Does anyone worry about earthquakes? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone worry about earthquakes?

My tank and stand were originally purchased at Petco and so even though it's only a 45g, it is very flimsy. Living in CA, I worry that anything 6.0 or stronger is going to send this tank bouncing right off the stand. Does anyone else worry about earthquakes? Are there any steps to make things safer? I'm thinking about a 12" suction cup that could be attached to a stud. 😉 Idk. I get these quake alerts on my phone often and wonder when I'm next.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:11 AM
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I doubt a suction cup would do much good. I really do not worry about earthquakes in San Diego although I know I should. If you really want to secure it properly you would need to use some strapping that is attached to the stand and studs inside a wall. Another option would be to bolt it to the floor. Neither option is very appealing to me visually or practically. Of course that would all change if/when we do get hit by a substantial quake.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:29 AM
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Not to fearmonger, but I think there was someone on here that cited a devastating earthquake with very gruesome consequences for their fish tank as the reason they got out of the hobby (at least for a good long while).
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:35 AM
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Nope, my country rarely have earth quake , though years ago hit by level 5 quake, there is no effect on my 10G tank

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 03:22 AM
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Here, in Mississippi, we occasionally get small, localized quakes, but in the event my general area gets hit by a major earthquake, it will likely be from the New Madrid fault, and I suspect our aquariums would be far down our list of worries if that happens. The last time it slipped--centered near the Mississippi River a bit north of Memphis--it is said that it caused church bells to ring in Boston, Massachusetts, and opened a hole so large that the Mississippi River flowed backwards for two whole days in filling it up! large parcels of land were raised or lowered ~100 feet and rivers changed course within seconds (one woman was in her outhouse at the time, and when she came out, there was a small river between her and her house, which had previously been on the same side of the river! lol). All this is well documented, and the recorded anecdotes are a very interesting read. The only reason there wasn't a major loss of life (people-wise, anyway) is because the area was so sparsely populated (not many heavily constructed, "modern" buildings, anyway). Yeah, I don't think our aquariums are going to be our biggest problem around these parts if and when "The Big One" hits here.

However, they are always discovering previously unknown faults here--only due to the "surprise" earthquakes--and seismology isn't really very focused on the southeast USA region, so who knows what can happen? Especially if they start "fracking" around here, like they're doing in Oklahoma, and causing earthquakes.

If you live in an earthquake-prone zone, I guess the best you could do would be to anchor the stand to the floor and/or wall. Smaller tanks would be at more of a risk, because their center of gravity is not supported by a larger footprint like it is with a bigger tank; think of the ease at which a 10 gallon on a stand can be tipped over in comparison to a 55 gallon or, better yet, a tank with an 18" depth (front to back). The weight of the water has to be shifted sideways (or more easily front-to-back) to tip the setup, and smaller tanks have a shorter distance for the water to travel to reach the tipping point, Waves would likely be induced by a side-shifting earthquake, but by anchoring the stand to the floor, you shorten the pivot-point (and thus the leverage of the weight shift) from the distance between the tank's center of gravity and the floor (typically 30"+), to the distance between the tank's center of gravity and the top of the stand (5" to 12", usually), so the whole setup is less likely to tip over. Of course, this assumes that the stand itself is sturdily built to begin with and wouldn't collapse under the sideways shift of weight.

However, I hope none of us ever have to deal with the actual reality and aftermath of an earthquake.

Olskule

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Olskule View Post
Here, in Mississippi, we occasionally get small, localized quakes, but in the event my general area gets hit by a major earthquake, it will likely be from the New Madrid fault, and I suspect our aquariums would be far down our list of worries if that happens. The last time it slipped--centered near the Mississippi River a bit north of Memphis--it is said that it caused church bells to ring in Boston, Massachusetts, and opened a hole so large that the Mississippi River flowed backwards for two whole days in filling it up! large parcels of land were raised or lowered ~100 feet and rivers changed course within seconds (one woman was in her outhouse at the time, and when she came out, there was a small river between her and her house, which had previously been on the same side of the river! lol). All this is well documented, and the recorded anecdotes are a very interesting read. The only reason there wasn't a major loss of life (people-wise, anyway) is because the area was so sparsely populated (not many heavily constructed, "modern" buildings, anyway). Yeah, I don't think our aquariums are going to be our biggest problem around these parts if and when "The Big One" hits here.

However, they are always discovering previously unknown faults here--only due to the "surprise" earthquakes--and seismology isn't really very focused on the southeast USA region, so who knows what can happen? Especially if they start "fracking" around here, like they're doing in Oklahoma, and causing earthquakes.

If you live in an earthquake-prone zone, I guess the best you could do would be to anchor the stand to the floor and/or wall. Smaller tanks would be at more of a risk, because their center of gravity is not supported by a larger footprint like it is with a bigger tank; think of the ease at which a 10 gallon on a stand can be tipped over in comparison to a 55 gallon or, better yet, a tank with an 18" depth (front to back). The weight of the water has to be shifted sideways (or more easily front-to-back) to tip the setup, and smaller tanks have a shorter distance for the water to travel to reach the tipping point, Waves would likely be induced by a side-shifting earthquake, but by anchoring the stand to the floor, you shorten the pivot-point (and thus the leverage of the weight shift) from the distance between the tank's center of gravity and the floor (typically 30"+), to the distance between the tank's center of gravity and the top of the stand (5" to 12", usually), so the whole setup is less likely to tip over. Of course, this assumes that the stand itself is sturdily built to begin with and wouldn't collapse under the sideways shift of weight.

