Frequently Asked Questions

Lifetime Aquariums® FAQs (Please Watch Our Video on Lifetime Aquariums®)

  1. What are the advantages of an aluminum aquarium frame compared to a plastic frame?
  2. How is the center brace stronger than other aquariums?
  3. What sizes can be made with the Lifetime Aquarium® system?
  4. What are the glass thickness options?
  5. Will the aluminum frame corrode?
  6. Can you drill holes in the glass?
  7. Can I drill holes in the glass myself?
  8. What is an epoxy background?
  9. Do you have other colors than black or blue?
  10. Is glass really better than acrylic?
  11. Is Ultra Clear that much clearer than regular clarity?
  12. Can I temper my glass?
  13. How much stronger is tempered glass?
  14. Can I get tempered glass AND have holes drilled?

Seamless Sump® FAQs (Please Watch Our Video on Our Seamless Sump®)

  1. Is the Seamless Sump® saltwater ready?
  2. Can the Sock Tub flood if the filter sock gets clogged?
  3. How many tubs can I connect to my aquarium?
  4. Why do the tubs have glass lids?
  5. Can you use the Seamless Sump® with protein skimmers?
  6. How do I get cords for my heaters and pumps out of the sump tubs?
  7. Why are the HDPE tubs better than the other acrylic tubs on the market?
  8. Can I fit the sump tubs under my stand?
  9. Can I use the Seamless Sump® with an aquarium I already have?

H2Overflow® FAQs (Please Watch Our Video on Our H2Overflow®)

  1. What happens if the H2Overflow® gets clogged?
  2. Does it have to be installed in the center position?
  3. How many H2Overflows® do I need?
  4. Can I use an h2Overflow® on my existing aquarium?
  5. How easy is the H2Overflow® to clean?
  6. Are the H2Overflows® quiet?
  7. Will the overflow be in the way of my reef lights?
  8. Will the overflow displace a lot of water?
  9. Will you see a water line with the H2Overflow®?

Siphon Stopper® FAQs (Please Watch Our Video on Our Siphon Stoppers®)

  1. Does the cap of the Siphon Stopper® need to be above the water line?
  2. Why do I need 2 Siphon Stoppers® for each H2Overflow®?
  3. Can I use Siphon Stoppers® on my existing aquarium?
  4. Can I change the nozzles on the Siphon Stoppers®?
  5. Will the Siphon Stopper® make noise or bubbles?
  6. Why do I need a Siphon Stopper®?
  7. Why is a Siphon Stopper® better than check valves?

Majestic Stands and Canopies FAQs (Please Watch Our Video on Our Majestic Stands and Canopies)

  1. What if I want a stand style or wood type different than what you show on your web site?
  2. Are the stands constructed with any particleboard?
  3. Can I order a stand without a canopy?
  4. Do you have other color finishes available?
  5. Why is there no top on the canopy?
  6. Do your stands have a solid back and top? Why is that important?
  7. What kind of waterproof coating do your stands have?

Delivery and Installation FAQs

  1. How do I get the aquarium into my house?
  2. Why is the lead time so long?
  3. Can I have Custom Aquariums do the install?
  4. How do I qualify for free delivery?
  5. How do I know my aquarium will arrive in tact?
  6. Do I have to drive a long ways to pick up my aquarium, or will you deliver to my door?
  7. What has to be assembled once I get my aquarium?

Lifetime Aquariums®

What are the advantages of an aluminum aquarium frame compared to a plastic frame?

Most commercially available, mass produced aquariums are made with injection molded plastic tops. Although these usually will last quite some time without a problem, eventually like anything else made of plastic it can become brittle, particularly when exposed to UV light. As we explained in the Acrylic vs. Glass comparison, plastic is porous and will absorb moisture. This combined with exposure to UV light will create a situation where over an extended period of time, an aquarium top can fail and lead to a total failure of the aquarium. This is far less probable with our reinforced aluminum frame. Also please view pictures of failed plastic tops on aquariums. We receive calls regularly from customers who have had plastic framed aquariums fail, and it usually is a pretty dramatic disaster.

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How is the center brace stronger than other aquariums?

Our Lifetime Aquariums® have marine grade anodized aluminum center supports that are reinforced with a secondary aluminum bracket and riveted for extra strength. No longer is the center bracket a long term failure risk. Our anodized, marine grade aluminum frames will never turn brittle and crack like a plastic frame.

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What sizes can be made with the Lifetime Aquarium® system?

