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Teebo

Vintage Stainless Frame 5G Slate Bottom Tank

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Teebo   
I bought this today for five bucks at a thrift store that had been closed for 20 years. Its in great shape, I am water testing it right now there are no leaks but the towel is wet after a few hours so I think the slate is seeping. There is a black seal on the bottom, it was painted over the slate. I noticed they did not use any of their sealant on the inside of the tank, the glass meets the glass and it is all done on the outside under the frame. I was thinking about sealing the inside with silicone so that I can clean up the black seal on the outside with a razor. It may be worth just siliconing a piece of plexyglass to the bottom on the inside. The frame is in excellent shape I think it could be polished into a mirror finish, and the glass has no scratches and seems very clear. 
 
Its growing on me to use it, I was born in 1990 so these were never part of my generation and it seems everyone ditched these long before I grew up. I only saw them in science classes and usually they all had more of a tapered bell bottom shape to the frame. I am trying to figure out how old this tank is. When did they start making slate bottom stainless frame tanks? When did they stop? Did they start making tempered glass bottom stainless frame tanks before going frameless or did they drop the slate and go frameless all at the same time? I would think the advance in silicone and tempered glass came spaced apart?    
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I think I am going to use it, just something simple like a planted SW tank with mostly different types of micro-algae and a few simple corals. It will be really funny since the reef hobby did not even exist at the time these tanks were being used...a cool retro clash but I am not sure what the salt will do to slate. I have this old Tetra 30-60 filter that fits exactly across the back which would work perfect for SW, it has an adjustable flow but I can have the flow high enough to not need a power head in the tank. It would add volume and allow me to run a heater in the HOB keeping the display cleaner, I would grow a mangrove out of the back as well. If I found a stainless light hood it will help hide the HOB too. Just an idea.
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seabass   
10 minutes ago, Teebo said:

I am not sure what the salt will do to slate.

I'm worried about the stainless steel rusting.  I assume it was used as a freshwater tank.  That brings up another concern.  There is a decent chance that there is calcium in the slate.  If this tank ever contained copper meds, it could leach copper (making it a poor reef tank).

 

16 minutes ago, Teebo said:

but the towel is wet after a few hours so I think the slate is seeping.

That's kind of scary.  I guess you'll want to seal it with an epoxy resin.

 

18 minutes ago, Teebo said:

I am trying to figure out how old this tank is.

The silicone is that old too.  If the inside is free of silicone, I'd seal the seams with black aquarium silicone.

 

I get the cool retro look and feel, but have a few concerns.  I guess I'd be inclined to keep it as a freshwater tank (primary due to the stainless steel).  Maybe get some inspiration from here: 

 

 

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Clown79   

I was born in 79 and have never seen a tank like that.

 

I would use it for a cool freshwater tank after resealing it.

The stainless will rust in no time being exposed to saltwater. 

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Lula_Mae   

Neat find!  I'd keep it freshwater too, due to the salt rusting it.  Don't want to ruin such a lovely frame!

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That thing is cool.  If it were me I wouldn't junk up the rim with equipment........Hang a nice industrial light over it and you are done!

 

i read somewhere once that the slate had to do with heating the tank.  Most research said they are awesome well made tanks that just need to be resealed. 

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seabass   
38 minutes ago, WV Reefer said:

Most research said...

I don't know why I didn't think to look it up:  http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master.htm?http://www.rickwrench.com/stainlessaquariums.html

 

I appears that silicone doesn't adhere to slate.  I also don't remember them being sealed with tar.  So I guess the hope is that the tar hasn't dried up too bad.  My quick search didn't reveal how best to seal the slate.  I'm guessing that the slate doesn't really seep, and that the tank is just leaking a bit.

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2 minutes ago, seabass said:

I don't know why I didn't think to look it up:  http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master.htm?http://www.rickwrench.com/stainlessaquariums.html

 

I appears that silicone doesn't adhere to slate.  I also don't remember them being sealed with tar.  So I guess the hope is that the tar hasn't dried up too bad.  My quick search didn't reveal how best to seal the slate.  I'm guessing that the slate doesn't really seep, and that it's just leaking a bit.

 

It all makes sense now :)  

 

pretty awesome find regardless and it looks in great shape. Maybe turn it into a kick ass terrarium or something like that.  

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Teebo   

Thanks for all your helpful replies, great points here! 

