be difficult to get the right person on the phone, one it happens though, it usually is positive.
 
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MONTANTK

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I agree. The amount of times I see someone posting about a seam separating is kind of scary. Rarely have I heard of it with deep blue and marineland. Definitely an issue that needs to be addressed considering many of these tanks cost in excess of $2,000 before any equipment is added. Who knows how many are out there with issues that haven’t been caught
 

a hill

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Fear.
When driving behind the wheel of a vehicle there is a risk of injury.
When skydiving there is an even great risk of injury or death.
People Should understand the risks of putting a box of water in their home. If they are willing to take those risks then so be it. I doubt many hobbyists without knowledge of the risks are shelling out tons of money for these tanks, as rimless is quite expensive.
I think most discount the possibility and it’s ramifications because they like the look and it’ll never happen to them.

Then it happens and it must be someone else’s fault!

-Andrew
 
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Ross Petersen

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my personal advice, never buy a kit tank. I’m not saying they’re all bad, but they’re made for the average customer. This is a great thing, however you lose the ability to guarantee everything component by component. All of my builds I begin from the ground up, literally checking the floor, then building the stand from dimensional lumber and an oversized safety factor. Everything is furniture grade, no particle board, only stainless fasteners and traditional joints. Then thoroughly sealed. Then the tank, be it an old AGA or a new ADA or fully custom beauty is filled to test for level and adjustments can be made and additional support added (drain tank and modify stand in shop).

That’s all before the tank is plumbed! I’m also ignoring the actual tank design and engineering.

A major manufacturer is unable to do this, especially if they need to turn a profit.

I recently reviewed the water box systems in person. They’re great for what they are. They won’t last 40 years though. The stands are good enough, but are definitely not heirloom quality nor furniture grade.

Expecting heirloom grade or furniture grade construction for an inexpensive tank that if of a great value for the consumer is ignorant. It’s a lack of understanding, and it’s easy to learn about what you’re purchasing with a little bit of effort. When housing thousands of pounds of weight, most of water, one would expect a bit of extra scrutiny.

Custom tank costs can be very very reasonable, and you generally get a very high quality. The actual price may be higher than commercially available mass market units, but that’s what a one off creation entails. Obviously you are in charge of the design/engineering and what you purchase is on you. Of course not all tank builders are created equal, and mistakes happen. Going this way requires a bit of extra knowledge on your end.

I should state I have a mix of aquariums from big AGA ones older than me, to sexy rimless designer tanks, to custom 180g acrylics, to affordable $50 15” rimless cubes (aqueon) from Petco. They all have their own merits.

The liability discussion is a bit silly to me. I recommend insurance if the tank failing may cause damage of concern.

The discussion of vehicles in comparison to aquariums is silly. However I’ll join in. My daily driven vehicle is a 1987 Porsche 928s4, it’s old enough that is does not have airbags. At the time of manufacture it was the fastest production car, and I have met people who commuted to work over 100 miles each way in 45 minutes (it was an unusual situation, I can’t endorse regardless, it was essentially a private road that was built for them) I have been in three accidents, twice while parked. The third was on the highway. I’ve been safe each time, I knowingly purchased an old potentially extremely dangerous vehicle. Porsche isn’t liable for problems that happen. I am. If I drive recklessly and am I hired or die? That’s on me. Going 120mph is increased risk of major consequences just like placing a tank with lower tolerances on an improperly constructed stand in a space that may have more bumps and external forces.

Porsche has had issues in engineering that slips past them. Occasionally they do recall parts. IMS is a great example. The thing is, the risk is known and everyone purchasing those cars is advised to have it inspected prior to purchase.

Similarly, we need to be inspecting our tanks very carefully before accepting delivery/taking it home.

In short? Risks exist and you get what you ou for. Quick fixes incur greater risk than carefully calculated and constructed solutions. Insurance and floor drains are good investments for some people.

A great counter example to everything I just wrote would be the Visitherm Stealth heaters exploding. The manufacturer was quick to make things right with those who were affected. I know if tens of thousands of dollars being sent to affected customers. Granted, defective heaters are akin to pipe bombs...

-Andrew

PS. Reaching out calmly to the manufacturer, and their teams making the problem tanks with concern and questions and potential input is often well received. It can sometimes be difficult to get the right person on the phone, one it happens though, it usually is positive.

To your one point: "When housing thousands of pounds of weight, most of water, one would expect a bit of extra scrutiny." YES - from both the buyer and seller.

***Ironically*** - this open discussion is a discussion centered around the durability and reliability of systems and how they can improve over time. This discussion is about doing research.

The cost of adding another piece of plywood to a kit stand, a bottom euro brace, and/or armor seams for more silicone contact outweighs the drawbacks for both company and buyer in the long run.

Not sure if you are aware, but one of the kit companies are banning any feedback about their product online. We need open discussion - with a lens on improving quality over time.
 

Grill

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I bought an old school Oceanic 7'x2'x2' 210gal. from Craigslist for $200. It was in rough shape with the thick fake wood plastic trim and dried out silicone. I tore it down to just the panes of glass, cleaned all the seams, resealed with pencil glass on the bottom and sides for reinforcement, then framed. (bought a low iron front pane) It doesn't have the simplistic look of a rimless or the bulky glass braces of a Euro, more of a modern industrial look. Other than the endless nagging from the wife to get the tank out of the living room and garage (spent a couple months working on it) it came out extremely nice. Anything happens I can only blame myself. :eek:


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