Our proprietary patent pending aluminum frame system not only adds strength and durability, but allows us to custom build to order virtually any size and still maintain commercial grade strength and a professional look.

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What are the glass thickness options?

We offer 1/2”, 5/8” and 3/4” both of which can be tempered. We also have the ability to source other thicknesses on case by case basis for custom orders. For all three thicknesses, we also have a low iron “ultra-clear” option for increased clarity. You can choose any material to be any thickness, tempered vs tempered, or regular clarity vs ultra-clear.

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Will the aluminum frame corrode?

The bracing used is marine grade anodized aluminum. It is the same aluminum marine boats use. At no time is the bracing submerged in water. The aluminum frame WILL NOT CORRODE with typical aquarium fresh or saltwater use.

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Can you drill Holes?

Yes, we can drill as many holes as you need for our H2Overflow®, and Siphon Stoppers®, we can also drill any size hole you need for a custom overflow setup.

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Can I drill them myself?

Already have an aquarium? So long as it is not tempered, and it is thick enough to support the pressure of water after the hole is drilled (minimum 1/2" recommended) you can easily drill a hole yourself with our hole drilling kits and template.

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What is an epoxy background?

Epoxy is like a very durable paint. It is permanent in nature and cannot be removed later. The advantages of epoxy vs a sheet material that you tape on the back is it will not get wrinkly over time. Also, sometimes if water splashes or food falls behind the aquarium it can get between the background and the aquarium and can look very unsightly over time. When this happens, it is extremely difficult to clean because it is behind the tank. We use epoxy backgrounds on all of our service accounts for these reasons.

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Do you have other colors than black or blue?

Though Mystic Black and Deep Sea Blue are the standard colors we carry, we can use just about any color imaginable upon request.

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Is Glass Better than Acrylic?

When considering glass vs. acrylic aquariums, there are pros and cons to both. In the infancy of our service division we spent a great deal of time evaluating what type of aquarium to use. We have not only immediate considerations of the installation difficulties to consider, but the long-term viability of our investment. Once you analyze the difference the choice is quite clear. When it comes down to the decision of glass vs. acrylic aquariums, most often you are sacrificing a long term benefit of glass in exchange for a short term benefit of acrylic. Our goal at CustomAquariums.com is to mitigate the disadvantages of glass through our engineered fabrication, moving techniques and ultra-clear material options with only advantages remaining. Read our Glass vs. Acrylic page for further analysis of why glass is superior to acrylic for aquarium use.

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Is Ultra Clear that much clearer than regular clarity?

Ultra-clear glass has about the same strength as regular clarity of the same thickness. The difference is the ultra-clear has a lower iron content that gives it an exceptionally clear look. If you were to look at a regular clarity aquarium full of water it looks very clear. You would not notice any tinting. However, if you looked at it immediately next to an ultra-clear aquarium, you would notice a slight difference between the two.

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Can I temper my glass?

Yes, at CustomAquariums.com we have a full glass fabrication capability and would be happy to drill whatever holes you need and do any other fabrication within our ability for a reasonable extra charge prior to tempering. You must drill your holes PRIOR to tempering. Once the glass is tempered, it cannot be drilled later.

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How much stronger is tempered glass?

Tempering glass can add 5-10 times the strength to the glass panel. The thicker the glass, the greater effect tempering has on increasing the strength. The tempering process super-heats the panel, then cools it down rapidly. During this process, the exterior of the glass cools at a quicker rate than the interior of the glass. This difference in cooling rates creates tension, or "loading" of the molecules, making the glass very, very strong.

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Can I get tempered glass AND have holes drilled?

At CustomAquariums.com we have a full glass fabrication capability and we are located very close to one of the highest quality tempering plants in the country, which makes it easier and more cost effective for us to do than most of our competitors. And, we would be happy to drill whatever holes you need and do any other fabrication within our ability for a reasonable extra charge prior to tempering.

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Seamless Sump®

Is the Seamless Sump® salt ready?

Yes, the sumps are molded with high density polyethylene; nothing is able to stick to this material thus reducing the amount of unsightly salt creep. The Sump is also designed to handle higher flow rates required for reef set ups. It can also easily be used with our H2Overflow® system. Protein skimmers can also be easily plumbed in line with our system. We have skimmers available for sale and can help you get all the hardware you need to easily install a skimmer with our Seamless Sump®.

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Can the filter sock tub flood if the sock gets clogged?

Should the sock pores clog in an extreme situation; the water would just trickle over the top edge of the sock and continue through the system without causing a flood or shutting down the flow of the entire system. This is a tremendous advantage to our sock tub vs a standard filter system.

