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View Full Version : Starphire tanks, are they worth the extra$? Pictures & Advice wanted...


MarineGirl411
06/09/2007, 02:10 AM
Hi,
Well after staring at my 150g freshwater tank, I notice how green the glass is. My little 40 breeder does not look as green, but I am guessing that's because it's thinner glass. I've never seen a Starphire glass tank in person. I am wondering how much of a difference in clarity there is? Is it worth the extra money? Does anyone have pictures of a regular glass tank next to a Starphire tank? I don't know anyone locally that has one. I'm saving for an upgrade and wanted to know if this would be the way to go? Does it scratch more easily? I'd love to know. Thank you.

Cody Ray
06/09/2007, 05:33 AM
For a small tank I don't think so. After 90g it is worth it IMO.

MarineGirl411
06/09/2007, 05:46 AM
Oh No. I didn't want it to be small. =) The next tank is going to be much bigger! It will take a while to save, but hopefully I can sell some things etc to earn the money.

Cody Ray
06/09/2007, 05:48 AM
With a large tank you could at least do the front pane.

slojmn
06/09/2007, 09:45 AM
People often ask if my tank is starfire...very clear water helps. It's not and I didn't pay the extra money because it was a small tank, 70g. I think it is worth it on a bigger tank. If I was ever going big, 150+ I would go starfire, rimless, maybe even that PVC bototm Naka and Ed have, to cool. I probably wont ever go big though. I like the simplicity of a small tank or two.

Check out "for sale" threads constantly, you can find incredible deals on people getting out of the hobby with spectacular tanks...lots with starfire. Since you have time you can start making a habit of checking often and soon you will stumble across just what you want for a lot less money than brand new. That is just an idea for you to save some money...you may want to go brand new for all I know, but it is worth checking out used tanks. Can't wait to see what you get :)

kkris
06/09/2007, 10:17 AM
SPS keepers spend all their time effort and money trying to get great colored corals. Why would anyone want to look at that thru green glass? With all the money spent on equipment, low iron glass is a bargain...

sfsuphysics
06/09/2007, 11:47 AM
I'm with Alicia, water quality is going to make much more of an impact than having low-iron glass. But I honestly don't know at what threshold it really becomes apparent. Most arguments I've seen do the whole "look at from the side! you don't see any green!" or they stack multiple slabs together well that's all fine and dandy but you're looking through an awful lot of glass that way, much more then a standard tank will have. My 125 tall tank softie tank looks stunning after I spent some time with a razor blade over the surface, literally almost crystal clear as if the glass wasn't there, and it's 3/8" thick glass.

Beyond that? Ehh who knows if it's worth it, it's hard to say without knowing how much the additional cost is. If you're spending 10grand on a tank and it's an additional 10% then maybe, if you're spending $500 on a tank and the cost triples, maybe not.

superedge88
06/09/2007, 12:16 PM
Anything over half inch glass (a LARGE home aquarium) I think it would be worth it to go with Starphire, but under that I really don't think it's worth it.

RichConley
06/09/2007, 12:56 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10108811#post10108811 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by slojmn
People often ask if my tank is starfire...very clear water helps. It's not and I didn't pay the extra money because it was a small tank, 70g. I think it is worth it on a bigger tank. If I was ever going big, 150+ I would go starfire, rimless, maybe even that PVC bototm Naka and Ed have, to cool. I probably wont ever go big though. I like the simplicity of a small tank or two.


I second the "clear water helps". The same thing comes up with bulbs... "OMG SO YELLOW" when the issue is really that the person's tank is filthy.


Until you get up to 3/4" glass, you're never going to notice the difference. At that size or higher, yeah, you will.

dots
06/09/2007, 01:05 PM
Its a consideration when using the tank as a room divider and you will be looking through two panes a lot.

BraenDead
06/09/2007, 06:24 PM
One of the members of our local club has stated that his starphire tank (280g I beleive) scratches much easier than normal glass. Looking at his tank you can see lots of tiny scratches. Something else to consider...

Bob

nava405
06/09/2007, 08:58 PM
starphire does get scratch easily, everyone i know with starphire have the problem. i havent see any comparsion on 1" glass starphire, mostly 3/8" and 1/2" , and personally, i don't think it's worth the money.

here is my guess.
people who never have starphire, 60-80% want to try it
people who have or had starphire, 50% like it and 50% don't
85%+ with starphire owners say it's easy to scratche.

