Rimless Aquarium: 9 Things You Should Know (For Beginners)

Rimless aquariums are slowly making their way to aquarists’ homes and collections due to their timeless aesthetic and elegance. Not long ago were braced aquariums the norm in the aquarist hobby, but of course, people’s preferences change, especially in terms of aesthetics.

This begs the question, are rimless tanks safe? How long do they last? Do these rimless tanks leak? Find out more about rimless tanks by reading this article.

Is Rimless Tank Safe?

Yes, rimless tanks are safe. Despite being made out of low iron material, this glass is as durable as rimmed tanks.

Rimless tank aquariums are usually made out of a glass of high purity so the thickness of these tanks is undeniable. Also, the materials that make up rimless tanks consist of silicone as well and this makes it easy to support the overall weight of the tank.

In general, the overall structural integrity of rimless tanks is safe, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s automatically safe for tank inhabitants. Snails and fish are more exposed to coming out or jumping out of rimless tanks due to the absence of covers and rimmed edges.

There have already been several accounts of aquarists that have shared their story of finding their tank inhabitants outside of their tanks and ending up on the floor when they decided to have a rimless tank setup. This is why so many aquarists have either ditched their rimless tanks and switched to a rimmed one or they changed their tank inhabitants to less jumpy species of fish.

Another factor that makes rimless tanks unsafe for tank inhabitants would be the entry of toxins into the water column. Since rimless aquariums don’t have anything covering the top, toxins can easily make their way inside the tank and disturb the balance of the water.

Overall, a rimless tank would be more suitable for a planted tank so that the possibility of having fish jump out of tanks and end up dead on your floor will be prevented.

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Why Are Rimless Aquariums So Expensive?

Rimless aquariums are expensive due to their material. Rimless tanks are made up of high-grade glass and this glass is beveled, not to mention the labor that is spent in making these rimless tanks. All these factors are what make a rimless aquarium expensive.

Moreover, rimless aquariums use thicker glass compared to traditional braced/rimmed aquariums and this is why rimless aquariums come at an expensive price point.

It would make sense that rimless aquariums come at an expensive price because you’ll be paying for an aquarium that has thick high purity glass and low iron material, both of which provide a solid build and an unbeatable aesthetic. The low iron material is responsible for a much clearer aesthetic and it doesn’t have that greenish/bluish tint that most traditional rimmed aquariums have.

On the other hand, traditional rimmed aquariums are only made out of either regular glass or high-strength acrylic. When comparing the two raw materials, the glass would naturally be the pricier one.

When it all boils down to aesthetics, rimless aquariums are the sure winner. If you read this line again, you’ll notice that rimless aquariums merely provide aesthetics, so if you’re going for a sturdy and durable tank it would be best to go for tanks made out of acrylic.

The majority of rimmed aquariums are made out of acrylic material and what makes this a lot more durable than glass is its panels are bonded/welded instead of glued together. With that being said, acrylic tanks are shatter-resistant, unlike glass tanks.

How Long Do Rimless Aquariums Last

There’s no definitive number that would determine how long rimless aquariums would last. If the rimless tank is taken care of properly, chances are they can last for a long time and may probably last more than 20 years or so.

Several factors would determine how long a rimless aquarium, or any type of aquarium for that matter, would last. For instance, the aquarium shouldn’t have any defects on it, it should be well made, and it should be maintained properly by its owners. If all these are observed properly, your tank will likely last for a long time.

When it comes to rimless aquariums, if you want them to last long then you should have them balanced and leveled properly on its stand. This must be done because the weight of the rimless tank is being distributed directly on its stand. Uneven aquariums would be susceptible to warp over time and that would be detrimental to the lifespan of the aquarium itself.

Do Rimless Tanks Leak?

Yes, rimless tanks leak. Like most tanks, rimless tanks are susceptible to leaks as well and this may be due to defects upon purchasing them or it may happen over time as the sealant of the glass panels starts to become weak.

The silicone that keeps the glass together can warp and shrink over time and this causes the rimless tank to leak. The biggest cause of rimless tank leakage would be due to sealant problems.

You can encounter sealant problems from the date of purchase or as time passes. Leaks can either be minor or major depending on how big the leak is. For instance, if the leak is as small as a dot or a pinhole then that would be considered a minor leak. On the other hand, if the leak is coming from a large broken seam, that would be classified as a major leak.

Luckily, there are solutions on how to fix leaking rimless tanks. Refer to the bullet list below to know exactly how you can address the leaks on your rimless tank:

  • Avoid using the wrong type of sealant. Always make use of a sealant that is non-toxic and is specifically for aquarium use.
  • Use the right amount of silicone sealant.
  • When sealing the glass panels together, you must make sure that the edges are properly aligned.
  • Once the silicone sealant is applied, ensure that they are dried properly before you put water and your tank inhabitants back inside.
  • Avoid fixing the leaks on your rimless tanks during humid weather.

Why Do Aquariums Have Rims?

