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Old 01-04-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
shutterfish
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scratching acrylic?


I am thinking about getting an acrylic tank. One issue I have heard of with acrylic is they are easy to scratch. I am a little concerned that if I run my magfloat across the tank there could be a grain of sand or whatever that would scratch the front and then Id be left with a big scratch on the viewing area. Is this a problem or is it harder to scratch than that? Any other differences between glass that I should know about? I have read they are brighter and stronger than glass which is appealing.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:27 PM   #2
Nate_Bro
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brighter and stronger than glass which is appealing.
that to me that is the only thing appealing, also when you get into 100+ they are a lot lighter as well!

but I scratch my glass tank, so if i had an acrylic it would have a brushed finish....

but they do make sapphire glass that is clear without the green tint that most glass tanks have...
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:34 PM   #3
JohnWesolowski
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Yes, you do need to be concerned about sand getting between the magnet and the acrylic. My magnet doesn't clean my acrylic very well anyway. I bought a 3 pack of white mitts 5 years ago, and they still work well. I use a "proxy card" (similar to a stiff credit card) to get the coraline algae, which is more apt to grow on acrylic.

Acrylic insulates better, and I've never heard of tanks leaking or breaking (as you will occasionally hear with glass). The selling point for me is that acrylic has multi-year or life time warranties, but glass never has more than a one year warranty.
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:44 PM   #4
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It is really easy to scrtatch, but fairly easy to fix with a micromesh kit...
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:48 PM   #5
Nate_Bro
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Originally Posted by JohnWesolowski View Post
but glass never has more than a one year warranty.
I have seen Lifetime warranties with glass, but they are usually over 100+ gallons
and they do state that they will re-seal the tank free of charge, but thats still a pain...
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:54 PM   #6
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thanks all- i'd be looking at a 40 or 50 gallon tank so nothing too big.

As for repairing the scratches- is that something that can be done while the tank is filled or would you have to empty it out and let it dry?

The improved strength would make me sleep easier, but the increased scratching would make me really bummed if I scratch the heck out of it Nice tips on the gloves and credit card type thing... I guess a razor blade doesnt work as well on acrylic as it does on glass
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:56 PM   #7
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oh, one question about the insulation factor... I have dual 250 halides and no chiller so my tank will tend to run a little hotter in the summertime, though I do run window ac's to keep the place cool. Will that mean there is more of a heat trap for a hotter system like mine?
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by shutterfish View Post
oh, one question about the insulation factor... I have dual 250 halides and no chiller so my tank will tend to run a little hotter in the summertime, though I do run window ac's to keep the place cool. Will that mean there is more of a heat trap for a hotter system like mine?

I have a 100g Tenecor acrylic tank...unused. They warned me at tenecor not to run halides closer than 14", the further the better. Reason: they said acrylic is an organic material. The sun/halides will deteriorate it causing tiny cracks to start in the top, the pc that holds it together.
Eventually causing failure, and a full blowout of the tank.
This isn't me, but Tenecor talking. Tom Petrof of Tenecor sales. The makers of the tank.
They did say however, to run them above 14" from the top, and I should be ok.

Why would you want to run 2 , 250w halides on a 40 -50 g tank anyway?
10 - 12.5w / gal is terribly high.

You mentioned the insulating factor, and no chiller. It is harder to run a fan across an acrylic tank that has some sort of top to it. I have seen some tanks in acrylic, the size you mentioned, that have no top, but thicker sides. Larger than that, and you have to have a top to hold it together.

They make magfloats in light blue colour, for acrylic. My acrylic mag-float does OK on my glass tank. But could be better. So in the future a higher quality magnavore will have to be on my to get list at $40+ The trick I think, is good husbandry skills, cleaning the glass before "it needs it" or acrylic for that matter. Daily I mean. At this point I can let my glass go for a week, but the pink calcareous may prove a bit tough. Kent Marine makes plastic scrapers, or other brands would work too for harder algae. I'm afraid to set my tank up for several reasons. If you know someone who wants a 60" custom built Tenecor for 30% off and are willing to pick it up, let me know.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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I had the same question about repair kits, dry or with water. It seems as though, if I remember correctly you have to drain below the point of repair from one kit repair maker. But there's more than one fish in the sea. Try calling a retailer like F&S or MarineDepot.com. They're usually helpful with their products answering questions like that.

