Disaster - tank crack in acrylic tank
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
punctatus
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Disaster - tank crack in acrylic tank


I set up my 50G tank in November and it's turned out exactly how I wanted. So I'm doing my weekly waterchange and scrubbing and what's this hiding behind my Pogostemon Erectus?

So it's time to freak out. It runs down the back of the tank pretty much dead center in the middle. I thought at first maybe my stand was sagging and causing stress- nope, stand is dead straight and no sag. Feeling the surface of this crack I can feel nothing, except along the back towards the bottom I can detect just a fine strip of precipitate. I know water is making it's way through the crack because of this.

I really don't want to take this tank down if I don't have to. Does anybody think getting a strip of acrylic and bonding it over the crack would allow me to keep this thing running? I've put so much freaking work into it, if I have to take it down means goodbye to the hobby for a while.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #2
Ach1Ll3sH33L
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its more of a question at this point of when it will crack all the way through, and dump 50 gallons on your floor. If you cant get a new tank right now, I would error on the side of caution, go pick up a tank from wal mart for $10 or two, and stick your plants in them for the time being., keep the stickers on the tanks and you should be able to return them after you use them temporarily.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:51 PM   #3
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I hear you- trust me, I'm expecting the thing to blow any second now. i have a 30g glass in storage and it looks like the fishies are moving into the apartment. I'm not seeing this type of crack very often on the internets. So much for Acrylic being so much stronger than glass. Maybe it's just a manufacturer's defect. I'm going to bring the water level to 25% so I can rotate the thing away from the wall and have a better look at it. I'm hoping I can repair it for at least the time being to stabilize it. If not at least I have an emergency tank.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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If you have a 30 gallon in storage I would just use that. Even if you somehow "repair" it there is still a big risk factor involved. 50 gallons is right at 400 pounds of water and that could do some serious water damage. Another good thing would be peace of mind using the 30 gallon.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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To repair an acrylic crack, you first have to drill a hole at the ends of the crack to prevent it from spreading further. Then you can weld a patch panel on both the inside and outside of the tank. Measure how long the crack is and that's how wide the patch needs to be, and it needs to extend 1/4 of the crack length past both ends of the crack. If the crack runs to an edge, your patch needs to be as flush as possible with the edge.

A repair of this nature is temporary at best and should only be done to buy you some time to set up a new tank. 50 gallons of water on your floor is nothing to play with, water damage can get expensive.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:49 AM   #6
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Allright, I know I'm taking some chances, but I think the tank's going to make it for the time being. I got the tank rotated away from the wall and could see that the crack didn't extend to the bottom. "Crazing" would be the better description, do a google image search on that. Anyway, went to the hardware store and picked up some acrylic sheet and some acrylic epoxy. Here's some photos of the process...



Above is the extent of the crack, worst in the middle, tapers down and ends about 3 inches from the top and the bottom. I'm thinking this may have happened when I recently pushed my heater back into the back wall of the tanks to engage the suckers. Maybe I pushed too hard



Here's the sheet epoxied into place with a bunch of weights providing pressure. I'm feeling pretty good about this, will keep you informed later on if this works... or doesn't.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:11 AM   #7
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I had a 500g tank with crazing, and that is not crazing. To get a picture of crazing it needs to be done at extreme angle and with flash, if water is going through it not good. I'd keep water level low as you can to reduce stress on it and cross your fingers. Wish you luck
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:13 AM   #8
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very scary stuff. i would just replace the tank and not take any chances with, what if's.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:14 AM   #9
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My 30G acrylic tank that I bought from an LFS started crazing after a couple of months. I returned it and got a glass replacement. I started doing some research and large tanks need at least a 1/4" of acrylic to be safe. Most LFS acrylic tanks are less than 1/4".

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Old 03-25-2013, 02:49 AM   #10
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Yeah, crazing is on the surface so my problem is not crazing but it don't look like the standard cracks you see either. And when full to the top it wasn't leaking, but like I said there was a little salt crust so water must have been evaporating through it. I got a close eye on it and I'm setting up my webcam so I can watch it from work tomorrow. What a freakin bust, can't say I'm ever going with acrylic again with this and how easy it scratches.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #11
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When it weakens, it will not be a slow process allowing you to react and save the tank contents and your property after only losing a few ounces. It will be sudden, violent, and devastating.

This is an immediate response emergency situation, like a propane leak. Decommission that tank and do something cool with the remains.
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