Aquariums have rims due to structural purposes. Rims provide lateral support to an aquarium and keep it from bowing. Also, it serves as protection by covering the sharp edges of an aquarium.

People may be tempted to remove the rims on their aquariums for various purposes such as making it look a lot more visually appealing and such, however, this isn’t recommended since rims are a part of an aquarium for a reason.

There was one instance wherein an aquarist shared their experience when they removed the rim on their aquarium tank and that decision ultimately lead to the demise of the tank because it ended up breaking.

Rimmed aquariums need to have their rims retained for safety purposes. This would ultimately keep an aquarium from chipping when it’s moved and it prevents it from bowing as well.

Can You Make Any Tank Rimless?

You can make certain types of tanks rimless but do take note that you can’t do that all kinds of tanks. Some factors would determine whether a tank can be made rimless: the thickness and length of the glass or acrylic tank.

If the tank has a center brace then it would be best to leave them as-is and not bother in making it rimless. Tanks that have a center brace are there for a reason and this is to provide support to their thin glass panes.

In addition, if the tank is a lot larger than 15 gallons then it’s not recommended to make them rimless. First off, the process is tedious and dangerous, especially for larger tank capacities.

Do take note that removing the rims on a tank would expose its sharp edges and that can be very dangerous for you. De-rimming a tank is considered pointless by a lot of aquarists due to the dangers it poses and how agonizing the process can be. Not to mention, you may end up spending a whole lot more, especially if you end up breaking the tank.

Tank repairs are expensive, so to avoid this, we’d recommend that you go and purchase a rimless tank instead of doing the de-rimming yourself.

How Do Rimless Aquariums Stay Together?

The combination of thick glass panels, the pressure from the water inside the aquarium, and the silicone sealant that keeps the glass panels sealed are how rimless aquariums stay together.

The thick glass used in rimless tanks is not that quick to break and crack, also, the use of thick glass prevents the entire rimless tank from bowing. In addition, thick glass also has something to do with the silicone sealant. The combination of both these materials makes up almost the entirety of a rimless tank’s solid structure.

Lastly, the kind of silicone sealant used in rimless tanks is a whole lot stronger and of high quality compared to traditional tanks. RTV 100 or RTV 103 are usually the types of silicone used for rimless tanks and it just makes sense since these tanks need all the support they can get due to the absence of rims.

Rimless V.S. Rimmed Fish Tank, Which Is Better?

A rimmed fish tank would be better compared to a rimless tank because it has better structural integrity. Also, it’s supported by rims so it keeps the glass or acrylic panels together.

There are pros and cons to both rimless and rimmed fish tanks, please refer to the bullet list below and see the difference between the two fish tanks:

Rimless Fish Tank

Pros

  • The aesthetics that rimless fish tanks provide are hard to beat. These tanks provide a clear aesthetic that is free from green/blue tints that are mostly seen in traditional fish tanks.
  • Gas exchange on rimless fish tanks is a plus since these tanks don’t have any covering on top, in turn, this allows easy O2 and H2O exchange.
  • The water line on rimless tanks is visible since there are no rims on the tank that would usually cover them. Some aquarists hate this because it’s distracting them from appreciating the aesthetic of their tank.
  • Can’t support large loads of water.

Cons

  • Tank inhabitants, usually snails and fish, are susceptible to crawling/jumping out of rimless tanks due to the absence of coverage on top of the tank itself.
  • Toxins can easily enter inside a rimless tank due to the absence of a cover on the opening of the tank itself.
  • Rimless tanks come at an expensive price point.

Rimmed Fish Tank

Pros

  • Rimmed fish tanks have a plastic hood that covers the opening of the tank itself which eliminates any possibility of tank inhabitants jumping out.
  • Rimmed fish tanks have rims and this makes them a lot more durable compared to rimless tanks.
  • Rimmed fish tanks can support a larger water load compared to rimless tanks.
  • These tanks can hide the water line which is why most aquarists prefer such tanks.
  • Most traditional rimmed fish tanks are affordable.

Cons

  • Most traditional rimmed fish tanks have that greenish/bluish tint on the acrylic or glass panels. This would make the tank look a lot less appealing compared to the clear and vibrant aesthetic of rimless tanks.

Lifeguard Rimless Aquarium Tank, Lifeguard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium, and LANDEN Rimless Aquarium are some of the popular rimless aquariums in the market.

All three products mentioned above have high ratings from fellow aquarists so if you’re searching for that quality rimless aquarium, you may refer to the links shown below:

Out of the three rimless aquariums, we would recommend the LANDEN Rimless Aquarium since it comes in different sizes so you’re not restricted to just one size. Moreover, this rimless tank can accommodate both planted and freshwater fish. You won’t have to worry about sharp edges as well since the LANDEN Rimless Aquarium utilizes a smooth chamfering design.

Resources:

https://oceansaquarium.com/2019/07/glass-or-acrylic-aquarium/

https://www.thesprucepets.com/solving-leaky-glass-aquarium-problems-2920654