Terrible Advice Tuesdays: See Into Your Tank’s Future


Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): If your tank doesn’t break in the first 3 months of it’s life, it is good to go long-term.

The rest of the story: Perhaps tanks should come with a disclaimer like securities: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”. What happens in the first 3 month’s of your tank’s life won’t tell you much on how the tank will hold up long term.

Let’s look at the facts:

– for glass tanks, when the tank is new, the silicone that holds it together is in top form. Over time the silicone ages. It can crack, get removed with algae scrapers or razor blades, etc.

– for acrylic tanks, panes are bonded together and won’t wear like silicone. These tanks can still fail though and shouldn’t be considered indestructible.

For either type of tank, if the tank is assembled poorly, then you can be as gentle with it as you want it and the tank still isn’t built to last.

If you bought a well-built tank, if you stress the tank during the first 3 months of it’s life, it can have long-term effects on the structural integrity of the tank. The tank might survive the stress while it is new, yet be weakened such that when the next big stress event happens, the tank fails.

The opposite of this would be if the tank never experiences any stress while new, then experiences structural stress (moving while full or partially full, stand or floor sags, etc), late in it’s life, The late-onset stress can break the tank. I.e. if you move a tank that has never been moved, the fact that the stress happened to show up in year ten vs. month one is significant because no stressing events were experienced until year ten.

If your tank makes it through the first three months, that means it survived the first three months and not much else.

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Comments for this article (8)

  • Dennis harvey says:

    I had a 250lt corner tank that sat at 27c for 4 years. Was emptied completely on a monday. Following tuesday house temp got down to 6c
    Tank cracked suddenly across the front curve.

  • David says:

    Tank failure is a scary thought! I’ve got a new-you-me 90 gallon rimless glass aquarium ready to be aquascaped and filled. Are there any warning signs that would occur prior to finding my coral high and dry and my fish cling to life in half an inch of water?

  • Helen says:

    Our glass 265 gallon gave out about a month ago…

    Shop vacuums are an absolute must for tank owners. You can get a lot of water off the floor pretty quickly.

  • dave decarli says:

    I have had several protein skimmer over flows recently it happens while I was at work I came home to find my top off buzzing from no water and my pro skim flowing over. It won’t give me a problem for a month and WAM flood. I clean it every other day. It’s a hob I don’t have room for one in a sump.

  • Patrick says:

    I’m using an old 90gal tank that I bought used 15yrs ago. 1/2″ glass panes. It sat unused the whole 15yrs and I set it up back in October. Tank failure is a major concern of mine.
    Excuse me while I go stick my head in the deep sand bed.

  • Craig says:

    I’d be interested to know much stress VorTech pumps like the MP40 puts on a tank when it is simulating a pulse mode. Personally, I use the Apex Fusion with leak detection to shut things down and send me a text so I can respond quickly if needed.

  • Chris Thomas says:

    Dave Decarli, reef octopus makes a skimmer waste collector that has a auto shutoff for the skimmer. It uses a float switch inside that is connected to a outlet. You plug in the outlet and plug your skimmer into the collector outlet. Then just have your skimmer collection cup drain into the waste collector. When it fills with water it shuts of the skimmer. I had the same problem till I got the reef octopus collector. Also, you may need to adjust the water level for your skimmer. It sounds like the bubbles are too wet. Another point check your rodi water. It may have a lot of stuff triggering tryout skimmer to go into overdrive. Good luck and hope this helps.

  • Dennis says:

    I just suffered another water problem with my HOB protein skimmer. The skimmer body itself plugged up stopping water from entering the return section. I am working my way out of HOB skimmers and into an internal one in a new tank and sump. Morale of this story don’t put off cleaning out your filters. My own fault but not an adequate explanation to my wife. I’d gone for 30 years without a water issue, then in the last 3 years I have suffered four floods, as my wife would call them. The first one started with this same HOB skimmer to discover my 20 year old tank was also seeping water.

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