Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

By Willem Heijns
Bas Pels
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Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Bas Pels » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:57 am

RayQ wrote:I believe that this tank is build quite differently than any tanks that I have ever seen. . . It appears to me that the front, rear and side panels are "outside" the tanks bottom rather than built on top of it.
I think that is the case - this is not that strange, my larger tanks were also build that way - or rather, the outside panels were fitted to the bottom one

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Juan Artigas
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Juan Artigas » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:56 am

RayQ wrote:I believe that a rock may have shifted and fell to the bottom (or on to another rock) and fractured the bottom where the crack sperates. The pressure of the water at the base of the tank would likely have been too great for the front pane to withstand when the bottom of the tank seperated
That is a good possibility too, but it appears that that the sand on the bottom should have help it not to crack. The tank is not really that high, so there is really not too much preassure on the bottom and the glass is quite thick. On the other hand, the main breaking area seems to be close to the broken bottom panel on one side and not in the middle. A possibility to think about.
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Willem Heijns
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:39 am

I would have thought you guys knew me better than that. the first lesson in building a cichlid tank (which I learnt 30 years ago) is to pile up your rocks on a stable substrate. earlier in this thread I have shown how I go about that. styropor on the glass bottom, slate on top of that and then the rock pile.

but apart from that, this particular tank didn't have any rock piles, simply because I didn't feel like carrying heavy rocks up a ladder. so the tank consisted mainly of some pieces of slate to the sides (as a background) and a lot of driftwood.

so I would say the pressure on the bottom was evenly spaced.

BTW: I checked the frame with a laser light and it was completely straight. of course there was no weight on it. Juan Miguel, do you think a frame like that would become straight again after 6 years of "bending"?
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Juan Artigas » Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:47 am

Willem,

There are two types of bending for steel, one temporal under a weight load (momentum) and one permanent once a so called elastic limit is reached. For the beam you are using and the momentum it experiences I would not think the elastic limit would be ever reached, regardless of the time it was subject to the load. So I believe the bending is just temporal and just seen under the effect of the weight. Even a very small deflection of the steel beam would transmit a very big stress to the glass. Could you probably check the bending of a beam on a similar working tank?
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:56 am

I just checked the lower 600g with my laser light (not too accurate 8) ) and with a thin thread (much easier). it turns out that there is a slight bend (around one mm) 1.5 ft left of the center of the tank. that location corresponds with the bottom glass being slightly lower than the rim of the front glass. it's impossible to tell whether that has been the case from the beginning (manufacturer's fault) or that it is caused by the pressure. the upper 600g (the one that blew) certainly had that manufacturing defect (4 to 5 mm) even when it stood OK.

this then raises the question: how bad is all this? taking into consideration that the bottom consists of four separate glass plates (glued together of course) giving it the opportunity to bend at the joints and thus be supported all over by the wood, how much tension/pressure will there be on the front glass (and the rear glass for that matter, which by the way was undamaged)? and how can I compensate that?

adding extra support in the middle is no option. first, it will block my view of the lower tank and second, there is no room at the rear side to put such a support.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Juan Artigas » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:39 am

Whether it is a manufacturing defect or a bending caused by the load it is passing the stress to the fontal and rear glass panels. The fact that you have the bottom panel in four pieces glued together just makes it worse as it concentrates the transmision of the stress to the vertical glass panels in the join ponts.

This said, you have several options; if you connect the two steel beams with another beam in the middle you would add stability and spread the tension evenly between the two beams, that helps in case one panel is getting the worse for any reason and would distribute the stress between the two panels. Then you can place a third vertical support of the structure in the back part of it (if this in an option, which I think is not in your case). I also see that the two side vertical supports of the structure do not help you much as they do not add stability to the structure. Right now they are working as an articulation making deflection worse. It they were welded deflection would be less.

