So in my city every year we have the council organised collection of large items for disposal, where people put the items out on the kerbside for collection. Mostly it really is just garbage, however sometime people just don't want it anymore.

I found an aquarium with a stand. I'm wanting to test to see if it can be a fish tank (not a half filled turtle tank), and want to know how to test if it is strong and sound enough and won't cause a flood or leak or the stand collapse when I bring it in to my house and fill it.

Assuming the test method is to take it outside, fill it up and see if it explodes:

  • how long should I leave it filled up for the test to show any leaks?
  • are there any other tests I should do?
  • after emptying it and moving it inside, what are the signs to look for when filling it again that would indicate imminent failure leading to it flooding my house.

The tank is 120cm x 37cm x 45cm, LxWxH measured on the inside surface of the glass. That is 200L (52.8 gallons). The sides are 6mm and the base is 10mm thick glass. The stand provides support to the tank only around the perimeter of the tank on the 25mm box steel the stand is made from. There is no support under the middle of the tank.

tank and stand

tank view from top

tank view from front

I have a solid pine plank that is the right size and 26mm thick that I could put foam sheets on top of to provide more even support if you think it would be better than relying on the 10mm thick glass bottom.

Edit: well, it holds a full load of water as shown in the pictures, at least overnight, and I can't find any external wet spots.

Edit 2: I moved the tank inside about 1.5 years ago and it is still leak free. I even added a 1.2m long, 100 mm diameter pipe 3/4 filled with gravel to the top of the tank for an aquaponics grow bed. The pipe is supported by a couple of planks resting on the front and back panes of glass. Note some decorative house plants may leach toxins to the water and kill your fish. I've not had that problem with edible vegetable plants.

  • I would leave it outside for a week. 50 gallons is a lot but it would not flood your house.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 27, 2016 at 10:07
  • 1
    @Paparazzi while "flood" is like, literally an exaggeration, does that mean you'd be ok with someone dumping the contents of a 50gal fish tank in the middle of your lounge? ps. I have carpet over a timber floor, I would not be happy about it dumping it all out on the floor. Aug 27, 2016 at 10:50

1 Answer 1


This link here outline pretty well how to check for bad sign around an used tank and also outline how to prepare the tank for your use.

I will resume briefly what to check but I leave the link so you can read all of it by yourself. It has many picture and really good explanation.

First look for any crack on all surface of the tank. If you find any crack it will probably leak eventually if not already. After that look for any missing chip around the edges. Missing chips increase the chance the seal will fail. If all panel look good, look for hard water stain around the edge (especially if the tank have a trim) if you find any, it mean the tank was leaking or is leaking. After that inspect the silicon, any piece coming loose is not good, also if there is many bubble in the silicon it increase the chance of failure.

According from this guide on glass thickness for aquarium your aquarium seem to really be an aquarium and not some terrarium or any other use.

So from all I can see, if you found the stand with the tank, it's most likely was design to support the tank.So I would not even add your plank and foam under the tank. Especially if the tank have a bottom trim because it is already designed to distribute the weight around the perimeter as best as possible.

I would definitively try to fill up the tank outside or in a garage before doing it inside. I would fill the tank on the stand up to the half and check for any leaks, if you find none, proceed to fully fill the tank and look again once done. If possible, leave the tank sit for something like 24h and check to see if any leak are created and if the stand hold well. If every thing good well, you are now the new happy owner of that 53 gallon tank.

If you are not an experienced fish keeper, I recommend you read up on cycling a tank before putting any fish in it.

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