Step By Step How To: De-Rim an Aquarium *Update* how to add a lid - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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Step By Step How To: De-Rim an Aquarium *Update* how to add a lid

Hello all, and Welcome to my tutorial on how to successfully derim an aquarium!

First things first:
*DISCLAIMER, THIS IS DANGEROUS, THIS IS DUMB, YOU WILL EITHER CUT YOURSELF OR BREAK YOUR AQUARIUM, THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY, THIS WILL COMPROMISE THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR TANK, DO NOT DO THIS*

Okayyyy, with that out of the way, lets do this



Did you just grab a sweet new tank from Petco during their $1/gallon sale, but hate how it looks like a $20 tank and want it to look super awesome and expensive like an ADA tank, then this tutorial is for you.

So here is what we start with, forgive me for not taking a before picture, this one is off google.



We turn that, into this:


This is how:

Before we begin, this is what we are going to need:


Notice there are very few tools here, but I promise you, this is all I used to derim this tank. A dollar store hack saw, a new razor blade, a (sharp) knife, a sponge with a rough side, the highest isopropyl percentage that you can get your hands on, glass cleaner and paper towels.


The first thing we do is take the hack saw and cut relief cuts into each corner, turning the rim into 4 pieces. cut the inside, the top and the front all the way, as you get close to the glass, saw more slowly until you hear it switch from cutting plastic to the teeth hitting the glass, then switch to your knife and be sure you cut all the way through.



Once you cut the corners, score a relief cut across the entire top of the trim, about 1/8"-1/4" down.


Use your fingers to pry up on the trim, focusing the force at the relief cut, once you get it going, begin to tear the trim at that relief cut. This is the first time we are going to be prying on anything, and this next bit is going to be in bold, because its important, DO NOT PRY AGAINST THE GLASS, Do not ever pry against the trim with the glass being the fulcrum point. Any and all force exerted onto the trim should be applied up and away from the glass. The Very first time you apply pressure onto the trim from the glass, you will crack the glass. Also, not use any tools to pry with to help remove the trim, I only use my fingers, dont use anything to pry with, you WILL crack your glass.


Ohkay, now that we know how to apply force to the trim, we are left with the top of the trim that needs to be removed.


The top comes off pretty easily once the side has been removed


25% done


The front and back are a bit more difficult, but the process is the same. I had some trouble with the first of the long sides.


To prevent this from happening, Score your relief cut more deeply, and it will keep the trim from tearing like this.


The hard part is done! Now just use your razor blade, Isopropyl alcohol, rough sponge, elbow grease, time and patience to remove any unwanted silicone and residue from the tank. Be careful not to get any Isopropyl alcohol on any silicone you dont want to remove, it will eat away at the silicone, which is bad.


Oh the carnage


Here it is after we got it all inside and cleaned up nice. Thanks for checking this out, let me know if you have any questions!

Last edited by Sean W.; 04-01-2017 at 07:29 AM. Reason: .
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 05:16 AM
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omg ADA approved fancy pantsyness! Looks clean and brand spanking new! Good job! thanks for the tutorial to
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 04:18 PM
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Bottom?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaLady86 View Post
Bottom?
risky...
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
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Bottom?
Very risky
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 09:35 PM
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Nice write up Sean


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 09:40 PM
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This post makes me want to immediately break down all of my tanks.

How many tanks have you broken doing this?

How does size factor in? Should I be more or less concerned about a smaller tank?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 09:42 PM
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I'm jealous. I bought a 20L last month and really really wanted to do this. I also have a 16 month old. Decided to keep the rim to protect the glass from accidents in case she hits the edge with something.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 10:14 PM
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Thanks for the great instruction,but I really like the stainless steel filter in the last picture😜
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananableps View Post
This post makes me want to immediately break down all of my tanks.

How many tanks have you broken doing this?

How does size factor in? Should I be more or less concerned about a smaller tank?
I have only broken one tank doing this, a 5 gallon. It has thinner glass, and I broke it trying to get the rim off in one piece. Since I came up with this method of cutting the rim into 4 pieces, I have not broken an aquarium.

