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NEVER use a yoga mat under your large aquarium


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When I got my 125 I was told using a yoga mat as a leveling mat would work great. And honestly it did seem to work great for that purpose, however when it came to be time to move the tank yesterday it was completely and utterly stuck. The mat itself had gotten sucked up into the underside of the aquarium too. The tank was so stuck we accidentally tore the plywood top of my custom aquarium stand off before we got the tank off. In fact we still don’t have the tank&mat off the plywood top.

Now I have to figure out how to possibly separate these things without damaging the tank that’s about to go into an apartment I cannot have a leak in. Any advice? Thanks!

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This definitely sounds like a materials question for @Sarina

I currently have 12 lower tanks that have “glued” themselves to the contact “rubbery” shelf/ drawer liners I use. This has like yours “glued” themselves to the board they are in so I am wondering the same things. I’m relocating my tanks to a dedicated fishroom and this is by far my biggest dilemma. 
 

Also @Sarina  what would you recommend instead of yoga mats and drawer liners to use to prevent this happening?

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I use very thin 'carpet' runner material that I cut to fit.  When it comes to removing or cleaning metal or glass, WD40 will work to remove most anything. :classic_laugh: And then I use warm water and dawn dishwasher soap to remove the WD40 residue.  I've never used a yoga mat, for it's intended purpose or an aquarium. :classic_laugh: I have no idea what that material is. Not sure how you would remove it from wood. 🤔

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On 7/3/2024 at 6:29 AM, Matt B said:

I use very thin 'carpet' runner material that I cut to fit.  When it comes to removing or cleaning metal or glass, WD40 will work to remove most anything. :classic_laugh: And then I use warm water and dawn dishwasher soap to remove the WD40 residue.  I've never used a yoga mat, for it's intended purpose or an aquarium. :classic_laugh: I have no idea what that material is. Not sure how you would remove it from wood. 🤔

Got any advice on how to seperate the tank from it safely?

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Oof. Yeah this is something that can happen with certain types of foam and rubber just due to the pressure that a large tank of water puts on them. I personally never use any type of material that has any amount of "tack" to it. Pressure can act like a heat source, fusing certain materials that are not highly chemical/heat resistant to each other, or to other surfaces. Most yoga mats are made of foamed latex or neoprene, and both of these materials can be re-activated with extreme pressure, causing adhesion. Latex paint on some furniture can also cause issues, so if your furniture has indoor latex paint, you may want to rethink that surface for an aquarium or you could end up peeling the paint right off. Clear vinyl products will also stick to things, so steer clear of the vinyl table covers and surface protectors, as well. 

EVA foam is what I recommend for this purpose. Think workout room or kid play area floor mats, with a more rigid, slippery feel to them. This type of foam can be purchased from craft stores as cosplay and art supplies, or in the form of the puzzle-piece floor mats. Try to get it in 3/16" thickness or more for smaller rimless aquariums, and 3/8" or more for very large, or framed tanks. EVA does not have any "tack" and will not stick to surfaces unless the surface itself is sticky. These types of mats will deform heavily when placed under a framed aquarium, but they will not fuse to surfaces and will provide the proper level of support to prevent damage to the glass of a rimless tank due to an uneven surface.

Keep in mind that framed tanks rarely ever need bottom support, this is the purpose of the frame itself. The only reason to add something under a framed tank is to prevent damage to the surface of the tank stand/furniture.

For solving your current issue, I would recommend warming up the bottom glass of the aquarium from one side to the other with a hair dryer, peeling as you go. Heat it slowly, and not too hot, to avoid breaking the glass or affecting the seals. Although the bottom glass should be tempered on a tank of this size, you never know, and better safe than sorry with expansion and contraction. The heat may help loosen the adhesion enough that you can pry the tank off of the stand. Once you get the two separated, you can scrape the bottom glass to remove the rest. Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this, using harsh chemicals to remove it is just going to cause even more damage, I wouldn't recommend anything more than some soapy water with a splash of rubbing alcohol added. 

I'm so sorry that someone else's well-meaning advice caused you this issue. I also had to learn this the hard way even though I technically knew better 😅

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On 7/3/2024 at 9:38 AM, Sarina said:

Keep in mind that framed tanks rarely ever need bottom support, this is the purpose of the frame itself. The only reason to add something under a framed tank is to prevent damage to the surface of the tank stand/furniture.

Thanks for this part, too, I wad starting to get worried that I don't have anything underneath my rimmed tanks. Maybe I should be worried about the wood stands they're on, long-term, but if I never need to refinish them, I'll do that, and in the meantime I'll just tell myself that my klutziness and splashing is more harmful to the wood, anyway.