RobTheReefer
06/09/2007, 09:04 PM
A local fish store owner (Amazing Aquariums in Daytona) told me that All Glass Aquarium Reef Ready tanks have low iron front glass. I don't know if he was blowing smoke up my arse or not?

250G
06/09/2007, 09:36 PM
I have owned a lot of tanks big and small, including 3 over 220gallons. I would never buy another tank without starphire glass, it is worth every penny. In the grand scheme of things it add very little to the total cost of the "system", but makes your tank look brighter, and the corals appear a little more natural.

Regarding scatching, maybe a little easier, but not significant. My main display ank has starphire, and I even ordered a new frag tank with starphire.

Scuba Dog
06/10/2007, 12:33 AM
If your going to fork out the bucks for a large sps tank system, then what's another $100-150 smackers for low fe glass. LOL a Red Sea Purple Tang of decient size would be more expensive!

MarineGirl411
06/10/2007, 02:58 AM
Thank you everyone. I wrote AGA and asked them if they do tanks like that. They said they do. I have to get my LFS to get a quote though. If it's only about 100.00-150 more, then I think I can wait and save that. I still would like to see some pictures if anyone has them? Pictures of differences in clarity? I've looked it up on google. I can't seem to find anything comparing pictures. My 150 gallon tank is so green. I just wouldn't really like something so green. I was thinking of turning it into a reef, but I'd rather get a RR starphire tank someday if possible. Esp if I'm going to spend that much money on it. Then just sell this guy. 250g your tank is very beautiful. I read all about it on TOTM. I couldn't afford to do something that beautiful, but I'd take 1/4 of that. =) Well shoot, I'd even take less than that. I was thinking maybe 80-125 gallons. I remember seeing an SPS tank on RC that was 80g. I think he only ran 4 regular driven T-5's. It was a starphire tank, very beautiful as well.

sfsuphysics
06/10/2007, 11:06 AM
Now the 64 dollar question is where do you get low-iron glass if you're doing the tank building! :D

Unarce
06/10/2007, 11:49 AM
I remember when Paletta showed some slides during a presentation of corals through Starphire and regular glass.


It's well worth it:)

Two Spot
06/10/2007, 12:00 PM
If I had the cash Starphire would be the way to go.

DRZL-sauras
06/10/2007, 12:48 PM
I have a starphire front panel on my custom cube and to tell you the truth I dont see the difference

I run Carbon, Purigen, and have an oversized skimmer.

The glass doesnt look like its there and I can't see a green tinge, even when viewing from the non-starphire sides, and my glass 1/2 inch thick.I dont think its worth it.

FWIW I also paint and do some graphic design, so hues and tints are easily distinguished IMO

MJAnderson
06/10/2007, 04:53 PM
I've seen a better comparison pic, but I got this with a quick search. Low Iron glass on top of normal glass.

http://www.guardian.com/en/na/gp_001018-1.gif

Lenny C
06/10/2007, 05:35 PM
Starfire is hyped up and not worth getting, infact I've passed on cheep tank because they were starfire. As mentioned it scratches eaiser than regular galss. Second it has a magnifying effect on your whole tank. It makes your tank look very shallow front to back because it seems to putt everything up to the front thus killing all depth perception. I have seen many starfire tanks and they make big tanks look small.

A reefer in my local club got a custome tank 6Lx4Wx2T with a starfire front. The tank looked 2 feet deep at most, all the dept was lost from the glass. Another club member has a 4x4x2 cube with three sides starfire. When you look at the front it looks exactly like my 55g tank that is 12" front to back. I would never get a deep tank (front to back) with starfire.

They only time I would get a starfire tank is if it is a cube and has multiple viewing sides. In the case of my friend with the 4x4 cube it works well becuas you can get a feel for the depth from the sides. Other than that it's not worth it and takes away from the grandure of a big tank.

Dave

Horace
06/10/2007, 07:41 PM
Very interesting... I have never heard so many negatives about starfire... I had always heard nothing but positives. I may have to rethink using starfire for my next tank now, especialy given that I likely wont need thicker than 1/2"

MarineGirl411
06/10/2007, 08:39 PM
Thank you MJ for the comparison picture. I'd still love to see a tank. I might have to do some more searches. The 80 gallon TOTM that was on RC looked larger than 80 gallons. The only Starphire was on the front panel. Well, if it's not worth it, then I won't save for it. I'd like to see some more pictures though. I'd like to be able to view SPS through Acrylic Clarity. I'd never get an Acrylic tank though. My LFS has a 550 at home and he's holding it together with Clamps. I'd be so mad!

