removing plastic rim on an all glass tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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removing plastic rim on an all glass tank

i have a 5.5 gallon all glass tank. i would like to remove the rim so it would look more like a ADA tank does any on have any information on how to remove the rims.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 06:51 PM
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Slide a razor between the rim and glass. It's just held on with silicone most of the time.

Beware that the rim of the glass is probably not polished and may cut you.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 06:55 PM
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In addition to the glass being sharp, the silicone residue is a tremendous pain to remove. I took the rim off of a 2.5 gallon just to see what the result would be; for all the work I'd need to do to make it look nice, I'd rather just buy the real thing.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 08:37 PM
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Not to mention that those plastic rims are structural. I wouldn't recommend removing one.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 08:46 PM
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Not to mention that those plastic rims are structural. I wouldn't recommend removing one.
Totally agree, but on a 5.5 gallon (even a 10 gallon) I think you can break the rules a bit.

Someone did this not to long ago. I bet if you searched a little you can find the thread. Aside from the "hazards" including the sharp edges, it looked pretty freaking cool if you ask me...lol.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 10:06 PM
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I'm not sure the plastic rim is structural at all unless it's on something like a 55g where it serves as a cross brace. The strength of a piece of plastic is pretty insignficant compared to the strength of glass, it's like putting a piece of bubble gum on an i-beam. It's definately not an issue on a small tank.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kornphlake View Post
I'm not sure the plastic rim is structural at all unless it's on something like a 55g where it serves as a cross brace. The strength of a piece of plastic is pretty insignficant compared to the strength of glass, it's like putting a piece of bubble gum on an i-beam. It's definately not an issue on a small tank.
No. This is incorrect thinking. You need to look at the big picture. the top brace "even plastic" does serve a purpose. Comparing it to a piece of gum is far from correct. It does provide lateral strength and does keep the glass from bowing. you just may not see the that sever of a bow on a small tank.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 11:46 PM
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Beware the thinness of the glass on small tanks. I tried to take the rim off a 10g, but I didn't do it slowly and carefully enough and I broke the glass. The problem happened when I lifted one edge of the trim upwards; this applied torque to the pane opposite the one I was working on. I would have been smarter to cut the rim at each corner first and work on one pane at a time. Other people cut along the entire length of the rim so that they're left with an inner and outer rectangle that can be removed separately.

Mine was a non-tempered tank, but frequently the glass in small tanks is tempered (to make shipping less expensive, I believe.) Tempered would be harder to break, but it might ultimately be a bad thing. I'm not sure what the edges of tempered glass are like, and whether the tempering process smooths the edges any. If they're sharp, you're in trouble, 'cause you can't polish the edges of a tempered pane of glass.

I don't think small tanks need rims, for what it's worth, but I don't have any solid evidence to support that viewpoint. Still, there are plenty of rimless tanks out there. Are they constructed any differently than tanks with rims? Maybe.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 01:18 AM
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I doubt you'll find many small tanks with tempered glass, it costs a lot more to go through that process, and the glass needs to be cut to size before that happens. If the tempered glass would break, it'll just sort of explode, much more of a problem when we're talking about something that holds water. I don't know for sure though, that's just a thought.

I don't really think 5 or 2.5 gallon tanks need the plastic for support, but even with my 2.5 gallon there is noticeable flexure with the glass when the top has been removed. FWIW, I haven't filled it since removing the top rim, never took off the bottom, right now and forever onward it'll be for emersed growth. If by any chance that 2.5 gallon would break open it'll be too much of a mess. One gallon on a floor is terrible enough.

Anyway, ADA style rimless tanks are made differently, stronger silicone and thicker glass to withstand the potential for bowing. I'm not sure about the ADA tanks, but there was a lot of complaining (I suppose you'd call it that) on Nano Reef about the ADA tanks being tempered and undrillable.

In any case, I just don't think it's worth the risk, especially when the results are sort of mediocre anyway. The smaller ADA tanks really aren't that expensive and I do think they'd be worth saving up for if that's the sort of look one wanted.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 01:53 AM
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I doubt you'll find many small tanks with tempered glass, it costs a lot more to go through that process, and the glass needs to be cut to size before that happens. If the tempered glass would break, it'll just sort of explode, much more of a problem when we're talking about something that holds water. I don't know for sure though, that's just a thought.
You think? The un-tempered 10g I broke was an Aqueon / AGA tank, but the replacement, which happens to be tempered, was from WalMart. If there's one thing WalMart does well, it's squeeze suppliers to cut corners. Somehow, for some reason, it has to be cheaper for WalMart to do tempered tanks. Thinner glass? Less padding in shipping? Safe from careless, underpaid employees?

After breaking the first tank I decided that I didn't want a rimless so badly after all.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 01:56 AM
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Heh, I don't know... seems odd, but with Walmart.... stranger things have happened. I'm half tempted to go buy one and smack a hammer into it, see if I get deadly shards of glass or end up with glass "gravel" instead. Was your 10 gallon labeled as tempered? I have two from Walmart and apart from hiding the origin a little, they're both fairly bog standard AGA deals.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 02:01 AM
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Heh, I don't know... seems odd, but with Walmart.... stranger things have happened. I'm half tempted to go buy one and smack a hammer into it, see if I get deadly shards of glass or end up with glass "gravel" instead. Was your 10 gallon labeled as tempered? I have two from Walmart and apart from hiding the origin a little, they're both fairly bog standard AGA deals.
It had a sticker on it, that's the only way I know. The sticker could be mistaken though; with WalMart, stranger things have happened. One thing I definitely don't like about the tank is the gross overabundance of silicone at the seams, spread way past where it could be useful.

Rather than buying one, I'd look for the sticker. If you're in doubt you could "accidentally" drop one while carrying it to the register.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 02:15 AM
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Hehe, well, I was probably going to get one to do some more emersed growth. I'm suddenly really liking that idea, a lot less 'work' than submersed.

Interesting none the less, with the Walmart volume, it probably does make more fiscal sense to use tempered glass, taking advantage of its durability, even if it costs more technically speaking.

I guess it can be a hard pill to swallow when you can get a Walmart special for $10 and the ADA 10 gallon costs $85. FWIW, adgshop lists the 45-P as having 4mm glass, just measuring my cheapie 10 gallon quickly, it looks like the ADA glass is almost twice as thick. That's some nutritious food for thought.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 02:25 AM
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FWIW, adgshop lists the 45-P as having 4mm glass, just measuring my cheapie 10 gallon quickly, it looks like the ADA glass is almost twice as thick. That's some nutritious food for thought.
...and ignoring other factors, that means that the ADA seams are nearly twice as strong as the seams on your cheapie.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 02:33 AM
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Indeed, but to be fair, since my cheapie has that rim the forces are reduced (which is why I'm generally against removing rims for any size aquarium if one plans to fill it with water).

I said something to the effect of "just remember that anyone who says it's okay to remove the rim won't be there to clean up the mess should it fail" on APC and was almost literally labeled a fascist, lol, trying to oppress the proletariat.

My cat knocked over a bucket full of only a gallon of water and it took six towels to soak it up (on a laminate floor). One great example is that whole "throw a gallon of water on the floor" thing, repeat nine more times. Yikes!

You have to wonder why ADA would use such a thicker glass if it weren't for some necessary reason. The damage to flooring and other items in the room would probably exceed the cost difference should there be a failure. Granted, it could happen with any of our aquariums, but the added risk of skirting the manufacturer's design isn't one I want.
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