Sometimes, accidents happen. Cars wreck, glasses shatter, and $400 smart phones fall out of pockets into full toilets. Unfortunately, custom aquariums aren’t immune to Murphy’s Law, either. Aquariums can get cracked, broken, or (worst of all) tipped over. We can’t stop every single accident, but we can still do our best to be prepared. These handy tips can help protect your aquarium from an early grave, and they can spare you a hefty repair bill.
The Goldilocks Temperature
It’s important to keep your aquarium in the Goldilocks temperature — not too hot and not too cold. The obvious reason for temperature control is that it will keep your fish alive, but that’s not the only concern. Believe it or not, your aquarium can spontaneously shatter if the temperature is too low.
You may have heard about the recent shattered aquarium in a Shanghai mall, which injured 16 people. After investigating the incident officials determined that the break was caused by low temperatures. Shen Weizhong, deputy head of Shanghai Bureau of Safe Production Supervision and Administration, explained, “The major reason is the brittle rupture of the aquarium under low temperature after long-time usage. To be specific, the brittle temperature of the aquarium material is 9.2 degrees Celsius (48 F). The outer side of the aquarium facing the street, especially the upper part above water, is very likely to rupture when the surrounding temperature is lower than 9.2 degrees Celsius.”
It’s very important to install your aquarium in a place that is carefully temperature controlled. Putting your aquarium next to an open window in the winter will not only endanger your fish, but it also puts your aquarium at risk of sudden, spontaneous fracture. You might also want to take extra precautions to protect your aquarium against power outages, which could leave your aquarium without an internal heat source for long periods of time.
Off The Beaten Path
One of the most common aquarium killers is everyday accidents. Stubbing your toe on a coffee table is painful and annoying, but stumbling into your aquarium can be disastrous. The best way to avoid household accidents is to put your aquarium someplace out of the way. Obviously, I don’t mean that you should put your aquarium in a part of your house where nobody ever goes — that entirely defeats the point of having an aquarium in the first place. What I am saying, though, is that you should be aware of how much foot traffic goes past your aquarium. If your aquarium is in a popular spot of your house and it’s surrounded by lots of pieces of furniture that could trip people, then your aquarium will be at a higher risk.
The aquarium in the above picture, for example, is very well protected. The two walls jut out on either side of it kind of like shields, and the cushioned sitting area in front of the aquarium acts as a buffer between the tank and clumsy humans.
There are a million different types of aquariums, but there are two different ways to present them in a living space. The cheaper and simpler method is to just place it on top of a piece of furniture. The more expensive and more polished option is to install the aquarium within a piece of furniture or incorporate an aquarium stand. The latter option not only looks nicer, but it also places the aquarium on a steady foundation that is less likely to topple.
One thing that’s easy to forget is that aquariums are very top-heavy when you put them on top of furniture. An accidental impact could cause the top-heavy furniture to tip over and spill its precious contents over the floor. The taller the piece of furniture, the riskier it gets. Installing your aquarium within a piece of custom furniture will protect your aquascape from treacherous gravity, all while making it look beautiful and polished.
The best laid plans of mice and men…
Accidents still happen. If bad luck ever strikes your aquarium, then homeowner’s insurance can make a huge difference. Double check to make sure that your custom aquarium is protected under your insurance policy. It may cost you a few extra bucks a month, but if a random accident ever causes your aquarium to spill onto the floor, then you’ll be glad you have it.
Of course, we can always count on science to help out the aquarium industry. Scientists are constantly working on stronger and lighter materials. They helped the world of aquascaping make the leap from glass to acrylics — will they also develop a super-strong material in the near future that will create the ultimate, unbreakable.