Brace removal for 150 gallon? - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Brace removal for 150 gallon?

So I have a standard, 6' 150 gallon that has black trim. It has the two black plastic bars across the top that hold the lids. I'm wondering if the tank's structural integrity would suffer if I removed those two bars with a dremmel to go open-top. I know that the bars might be supporting the glass in some way to prevent the panes from succumbing to the force of the water. I don't have a degree in engineering so I'm wondering if someone out there could tell me if the tank can withstand the modification. Or, perhaps someone out there has tried this?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 05:16 PM
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I would never remove those bars on a 6 foot long tank. They are there to reduce the stress on the front and back glass - actually to allow the use of thinner glass. If you remove them and the glass breaks, 150 gallons of water on the floor will be a memorable event.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 05:21 PM
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It is amazing how much bend there is in the glass on an unbraced tank.
Even on a 3 foot tank, it gets scary when you fill them to the top.
Although the buggers always skimp on glass thickness here.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 06:54 PM
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I had leaks in two 38 gallon, three foot long tanks. It was very disruptive, since this tank is embedded in the wall of our sunroom. I ordered one with a centre brace, and I have now had it for more than twenty years, and it is still great.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 07:08 PM
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What I do with those tanks is to silicone a strip of glass from top to bottom on the outside of the tank, on the short side, so the seal becomes a stepped shape and the large glass panes are held solidly to the sides.
Especially useful for old tanks unless you completely want to disassemble them when you reseal them. The seal might hold but the bonds between the glass panes get weak over time. Just removing all the old silicone on the inside of the tank and reapplying won't solve this. If the places where the glass meats each other isn't glass clear... i.e. there are little bubbles or tears in, it is just a matter of time before the tank starts leaking at a top corner.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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So, a resounding "Don't do it!" from the aquatics universe, at least not without some other form of custom reinforcement. I thought this might be the case. Thanks for all the input, folks, I definitely would like to avoid 150 gallons of water in the carpet and the permanent doghouse my wife would put me in as a result.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-07-2016, 11:18 PM
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I did a repair on a 55 gallon that had a broken center brace.
When I filled it up, I proved once again that my DIY skills are lacking.
Where others have succeeded, I threw away the tank about 20 minutes after filling it. It emptied itself in about 2 minutes.

Blessed are the flexible!
For they shall not be bent out of shape!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2016, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sub-Mariner View Post
So, a resounding "Don't do it!" from the aquatics universe, at least not without some other form of custom reinforcement. I thought this might be the case. Thanks for all the input, folks, I definitely would like to avoid 150 gallons of water in the carpet and the permanent doghouse my wife would put me in as a result.
Good idea! Good rule of thumb to go by is that if the manufacturer added a brace it is structurally required. Lots of people will tell you they ran a tank without a brace with no problem. And they might not be lying....but they are (or were) tempting fate. Even with the brace in place you can measure quite a bit of flex in the glass when filled vs when empty. Quite shocking once you actually measure/see it.

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Curator of an ever growing fishroom that currently houses 17 tanks(72 bowfront, 2x55's, 2x29's, 2x20 highs, 20 long, 30 long, 38, 7x10's) many of which are planted; and a 55 gallon African Cichlid tank at work along with a few empty tanks here and there to be set up eventually!.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 03:48 AM
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My 150g has no center brace. Of course the glass is so thick the damn must weigh 400lbs dry. The tank is pretty old and I'm told it was common back in the day.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 04:01 AM
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Actually not too common 40+ years ago. Not sure how far back "back in the day goes". LOL But "back in the day" no center brace did mean "Mr. Magoo tank".

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For they shall not be bent out of shape!
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 06:47 AM
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I only own one tank with a brace.... these include three 26 longs and two 60s.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-11-2016, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VelcroWY View Post
Actually not too common 40+ years ago. Not sure how far back "back in the day goes". LOL But "back in the day" no center brace did mean "Mr. Magoo tank".
It's an old Oceanic.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2016, 08:48 PM
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Generally it's a bad idea to remove those braces unless the tank was designed without them (much thicker glass, aka rimless).

But you could replace them with clear acrylic braces. People do it all the time. Local tank manufacturer actually has an option to replace them with clear braces.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8ilqT2QGlY

The other option would be to remove the plastic rim and euro brace it. That's much more involved and you really have to know more on what you're doing (glass thickness of the bracing and method/amount of gluing to the rim, etc).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo3KU_MHFhU
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2016, 09:24 PM
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I know I am probably playing with danger, but I removed the top brace on my 150 gallon tank almost 10 years ago, and it's still holding up fine... no issues, knock on wood!!

I decided it was worth the risk, as I bought the tank with a damaged middle brace ( A light melted through it with the last owner) and rather then repair it, I decided to test my luck and I removed the top rim completely.

I will try to post a pic when I get home.
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