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Now I'm sooo curious about what it looks like! 🤔   In the long ago past it never occurred to me to put something under a tank.  I have runner material under a 20 gal , but that's  basically to protect the old chest of drawers.

I was just looking at this rimless 7 gal cube and wondering what the foam like material is they have glued to the bottom 🤔  ?

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@Rube_Goldfish No problem 🙂

Most fish stores with rack systems keep framed tanks with support only on the outer edges, sometimes only the 2 side edges, and this is perfectly safe as the frame provides all the structural support the glass needs. 

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On 7/3/2024 at 10:27 AM, Matt B said:

I was just looking at this rimless 7 gal cube and wondering what the foam like material is they have glued to the bottom 🤔  ?

This is almost certainly EVA foam, as that is what comes under every rimless tank I have ever purchased. 

The runner looks like it has some type of natural rubber under the carpeted part, it could just be carpet glue, but it could have the potential to stick, especially if it feels "tacky" at all. This isn't something I would personally recommend using under an aquarium. 

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Someone I know that bought a brand new 125  a few years ago had instructions that claimed putting anything as an under layer to the tank would void the warranty I’ve never put anything under mine but it was eerie to be able to see the sand from underneath lol

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They sell aquarium mats that are eva foam.  I bought one to put my air pump on.  I would use hair dryer and a plastic putty knife scraper to help peel the yoga mat off.  Still surprised it was thick enough to stick to the glass on a rimmed tank.  The solvents I know that will remove the rubber will wreck your silicone seals.  I will investigate further.

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On 7/3/2024 at 8:38 AM, Sarina said:

Oof. Yeah this is something that can happen with certain types of foam and rubber just due to the pressure that a large tank of water puts on them. I personally never use any type of material that has any amount of "tack" to it. Pressure can act like a heat source, fusing certain materials that are not highly chemical/heat resistant to each other, or to other surfaces. Most yoga mats are made of foamed latex or neoprene, and both of these materials can be re-activated with extreme pressure, causing adhesion. Latex paint on some furniture can also cause issues, so if your furniture has indoor latex paint, you may want to rethink that surface for an aquarium or you could end up peeling the paint right off. Clear vinyl products will also stick to things, so steer clear of the vinyl table covers and surface protectors, as well. 

EVA foam is what I recommend for this purpose. Think workout room or kid play area floor mats, with a more rigid, slippery feel to them. This type of foam can be purchased from craft stores as cosplay and art supplies, or in the form of the puzzle-piece floor mats. Try to get it in 3/16" thickness or more for smaller rimless aquariums, and 3/8" or more for very large, or framed tanks. EVA does not have any "tack" and will not stick to surfaces unless the surface itself is sticky. These types of mats will deform heavily when placed under a framed aquarium, but they will not fuse to surfaces and will provide the proper level of support to prevent damage to the glass of a rimless tank due to an uneven surface.

Keep in mind that framed tanks rarely ever need bottom support, this is the purpose of the frame itself. The only reason to add something under a framed tank is to prevent damage to the surface of the tank stand/furniture.

For solving your current issue, I would recommend warming up the bottom glass of the aquarium from one side to the other with a hair dryer, peeling as you go. Heat it slowly, and not too hot, to avoid breaking the glass or affecting the seals. Although the bottom glass should be tempered on a tank of this size, you never know, and better safe than sorry with expansion and contraction. The heat may help loosen the adhesion enough that you can pry the tank off of the stand. Once you get the two separated, you can scrape the bottom glass to remove the rest. Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this, using harsh chemicals to remove it is just going to cause even more damage, I wouldn't recommend anything more than some soapy water with a splash of rubbing alcohol added. 

I'm so sorry that someone else's well-meaning advice caused you this issue. I also had to learn this the hard way even though I technically knew better 😅

Thank you so much for your incredibly informed and thorough response I could not have asked for anything better! Thanks so much for your time!

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On 7/3/2024 at 3:40 PM, face said:

Someone I know that bought a brand new 125  a few years ago had instructions that claimed putting anything as an under layer to the tank would void the warranty I’ve never put anything under mine but it was eerie to be able to see the sand from underneath lol

I've seen some cool photos online of root systems viewed through the bottom pane of glass, but mine all sit on wooden stands, so I'll have to enjoy them vicariously.

