Question How Long Can A Tank Go Without Water In It?

Lucyn

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I've heard from some people that apparently you can't leave an aquarium empty of water for a long period of time. I'm moving to the first floor of my apartment soon, from the second floor, and I'm going to have to wait a few weeks until it's finished to get it running and setup. Is it a good idea to fill the tank with water while I wait or will it be fine without water for a few weeks? Thank you!
 

PoorBigBlue

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I've never heard anything like that. Tanks are fine to sit without water in them, as long as they're temp-controlled.

So, if you leave a glass aquarium out in the garage where the temp fluctuates, the silicone is probably gonna break. If you leave it in the house where the temp is roughly the same all year, I wouldn't expect any issues. The only thing filling the tank with water would accomplish would be keeping the temp a bit more stable over time, but even then, it'll still fluctuate.

If your tank is acrylic, I wouldn't worry at all. Acrylic tanks don't have seams - so temp fluctuations shouldn't be an issue.
 

mattgirl

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I don't think you have anything to worry about. I broke my 55 gallon tank down when we moved. My tank set in my storage building for 6 years. It got freezing cold in the winter and super hot in the summer. I did have a blanket draped over it to protect it from getting too much dust in it but that is all I did for it.

It is up and running now no worse off from setting empty for all those years. I don't know if it made any difference but it had been up and running for about 10 years before I broke it down and I have had it set back up and running for just over 3 years now. No problems whatsoever.
 
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Lucyn

Lucyn

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Okay, thanks guys. It's not acrylic, it's a 125 gallon glass with a oak wood finish on it. So then it definitely should be fine for 3 weeks right? The bottom floor which is what I'm gonna have it on isn't heated (I live in Maine, it's pretty stinkin chilly), but that shouldn't be a problem for at most a month, right? I just figured if it is true, better be safe than sorry to ask right? They aren't exactly the cheapest thing in the world
 

BaseballMom

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I personally wouldnt set bare glass on the floor...in Maine...during winter months with no heat. Put something under it. A pallet maybe? Not speaking specifically about fish tanks either, glass in general.
 
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Lucyn

Lucyn

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BaseballMom said:
I personally wouldnt set bare glass on the floor...in Maine...during winter months with no heat. Put something under it. A pallet maybe? Not speaking specifically about fish tanks either, glass in general.
Well I have a stand for it which is what I was going to set it on, will that be ok?
 

Annie59

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I've always heard that too. But I keep several tanks outside in my unheated garage and used them. No problems. I just do a leak test. So far none have leaked and I've done it for years.
 

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BaseballMom said:
I personally wouldnt set bare glass on the floor...in Maine...during winter months with no heat. Put something under it. A pallet maybe? Not speaking specifically about fish tanks either, glass in general.
I agree. The one I had in storage stayed on its stand during those 6 years that it set empty. Storage was actually the old house we moved out of when we moved into the new one we built right behind the old one.

This tank has only been moved twice in its lifetime. Once from the store to the stand in my home and then from that stand in the old house to the new even sturdier stand in our new home. I think it is more than just sitting empty that might cause a tank to start leaking. Moving it around under less than ideal conditions could damage the seals.

If I were to ever buy a used tank I would want to know its history before purchase.
 

BaseballMom

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Lucyn said:
Well I have a stand for it which is what I was going to set it on, will that be ok?
Yeah I would think it would be okay. better than bare glass on the floor!
 

jaysurf7

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You should be fine,I had my brand new 60 gal sitting in the garage for over 7 months before I used it,its running fine,company's that make tanks have them sitting out in warehouse for long periods before there sold.,just make sure you test it by filling it with water and watching it for a while something that should be done with any tank your going too use imo
 

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just set up a 10 gallon that was given to me and was in a basement for at least 7 years lol Its perfectly fine.
 
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Lucyn

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Okay, thanks guys, will do!
 

Galaxis

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I will share my tale as a caution.

My old tank just suddenly failed on me a few days ago. This was a 45gal given to me 2 years ago by a friend who said it's about 10 years old and sat in his garage dry and unused for about 2 years.

When I got it from him the seals looked mostly fine. I leak tested it for 3 weeks at 100% water load with no issue before setting up my tank. Everything seems ok until 5 days ago when the entire bottom seal just suddenly ruptured. Thankfully me and wife were at home and we narrowly avoided massive water damage to our place and managed to salvage the fishes. Went to the LFS and they told me that once a tank has been used the seals can weaken if they are exposed to air again for a prolonged period and I should have re sealed the whole tank before using it.