I know you cannot repair glass. Period. Not for less than the cost of a new tank anyway. I hope this is helpful in making your decision. My glass tanks have all been scratched somewhat. And the older the scratchier they get. may even be partially why my 90g glass tank blew out.

One float I've used, the flip type with a scraper on one side and scruby on the other...leave it in the store. I counted...over 100 passes on one spot of pink calcareous algae on my glass, and only 40% at most was removed.
I've recently received from 2 well known glasses (spectacles) makers, 3 pairs, scratched, with anti scratch coating on them, from the store, before I took them home! So they say a little piece of dust can do that. C'mon man, I paid for that protection. Now lets make 100 passes on one little spot, because I let it go and did not have good husbandry techniques. Just be prepared...if you want lighter, stronger, clearer, keep it shining. Like washing a car. A rich or younger vibrant owner of a garage kept Mercedes, don't let it sit on the curb with road salt on it all winter.
Acrylic is a higer maintanance classy kinda lady.

Whatever you do, if you go acrylic. Get the thickest you can afford. Keep it shining, and you'll be fine, and sleep better knowing a small earthquake won't cause it to blow out.

The reason I bought acrylic is, I had a 90 gal all glass tank bust in a bedroom. Quite a shocking experience. Litterally. A grounding probe can only do so much, lol.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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It's best to clean the outside surface with water and clean cloth
as well as both sides of cleaning magnet before you use a magnet type cleaner.

Better yet the Kent Marine mop pad attachment works if your rock isn't too close
to the parameters you want to keep clean. And those little mitts John mentioned, would work quite well in the upper portion of my acrylic tank where that mop thing won't reach because of the handle.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:57 PM   #11
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to me acylic is the only way to go, I have had many of them and really no problems with scratching them, you just have to be careful, They just look better to me, lighter and stronger.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:18 PM   #12
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As for the lighting, there were extremely limited options for my 46 gallon bowfront tank I am putting together. Try to find a good dual halide system in 36" fixture- there arent many! I would have preferred 2x175 but the maristar fixture I got only came in 2x250. I have not used it yet with coral and such so I'll need to figure out how much time those halides will be on. If I go acrylic I could probably get a new lighting fixture as well. Why would they make a 2x250 if it is too much? I need to learn more about lighting I guess...

They do get really hot so I can see how that would affect acrylic. Dang... there is no perfect setup is there If I raise the lights 14" they will blind me when I sit down in the room What type of lighting is best for acrylic tanks? I wish LED technology was just a little further along (and a little less expensive!)

So it looks like cleaning the acrylic tanks isnt too bad, just gotta keep on top of it. No problems there because I spend a lot of time with my aquarium daily. I am glad to know you can repair a scratch, even if you have to disassemble bc as you said, glass cant be fixed at all (and I put a nice long squiggly scratch on my 28 but luckily it is on the side.

I am not diggin' hearing stories of people's tanks breaking. That is my nightmare!!!
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:18 PM   #13
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I fully agree with you. Blinding. And with the cross member in the 46 Bow, you get a shadow with a single halide. I have that, but the shadow isn't too bad, and also helps when bringing frags up closer. I don't mind the small shadow. I have to say though, my halide sits across the room to our left, and has never been an issue. It's in a Current Outer Orbit satalite, at eye level, (I'm 6' tall) and 10.5 " from the water. AnDD I hate the idea of rigging a blind to block it from site.

With acrylic, you'll never have a shadow.

There's some cheaper LED units out there that = 250w halide for $299, most tanks needing 2 units or more. But they're econmical and cooler running, + you can drop it down close to the tank. The PAR value is as listed
PAR testing with 1 light: 119w Evolution LED at reefkoi
http://evolutionledlight.com/
http://shop.ebay.com/reefkoi/m.html
  • 5" above water line shows 926 PAR at surface
  • 565 PAR 5" underwater
  • 263 PAR 19" underwater
  • 115 PAR 23" underwater at the sandbed
I like this light, but it's only 119w, they also offer a nicer looking 200w unit on ebay and customer service before the purchase, has been excellent. They have other colour renditions, like 10 or 14K (50/50) instead of 20-25K. Also, a unit (white aluminum frame) you can replace the LED's as needed, and $50 more/unit.