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On 7/3/2024 at 11:24 AM, Rube_Goldfish said:

Thanks for this part, too, I wad starting to get worried that I don't have anything underneath my rimmed tanks. Maybe I should be worried about the wood stands they're on, long-term, but if I never need to refinish them, I'll do that, and in the meantime I'll just tell myself that my klutziness and splashing is more harmful to the wood, anyway.

 Did you mean ever or never. Get some sealer on that wood if it was not already been done. Now is better than later. Brush it up as close to the tank as you can. Moving the tank to do this would be best. I don't know what  kind of finish you have.

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On 7/3/2024 at 10:17 PM, Airborne 82nd said:

 Did you mean ever or never. Get some sealer on that wood if it was not already been done. Now is better than later. Brush it up as close to the tank as you can. Moving the tank to do this would be best. I don't know what  kind of finish you have.

I meant ever. I'm not a great typist on my phone, and autocorrect is a mixed blessing!

The wood is all finished and sealed, and was before any tanks when on. I'm just assume that a long time with tanks sitting on top, and occasionally me splashing or dribbling, will create some normal wear and tear.

Your advice is good, though!

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On 7/3/2024 at 9:38 AM, Sarina said:

Oof. Yeah this is something that can happen with certain types of foam and rubber just due to the pressure that a large tank of water puts on them. I personally never use any type of material that has any amount of "tack" to it. Pressure can act like a heat source, fusing certain materials that are not highly chemical/heat resistant to each other, or to other surfaces. Most yoga mats are made of foamed latex or neoprene, and both of these materials can be re-activated with extreme pressure, causing adhesion. Latex paint on some furniture can also cause issues, so if your furniture has indoor latex paint, you may want to rethink that surface for an aquarium or you could end up peeling the paint right off. Clear vinyl products will also stick to things, so steer clear of the vinyl table covers and surface protectors, as well. 

EVA foam is what I recommend for this purpose. Think workout room or kid play area floor mats, with a more rigid, slippery feel to them. This type of foam can be purchased from craft stores as cosplay and art supplies, or in the form of the puzzle-piece floor mats. Try to get it in 3/16" thickness or more for smaller rimless aquariums, and 3/8" or more for very large, or framed tanks. EVA does not have any "tack" and will not stick to surfaces unless the surface itself is sticky. These types of mats will deform heavily when placed under a framed aquarium, but they will not fuse to surfaces and will provide the proper level of support to prevent damage to the glass of a rimless tank due to an uneven surface.

Keep in mind that framed tanks rarely ever need bottom support, this is the purpose of the frame itself. The only reason to add something under a framed tank is to prevent damage to the surface of the tank stand/furniture.

For solving your current issue, I would recommend warming up the bottom glass of the aquarium from one side to the other with a hair dryer, peeling as you go. Heat it slowly, and not too hot, to avoid breaking the glass or affecting the seals. Although the bottom glass should be tempered on a tank of this size, you never know, and better safe than sorry with expansion and contraction. The heat may help loosen the adhesion enough that you can pry the tank off of the stand. Once you get the two separated, you can scrape the bottom glass to remove the rest. Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this, using harsh chemicals to remove it is just going to cause even more damage, I wouldn't recommend anything more than some soapy water with a splash of rubbing alcohol added. 

I'm so sorry that someone else's well-meaning advice caused you this issue. I also had to learn this the hard way even though I technically knew better 😅

 

I'm glad to see someone else suggest a hairdryer and rubbing alcohol. They were my first thoughts, but I didn't want to be party to accidently melting the frame or popping the glass.😮   Vinegar might also help.

"pressure can act like a heat source"  When I got my first adult aquarium, Mom volunteered her linen chest as a stand.  I protected the chest using an antifatigue mat that was cut to fit.  The mat did not stick to the aquarium or the stand. Over the years the combination of the two sank into the finish, forming an rectangular indentation.  I don't know if the weight of the aquarium melted the wax based finish or just pushed it aside.

 

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On 7/4/2024 at 10:12 AM, Tanked said:

I don't know if the weight of the aquarium melted the wax based finish or just pushed it aside.

Probably a bit of both. Pressure actually does create heat, and at the risk of going down a physics rabbit hole, the basics of it is that forcing molecules together increases their energy per unit, which results in a temperature increase. The exception to this being the introduction of fluid dynamics, but that is a real rabbit hole 😅

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On 7/4/2024 at 10:12 AM, Tanked said:

 

I'm glad to see someone else suggest a hairdryer and rubbing alcohol. They were my first thoughts, but I didn't want to be party to accidently melting the frame or popping the glass.😮   Vinegar might also help.