I have seen someone derim a 75 gallon tank, as far as I know, it never failed, but personally I wouldnt derim anything larger than a 40 Breeder. Even that might be cutting it. I also would only derim tanks that are new, or that I know havent been stored outside in the sun. The sun and weather weaken the silicone. You could derim and euro brace larger tanks, that would be cool...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaLady86 View Post
Bottom?
The people who assemble these tanks, probably make 100 a day, they are not aiming for an aesthetically pleasing tank, as long as it holds water it passes QC. If you go into your petco and inspect the tanks, you can easily see as much as 1/8" variances in the corners of the tanks. The top trim is mostly to make their work look better while still being able to produce tanks quickly. They are aiming for " cheap and fast " with these tanks. For this reason, I am comfortable taking the top trim off as its more for aesthetics than structural purposes.

The same cannot be said for the bottom trim on these petco tanks. The bottom trim is the first piece of the puzzle, offering a "jig" of sorts for the person assembling the tank. The bottom trim distributes the weight from the bottom glass to the stand/table that its sitting on. It also eliminates any pressure points that could crack the bottom glass due to an uneven stand.

ADA and similar tanks can get away without a bottom trim because they use thicker glass, better silicone, they have higher QC and the people who purchase these tanks understand that the surface they are on need to be pretty much perfect.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 07:31 AM
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Once again I'm so happy that in Poland (and probably in whole Europe) nobody heard about rimmed tanks. It's so much easier if every tank you can buy is rimless.
Before de-rimming I would check the thickness of the glass and compare it with the recommended thickness for rimless tanks.


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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 02:07 PM
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Is there any danger of the tanks integrity failing due to pressure, without the top rim to assist in holding the tank together?

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 02:39 PM
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Is there any danger of the tanks integrity failing due to pressure, without the top rim to assist in holding the tank together?
The risk increases as the volume, and especially height, increase. I'd feel funny about derimming anything that came with a center brace, although it has been done. I once had a 65? tall that was like a 55 but 2 inches taller. I bought it used, and the trim wasn't in the best shape. Eventually the part where the center brace connected to the front cracked all the way through and it had a noticeable bow to it when viewed from the side. I drained it and gave to a friend for a reptile tank, and counted my blessings that it didn't bust on me.

Panoramic tanks of lower volume are pretty rock solid even without a top trim
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

A little update to this topic. I have finally set up the 20 gallon long aquarium that I derimmed in the original tutorial, As awesome as rimless tanks look, there are some draw back to not having a top rim. The biggest draw back is not being able to have a lid. I found that water was evaporating very quickly and I had to keep topping it off. I am a very lazy aquarist and I hated doing this every couple days. Not to mention the tank is in my office, and I would rather keep the humidity down in my office ( where my computer is ) if I could. Lids also prevent fish from jumping out, insulate the tank better so you dont have to run the heater as often, keep things from accidently falling into the tank and cut down on water noise from the filter. There are lots of benefits and very little disadvantageous to having a lid.

So I thought long and hard about how I could put a lid on this thing. I came up with a solution and I would like to share that with you.

I found these " Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Cover Clip Support Holder " on amazon and thought they would solve my problem. They can also be found on [Ebay Link Removed]
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1



These clip onto the top of the glass and give you a mounting surface for a lid. They come in a pack of 4, I knew I would need more than that, but I stuck with just 4, knowing that I was going to cut them in half because this is just a 20 gallon tank. If these were for a larger tank, I would have ordered more. They are much larger than they look in the picture, so even if I had ordered 8, I still would have cut them in half.

You might be thinking to yourself, " But Sean, putting a lid on a rimless tank would totally defeat the purpose of deriming the tank, it will look horrible! ". I thought the same and I was willing to sacrifice some aesthetics for function. Now that I actually have them on the tank and have the lid on, I must say, other than the handle for the lid, Unless I pointed it out, you wouldnt know there was a lid on this tank. It still looks very clean, sleek and modern. You really cant see the lid.

As far as installation, I just stuck them on the rim of the glass. You would be wise to silicon them into place, I havent decided If I want to do that or not, but it is defiantly the smart thing to do.

Anyway, check out some pics and let me know what you think.

If there wasnt the lid handle, you wouldnt know there was a lid on this tank




The lid is closed in this picture


Here is a side shot where you can see the clips
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 05:25 PM
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I had the same set of clips on a rimless tank I had, they are awesome!


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