View Full Version : To brace or not to brace

10-04-2003, 11:15 PM
Hi guys. I just wanted your opinion on something. I've built two tanks today with 1/4 inch glass: one 47x15x16 (48 gal.) and a 28x16x16 (30 gal.) I know the 48 gal. has to be braced, but is it necessary to brace the 30 gal. as well? Would 2 inch braces on both side be sufficient?
These are not the first tanks I've built but they are the first over 20 gallons.

10-06-2003, 01:27 AM

I have mentioned, many time, that a tank is only as strong as the abuse it may incounter.

The weak point of any structure is in the corners. Where ajoing structures meet. AND - pressure can increase.

The perfect structure - a circle. No stress build up. Totally equall distrubation of pressure.

As concernng the 47 x 15 x 16 - I might suggest - a 3" glass top brace on the ends. This will decrease the over-all horizontal span to 40" - which the 1/4" " can substain" safely. Being only 16' TALL.

the 28 x 16 x 16 - should be ok. Depending on which desigh you used to construct the tank.

IMPORTAnt - the primary design used to construct the tanks. only ONE IS BULLET - PROOF ! MPPE.

1/4 = 6.5mm. - is very strong glass. i have build tanks up to 1 meter long. WITH end braces. single span. However, the bottom is only 50 cm wide and I do not exceed 40 - 50 cm high.

why, you may ask .. I do not like the sound of silent water.


good luck .. I personally believe you have what it takes to build a safe tank.

One more expierence .. cut some 3/4" thick glass .. free- hand ..

What a rush !!!

Only in Canada, eh!

10-07-2003, 08:05 PM
3/4 inch glass? I'll pass...might chip a nail ;) Thanks for answering.

The perfect structure - a circle If you build it I'll BUY it. ;D
I'll let you know how they hold up.


10-08-2003, 12:47 AM
arawak; please; do not minimise you abiities.


actually; when glass is cut - it exceds the sound barier -- the reason for the " CRACK SOUND". Thunder in the valley!!!

3/8"; 1/2"; 5/8"; 3/4"; 7/8"; 1"; 1.25";=== they alll sound the same -- only louder!!!
the reason for a glass cutter to have the nerves of steel.

Not for the weak!!

Chip a nail -- no! expiernce new muscles - yup!

Total dedication and no thinking about the next sunrise.

All in a days work....

A total commintent to a disapline; .... like raising the KING OF FISH.
I hope this helps.
Do not be afraid to strool into new territory. I t is all part of the commintent.
As I see it.


10-08-2003, 09:54 PM
I've never heard glass cutting sound so fasinating :)
I like to break things though ;D ;D

What kind of glass cutter do you use? I've never cut glass before. I buy my glass cut to whatever dimensions I want. My husband has a useless glass cutter (wheel type) and we needs to get a good one just in case we want to...
cut some 3/4" thick glass .. free- hand .. ;)

By the way I think your so irie man!

10-10-2003, 01:46 AM
arawak - the glass cutters are all the same. A single small wheel, which scores the glass. Actually the score line is a stress fault. when correct pressure is applied the glass will[should] break along the stress line. The trick is applying correct pressure.
A bit of practice is good. Start with thin glass 2 - 3 mm. and work your way up. AND be prepared for the occasional skin cut. The edges are extremely sharp.

NOW, the difficult work begins , finishinng the edges. Diamond grit sandpaper must be used . and lots of elbow grease. lol.

And exact measurement are necessary !!!! EXACT!!! 2 mil. off is no good. OR a crooket cut. Use a straight edge.

I would suggest getting some scrap pieces of 2 mil. glass and ask a local glass shop how to cut; go home and practice on the scap pieces. Design a pattern and try cutting it . straight lines are the easiest. curves a bit more complicated. Circles, etc...

It is quite an art.

Have fun.


10-10-2003, 02:04 AM
just my two cents....

I have a glass cutter that has no cutting wheel. The "cutter" is simply a small industrial diamond set at the cutting tip. This thing is a dream to work with. And it cost about 7 bucks and has lasted for quite some time, much longer than any wheeled glass cutter I have used before.


For taking care of sharp edges on freshly cut glass I use a cheapo sharpening stone: the kind that has two different grades of grit (IE rough side and less rough side). Its about 8 inches long and 1 inch thick. Cost me around 8 bucks I think. Lasts forever. And even though you should always wear gloves when handling glass, the sharpening stone won't let you run your fingers along a sharp edge of glass when you forget the gloves and the sandpaper tears! OUCH! Been there done that many times! I think i still have a tnak or two with my blood stain on the back glass.......
As far as bracing is concerned I started bracing my tanks in a somewhat unique way. In my fish room the tanks are placed so that the end faces forward. I get more gallons per square foot of floor space this way. So in my case it made sense to put a wide brace over one end (really the back in my case) to support the tank. I was always putting lids on there anyway and I figured i might as well glue them on, since i never needed to lift them. I can access the entire tank for cleaning despite this brace.

So I have covered one end of the tank, about 1/3 of the width or so. In my case, because i place the covered end towards the back of the shelf with the other end facing forward it serves as a very strong brace, leaving no need to brace the other end (really the front for me). The top opening is clear of all braces for easy access.

Ok now that description is just way too confusing :P...here's what i mean. :D


you might find these ideas useful...


10-11-2003, 10:09 PM
Daniel I saw that same glass cutter in the hardware store just last weekend. It cost the equivalent of US$13 but I didn't buy it because it looked too complicated to use, and it didn't come with instructions. I didn't even know it had a diamond tip. Definately gonna invest in one of those. Thanks for posting the pics; I'd never have had a clue what to look for otherwise.
Is that Arkansa stone by the way? We use those at work. Maybe I can borrow one permanently ;D

I ended up bracing my tank at the corner as that's what I'm used to seeing. Your method is interesting though. Will probably use it when we build our fish room (next never-- space issues).

Smokey I had the pleasure of sanding glass to make these tanks. Fun :noway: Got a few cuts too. Next time I'll have my husband do it as I can't afford to get my hand damaged :); they're what I use to make a living ;)

Thanks guys.

10-11-2003, 10:16 PM
hi D.

No arkansas stone might be too fine and too soft. But if its "available" why not give it a try? ;) The stone I have pictured is pretty coarse and most likely can be found at most hardware stores. Its quite cheap. Stanley tools might even have one.

As for the cutter, its not complicated to use at all. Very light pressure is needed. The brass part circled in red above is just for snipping small edges of glass. You grip the glass in one of those slots and chip it away. It does not work very well but you might find a use for it. I rarely use it and find it not really necesary.