Here's your "perfect set-up"
This LED by Vertex (see link at youtube below) is the best one out there I've heard of. But a 36" unit is $2,459, but hey, what it does is nothing short of spectacular. Sun and moon track across tank, simulates clouds and lightning. It is programmed through your pc too, wirelessly. I had a link for a vid that simulated the lightning with no other light on the tank, but the link is no good now at blueworldaquariums.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHo7L...eature=related

http://reefbuilders.com/2010/06/10/i...charting-path/

Another LED option, is LED pendant light made by Cannon, and for the reef. 50w each no fan needed and around $500+ greater PAR than a 250w halide. This is of highest quality from Cannon. 12,000K white, or 453nM< blue. They also offer a fresh water pendant @ 7000K. Again, 50 w a t t s each. see a gorgeous rimmless reef tank on youtube with 5 of these guns on it. Awsome vid and great tunes. All grown under LED lights. I love the Acans! I'd like 3 of these on my 60" acrylic with blue in the middle. If they were 25w I'd get 3 each.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30CYoQJFU_4

I love the look of halides, and up front, they're more cost effective. But you'll pay for the electric and replacement bulbs. These higher end LED's give a nice shimmer and last. Are much cooler, and greener for the earth.
And greener for the earth is greener for the great reefs, oceans and polar caps.

Should you spring for another light, T5's are nice, alone, and a single halide would be plenty for a 36" tank supplemented with T5's. But you could sell your unit on ebay that you currently have. Sounds like a nice unit though.

My 90g that broke, had been set up, again, and again. And this time, it had been running with salt water and sand only, for a week while I made adjustments. Then it just cracked diagonally, top left corner to bottom right, with glass shifted out enough to absolutely POUR. I opened the window catching what we could in totes, and tossed it out as fast as we could, feet getting shocked along the way. Then I cut the carpet out, and put fans on the sub floor a few days. Thank God we were home!!! I had alot of scratches on this all glass tank. Perhaps that was the cause. Maybe the stand, but deffinitely, when I purchased an acrylic.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:09 PM   #14
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thank japonicus. Man I hope I never have to deal with a cracked tank. I talked to my LFS owner and he said he can sell me acrylic but said it will get scratched over time even with special acrylic gloves and scrapers, etc. He pretty much guaranteed it. I guess I will get answers on both sides of this one. I want the strength and durability but I dont want a scratched up tank that I will worry about every time I clean it or move a rock. So... still thinking on that one. I am looking at a 65 gallon tall tank that would fit my space perfectly because it is 3' wide still and has a hood to block light creep!

I do plan on ditching the halides and going with LED. Those can go under a hood, they will suck up way less power and I they are compact with lots of options. They are pretty expensive though! The ones you mentioned look great. I am going to research them some more. I need to figure out how to calculate how much light I need for the 65 gallon tank if that's the route I go. I think it is 23" deep.

Anyway, thanks for the detailed response. I will be picking it apart today to try and figure out what to get.

BTW, just for my peace of mind- did that tank break because of lots of moves that stressed it over time? How old was it? I am finding that tanks are like 1/20th of the cost of this hobby so if I just have to replace a tank in 5 years I am fine with that. I'll probably have to break it down before that time to throughly clean it out to avoid old tank syndrome anyway!
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:46 PM   #15
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Well, I'm actually 1 step closer to building my stand for my acrylic tank.

The 90 that broke was 15 yrs old or more. In storage a year, and quite scratched from sand in the magnet. The stand was a restraunt stainless steel on 1.25" tube frame. I really do not know what caused the tank to crack. I've even heard halides. But I do know, and keep this in mind with ANY tank, halides will deteriorate the tanks upper frame work, such as mine that had to be replaced. An All Glass brand, with plastic supports which were bleached out, and structurally unsafe. Thus I replaced the upper frame. That alone, may've caused the crack. The tear out of the old frame, though done properly with razor blades, and so on. the glass did take a couple blows when prying off. So in the future, I'll never replace just a frame. They're pretty well "glued" siliconed on permanantly. This tank broke a week after set up and no wave makers. Only sand and water.

Todays newer acrylic tanks do not yellow as older ones did. If the top of an acrylic tank or edges begin the whiten, with tiny "fissures", it's the same as my old framework being structurally unsafe. Also you will never know, if your glass tank has taken any shipping damage, damage in warehouse, or manufacturer, or dealers stock room, that isn't obvious.
The unknown scares me, and red hair and bubble algae...lol
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