"pressure can act like a heat source"  When I got my first adult aquarium, Mom volunteered her linen chest as a stand.  I protected the chest using an antifatigue mat that was cut to fit.  The mat did not stick to the aquarium or the stand. Over the years the combination of the two sank into the finish, forming an rectangular indentation.  I don't know if the weight of the aquarium melted the wax based finish or just pushed it aside.

 

Could I try a sharp knife and cutting into the mat to relieve the pressure and hopefully peel the rest off? 
 

from below the tank of course

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I didnt use an under-matte, it just didnt make sense to me.  I did make sure to use a very stiff, firmly supported piece of plywood and I made sure it was absolutely level before putting the tank up.  I also made the legs of my aquarium stand with reinforced, adjustable feet, so that I could level it out further if the floor began to settle from the weight.  

That should be more than enough levelling.  Really can't see what a foam matte is going to do, even if you have some horribly wavy surface, the matte will still create pressure points in the aquarium bottom.  The solution is always going to be having a level surface in the first place.  And if that surface is just totally off-level, a matte is never going to level out the rest for you.  Your aquarium is still going to end up tilted...  and now with a matte glued to the bottom apparently.  Glad I didnt go for it.  

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On 7/5/2024 at 5:41 AM, daggaz said:

I didnt use an under-matte, it just didnt make sense to me.  I did make sure to use a very stiff, firmly supported piece of plywood and I made sure it was absolutely level before putting the tank up.  I also made the legs of my aquarium stand with reinforced, adjustable feet, so that I could level it out further if the floor began to settle from the weight.  

That should be more than enough levelling.  Really can't see what a foam matte is going to do, even if you have some horribly wavy surface, the matte will still create pressure points in the aquarium bottom.  The solution is always going to be having a level surface in the first place.  And if that surface is just totally off-level, a matte is never going to level out the rest for you.  Your aquarium is still going to end up tilted...  and now with a matte glued to the bottom apparently.  Glad I didnt go for it.  

For rimmed tanks, the mat would just keep the tank from contacting the surface of whatever you're using a stand. For a purpose-built stand, it's not necessary, but if you're using Grandma's heirloom dresser as a stand, you might want the insurance to protect the wood's finish. You're using the plywood for support and leveling, but it's also kind of filling in that 'protective cover' role, too.

Rimless tanks sit directly on whatever they're on, though, and put the weight of the water on the bottom pane of glass, not the frame. The concern there is some imperfection of the stand, or some tiny bit of sand or rock or something causes a pressure point where the weight concentrates on that one point. A mat for a rimless tank will help ensure that the weight is distributed across the whole bottom pane of glass, as it's designed for.

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On 7/4/2024 at 2:43 PM, Gannon said:

Could I try a sharp knife and cutting into the mat to relieve the pressure and hopefully peel the rest off? 
 

from below the tank of course

As I understand it, the top of the stand is no longer connected to the base?  I think I would start with separating the wood from the mat.  After standing the aquarium on end.  Press on the wood, not the aquarium, and use a thin serrated steak knife or even a table knife, working it into the mat.  You are less likely to damage the frame. After you get a starting point, you may find that only the edge of the mat is fused.  After that any small wedge along with your knife will allow you to separate the top from the aquarium.  

At this point, you can work on separating the mat from the aquarium.  It might peel off with a little tension, and a razor knife. or you might need one of the other suggestions.    WD-40 or some other adhesive remover are most commonly used.  I'm not a chemist so I don't know what some of the stronger removers will do to the frame.   It's possible that even cooking oil might release it

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On 7/5/2024 at 1:15 PM, Tanked said:

As I understand it, the top of the stand is no longer connected to the base?  I think I would start with separating the wood from the mat.  After standing the aquarium on end.  Press on the wood, not the aquarium, and use a thin serrated steak knife or even a table knife, working it into the mat.  You are less likely to damage the frame. After you get a starting point, you may find that only the edge of the mat is fused.  After that any small wedge along with your knife will allow you to separate the top from the aquarium.  

At this point, you can work on separating the mat from the aquarium.  It might peel off with a little tension, and a razor knife. or you might need one of the other suggestions.    WD-40 or some other adhesive remover are most commonly used.  I'm not a chemist so I don't know what some of the stronger removers will do to the frame.   It's possible that even cooking oil might release it

By end do you mean setting it on its side?

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On 7/5/2024 at 2:17 PM, Gannon said:

By end do you mean setting it on its side?

On the narrow side.  It will be easier on you and you will get some help from gravity.

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