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Calculation of glass thickness for aquarium – theory and practice

Each aquarist before gluing the aquarium after he chooses the appropriate dimensions decides the difficult question for himself, what thickness of glass to choose for his aquarium. on the one hand, thin glass can cause burst walls and flooding in an apartment, as well as the death of all aquatic inhabitants. On the other hand, too thick glass will add weight to the whole structure, reduce transparency and increase the cost of glasses.

Let’s look more closely at the issues of calculating the thickness of glass for a home frameless aquarium.

First of all, it is necessary to understand that the glasses are different, for example, acrylic, special tempered, etc. But since most amateurs and even professionals make aquariums from ordinary silicate glass of various thickness, then in this article we will talk about it.

At the moment, an online calculator for calculating glass thickness and other parameters of the aquarium has appeared on the site!

In any glass workshop you can cut and sell ordinary silicate glass, which is ideal for an inexpensive aquarium of almost any reasonable size for home use. Glass for an aquarium begins with a thickness of 4 mm, but as a rule it is used for very small cans, which cannot be called an aquarium, often use glass from 5 mm thick.

If you manufacture an aquarium similar to those sold in stores then there should be no problems with calculating the glass thickness for it, you can look at the glass thickness of the store counterpart and take it 1-2 mm thicker, due to the fact that enterprises usually do not make sufficient margin of safety due to the economics of the finished product.

If there are no similar aquariums in stores, then you can use special formulas to calculate the strength of glasses, as a rule, they include overall dimensions: height, width and depth, as well as the ultimate strength of the type of glass you use. But who will count according to these formulas, a small error in them can lead to very strange results of the decision.

Yes, and the glass strength is unlikely to be told in the glass workshop, they probably do not know with what glass they work (well, naturally, if specialized glass for aquariums is not sold in this workshop).

But all this stuff and production costs, we will not complicate our lives with various calculations and the choice of specialized glasses for the aquarium. The calculation of the thickness of the usual glass for an aquarium has already been made by smart people for a long time and entered it into a table that has been walking the Internet for a long time and tested itself in practice with a good result.

All you need to do is to find the size of your aquarium on this table and see what thickness of glass should be used in this case, I do not advise making it smaller.

There is a color marking in the glass thickness selection table, which is what it says:

  • Cells of blue color speak about the possibility of gluing without using stiffeners and screeds;
  • The yellow color of the cells indicates the need for stiffeners;
  • The green color of the cells indicates the need for stiffeners and screeds!

Stiffeners and ties for frameless aquariums are strips of glass that are designed to relieve tension from the front and rear glass of the aquarium, remove its deflection and thereby increase its strength. The need to use ribs and screeds is influenced to a greater extent by the length of the aquarium, rather than its height.

You should not neglect this constructive element, since It greatly increases the strength of your can.

Stiffeners are long glass strips glued to the front and rear glass with their butt. Ties are located across the aquarium, glued to the opposite stiffeners flat.

The thickness of the glass for the edges and screeds is usually used as for the other walls of the aquarium. In addition to the structural element, stiffeners also have practical benefits, they are an ideal support for the cover glass.

Some fans of open aquariums with a hinged luminaire use the technology of making cans without using stiffeners and screeds, this technology limits the ratio of length to width of the aquarium, and also requires the use of higher quality and thicker glass. In view of the complexity, high accuracy of calculations and high cost, we will not consider it.

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