I'd think a few weeks would be ok, but maybe be careful of its a few months or longer?
 

jjohnwm

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This old wives' tale dates back to the 1950's. Back then tanks were metal frameworks, with individual panes of glass held in place with a black tarlike caulk. If it dried out for more than a few weeks it leaked. Once silicone became the standard construction technique, this was no longer a problem.

A tank that has been set up on an uneven or non-level surface experiences extreme stresses on its seams, and maybe this could weaken them over time. But aside from that possible caution, there is nothing to worry about. I've had tanks sit dry for years that were then properly situated on level, even surfaces and maintained their integrity for many more years.

Re-sealing an allglass silicone tank is a project that requires removing all the silicone in the inside corners, leaving only the actual thin seal between the glass panes. Otherwise, the new silicone when applied will not adhere to the old silicone, and therefore nothing is accomplished in terms of making the tank more waterproof.
 
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Lucyn

Lucyn

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Galaxis said:
I will share my tale as a caution.

My old tank just suddenly failed on me a few days ago. This was a 45gal given to me 2 years ago by a friend who said it's about 10 years old and sat in his garage dry and unused for about 2 years.

When I got it from him the seals looked mostly fine. I leak tested it for 3 weeks at 100% water load with no issue before setting up my tank. Everything seems ok until 5 days ago when the entire bottom seal just suddenly ruptured. Thankfully me and wife were at home and we narrowly avoided massive water damage to our place and managed to salvage the fishes. Went to the LFS and they told me that once a tank has been used the seals can weaken if they are exposed to air again for a prolonged period and I should have re sealed the whole tank before using it.

I'd think a few weeks would be ok, but maybe be careful of its a few months or longer?
Okay thank you! It should only be about a month at most, I'm just waiting to move to the downstairs floor of my apartment, so whenever the owner finishes up I'll be setting it up asap.I think it'll be fine, but like I said it's not cheap and it'd suck for my room to become my aquarium after a few weeks haha.

jjohnwm said:
This old wives' tale dates back to the 1950's. Back then tanks were metal frameworks, with individual panes of glass held in place with a black tarlike caulk. If it dried out for more than a few weeks it leaked. Once silicone became the standard construction technique, this was no longer a problem.

A tank that has been set up on an uneven or non-level surface experiences extreme stresses on its seams, and maybe this could weaken them over time. But aside from that possible caution, there is nothing to worry about. I've had tanks sit dry for years that were then properly situated on level, even surfaces and maintained their integrity for many more years.

Re-sealing an allglass silicone tank is a project that requires removing all the silicone in the inside corners, leaving only the actual thin seal between the glass panes. Otherwise, the new silicone when applied will not adhere to the old silicone, and therefore nothing is accomplished in terms of making the tank more waterproof.
Good to know, thank you!
 
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Lucyn

Lucyn

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jjohnwm said:
By the way...how long do you suppose some of the aquaria that you buy brand-new in stores have been sitting around waiting for someone to purchase them?
I'm purchasing it off facebook, he's had it filled with water in his house since he's listed it for sale and is emptying the water a day before I pick it up.

jjohnwm said:
By the way...how long do you suppose some of the aquaria that you buy brand-new in stores have been sitting around waiting for someone to purchase them?
I'm purchasing it off facebook, he's had it filled with water in his house since he's listed it for sale and is emptying the water a day before I pick it up.
 

jjohnwm

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Lucyn said:
I'm purchasing it off facebook, he's had it filled with water in his house since he's listed it for sale and is emptying the water a day before I pick it up.
I understand, but what I meant was that this tank...when the original owner bought it...might have sat empty in stores and warehouses for months or even years before being purchased and filled. It's a non-issue. These aren't bananas. They are made of glass and silicone, two extremely stable and long-lived materials that don't deteriorate over the kind of timespans we are talking about here.
 
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Lucyn

Lucyn

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jjohnwm said:
I understand, but what I meant was that this tank...when the original owner bought it...might have sat empty in stores and warehouses for months or even years before being purchased and filled. It's a non-issue. These aren't bananas. They are made of glass and silicone, two extremely stable and long-lived materials that don't deteriorate over the kind of timespans we are talking about here.
Ahhhh okay, that's a good perspective. Considering how cheap chain stores are, some of their tanks sit for so long they're forced to put them on clearance or put deals on them and such. 99% of the time the tanks do more than well now that I think about it, surviving decades after.
 

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