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Beakman 11-15-2012 12:34 AM

Bought a beat up 55g, is it salvagable?
I work in a pet store. One of the regulars came in today asking if I knew anyone that would want a 55 gallon tank he was looking to unload. We worked out a $25 price tag, and I said I would take it.

The tank is pretty beat up, but I figure for $25 I would take a gamble. The first question I asked was if he filled it with water and if it holds water, he said yes.

Here's what's wrong:

The top rim is sheared in half directly in the middle of one of the long sides. This rim is also completely not sealed to the tank. It lifts right off.

The bottom rim is also not sealed onto the tank and it is damaged near one of the corners, though not completely broken all the way through.

Other than that, its just cosmetic stuff that I can fix. Also, the glass on this tank appears to be much thicker than most tanks though I could be mistaken. I've always heard that thicker glass = older tank = more durable, but I don't know how true that is.

So, what do I need to do to make sure this thing is going to work?

ngrubich 11-15-2012 12:49 AM

I'd be weary of the broken frame, especially after you add the substrate, hardscape, plants, etc. The frame somewhat (although to a very small extent) helps to keep the top of the glass from bowing out. Without that frame, you can end up with weak seams. Granted, that I don't know if it will happen for sure or not, but I would rather not take the risk: think of how long/how expensive a clean-up from a broken tank can get.
If it were me, and I were looking for another tank, I would check craigslist first.

thefisherman 11-15-2012 12:50 AM

to be honest i would've taken it off his hands if it were for free.

the labor you are about to invest is to restore the tank is time consuming. but the good thin it seems is its an older tank with thick glass. if it is at least 3/8" thick (or 1/2" even better) then i imo its worth salvaging.

theres another thread going on and i'm sure plenty others in forum detailing steps to re-seal a tank. but its basically the first step i took when i salvaged an old 75g that is now my cichlid tank.

so first priority is the re-seal and the frame uptop is no big deal to adheare back on once it is resealed. many people de-rim tanks to get a frameless edge, but for an old tank, i would put it back to add stability.

after resealing and restoring the frame and miscellanous cleaning... the next priority is a flood test.

flood the tank halfway first if you are not sure or flood it full if you are confident in your handy work. let it hold water for at least three days a week even better. carefully monitor for any kind of water. even the slightest evidence of moisture, i recommend draining an reseal the edge. its can be a process but rewarding as i was able to save my 75g.

good luck!

- thefisherman

ReluctantHippy 11-15-2012 12:55 AM

Pictures speak a thousand words :) What exactly do you mean by the top rim being sheared in half? Just the plastic part?

Generally the plastic rims do very little structurally, the tank is actually held in place with just the silicone. I would bring it outside, place it on a piece of foam or cardboard, and fill it up. Best way I know to see if it leaks :) And if you have a leak that's fixable too; scrape the old silicone, clean the glass really really well, and reapply silicone. If you have to do this I would suggest looking up a build your own glass aquarium thread and follow their directions on proper silicone technique.

Beakman 11-15-2012 01:03 AM

Yes, just the plastic part of the top rim is sheared in half.

Also, this tank doesn't have a crossbar support on top. As in, it never had one, not that it broke or anything.

The glass is 3/8" thick, by the way.

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