30 Gallon Tank New tank - leak test/glass thickness questions!

winglessicarus

All right so this is my first leak test on a used terrarium, which has been marked as "not to be filled with water". I've seen a lot of mixed messages about whether not to trust it, based on the idea that if the glass is thick enough and the seal tight enough, why not? vs. "If it says don't fill with water, that means DON'T FILL WITH WATER." Many examples I've seen are that the tank is not meant to hold that much weight, or that sometimes the warning is put only because the tank was not TESTED to hold water... not necessarily that it can't. Liability etc.

After some debate, putting the tank up on Craigslist, hunting down a replacement and even planning to put the tank up on fishlore here for reptile use I have taken the risk of putting it outside and filling it with water to attempt a leak test. Here is the info I have available, and my questions:

The tank is a 30 gallon terrarium: 36 x 18 x 13h I have been completely unable to find a 30 breeder in the area, or I would have one of those instead, trust me.

I had planned to strip and reseal it in case the warning is seal based, but the sealant looks pretty solid. It appears consistent, thick, reliable and on both the inside and outside of the tank. The quality of the seal actually looks BETTER than my Aqueon tanks (I have a 10 and a 29). Resealing is STILL a possibility, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I have read online anywhere between 6 - 9 mm should be safe. On a site designed to help calculate how to build your own aquarium the suggested glass thickness for the above dimensions was 4 mm to hold water. The glass appears to be 1/4 inch, which comes out to between 6 - 7 mm, so based on this information "safe" to hold water.

Please correct me if any of the above is obviously inaccurate, I can only go by what I've researched and I'd rather know that my source is incorrect.

So here are my questions!

Unfortunately I have limited safe space to put this aquarium. I have set it outside out of sight, however there's no real shade there on a sunny day, and as it is a terrarium it came with a screen top rather than a glass one. Which means evaporation is going to be a huge problem. Is there any way to really safely tell whether the water missing over the course of the test is leaked out or evaporated? Will checking more often for wetness around the tank suffice, or are there any tips and tricks someone can offer?

If the tank is unsafe to use full would I be able to use it with less water than it can hold? I'm really more interested in it for the footprint, as I love the longer shallow aquariums, I have neons that would do better with a longer tank vs. taller and I hope to include cories in my stock eventually (which this would be ideal for) ... In other words, if you absolutely WOULD NOT risk it, due to weight - would you say it could be pulled off if only filled to 15 or 20 gallons?

My filter and heater would have no problem reaching the water even if only half full, so that's not an issue.

Please feel free to ask questions if you need more information or clarity in order to help out, I really don't want this to be a waste... Thanks!
 

Malcolm

IMHO I would say yes it will be fine however if you could upload a picture than would help a lot but going on your description of the tank and dimensions I would say it will hold water just fine, 13" deep will not put any strain on the seals so I would just try and test it full and see what happens.
 

winglessicarus


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IMHO I would say yes it will be fine however if you could upload a picture than would help a lot but going on your description of the tank and dimensions I would say it will hold water just fine, 13" deep will not put any strain on the seals so I would just try and test it full and see what happens.

I can take more pics if that would help!
 

Malcolm

No, they are good thanks

I would say it will be okay, with 1/4" glass and only 13" deep the lack of a centre brace will not be an issue.
As you say the seals look good too, if you cannot see any peeling or obvious holes in them I would just use the tank as it is because removing the seals and replacing them is a really really tedious job.
 

winglessicarus

I put out to be tested today, plan to leave it at least 5 days... super optimistic right now.

If anyone has any other input I would appreciate it!
 

Lilibeth_Seasong

To tell if it's leaking, you could wrap it in newspaper and check for dark wet spots. You may not have to leave it that long...you could probably tell within 24 hours. You can leave it as long as you want though to be sure.
 

Interzonearts

Replacing the seals is fairly easy, but not necessary if the tank doesn't leak. You can' judge it by how the seal look though.

I'd take the tank outside, fill it up and see if it leaks.
 

winglessicarus

Replacing the seals is fairly easy, but not necessary if the tank doesn't leak. You can' judge it by how the seal look though.

I'd take the tank outside, fill it up and see if it leaks.

I've had it out a few hours now!

To tell if it's leaking, you could wrap it in newspaper and check for dark wet spots. You may not have to leave it that long...you could probably tell within 24 hours. You can leave it as long as you want though to be sure.

wish I had thought of that BEFORE I filled it.... oops...
 

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