First of all, when deconstructing a tank you'll have to go VERY SLOW. I cannot stress how important that is. Glass is very unforgiving and easily breaks if you lose patience. I'm talking so slow you might fall asleep during the process. Rushing it will only cause you to lose a good panel (trust me, I've done it a few times).
The good thing is the bigger the tank and thicker the glass, the easier it is to deconstruct.
You'll most likely have to remove the bottom frame to tell if its a floating or flat bottom tank.
I've used a torch in the past to soften the silicone that is holding the panels together, but you must do this when the glass is warm (preferably in a very warm house or something similar). If the tank is cold, expansion will break the glass too. But if you do it right it really makes the job easier.
Another option is use a piano wire like they use when removing windshields. Again this is much easier to do on a larger tank.
Well the tank is 3/8" thick glass, so its not small by any means. I'm an engineering major in college, so meticulous is my middle name. I'll go very slow haha. I've also read some articles of people deconstructing tanks using organic silicone removers that can be found at lowes. I'll cross that bridge when i get there, but again I'll go very slow haha. It'll be at least a year if not more before I can afford all the parts I want for this tank. I'm going all out now before I get married, to make sure it lasts me for a good long while. Hence the resealling of the tank now.
I'm not familiar with SCS, so you know better than me on that one. At one point I had test data on a bunch of silicone adhesives, but haven't been able to find it for a while now. I'm sure there's been new ones developed since then.
It's easy to tell if they sit on top of the bottom pane or if the bottom pane is inset. Just turn the tank over and you'll have your answer. I've never been a fan of insetting the bottom pane. It depends on how the tank was constructed and where you're gonna set it. If it has supporting trim, I would build it with the sides resting on the bottom pane. If the trim pieces are in decent shape, I'd re-use them.
A much tougher call is whether or not the bottom is tempered. That's a much tougher call and you'll find tons of discussion on how to tell and be left with your head spinning in the end. Now knowing it was custom, it's the first thing that came to mind. To make this easier to read, if it isn't tempered and you can't figure it out, do NOT put the tank on a flat surface like a plywood base.
Since you're eurobracing the top I would do the same at the bottom. It's not totally overkill. If you do it correctly, it can actually make assembly a snap AND give you twice as much contact area for the silicone at the bottom of the viewing panes. So if you'ge gonna have two strips cut for the top, have 4 cut for the bottom(or at least two for front and back). If you set the bottom braces first (can't have any silicone squeeze-out), and let them cure, they form a neat little rest for the side panes that will keep them from sliding around while the four sides are set in place, joined and taped up. I think you can visualize what I mean, hopefully. But your measurements and placement have to be really good in allowing for the thickness of the glass. If your glass guy is really good, it may cost the same to just have a 1/4" panel cut for the bottom instead of strips.
Lastly, I think you can judge I tend to overbuild, but I would install a center glass strip, joining the front and back braces. I think the tank ends up be almost 2 feet tall unless it was customed to an odd dimension. Once you go past 16-18 inches, bowing becomes a concern. And a PITA:
I just bought a couple of 29G's at Petco. and put them on a rack so that the short end is the viewing pane. I cut glass tops for them from scraps. Stoopid me cut them to the width of the tank at the corners of the short end. Tetra tanks have a really small ledge in the top trim. When I put the tops on they fit perfect at the corners, but fell right into the tank at the middle because of the bowing. A little over 1/4" spread at the middle. And that's just a 29G.
Lastly, I have a stock 65G. The top trim has a center brace. It's there for a reason.
SCS is just as good as RTV, they both have the highest ratings I've heard of for adhesive silicone used in aquariums.
So to start with, I guess I should have posted this earlier. The dimensions are very oddball lol (36" H X 19" W X 20" H) Weird right? but I've measured and remeasured that is the actual dimensions. That being said, I'm one for overbuilding things as well, (just wait till you see my stand hehe
) And I will probably have this tank in a high traffic area of the house when I have kids, so it needs to be as rock solid as possible, hence the overkill silicone on a 60 gallon. I'd also like this tank to last for the next 10-15+ years so thats why I'm going to personally redo it. I am not positive that the bottom of the tank is not tempered. I'll check it out though to make sure.
Are you saying tempered is better or worse for letting it sit on a sheet of plywood with foam? A little confused. If it is tempered and it breaks should I replace with standard sheet glass or get tempered glass?
Also, are you saying that even if I reuse the plastic trim, I should still eurobrace the bottom? For the top I was planning on using 3/8" thick strips each 2.5" wide. What thickness of glass would I use for the bottom, and how wide should they be? 2.5" as well?
I already did a bowing test and at maximum in the very middle of the tank without the top trim on, it bowed 1/32" on each side. For a total of 1/16" combined. I would imagine with eurobracing it will stop this small amount of bowing sufficiently.
Thanks again fellas,