You can also add a styrofoam sheet below the tank to help you (although slightly) in distributing the stress. Finally you can reduce weight, you apparently have a lot of heavy rocks and I think it could be the cause of the problem.
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Grummie2 » Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:42 pm

Hi Willem. Did you move the stand as well as the tank while you refitted your 'Cichlidarium'?, the 'new' position (however slight the difference) may have created new stresses? I work for a firm that makes fish tanks and cabinets, although I don't make them myself. I know we don't sell any tanks without a styrofoam base, yes Juan, to eliminate any 'point' pressure, but it also helps spread the load on the base, as everyones floor is uneven and this can be transmitted through the cabinet or stand. We also don't use too many 'laminates' on the base plate (2x12mm usually on large tanks) as this makes the glass very flexible. Also, extra 'straps' can be added around the bottom joints if necessary.
Graham

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by nick a » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:30 am

Willem,
1st, how long are those tanks? Can't quite figure from the wall panels behind --12' or 16'?
2nd, what exists in the wall behind them (ie 2x4 style stud wall or...) ?
3rd, even with the very excellent choice of the 1/4" thick tubing (in correct orientation!) deflection will exist. I say kudos to the tank maker for the six years of previous operation!

Lastly, I would seriously consider adding supports (columns) to the center of the spans to cut down the deflection. If the wall behind will allow, an upside down U shape (with the back leg buried in the wall will only give you minimal blockage to the front of the lower tank. An alternative, while still the problem up front, would be to support the backs using angle bolted directly into the wall frame. Similar to this but in parallel vs perpendicular.
Image


I don't have any tanks as massive as those. But even on tiny tanks like 125s & smaller, I prefer to limit unsupported spans to about 4'

Image

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by chc » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:32 pm

Nick A, is that extruded aluminum?

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by nick a » Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:49 am

Yes, the lower portion of that frame is. The upper members are a type of unistrut. I wish I could afford to build everything out of the aluminum! Very easy to work with for those of us challenged in the welding skills :D And very flexible when your plans change!

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:43 am

a litle delay in responding. to answer the questions: I've ordered a new tank. it will be glued together in situ (no more carrying heavy tanks around :? ) I will use styropor underneath it. the manufacturer is confident that it will hold. he is well aware of the fact that steel tends to bend under heavy weights. and yes I will leave out the rocks. it will be a driftwood tank.

on the sunny side: my amarillo pair that has witnessed the blow right above their heads has spawned in their (still) private 600g. a few minutes ago I removed the fry though. I will be adding the other fish sometime this week and I don't want to put those into too much risk.

finally, in an attempt to benefit a little from this whole mess, I have put together a one hour talk of my Cichlidarium, consisting of general information on the setup and use as well as the history of the rotten roof and the collapse of tank #1. so if you're interested to hear and see the full story........ 8)
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Rick Thibert » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:07 am

Willem,

I notice a rock hanging beyond the front edge in your photo! Is it not possible that these rocks slipping may have been to blame??

BC

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by chc » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:02 pm

Willem Heijns wrote:finally, in an attempt to benefit a little from this whole mess, I have put together a one hour talk of my Cichlidarium, consisting of general information on the setup and use as well as the history of the rotten roof and the collapse of tank #1. so if you're interested to hear and see the full story........ 8)
Very interested! When, where? :)

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:04 am

when and where ever you want me. 8)
Slàinte mhath!

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Rick Thibert » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:44 pm

I think the BCA would love to hear you talk Willem, Just be sure to bring some Tuba fry! :) LOL!! ;)

BC

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:24 am

last Friday was a memorable day. around 10 am a truck appeared in the driveway. the new glass! :lol:

after a while it was followed by two old friends from Belgium. they started work immediately. their activities were a sight to behold:
ramp31.jpg

things are starting to look good!

to be continued next Monday....
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Lee Nuttall » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:10 am

Willem, i'm glad everything seems to be on the up. :D

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Willem Heijns » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:46 am

another memorable day!

the 600g tank was finished yesterday. here it is:
ramp32.jpg
now I have to wait a couple of days for the silicon to harden. after the weekend the first fill (who wants to come and watch?) another couple of days to check for leaks and then: carry the rocks and the wood and the gravel in and start her up!

if there's still water in it upon my return from Islay I can go get my fish back! :lol: :lol:
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:57 am

for no apparant reason (or was it fear?) I felt reluctant to put water in the tank. but today I did. another 600 gallon was added to my water bill. but I haven't lost it. it is still in the tank. I even dared to stand in front of the tank 8)

all in all it feels very good! I'm starting to have fun again! :D
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium continues

Post by Dan Woodland » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:17 am

Congrats, I'm glad things are getting back to normal....

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