Aquarium Glass Tops - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Aquarium Glass Tops

Just so everyone knows. Those glass canopies don't hold up well to being stepped on by a 185 pound individual.

Thought I'd pass that along.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 02:46 AM
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Heh.

I think I'm going to buy some plexiglass to use as tops for my tanks. They're easily cut to size with an X-acto knife.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 03:24 AM
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Heh.

I think I'm going to buy some plexiglass to use as tops for my tanks. They're easily cut to size with an X-acto knife.
They also warp with heat. Be sure to get thick lexan to prevent the bowing.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 03:38 AM
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Just so everyone knows. Those glass canopies don't hold up well to being stepped on by a 185 pound individual.

Thought I'd pass that along.
Why were you walking on your tank in the first place?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 04:38 AM
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They also warp with heat. Be sure to get thick lexan to prevent the bowing.



Not trying to start a debate, but just mentioning that it has been said acrylic tops mainly warp from absorbing moisture. But I too think the heat plays a part in bowing as well.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 06:08 AM
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It has to be moisture. I built an acrylic top for my hospital tank, it doesn't have a light but it's pretty freakin warped lol.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 06:39 AM
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I think it is scientifically proven that acrylic tops do absorb moisture on the exposed side (side facing tank water) and warp/bow as a result (something about expansion from absorption). Not sure what the tank itself does/has, that makes it not warp from the moisture (maybe it's just the way it's put together or the thickness or some kind of coating?).

But I have read of many people who never had warping of their acrylic center brace, but once they added a light fixture (that gets decently warm) directly on top of the tank, the center brace would then start warping (as well as develop crazing in the corners of the open top areas. I, myself, got a used acrylic tank with a warped center brace, I left it to bake in a hot van during the summer months and the warped brace was flat and level again. So I do believe heat has an affect as well.

I swear though I have heard others and myself as well in the past, use acrylic tops with no direct heat on top of them (light fixture) and didn't have warping, yet there was plenty of moisture on the acrylic lid sheets/panels. I guess it just depends on many factors (thickness, amount of moisture/humidity, heat/water and air temp, length of lid and distance/span of the open gap, etc.).
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 07:34 AM
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I guess it would be appropriate to admit something similar. I used to place the glass top
on my bed while doing the water change. They don't hold up very well to being sat on
either is what I learned one day.
But having read a sufficient amount of warped Plexiglas threads I just decided to be a
bit more responsible/cautious about how I treat glass tops so that I wouldn't waste my
money on trying plexiglas.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 03:12 PM
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 03:14 PM
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I thought it was heat, but I guess I'm incorrect. I've used them in the past as lids and dividers and they always warp.


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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LensHiker View Post
Just so everyone knows. Those glass canopies don't hold up well to being stepped on by a 185 pound individual.

Thought I'd pass that along.
Similarly, they're not designed to be dropped on their end/side. Lost a big thick glass lid to my 72 bowfront that way. whoops.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 04:12 PM
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I make mine from thicker glass I scavenged from old or broken tanks. When I remove the tops, I'm usually really careful about keeping them out of the line of fire. The fish room is really small and it's just easy to bump into anything including a glass panel leaning against the wall. The couple of times I've managed to knock one over, they've stayed intact; but the sound of that glass clanking on the floor in a small room with a tile floor can really rattle your cage. Thankfully, I've never stepped on one. Wish I could remember where I put that thread on building sliding glass tops. Maybe somebody else here has the link? Thankfully, both the 12 year old dog and 16 year old cat can't deal with all the bubbling water and humming pumps in there.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
I think it is scientifically proven that acrylic tops do absorb moisture on the exposed side (side facing tank water) and warp/bow as a result (something about expansion from absorption). Not sure what the tank itself does/has, that makes it not warp from the moisture (maybe it's just the way it's put together or the thickness or some kind of coating?).

But I have read of many people who never had warping of their acrylic center brace, but once they added a light fixture (that gets decently warm) directly on top of the tank, the center brace would then start warping (as well as develop crazing in the corners of the open top areas. I, myself, got a used acrylic tank with a warped center brace, I left it to bake in a hot van during the summer months and the warped brace was flat and level again. So I do believe heat has an affect as well.

I swear though I have heard others and myself as well in the past, use acrylic tops with no direct heat on top of them (light fixture) and didn't have warping, yet there was plenty of moisture on the acrylic lid sheets/panels. I guess it just depends on many factors (thickness, amount of moisture/humidity, heat/water and air temp, length of lid and distance/span of the open gap, etc.).
You could test the heat idea by placing an aquarium light over a piece of acrylic in a flat dry area. See if it warps without water present.

I've done the inverse of this test. I tested a piece of acrylic on an aquarium with the lights off. It warped just the same as it did with lights on.

Acrylic sheet becomes stressed from cutting, drilling, and gluing. If the assembled piece is not properly annealed, you can get crazing in stress areas like the corners.

To anneal it, heat it evenly to 180F and soak it at that heat for one hour per mm of thickness. It must be properly supported while being annealed. Cool it very slowly.

Or, leave it in a car parked in the Texas sun for a few days...
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Was installing a surface skimmer and thought I had moved the lid enough out of the way to be safe. When I took a step back to admire my handiwork...<CRUNCH!!!!>

Will have to keep the DIY solution using thicker glass in mind when I do something like this again.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by LensHiker View Post
Was installing a surface skimmer and thought I had moved the lid enough out of the way to be safe. When I took a step back to admire my handiwork...<CRUNCH!!!!>

Will have to keep the DIY solution using thicker glass in mind when I do something like this again.
I'm not too proud to pick off stuff left at the curb. I've scored more than one broken tank left for the garbage man, lol!

Honestly though, stuff happens. If you manage to step on one really good, 1/4" glass is probably a goner too. But the benefit to scrounging glass like that is that it doesn't cost you a trip the LFS or visit to Amazon to replace it and your tank is back in business much quicker.......and cheaper.
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