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Saltwater Ambitions: Display Tank Update

By Saltwater Ambitions on

Brian Howell:
Hey, guys. It's Brian Howell from Saltwater Ambitions. A project sponsored in part by Custom Aquariums. I wanted to give you guys an update today on the display tank. I took delivery of this 240 gallon display. From the time I uncrated it until now when it's sitting up on the stand, I'm admiring the entire thing. The materials that were used in the build, the craftsmanship that was done as part of the build, really is unlike anything that I've ever seen certainly for residential aquarium. There are a couple things that stand out that I wanted to point out to you guys.

Maybe it will help you make a decision or give you something to look for when you're out buying your own aquarium. Number one, the frame. The frame on this thing is made out of anodized aluminum. I'm sure you've seen in the past frames that are made out of the black plastic that can become brittle, they crack, they fade. This frame is just impressive. It's very clean-looking being that it's made out of the aluminum. It's really strong, and the cross braces on the frame are removable. While the tank is empty, you have the ability to take them off in order to get in some of the bigger pieces of rock or driftwood, or decorations that you have for your tank.

Obviously, you wouldn't want to take those off when the tank is full of water. It would be dangerous and ill-advised to do that, but it's such a great feature. Another thing I wanted to point out is the silicone that's used. It's a deep black silicone, really thick heavy duty stuff. It's unlike the clear stuff that you see on most readily available aquariums. I did a little bit of research on that and found that some of that clear stuff isn't even rated for underwater use. Imagine that something that's supposed to be holding an aquarium full of water isn't rated for underwater use. This stuff is clearly heavy-duty thick, and it blends in really nicely with the frame.

It's very clean, the way that it was put on. It has a nice bead down the side certainly. It was applied generously around the bottom and top. Just very very impressive. Another thing to point out is just the quality of the glass itself. Everything that you can see, and even some of the things you can't, the glasses, I chose to go with an ultra clear on the front panel. I can show you in a picture here in this video. I could really tell the difference. I was sort of surprised, but when the tank was sitting out in the garage waiting to come into my house, I looked through one of the panels out at the driveway.

I could definitely tell the difference between the standard glass and the low iron ultra clear glass. I'm very happy that I went with that for the display. The fact that Custom Aquariums allows you to decide what panels you want to be made with ultra clear glass versus the standard, you can decide on your own thickness as you're having it custom-built, really a great option. It helps keep the cost down and gives you just what you need. You have the ability to right-size the aquarium, if you will. I also had the tank pre-drilled. The folks at Custom Aquariums drilled the holes for my overflow and my returns.

I'm really happy that I had that done, the stuff came sort of pre-plumbed and ready to go for me. I don't have everything hooked up yet, but it looks great. Everything is measured out exactly right. It looks good. I also chose to paint my tank, the sides and the back of the tank, with a black rubber coating. You guys may have your own methods, but I found that black rubber tends to be a good option for me. It keeps the glass nice and clean. If any salt creep should get up on the back of the tank for whatever reason, it wipes right off this black rubber. From the front side of the tank, the display, you can't tell that's what it is.

You may think it's painted or even some kind of stick-on backing, but I think it looks great. It's very durable. The other thing I like about it is that if I ever need to, I could peel it right off. I could always repaint it. That's a good option for me. It's something you may want to consider as well. With this tank, I'm overall very very pleased. I did post another video that talks about the manufacturing process for these tanks. Feel free to check that out or you can go to the Custom Aquariums website to check it out, but they bevel every edge of this glass and polish it to make sure there aren't any fine details that are going to cause catastrophic problems later.

Really, when you stand back and look at this thing, you can tell. It's everything that I hoped for, and more. I can't wait to wet test it and get everything filled up to make sure there aren't any leaks. I'll certainly keep you guys posted on that. The only complaint, if I have one so far in getting this thing set up is the tops. The tops are super high-quality glass tops with a high quality hinge in them. The only thing that they seem to be missing are some sort of a handle or a suction cup to be able to open the lids. They're heavy-duty glass, so when they're sitting inside the frame they fit perfectly.

Without having some kind of a handle on them to open them up, it's difficult to get access into the tank. I'll probably contact the guys at Custom Aquariums and see if that's something that they have or they offer that I can get from them. If not, I plan on getting some sort of a suction cup solution to be able to pop those lids open without having to dig around underneath them to pry them up away from the frame to get them opened up. Other than that, I am 100% completely impressed. I would absolutely buy the same tank again and go the same route. I hope you guys enjoyed the video. If you have any questions, let me know. I will talk to you all soon.

I will have an update coming on the stand and some other things that I've been neglecting in regard to the electrical that I had put in and some of the filtration choices that I made. Look for those coming soon. I'll talk to you all later. Thanks.

About Saltwater Ambitions

Brian installed a custom 240-gallon reef aquarium as the centerpiece of a remodel in his home, complete with filter system and welded iron stand.

Started in May of 2017, the Saltwater Ambitions project was created to document the journey from concept to reality and beyond of a 240 gallon in-wall Lifetime Aquarium build. Owner Brian Howell has partnered with to showcase some of the features and functionality of the Lifetime Aquarium display tank, Seamless Sump, H2Overflow, Siphon Stopper, and more.

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