Why did my fish tank explode in the middle of the night?

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Member introductions and random (non-aquarist) topics.

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:45 am

Why did my fish tank explode in the middle of the night?

by Kyle6621

Well, I guess i am the ultimate newbie right now. I got my first fish tank last weekend. Brand new 29 gal from PetSmart, with a stand, filter, light, decorations the whole bit... I have been researching what fish I want all week just letting the water cycle in the tank.
Tonight, I go buy fish and put them in the tank... SWEET...
Then, in the middle of the night (2am) a boom wakes me up and I hear gushing water. (That is a terrible sound to wake up to)

The back of the tank cracked open and all the water ended up on the floor. I wonder what caused it. Any ideas? Maybe too much gravel? temperature change in the house? The new tetras trying to bust out? The water level was about 2.5 inches from the top, the gravel was about 1/2 inch on one side and maybe 2 inches on the other side. It looks like the crack started from the side with the 2 inches of gravel. Weird thing is; why did it wait 5 days til after i put fish in to burst on me?

Im debating if I should attempt to return all the stuff to petsmart, and give up on the fish tank idea. Or, if I should hope for an exchange and try again.

Good thing I was home, and woke up. It was on the 2nd story of my apartment.
Good thing I listened to the instructions and used a "drip loop" with the power plugs.

Posts: 499
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:35 am

by Zambize4899

Wow, I'm a newbie but I haven't heard anything like this yet. I've read that today's tanks are much more leak-resistant than older tanks. Can you sift through the mess and see if you can isolate the point of failure?

dYou're thinking that the tank cracked open, but maybe the stand collapsed and caused the tank to rupture when it hit the floor. Some of those PetsMart stands are el cheapo.... I would suspect the stand first... That seems far more likely than a tank bursting. And I'm no expert, but if the tank were weak I would think it would happen at a seam and not a crack across solid glass.

I would definitely take it back and start over and get a more solid stand. The hobby is too enjoyable and satisfying to let this fluke prevent you from sticking with it.


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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:33 pm

by Tmercier834747

First, i'd like to rule out your tetras, cause that's just impossible. lol

Second, it would take a pretty fast and drastic change in temperature for the glass to shatter. Like say..you weren't cycling your tank, but an icecube.

Third, your problem is pretty uncommon. I doubt with any standard tank that such a small amount of pressure on the sidewalls of a tank would cause such a catastrophe and thus would lead me to believe that Z might be right..could've been your stand was a POS.

Buuuut----I'm wondering did your tank come with a crossbrace, or a ''lip'' at the top? By lip I mean a rectangular piece of vinyl or wood finished covered plastic w/e that goes around the lip of the top of the tank to firmly hold the glass panes in place? The only tanks I'm familiar with that don't have them are usually acrylic and not glass, as glass has seams and acrylic (which is also 17x stronger, pressure-wise) does not...But perhaps this brace was removed and you didn't notice it..?

You also have to be sure your tank is near perfectly level before you start, and as you're filliing it with water. You may need some sort of plywood cut to fit the base as that would be easier to shim than carpet. Not saying you didn't have it level, just a recommendation. =P

Tanks breaking in such ways is very uncommon, in fact I've never met someone/heard them say they had a tank bust in such a manner.

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:45 am

by Kyle6621

Well, the tetras are sitting in a glass salad bowl now, and the bowl didnt break over night, so maybe it wasnt the tetras fault after all. ;)

The stand actually seems pretty solid, but the tank not being level would kind of makes sense. The tank is set up on a hard wood floor, so it feels like it is sitting sturdy, but I will have to bust out a level to see if it is actually level.

So you dont think it was too much rock? I have seen pictures on here with people who have more rock than I did. This was always something i worried about but didnt think ever actually happened.

Posts: 193
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:47 am

by Sumthing_Fishy

Maybe someone at petsmart or the trucking company that was unloading the merchandise truck bumped the box the tank was in on something and caused a hairline fracture or a nick in the glass and that after a few days of the water pressure finally gave out, like a little nick in a windshield during the winter time that spreads into a huge crack. I would take it back to petsmart and tell them or call the manufacturer, probably has a waranty.

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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 5:10 am

by a1k8t31524

could there have possibly been something under your tank.... mabey a pice of gravel or small rock or something?

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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:31 am

by gumbii

it happens... my friend's 125g tank didn't crack untill three months of the tank running... wierd...

but did it crack on the bottom plane of glass...?? his did... fail... sorry bro... but you can take the tank to get repaired at some LFS... they charge me like 10 bucks for a small tank like that...

Posts: 299
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:15 pm

by ChristinaBug2890

You've got me paranoid now...my tank is old...i dont know how old but old. Every time i go to do a water change or move stuff around im being sooo gentle.

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:45 am

by Kyle6621

It didn't crack on the bottom, which was surprising to me. The only thing I could think of would be I had too much gravel in the tank, but I would think the bottom would have given out first. The back of the tank crack from bottom right corner to top left corner. water came out like a waterfall.

Well, I took the tank back to PetSmart and exchanged it no questions asked. I got the new tank set up with significantly less gravel. I am paranoid now too. I also made sure the stand was completely level (bubble level) and it was sliiiightly off, so I stuck a piece of matte board under the leg. its perfect now. Hopefully that will never happen again. At least the fish lived through everything.

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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:14 pm

by zambize

I seriously doubt it was too much gravel.

Why did my fish tank explode in the middle of the night?

24 posts • Page 1 of 3

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