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  #1  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:28 PM
shiveley shiveley is offline
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How Safe are Acrylic Tanks?

I was wondering what my esteemed colleagues in the reefing community thought about the safety/structural integrity of acrylic tanks over the 100G mark. Are there any significant issues encountered with acrylic in terms of handling that level of volume? I'm asking because I have a 125G Euro-braced acrylic tank that I've been working with and I'd like to set it up for term usage.

Thanks in advance for you knowledge and expertise.
  #2  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:01 PM
kdblove_99 kdblove_99 is offline
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I have no clue. I think it is pretty much fact that acrylic tanks are stronger plus i would never own anything in glass over 300 gallons. I would onlu use Acrylic
  #3  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:19 PM
gotfin gotfin is offline
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the obvious disadvantage is that acrylic scratches. as for glass tanks there is no problem building glass tanks 1000+ gallons provided it is built 'correctly'.
  #4  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:24 PM
kdblove_99 kdblove_99 is offline
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Yes. Acrylic scratches way too easy as i have found out. But i still wouldnt trust a glass tank that big.

I guess about the only thing with big acrylic tanks is they can bow after awhile
  #5  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:38 PM
philter4 philter4 is offline
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Acrylic is much stronger (I've heard as much as 10 times stronger, but I don't know for a fact) and more optically clear then glass, but it is also more expensive and it does scratch.
  #6  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:54 PM
kdblove_99 kdblove_99 is offline
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Not anymore clear than Starphire and defiently cheaper than starphire
  #7  
Old 01/09/2008, 12:10 AM
Marko9 Marko9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by kdblove_99
Not anymore clear than Starphire and defiently cheaper than starphire
But the price on starfire has come way down over the last year
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  #8  
Old 01/09/2008, 01:29 AM
jtarmitage jtarmitage is offline
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The acrylic is much stronger, and the seems won't split like they will on a glass tank. They can handle to accidental bumps to the panels, and strain(torque, like from an earthquake) much better. The obvious, and previously stated downside is the scratchability.
I bought an acrylic 250 because I knew of the possibility of moving (acrylic is much lighter) and it's strength advantage(2 young kids). But, I hate scraping coralline off of acrylic.
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  #9  
Old 01/09/2008, 02:21 AM
kdblove_99 kdblove_99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Marko9
But the price on starfire has come way down over the last year
It has Mark?
  #10  
Old 01/09/2008, 02:41 AM
jeffmperez jeffmperez is offline
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Outta curiosity, how do you scrape coarline algae off of acrylic? That is w/o scratching the heck out of it?

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  #11  
Old 01/09/2008, 02:45 AM
pbetito pbetito is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jeffmperez
Outta curiosity, how do you scrape coarline algae off of acrylic? That is w/o scratching the heck out of it?

Nothing beats a good old plastic credit card and some elbow grease.
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  #12  
Old 01/09/2008, 02:53 AM
jtarmitage jtarmitage is offline
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CC work, but I use a kent scraper with the plastic blade. I also recently got a Therme which takes a long time, but kills the coralline first so when you go back and scrape it, it comes off much easier.
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  #13  
Old 01/09/2008, 03:54 PM
thebest3 thebest3 is offline
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i have have acylic for a 2 year now with no problem, the down side is it scratch too easy but you could buff it out ,super light weight,i set the 180g all by myself....never have a leaking problem like with glass tank cause i move my tank around alot.
  #14  
Old 01/09/2008, 04:11 PM
Underwaterparadise Underwaterparadise is offline
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IMO Acrylic Scratches to easy and I have only seen a handfull of Acrylic tanks 100g and over that didn't bow. IMO the only downside to glass is how heavy they are to move. And Acrylic tanks do split at the seams, ask the guy that was on Craigslist a few days ago

And remember it doesn't have to be Starphire to be clear glass it just has to be "low Iron" glass. Starphire is a brand name and yes the price has come down over the past year or so, it's just that most BIG tank manufacturers are a little behind on making Starphire tanks so the prices are still high. A custom Starphire is much less now then it was 3 years ago when my 200g was built.
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  #15  
Old 01/09/2008, 04:59 PM
boviac boviac is offline
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I second everything that was said here except I believe for nearly all situations (except maybe major earthquakes) glass and acrylic bonds are strong enough as long as they are made correctly.

Acrylic is stronger. Further, acrylic bonds are supposed to weld together and the weld should be stronger than the acrylic. So if Acrylic cracks something most likely wasn't built right or worst-case, was impacted just right. Ouch

That being said I would go with glass for <=180gal but anything larger consider acrylic or plywood or something else.

As far as larger tanks just go see what the aquariums like Monterey use - Acrylic (actually, I'm not sure but it is some form of plastic).
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  #16  
Old 01/09/2008, 06:45 PM
mothra mothra is offline
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I have a 360g acrylic tank. It's 7' long and made of 3/4" acrylic. It doesn't show the slightest sign of bowing. I've only had water in it once, but prior to me owning it there was water in it for 6 years.

One thing to watch out for (and I saw this on RC somewhere recently) was an acrylic tank where the top bracing was not made from one piece, rather separate pieces (like a glass tank) and it let loose causing the front panel seams to start leaking. The top brace must be machined from a single piece, other than that it's all good

If you have the money for Starphire / low iron glass I'd go that way due to the whole scratching thing.
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  #17  
Old 01/09/2008, 10:26 PM
Blu50Stang Blu50Stang is offline
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Never had a problem with acrylic. The scratches can be removed, but you can't do that with glass. It'll bow, which is the only downside to me.
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  #18  
Old 01/09/2008, 10:59 PM
fishsoldseprtly fishsoldseprtly is offline
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the only reason for bowing (acrylic) would be because it was thin acrylic, it all depends on the size of your tank on the size of acrylic. But I have seen more glass tanks less than 100G leak, crack, bottom breaking than I have seen a 100G acrylic tank break or have any structural damage.
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