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How many tubs can I connect to my aquarium?

An infinite number of tubs can be used; the Seamless Sump® system is a modular system that utilizes as many Seamless Sump® tubs as necessary to meet the needs of the aquarium. And, our tubs easily fit through the doors of most commercially available sump systems.

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Why do the tubs have glass lids?

Glass lids for each tub help reduce both, noise from the pumps, and to reduce water evaporation in the tubs. Unlike acrylic tops, glass lids will not warp or curl with moisture or turn yellow with UV light.

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Can you use the Seamless Sump® with protein skimmers?

Yes, by adding our reservoir tub to your Seamless Sump® system there is plenty of room for the addition of a protein skimmer; we also offer a protein skimmer plumbing kit for out of sump installation.

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How do I get cords for my heaters and pumps out of the sump tubs?

Baffle tub comes standard with a cord management grommet to easily get the cords out of your tub to connect your pumps, heaters, and other in-sump equipment without leaving a gaping hole for evaporation.

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Why are the HDPE tubs better than the other acrylic tubs on the market?

HDPE tubs are one piece molds, not glued/welded which creates weak spots, HDPE molded sumps have much stronger corner joints than glued/welded sumps, molded HDPE tubs have smooth, rounded corners which are much easier to clean. HDPE is highly resistant to chemicals and solvents.

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Can I fit the sump tubs under my stand?

Yes, because the system comes in 3 modular tubs, each tub in most situations can easily fit through the front doors of most stands. This also makes ongoing maintenance much easier because it is very simple to unhook one tub at a time and remove for a deep cleaning.

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Can I use the Seamless Sump® with an aquarium I already have?

Yes, the Seamless Sump® is compatible with most existing overflow systems on the market. You can also add our overflow to most existing aquariums (so long as the glass is not tempered). We sell hole drilling kits for a very reasonable price that will help you drill a hole for our overflow.

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H2Overflow®

What happens if the H2Overflow® gets clogged?

Our unique screen design lets larger and larger particles through as the flow rate into the tank increases or as the finer teeth become clogged with particles. The teeth are small enough to prevent even small food pellets from making their way to the sump. However, if particulates build up, eventually the teeth get further and further apart as the water level rises and you move up the overflow. This is an automatic built in safeguard against clogging. In the event of a major amount of debris that may clog the teeth, the top screen has much larger holes that would allow larger debris and a lot of water capacity to flow, however would not let debris through that is large enough to create a clog further down the sump system.

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Does the H2Overflow® have to be installed in the centered position?

No, The H2Overflow® can be ordered unglued, and can be placed in any position needed to keep out of the way of other equipment, or to eliminate any shadowing from aquarium lights, or to manipulate water flow.

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How many H2Overflows® do I need?

It is a generally accepted goal for most aquarium enthusiasts to try to cycle all the water in a well-balanced tank approximately 4 times per hour (can be more or less depending on the livestock type, quantity, and water volume of your tank). When used in combination with our Seamless Sump® system, which is a very efficient biological filter, your flow and cycle rate requirements are not likely as high as the general rule of thumb. Even so, if a 4 times turnover per hour rate is desired, only one H2Overflow® would be needed for setups up to 300 gallons!!! However, this is only a rule of thumb for setups with 1200GPH flow rates and less. Some setups prefer even higher flow rates, or an even higher safety factor. If this is the case, additional overflows can easily be added to accommodate excess capacity. You need more capacity? Just add another H2Overflow®!

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Can I use an H2Overflow® on my existing aquarium?

Yes, as long as your aquarium does not have tempered glass, you can order our H2Overflow® hole drilling kit and use the H2Overflow® on your existing system.

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How easy is the H2Overflow® to clean?

The top screen is held firmly in place by gravity, water flow, and a molded recess in the overflow. It is very easy to remove for cleaning purposes. The screen can also be held to the overflow with optional stainless-steel screws if more permanent fastening is desired or any other unusual application where you wish to place the overflow on its side.

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Are the H2Overflows® quiet?

Yes, included at no extra charge is the H2Ovewrflow® noise reduction kit, which includes 2 different sized grommets which reduce the drain hole to more closely match the drain rate to the return flow, which allows the H2Overflow® to run virtually silent. Our patent pending unique design with the drain hole on the bottom, rather than the side, muffles the echo of water running through the tubing. Our H2Overflow® is among the quietest overflows on the market today!

