Since the stone age, aquariums have been built with bracing to keep them from leaking and/or exploding their water and livestock all over the place. The march of progress for aquariums has been defined by a gradual reduction in aquarium bracing – first the side/edge braces of metaframes were done away with to create the first “All-Glass” aquariums although these retained some kind of bracing, glass or plastic on the top.
Then in the last ten years we’ve seen a lot more rimless, brace-free aquariums done in the European style with very thick glass. But if you’re building a very big tank, or a very tall one, there is just no getting around having some form of secondary bracing structure to keep glass from bending under all the force of the water that it holds.
We recently triumphed over that piece of crap plastic bracing that is standard on many mass produced aquarium sizes with a custom-made Brace Protector from Fluid Designers. But for larger and especially tall aquariums you’ll need to go a step stronger to hold back the weight of the aquarium water over so much glass surface area.
Recently however, Dutch Aquarium Systems has been blazing a trail of aqua-ingenuity first with their DAS ReefView line of aquariums and now, with a novel new way to brace-up exceptionally large aquariums without a pig pile of glass cross beams. We don’t have to tell you how much of a bane the light-blocking, salt creep-collecting, aquascaping-hurdles those conventional glass aquarium braces are.
To combat this, DAS has pioneered a system of tank braces that uses metal rods as cross beams, creating a very thin sort of brace that will block less light, collect less salt, and overall make the need for a form of bracing much less obtrusive than braces have been. The metal cross-bracing rods are fastened directly to the aquarium glass using special hardware and the hole in which they are attached is sealed with an included gasket.
When we spotted this ingenious design move from DAS at the Aquatic Experience in Chicago,we couldn’t find a representative to give us any more details than we could glean from looking at the tank ourselves. If DAS used a high enough grade of stainless steel for their tank bracing there should be a minimum of corrosion when exposed to the saltwater environment, and for all we know DAS might not even recommend this setup for reef tanks at all. Nevertheless, this metal rod approach to tank bracing opens up a whole new future of large and tall aquarium tank building and we hope it leads to the extinction of the typical huge glass tank braces of old. [DAS]