Help With Glass Safety Factor

Discussion in 'D.I.Y.' started by mattlamm, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    Hi Guys,

    I have a standard 4ft tank that I am planning on using for a paludarium. I don't have the correct tools to measure glass thickness precisely but using a tape measure it looks to be about 5 or 6mm. Given that I will be making it into a paludarium I am only planning on filling it with water to about 50%.

    Since I only plan on filling it halfway would it be safe to remove all bracing from the top of the tank? I bought it second hand and the previous owner has already removed the center bracing since they also only filled it halfway. There is still bracing on either end running from the front pane to the back pane. I'm wanting to remove these 2 bracings if I can.

    I found the following site that has a safety factor calculator http://www.theaquatools.com/building-your-aquarium. If i plug in 122cm x 45cm x 30cm and a safety factor of 3.9 I get 5mm glass should be used. I have assumed I would only need to plug in a height at the waterline and not the full tank height. is that a correct assumption? Also, do these calculators give a safety factor rating that assumes you do or don't have bracing?

    So basically my question is, if I'm filling to about 30cm only and I assume my glass is 5mm can I remove all the bracing along the top of the tank and still feel comfortable that my tank will be safe?
     
  2. Deadpool
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    Deadpool Algae destroyer Staff Member

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    Honestly...why risk it? You prolly will be ok...but I'll just sleep safer at night if I knew there was some bracing on it (even if it's just euro bracing)
     
  3. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    The reason I was wanting to remove the bracing if possible is because I will have the lights suspended above the tank. If I was putting a hood on the tank you wouldn't see the bracing and I wouldn't care then, but I'd like to have some of the plants growing up higher than the tank height so hence suspending the lights. I think it would look better without the bracing in this scenario, and I could also grow the plants above the tank height on the edges if I wanted to. If the bracing is there then I'm a bit restricted right on the edges. However, if the tank will not be safe without the bracing I'd rather leave it on then and not have a tank exploding on me. I'm sure there are some creative ways to hide them if they must stay.
     
  4. Joshua Tree
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    Joshua Tree Valued Contributor

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    The glass calculators do not take bracing into account. On that height you could probably get away without bracing but it's too risky for my liking. My 300l is made from 12mm glass and has bracing :)

    What about using the bracing to plant on top of. So what I mean is some nice baskets or something made to size that you could grow a cascading plant like peace in the home or a fern or something in.
     
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  5. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    Yeah, I think I'll go the route of concealing them rather than removing them. I was only gonna remove them if everyone was 100% sure i didn't need them when only half filling the tank.

    Thanks for the responses guys, I'll post a thread on it soon when I start.
     
  6. Sico
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    Sico Green fingers

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    Alternatively you could glue in a 30mm strip of 6mm glass at right angles to the front pane, right at the top, which would brace it from flexing in any way, this would give you a 30mm lip (for example) along the top of the pane.
     
  7. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    Thanks @Sico, but I was hoping to go for no bracing rather than more :)
     
  8. Sico
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    Sico Green fingers

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    Yeah, I got that, I meant the 30mm lip, as opposed to the large piece right across the middle of the tank...
     
  9. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    ah right. That bracing is already removed. The tank was used for a doccie where they were filming archer fish. So they ran it half filled for a few months with some archers in. They removed the bracing so they could get footage of them in action. So seems the tank is fine to be filled without that bracing, but I was pondering removing the side ones too. Given the feedback here though I think I'll leave the side bracing and just try hide it with hardscape and plants.
     
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  10. AdrianT
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    AdrianT Aquascaper

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    What water depth will you be using? Bracing is a contentious issue. I hate it. And having done some basic finite element analysis's on to use or not to use, I would go without every time. What are the exact tank dimensions?
     
  11. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    Hi @AdrianT, I was planning on going to a depth of 25cm. I want a decent portion above the water for planting a bank above the waterline.

    It's a standard 4ft, so I think that is 122cm x 45cm x45cm. Could measure tonight. Glass thickness looks to be 5mm or 6mm, don't have calipers to get exact measurement so I had to use a tape measure.

    Yeah, I hate the look of bracing too so my original thought was, if I was building a new tank with 5mm glass and it was going to be 122l x 45w x 25h, would I need to apply bracing? I'm assuming the decision should be based on the height of the water rather than the actual height of the glass which will obviously be higher if the tank is not filled to the top.
     

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