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Will the overflow be in the way of my reef lights?

The Overflows have a narrow footprint thus not creating much shadowing over your corals, in most aquariums the overflow will be placed under the cross brace of the frame. In this setup, the overflow creates no additional shadowing. You can also easily manipulate the direction of the overflow to aid in avoiding shadows.

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Will the overflow displace a lot of water?

The H2Overflow® displaces a very small amount of water, yet has an extremely high skimming capacity. Each H2Ooverflow® has approximately 17.5 lineal inches of skimming! Compare this to a typical corner overflow which would have only 6-8 inches of skimming that can easily clog, displaces several gallons of water, is in plane site, and requires holes in the floor of your tank! (Holes in the floor of your tank like most other overflow designs incorporate create an exponentially greater risk of failure compared to holes in the upper back of your tank due to the increased water pressure in the bottom of your tank).

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Will you see a water line with the H2Overflow®?

The unique design of the H2Overfow® design allows you to consistently maintain your water line above the bottom of the aquarium frame so you do not see the unsightly water line as water evaporates, yet below the glass lid so you do not have excessive evaporation. All evaporation takes place in your sump, not your aquarium. No more unsightly water line!!

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Siphon Stopper®

Does the cap of the Siphon Stopper® need to be above the water line?

Output fitting goes above water line then back under water to prevent excessive evaporation. This, plus allowing air to enter at the cap above the water line will prevent a back siphon when a pump stops. In a typical configuration, the Siphon Stopper® cap will sit slightly above the water line. You will see 2 small streams of water and a few bubbles. This lets you know it is working properly and also provides surface aeration which a lot of hobbyists prefer. Should you want to completely eliminate air bubbles and noise, the Siphon Stopper® can be very easily maneuvered to lower the height slightly below the water line where you will no longer see any air bubbles or noise.

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Why do I need 2 Siphon Stoppers® for each H2Overflow®?

2 Siphon Stoppers® are recommended for each H2Overflow® to allow for redundancy in the case of a pump failure. Should one pump fail or get clogged you still another to continue cycling water through the system. If you have only one Siphon Stopper® and the pump fails, you risk extreme fish loss if the pump is not immediately replaced.

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Can I use your Siphon Stoppers® on my existing aquarium?

Yes, If your aquarium does not have tempered glass you can order our Siphon Stopper® drill kit, and for those who can’t or do not want to drill their aquarium we have a hang on the back version.

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Can I change the nozzle of the Siphon Stopper®?

Yes, Siphon Stoppers® utilize readily available Loc-Line attachments leaving many different options for output nozzles. There are a multitude of diameters and shapes of the nozzle, but you can also easily adjust the length of the fitting by adding additional sections of Loc-Line, or even making it smaller by removing some of the knuckles that come with the Siphon Stopper®.

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Will the Siphon Stopper® make noise or bubbles?

In the standard position, the Siphon Stopper® cap will sit just above the water line. In this case you will see two small streams of water as well as some bubbles near the surface of the aquarium. Many hobbyists like this configuration because it minimizes the amount of back siphon and at the same time provides surface aeration and gives you an easy way to monitor the fact that the Siphon Stopper® is working properly. However, if no bubbles or noise is desired it is very easy to adjust the height of the Siphon Stopper® by bending the elbows slightly. You can have the cap just below the water line. You will still mitigate almost all of the back siphon and have zero noise or air bubbles.

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Why do I need a Siphon Stopper®?

In the event of a loss of power to your water pumps for a variety of reasons, if your return output nozzle is below the water line of the aquarium it can create a back siphon and can discharge water from your aquarium into your sump at a very quick rate. The lower your output nozzle is in your aquarium, the more water will discharge into your sump. The water will continue to back siphon into your sump until the water line in your aquarium is below the return nozzle or the introduction of enough air into the line has the chance to break the siphon (notice: air must be introduced at a specific point in the line to effectively and reliably break the siphon). If you do not have a Siphon Stopper®, catastrophic floods can happen. Check valves are notoriously failure prone and are not a good solution.

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Why is a Siphon Stopper® better than check valves?

Check valves require a perfect seal to work... Siphon Stopper® does NOT require a perfect seal to work... Typically check valves are made with a spring or “flapper” flange that are submerged in water continually. When the water stops, the water pushes the flange shut by flowing in the opposite direction of the flange opening. If this flange has ANY flaw to it, it will not create a perfect seal. No perfect seal – you have a leak. Our Siphon Stopper® design is inherently a much safer alternative to a check valve.

