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TANKS and STANDS

AquaTech Aquariums sells, delivers and installs only the highest quality aquariums and stands, both glass and acrylic, stock or custom.

For Glass tanks we specify one of three manufacturers:

►Innovative Marine http://www.innovative-marine.com
►Red Sea http://www.redseafish.com
►Crystal Dynamic Aquarium http://www.cdaquarium.com


For Acrylic tanks we specify one of two manufacturers:

►Titan Aquatics http://www.titanaquaticexhibits.com
►Tru Vu Aquariums http://www.truvuaquariums.com


These manufacturers all sell stands for their tanks, and all but Tru Vu and Crystal Dynamic either limit or void their warranty if their aquariums are placed on stands made by other manufacturers, unless they are designed to be placed on other sturdy household or office surfaces.

When a custom stand is required, we specify a powder coated tubular or angle steel frame built by Intech Machine  http://www.intechmachine.com  with cladding provided by your cabinet maker, or a furniture quality custom wood stand and/or canopy manufactured by R&J Enterprises. http://www.rjaquatics.com

Click on the links above to do some window shopping for an aquarium and/or stand, then call (530) 434-0923 for a quote. AquaTech Aquriums will match any pricing for these tanks and stands found on the Marine Depot, Bulk Reef Supplies or Tru Vu Aquariums online stores.

For a quote on custom tanks and stands, please email Shane at shane@aquatech-aquariums.com with a quote request - and include the material desired and dimensions, as well as any requirements and dimensions for internal overflows, holes and lids.

And for those of you who are still deciding the big question:
Glass or Acrylic?
 
(excerpted from Shane's forthcoming book - The Radical Aquarist)

There are basically two types of material used in the construction of aquariums: those constructed of glass panels cemented together with silicone sealant, and those that are built of clear acrylic or Plexiglas panels welded together with special glue. There are pros and cons for either. For most smaller home or office aquariums, we will specify glass, and for larger commerial displays we quote acrylic tanks.

There are grades of glass and acrylic materials used, and so we only choose manufacturers who use the highest grade annealed or tempered glass or cell cast or polycarbonate acrylic.

Glass aquariums under 100 gallons are generally less expensive than acrylic, but can be considerably more money than acrylic when they exceed 200 gallons, primarily due the thickness of the glass and freight or shipping costs (glass actually has it's own pricing structure for shipping based upon DOT requirements). Glass weighs around three times more than acrylic, a major concern with moving and installing larger aquaria. Glass under 1/2" thick can break much more easily than acrylic, especially from the blow of a dropped rock or coral, or the blow of a golf club or a baseball bat. Excepting a few 40 gallon or smaller aquariums, glass tanks always have seams on the front corners, while acrylic tanks of 100 gallons or less often have seamless rounded front corners. Most glass aquaria has a very slightly greenish tint while acrylic is perfectly colorless. The exception would be StarPhire or jeweler's Diamonte glass, which are considerably more expensive than either. Despite the claims I've heard from certain acrylic tank manufacturers, both are equally clear.

Plexiglas or acrylic, on the other hand, scratches very easily, so algae maintenance must be carefully performed with a pad designed exclusively for acrylic tanks, and the aquarist has to be extremely wary of picking up small grains of sand in the pad or in the cleaning cloth for the outside of the aquarium. Then again, I've seen some nasty scratches occur in glass tanks as well, and they are impossible to buff out.

I can tell you from experience that it is next to impossible to avoid scratches altogether, especially in acrylic reef aquaria, and after several years you will be faced with the prospect of either taking the tank down to polish it (a major project), or replacing it altogether. While acrylic tanks should ostensibly last forever, glass tanks have a life expectancy of 15 years maximum before the silicone begins to break down from ultraviolet exposure and constant algae scrubbing, yielding small slow leaks which are usually evidenced by areas of salt creep along the seams of the tank (smaller tanks have a shorter life expectancy, by the way). This usually allows ample time to acquire a new glass tank, however, and to make plans to replace it. Be forewarned- I have seen catastrophic leaks occur in older glass tanks that have evidence of worn silicone seals.

Glass tanks are a favorite of reef keepers due to their resistance to scratching and because the top is completely open and can fit just about any size rock or decoration that will fit into the tank. Plexiglas has a panel glued on top with holes cut in it to keep the side panels from bowing, so you are limited as to the size of decorative coral and rocks you can fit into the aquarium by the size of the openings in the top of the aquarium. These smaller openings can be aggravating since they limit access into remote areas of the tank for cleaning. In acrylic tanks under 100 gallons, this top panel also has a tendency to warp and even crack or separate when exposed to high UV levels from reef lighting - so obviously, thicker material (1/4" minimum) is better.

Glass tanks either come with a brace in the middle to prevent bowing, or can be built "trimless" or "euro-style" with glass reinforcing panels all around the top edges leaving the entire surface of the aquarium open. Some of the latter even come with a stainless steel support frame. The latter "euro" styles are more desirable since a tank supported by a glass brace impedes free access into the tank for servicing, and the brace panel may separate and pop apart if the stand isn't perfectly level, allowing the tank to bow and possibly leak or crack. Glass is far less forgiving than acrylic when it comes to not-quite-level stands! Needless to say, the trimless "euro" style is a favorite design with discriminating reefers, but you can also expect to pay substantially more for them.

Now, in spite the aforementioned drawbacks, acrylic has a few features that are highly desirable for a number of reasons.  It is stronger and far more flexible than glass and it has no seams, as the panels are welded together- so if it doesn't leak immediately upon filling, the tank isn't likely to leak in the future. It is lighter and easier to move and acrylic is easily drilled or machined for customized pump arrays. Not only is glass heavier to move, but moving a glass tank that has been running for some time poses the additional risk of torqueing or popping the silicone seal, yielding a disastrous leak down the road, either immediately or sometime after moving the aquarium. Yikes!

Also, acrylic aquaria of over 300 gallons are substantially less expensive than glass aquaria of the same size. Acrylic is a better insulator than glass, which is an important factor to consider when choosing temperature sensitive livestock. This can be a good thing for warm water loving tropicals, but also a bad thing when heat retention is an issue, such as with delicate reef aquaria. Additionally, acrylic tanks seem to be far more forgiving of a not-quite-level stand, and when you do scratch an acrylic panel, it is far easier to polish out most of the superficial scratches from acrylic.

Armed with these pros and cons between glass and acrylic the choice is all yours!

Talk to you soon! 

~ Shane
 
 
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