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Partner member 2021
- Jan 22, 2019
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In this thread: Red sea fanboys defend an expensive timebomb.
Thanks! So far no issues. I was a little worried about the tank being 7' long and leveling. I used liquid acrylic for the top of the stand and put the stand on leveling casters. Also went under the house and added a few floor joist.
I agree with your assertion regarding custom tanks. While planning my current 180 build, I went round and round: Red Sea, Waterbox Fiji, Cade, Red Sea, etc. I'd make my decision then realize that there was something about each system that was unacceptable to me or demanded too much compromise on my part. At some point I realized that I could have a custom built tank for not a great deal more money. So I went with a Crystal Dynamic 180, and I'm very happy that I did. The top and bottom euro-bracing, corner reinforcements, and steel stand obviate any concerns I had regarding structural integrity. And, I could customize to my heart's content- 36" overflow, Trigger sump, Reef Octopus skimmer, and so on. While I think that, overall, the big aquarium manufacturers produce decent quality systems given the price, it is very much worth considering a custom option. For a few months' more saving an aquarist can get exactly what he wants and likely will be very happy with it.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...
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.
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.
EXACTLY!I would like to add that many tank failures in glass were traced to water damaged stands creating stress on the tanks.