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What if I want a stand style different than what you offer?

We have full time professional craftsman on staff with decades of experience in our construction methods as well as high precision state of the art tools. We are very confident that we can customize your system to your specific needs for virtually any project. From color-matching, size customization, or re-engineering a design we have the experience and knowledge to manufacture it to meet your needs.

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Are the Stands constructed with any particleboard?

The frames of our stands and canopies are 100% MADE IN THE USA solid oak and maple canopy from the hardwoods of Wisconsin. The back and top are matching ¾” veneer plywood. Our door panels and sides are also matching veneer plywood with solid hardwood frames. EVEN OUR PAINTED stands and canopies are made from solid oak or maple hardwood. We have attention to detail with our craftsmanship, and there is NO PARTICLE BOARD used in any part of the construction of our canopies. Particle can swell and crack with moisture and is not a good material for any stand or canopy.

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Can I order a stand without a canopy?

Yes, A stand can be ordered without a canopy and vice versa, and even better yet, our most popular aquarium sizes have a stand/canopy bundle for additional cost savings.

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Do you have other color finishes available?

Each stand and canopy has the choice of one of our four water based stain colors or two enamel paint colors. Each hood and stand receives 2 coats of a water based clear coats. To ensure a high quality, classy sheen on the hoods and stands we hand sand between coats of stain and clear coat. The results are second to none!

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Why is there no top on the canopy?

Even with moisture resistant material, venting, or perforated material, with the amount of moisture that gradually evaporates from the aquarium you are eventually going to see the canopy deteriorate. This can also cause mold which is bad for your health, can cause the material itself to crack, warp, and bubble. It gets really bad, really quick. For this reason, all the canopies we manufacture are an open concept top.

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Do your stands have a solid back and top? Why is that important?

Our stands not only come with a 3/4" top, but a SOLID 3/4" PLYWOOD BACK. Most commercially available stands on the market do not even have a top or a back. They purely rely on the frame. It is our opinion that a stand without a solid back or top is NOT strong enough to support a large aquarium for a lifetime. Having a solid top, and back also helps with noise reduction from pumps, and other power equipment being housed under the stand.

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What kind of waterproof coating do your stands have?

Each aquarium has the choice of one of our four water based stain colors or you can have a custom stain applied to match your personal decor. Each hood and stand receives 2 coats of a water based clear coats. To ensure a high quality, classy sheen on the hoods and stands we hand sand between coats of stain and clear coat. The results are second to none!

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Delivery and Installation

How do I get the aquarium into my house?

With our refundable moving kits, most of our popular aquariums only require 2-4 people. Once you have a good grip and the weight evenly distributed, it really isn't that difficult to move even a very large aquarium. The biggest mistake people do is try to move too much with too few people. Ask a friend or neighbor to give you a hand! It only takes a few minutes to do the heavy lifting.

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Why is the lead time so long?

Our lead times include the aquarium arriving FULLY CURED. Other manufacturers will deliver your aquariums with instructions not to use until a particular date because they are still curing - sometimes several days or weeks after you receive it. Also keep in mind shipping aquariums not fully cured can jeopardize the integrity of your aquarium because the structure can shift during transit. You will receive your aquarium from us ready to use.

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Can I have Custom Aquariums do the install?

If a customer lives in an area we have service reps, we can give a quote on an install, and if you’re outside of our service area we can assist in finding an installation company in your area.

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How do I qualify for free delivery?

All orders with a minimum of $2000 that includes an aquarium will qualify for free curbside shipping. Orders under $2000 we can give you a quote, or find a friend that wants to split the order with you and you can both take advantage of our free shipping without having to spend $2000! Another option is to find a reseller in your area. They have the ability to bundle small orders as well in order to receive free shipping.

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How do I know my aquarium will arrive in tact?

Before shipping any order, it is completed strapped down and fully crated. We believe in going the extra mile with our packaging. Even though it costs us quite a bit more it significantly reduces the likelihood of damage on the way to the customer.

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Do I have to drive a long ways to pick up my aquarium, or will you deliver to my door?

No, any aquarium up to 96” will be delivered right to your curb, you will not have to meet a semi in a parking lot, and transfer it to your house. However, the freight company will not carry into your house, which is where our moving kits come in to make it easier.

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What has to be assembled once I get my aquarium?

Your order will come completely as completely assembled as possible. If you ordered a filtration system and stand we will pre-plumb the pumps and all other equipment. The only thing you will have to do is connect the overflow and the pump tubes to the back of the tank.

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