We have been asked to customize tanks in countless different ways over the years. Below are some of the common options . They are not standard to every tank, but rather an option This is by no means a complete list, just a sampling of some of the more popular ones.
Many Different Overflow Styles. The overflow in your new tank will normally be dictated by the specific installation and what will work best for your specific situation. We build many different styles and can customize about anything. Common examples below.
Some systems with a lot of evaporation or the worry of jumping fish might be better off with lids for the access holes. We make really nice ones from polycarbonate. Polycarbonate lids are generally ¼” thick and require no additional bracing, resist warping, are light, and are extremely impact resistant. The top of the tank will have recesses machined into it to accept the precisely machined lids so they sit mostly fluch with the top of the tank. We will typically machine in a feed hole so the entire lid doesn’t have to be removed to feed. That feed hole will come with it's own lid.
Museum Quality Seams
Standard seams on most of our aquariums are butt joints, and standard chemical bonds. These bonds can form tiny microbubbles as well as a faint glue line on the inside edge of the joint. Although we are very good at them, in general they will not look quite as good as a museum quality seam. A “Museum Quality” seam is a loosely used term that really has no definition and can mean different things to different people and manufacturers. To us it would be a seam bonded with a 2–part adhesive, which do not typically have microbubbles or the same glue line to the inside of the joint. It will havea bit more of a "gleam" to it. Typically reserved for higher end showpieces or on tanks where the vertical corners are prominent. On thicker tanks it is standard. It should be noted that it is our belief that the 2-part seams are not as strong as a properly done chemical bond. For this reason we will often use thicker material for our tank ends to get a wider bond as an added safety margin. Museum quality seams are significantly more labor and will come at additional cost. It should also be noted that unless you are looking for it, the difference between the two is not normally substantial.
Rounded Over Vertical Corners
Unless specified differently, you should expect standard square vertical corners. On some tanks or in some areas it may be desirable to radius the vertical front (or other) corners of the aquarium for a better look, or to eliminate sharp corners. But this also makes it harder to fit nicely to a stand or canopy as there will be a small void where the corner of the tank had been taken away, unless the stand and canopy are custom built to accept the tank this way. One way of avoiding the (ugly) void space or having the cabinetry corners radiused as well is to have the rounded corner of the aquarium stopped short. This leaves the very top and bottom of the aquarium corner square so it fits into the cabinetry nicely. The picture here is an example of that.
On occasion it is desirable to have corners bent on an aquarium versus seamed. Keep in mind that the total length of the panels between bends has to come from the same piece. Sheets are limited in size so the bending option is limited to the length of available sheets. This usually limits bends to the smaller tanks. Though thicker materials can be bent, the increased width of distortion surrounding the bend can be undesirable to some. The pic here is of ½” thick material.
Many of the wavemaking devices today feature a magnetic pump whereas the motor/cord is on the outside of the tank and the impellor/blades are on the inside of the tank. The strength of the magnets that allow them to work efficiently is limited. By machining pockets in the side or back panels to accommodate, the thickness is reduced and the strength of the device is improved. Normally only necessary for tanks over 1" in thickness, depending on the wavemaker manufacturer.
More tanks than not will have one or more colored background panels. It is easier to focus on the interior of an aquarium if you can’t see all the way through it. It can be distracting to see objects through the tank that are not part of it. Plus it simply looks much better with a colored background. Most aquarium panels will have a painted exterior. We use a high quality custom paint made for smooth surfaces that will not ever flake or chip off. There are always multiple coats. Black and blue are standard but we have done a variety of other custom colors as well.
This can mean different things to different people. To us it is a top which has both narrower perimeter and cross bracing, or no cross bracing at all. It will still have bracing around the outer perimeter. Either way, some people prefer to have smaller, slimmer, bracing on the top of the aquarium for a variety of reasons. Keep in mind that reducing the normal size bracing will most often mean that the body, top, or both will need to be built out of thicker material than it normally would to compensate.