 

If silicone bonding to slate is an issue, I can always smash out the bottom and install a piece of glass can't I? That would also solve the metal/chemical seeping. The rusting frame though hmm...you mean just from dripping while working on it? If I seal it from the inside with silicone I cant see rust being an issue but splashing for sure, however I thought stainless did not rust long as you keep it polished? 

 

Oh man the cons against using a retro tank for SW is a total bummer, that is the only reason why I would keep this...otherwise I would rather just resell it. I used to be into the terrarium thing but I lost interest with the addition of planted tanks and ripariums. Someday I may loose interest in planted tanks and focus specifically on one large paludarium. I will post my FW tanks on that thread though I have some really amazing planted tanks. 

Thanks everyone.

 

 

 

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That is a cool tank and it cleaned up so nice. My 1st tank ever was one of those. A ten gallon given to me by one of my Aunts in 1968. I used it for at least 5 or 6 years a few guppies, a couple swordtails, and a little albino cat fish. Ended up with little fish bowls every where because of all the babies. Which I would sell to a LFS. As stated above it really would not make a very good SW tank. Could be a nice betta tank! 

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Clown79   
4 hours ago, Teebo said:

Thanks for all your helpful replies, great points here! 

 

If silicone bonding to slate is an issue, I can always smash out the bottom and install a piece of glass can't I? That would also solve the metal/chemical seeping. The rusting frame though hmm...you mean just from dripping while working on it? If I seal it from the inside with silicone I cant see rust being an issue but splashing for sure, however I thought stainless did not rust long as you keep it polished? 

 

Oh man the cons against using a retro tank for SW is a total bummer, that is the only reason why I would keep this...otherwise I would rather just resell it. I used to be into the terrarium thing but I lost interest with the addition of planted tanks and ripariums. Someday I may loose interest in planted tanks and focus specifically on one large paludarium. I will post my FW tanks on that thread though I have some really amazing planted tanks. 

Thanks everyone.

 

 

 

Just the salt spray will cause it to rust as well as spills from waterchanges. Stainless and salt don't mix well.

 

I'd do a cool betta or pea puffer tank.

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Lula_Mae   
4 hours ago, Teebo said:

Thanks for all your helpful replies, great points here! 

 

If silicone bonding to slate is an issue, I can always smash out the bottom and install a piece of glass can't I? That would also solve the metal/chemical seeping. The rusting frame though hmm...you mean just from dripping while working on it? If I seal it from the inside with silicone I cant see rust being an issue but splashing for sure, however I thought stainless did not rust long as you keep it polished? 

 

Oh man the cons against using a retro tank for SW is a total bummer, that is the only reason why I would keep this...otherwise I would rather just resell it. I used to be into the terrarium thing but I lost interest with the addition of planted tanks and ripariums. Someday I may loose interest in planted tanks and focus specifically on one large paludarium. I will post my FW tanks on that thread though I have some really amazing planted tanks. 

Thanks everyone.

 

 

 

I got a few specks of salt on my stainless feeding tongs and it caused rust when I didn't notice right away. :( I'd use this for a betta tank cause it would be awesome!

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Tamberav   

I would not take out the slate bottom, I think its kind of badass left original. What about having a piece of glass cut to put over the slate and seal it that way? 

 

Stainless still rusts in saltwater, some slower vs faster depending on the quality of the stainless.

 

Why not turn it into a planted tank? Its just too cool!

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Teebo   

If I were to use this I would certainly place glass over the slate and seal the inside with silicone. 

 

I have now accepted the fact this will make a horrible SW tank, specifically the inner lip at the top. I already have enough FW tank projects, and have outgrown the nano tanks for a while (besides for SW) so I decided to sell it on eBay. Oh well it was a neat concept, I will find another tank to start my long planned nano reef. 

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Lula_Mae   
1 hour ago, Teebo said:

If I were to use this I would certainly place glass over the slate and seal the inside with silicone. 

 

I have now accepted the fact this will make a horrible SW tank, specifically the inner lip at the top. I already have enough FW tank projects, and have outgrown the nano tanks for a while (besides for SW) so I decided to sell it on eBay. Oh well it was a neat concept, I will find another tank to start my long planned nano reef. 

Too bad, would've been neat to see this set up!  Bet someone on here might've bought it too.

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Teebo   
12 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

Bet someone on here might've bought it too.

 

They still can, I will post the eBay link when its up. I feel it could fetch top dollar (for its size) at the condition its in. Probably upwards of $75...one just sold for $60. I bought it knowing if I did not use it I would resell it, eBay is a side hobby of mine. 

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