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RE:Brace for big glass tank

>Thanks to those of you who responded to my plea for help/advise.  I lowered 
>the water by 50% when I noticed the brace was loose and the front and back 
>panes straightened. I had cut/scraped off all the old silicone before doing 
>that incase the gap between the brace and the back glass closed as the 
>pressure eased.  Later today I will re silicone it - didn't get to do it 
>with all the Christmas going ons.

Use a pipe clamp or some sort of clamp to hold the panes together while they
dry for at least 24 hrs.

 I was actually thinking of removing the 
>silicone holding the other end as well and redoing both ends.  What do you 
>think, worth the effort?

If it's not loose or leaking and appears strong .......no need. Make sure
the tanks edges that you are re doing are very clean and dry.

>While I had that thought in mind, another thought that came to mind was 
>removing the brace!  One of the problems that I have lighting this tank was 
>the center brace.  Being in the center, I was limited to 2 or 4 
>lights.  The tank is a 180 gal and I currently have 2x150 watts 5200K MHD 
>lamps over it.  I wondered if the lighting level would be too low 1.6:1 
>ratio, but the MHDs seem to have very good penetration into the water and 
>there are tiny bubbles everywhere.  As the tank is not established yet, I 
>guess I won't know if the quality of light that the MHDs put out is better 
>and therefore sufficient or if I have to increase the lighting level.
>I think that 4x150 watts might be too much, so by not putting the brace 
>back in the center I will be able to put one more light there.  Maybe I 
>should use a temporary brace in the form of a clamp.  This way If I need to 
>add another lamp, I will then put in 2 braces to divide the surface into 3.

You could go either way with 3 or 4 x150 watts. It won't be bad either way
and won't be too much nor to little. I use a 2 foot rule or 60 cm rule for
lighting with MH. For every 2 feet I add another light if it's MH. If deeper
than 24 inches or 60 cm then add a 250watt or 400 watt depending on depth.
Another thing to consider...........cost both electrical and the extra lamp
Another factor is heat. The more light the more heat and being in Singapore
where it is warm you might want to reconsider adding 4. Maybe you have
cooling/air conditioning so that might not be a problem 

An idea is to get a piece of thick clear acrylic with two "L" ends glued on
each tip of a bar. You'd get a.... say 24"(60cm) piece about 1 (2.5cm) thick
by 2 inches wide. On the tip of each end glue a piece about 1 inch thick X
2inches X 2inches. This custom brace will give you the strength. Two can be
added also. The lips hangs over the edge of the tank and often don't need to
be glued on the tank at all. As the tank fills up the pressure locks the
braces into place. A 1 x 2inch thick bar is very strong and doesn't block
light that much. I have done this in the past and it works very well on big
tanks. If glued properly it will look like a single piece of clear plastic
that will not detract from the tank much nor block light as much either.
Looks better than the black plastic or large glass braces.
Tom Barr 

In sunny Singapore - if it's not raining!