However, I hope none of us ever have to deal with the actual reality and aftermath of an earthquake.

Olskule
Ha, that's funny about the woman, river and her house.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 05:25 PM
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Has never crossed my mind...then again, I live in Ohio.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 07:39 PM
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Has never crossed my mind...then again, I live in Ohio.
Where I used to work, an Earth Sciences library, we had photos of earthquake damage to homes in Ohio. Of course, they were from the 1930s, so it's not like it's common.

To answer the original OP, yes, I do worry about quakes. (Lifelong Southern Californian, and I've been through some big ones.) They're the reason I prefer cabinet stands with a rim around the base of the tank, for a smidgen of extra stability in a light to moderate shaker.

An old site called The Krib (IIRC) had a story from a guy who watched as the reef rocks in his marine tank tumbled and hit the glass during the Whittier Narrows quake of 1987. Amazingly, they didn't break the aquarium.

And, during the Northridge quake, a friend's 60-gallon acrylic tank rocketed from the stand to the middle of the room, where it went through the coffee table and exploded. (I figure it must landed on a corner where a seam was.) It only had one little fish in it at the time, thankfully.

I do worry about it, but, like someone said, in a quake large enough to hurl a tank from a stand, you'll likely have more to worry about than the aquarium afterwards.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 04:18 AM
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Wandering is there any insurance protection of our tank against quake

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olskule View Post
Here, in Mississippi, we occasionally get small, localized quakes, but in the event my general area gets hit by a major earthquake, it will likely be from the New Madrid fault, and I suspect our aquariums would be far down our list of worries if that happens. The last time it slipped--centered near the Mississippi River a bit north of Memphis--it is said that it caused church bells to ring in Boston, Massachusetts, and opened a hole so large that the Mississippi River flowed backwards for two whole days in filling it up! large parcels of land were raised or lowered ~100 feet and rivers changed course within seconds (one woman was in her outhouse at the time, and when she came out, there was a small river between her and her house, which had previously been on the same side of the river! lol). All this is well documented, and the recorded anecdotes are a very interesting read. The only reason there wasn't a major loss of life (people-wise, anyway) is because the area was so sparsely populated (not many heavily constructed, "modern" buildings, anyway). Yeah, I don't think our aquariums are going to be our biggest problem around these parts if and when "The Big One" hits here.


I live close to this fault line too. Never thought about an earthquake as related to my tank until this thread, but I agree, if it's big enough to be felt where I live, my tank is the least of my worries.


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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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While Mississippi isn't earthquake prone, they are a regular occurrence here in SoCal. I'm surprised we haven't heard from anyone in OK as they literally have them every day. Maybe they have all gotten rid of their tanks. 😉

Seriously though, I'm sure those of you over 50 that live here in CA understand the concerns. Likely anything 7.0 or greater, my aquarium would be the least of my concern but we have a good number of quakes less than 6.0 that could easily topple my tank. Very good point one of you made about having a wide tank front to back. I think part of my fear is that mine is 24" tall and only 13" from front to back. That puts a lot of the weight on the top. I've been wanting a 40 breeder for a while now. May help to alleviate my worries some.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 07:09 PM
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I definitely understand your concern....I don't even like my kids to run in the room with my tanks due to the vibrations lol. I am not sure I could even own a tank in an earthquake area due to my unfortunate ability to over worry about everything.
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 09:11 PM
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Here in Florida if we had a quake that would cause a tank to come off the stand, we have way bigger problems. Most of the state would turn into quick sand, especially in my area it's use to be wetlands.
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnsTank View Post
While Mississippi isn't earthquake prone, they are a regular occurrence here in SoCal. I'm surprised we haven't heard from anyone in OK as they literally have them every day. Maybe they have all gotten rid of their tanks.



Seriously though, I'm sure those of you over 50 that live here in CA understand the concerns. Likely anything 7.0 or greater, my aquarium would be the least of my concern but we have a good number of quakes less than 6.0 that could easily topple my tank. Very good point one of you made about having a wide tank front to back. I think part of my fear is that mine is 24" tall and only 13" from front to back. That puts a lot of the weight on the top. I've been wanting a 40 breeder for a while now. May help to alleviate my worries some.


I'm in oklahoma. We had a 5.8 about two months ago 60 miles west of me. My sixty was shaking. The ground rolled for 20-30 seconds. I thought for a second it was a bad day to be a tetra


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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 04:43 AM
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Rimmed tanks are better than rimless ones when big quakes happen. Some people reported that while rimmed tanks were able to hold most of the water, rimmed ones lost most of it when 3/11 Japan earthquake happened. When a tank lose most of its water, it can slide down to the floor during the quake. Normal quakes shake "horizontally". Real big ones shake "vertically".

Surge Protectors should be placed somewhere that won't get any tank spills in case of the big one.
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