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MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
And so, after attending my very first PSAS meeting, some very nice people convinced me to think acrylic, as in I.A.P. acrylic. But somehow I had always thought to myself that most beginners’ small tanks should be glass.

Here’s what I was looking at today: a 75 gallon, 3/8 inch thick black backed with an overflow.

After a few phone calls, the Oceanic 75 reef-ready is within 40 to 60 dollars of the price for the I.A.P.

So, what do members of the forum think? If you had to start with a 75 gallon, and hoped to end up with paradise, would you buy glass or acrylic?

Trevor
 

MtnDewMan

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
2,290
Location
Mukilteo, WA
What kind of circulation? Closed loop? anything like that? If so, just the overflow probably won't do it for you. You would want to custom drill it to make a closed loop work. If just the overflow, the glass tank is much easier to clean than acrylic.

Both have pros and cons for sure. Weight, maintenance, drilling for flexibility, etc ...
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
I’m not sure what you mean by “closed loop” system. I was planning on a sump wherein I’d place my heaters, protein skimmer, etc. I also wanted a ‘goodly’ amount of circulation too.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
A closed loop takes water from the tank and recirculates it back to the tank. It doesn't go into the sump, but is circulated by a pump on its own. Sheesh, I hope I'm not confusing you....I'm not the best when it comes to descriptions of equipment. As far as glass vs. acrylic....well, let me tell you what I just went through. I have a 120 glass that when I began planning the closed loop, it was going to be difficult since I didn't have the tank drilled for the CL. It also is an Oceanic reef ready. Well, I decided to take the plunge and get an acrylic - the ease of having the circulation just right is going to be worth it. Oh yeah, and I'm great at making last minute changes... :D
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
So here’s the break down:

Acrylic: Lighter, stronger, better light transmission, can be drilled, and the scratches can be removed in the end.

Glass: Harder to scratch, sheds heat more effectively.

I was not planning on a closed loop. I was planning on putting in a ‘Durso’ standpipe, enroute to a rather large sump.

I'll count that as two votes for Acrylic!
 

bigdave

bigdave
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
169
Location
Kingston, WA
Hey, the plunge is a hard one when i started i didint think i needed a closed loop system but 8 months later and a few new holes i was happy with my IAP tank and i had a problem with it witch does not happen except to me and the guys at IAP came and fixed it i dont think you will get that from a Oceanic
 

jazznreef

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
219
Location
Seattle/Magnolia
The only real disadvantage that i see with acrylic is cleaning the inside of all the purple and pink coralline algae. Once your system is rocking this growth will be an issue on the front and sides. A decent floating magnet cleaner should keep the majority of the viewing area clean but the outsides of this area will become encrusted. It can really be a chore to scrape with plastic scrapers. However, I think all the other advantages of acrylic outweight this disadvantage though. But, if this is a real factor for you then this should be considered because it is much easier to clean a glass tank with razor blades.
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
I like acrylic tanks. Unless you're going to move up to the expensive glass tanks, such as a Starfire, you'll get much better clarity and color in the tank with acrylic over glass. Yeah, they scratch but it's usually easily repaired. The coralline is the real PITA but if you keep up with it it's no biggie.
 

dnjan

alveopora
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
1,585
Location
Seattle
MarineDreamer said:
So here’s the break down:

Acrylic: Lighter, stronger, better light transmission, can be drilled, and the scratches can be removed in the end.

Glass: Harder to scratch, sheds heat more effectively.

I was not planning on a closed loop. I was planning on putting in a ‘Durso’ standpipe, enroute to a rather large sump.

I'll count that as two votes for Acrylic!
I would go with acrylic, with a "modified O'Brien" overflow. Drill the upper back corners and install a bulkhead in each hole. On the outside of the bulkhead, attach a T, with one end pointing up and the other down. The end pointing up will vent the drain line, and prevent gurgling. The end pointing down is connected to the line that goes to the sump.

As for the modified O'Brien part - Put a piece of (blue or black) plexi (with slots on the top) the full length of the tank, but mount it at a 45-degree angle to the back of the tank. You have the full-length O'Brien overflow, but the overflow box is now a triangle instead of a rectangle. Plenty of space for corals/rockwork below the angled overflow "box". You can still drill the back for closed-loop if you want, and can even add a third bulkhead hole inside the overflow in case you want more flow than two bulkheads can handle.
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
Humm, not much of a war here, seems to be more of a blow out in favor of acrylic.

Yes, I was most impressed with the "modified O'Brien' overflow that I was able to see first hand Saturday Night at my very first PSAS meeting. (I think that as the newest member, I should have gotten the tank by default!) But if memory serves, the overflow boxes were vertical, or parallel to the walls of the tank. I also overheard, (I believe that it was John, the proprietor of I.A.P,) who said that it took him forever to cut the “modified O’Brien” overflow. However, I did really like the concept.

So, here’s the plan: An I.A.P. 75 gallon (48x18x21 approx.) 3/8 in, with the ‘modified O’Brien’ overflows, and a blue background.

Now if my PSAS membership card would just hurry up and arrive!
 

dnjan

alveopora
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
1,585
Location
Seattle
Yes, those overflow boxes were vertical (with the bulkhead in the bottom of the tank). But, why make a tall overflow box when a short one will do? With the upper back corners drilled, you don't need an overflow box to go top-to-bottom. This leaves room for corals to fit under the overflow box. Especially nice if your tank isn't quite as big as the O'Brien original.

As for the slanted overflow box front - this is the next logical step after going to drilling the upper corners rather than the bottom. That is the "modified O'Brien" feature.
 

tomz

Reality; an open mind
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
76
Location
Snohomish WA
Earlier post:

"On the outside of the bulkhead, attach a T, with one end pointing up and the other down. The end pointing up will vent the drain line, and prevent gurgling."



I have this set up on my tank and there is still a lot of gurgling. I even put miniature ball valves on the top of the "T" to fine tune the air intake. With too little air the water level in the overflow box drops low enough for air to come through from the tank side (open bh on inside with cover as an imitation durso) . Opening the ball valve enough to stop that from happening reduces the flow too much.

The two bulkheads are 1 1/2" and flow is supplied by a ampmaster 3000 @ ~6hdft (47gpm*60=2820gph). They seem to be close to their maximum flow rate, which according to Mojo is ~3200 gph (1600 each). The noise remains although not as much with a reduced flow rate. Any ideas?
 
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