MGB
06/10/2007, 09:16 PM
Lenny C,
Your post contains the most bizzare logic I've read on RC for quite a while. Yet again somebody muddying the water with an off the cuff remark based on some second hand anecdotal evidence. I have both a starphire and regular glass tank. Personally I think the extra cost on a large tank is minimal within the scheme of the whole project, and as far as scratching, it's a fish tank, your not cutting vegtables on it. Next you'll have somebody saying starphire scratches easler than acrylic, please!

MJAnderson
06/10/2007, 09:30 PM
MGB,

I quick search would have shown you that the scratching and pitting of low iron glass has been seen by several people here on RC

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=721379&perpage=25&highlight=starfire%20scratch&pagenumber=1

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1075520&highlight=starfire+scratch

sfsuphysics
06/10/2007, 10:20 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10117023#post10117023 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by MarineGirl411
Thank you MJ for the comparison picture.

Yeah I wouldn't go by that picture as an end all tell all of whether it's worth it. While it is clear that as thickness increases low iron glass (starfire, diamonite, whatever other commercial name) is orders of magnitude clearer, that picture is EXTREMELY deceptive.

See how the glass is not even close to perpendicular to the lens of the camera (simply shown because what you see is the lens of the camera), that tells you you're "looking" through the glass at an angle, so you're looking through a much thicker section of glass than is portrayed in the picture. That and because you're looking at the side, you're getting an internal reflection effect (why the sides look uber green).

So while it might be clearer from looking at an angle at your tank (and hey that might be cool for larger tanks because that'll be the norm), I think it's still up in the air how thick the glass needs to be to be tremendously noticeable in a head on shot.

Btw, I do like low-iron glass, don't get me wrong :)

MGB
06/10/2007, 10:35 PM
MJAnderson,
every material used in tanks chips, scratches etc, some more than others, however there's no evidence that starphire glass is more prone than any other, it's asthetic advantages for some people are more important. My point was that used in the application of a fish tank, the risks of damaging the surface of such glass "should" be minimal, considering plenty of people get by with acrylic tanks which I think you'll agree is a more sensitive surface.

MJAnderson
06/11/2007, 07:27 AM
This is the one I was looking for:

http://glasscages.com/prodpics/1771_starphire.jpg

newman330
06/11/2007, 08:39 AM
When I went to purchase my starfire glass here in Singapore, I was fortunate enough to see and compare different glass panels of different thinknesses both starfire and regular. There is more than an obvious difference between the 2 (3/8" and 1/2") under similar conditions. The starfire does not have the green hue. I have not been able to compare starfire and regular glass aquariums filled with water side by side. Starfire is not very common here. As a result, almost everyone who sees my (still maturing) tank comments on how clear it is. I run T5's and can only dream how nice the tank would look with metal halide.

The true test was when my wife said, "Our tank really looks clear, not like those other aquariums." The wife paying a comment to my expensive hobby.... What more proof do you need? :rollface:

meschaefer
06/11/2007, 03:19 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10119250#post10119250 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by newman330


The true test was when my wife said, "Our tank really looks clear, not like those other aquariums." The wife paying a comment to my expensive hobby.... What more proof do you need? :rollface:

That is enough of a reason for any purchase I make.

tacocat
06/11/2007, 04:15 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10117287#post10117287 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by MGB
Lenny C,
Your post contains the most bizzare logic I've read on RC for quite a while. Yet again somebody muddying the water with an off the cuff remark based on some second hand anecdotal evidence. I have both a starphire and regular glass tank. Personally I think the extra cost on a large tank is minimal within the scheme of the whole project, and as far as scratching, it's a fish tank, your not cutting vegtables on it. Next you'll have somebody saying starphire scratches easler than acrylic, please!

Are you sure about that? Take a closer look at your tanks. You do lose the illusion of depth because of the extra clarity. There is a magnification effect associated with Starphire tanks. I see it every time I go to feed my fish.

Yes it does scratch easier than regular glass, but not as easy as acrylic, although acrylic is repairable (still super easy to scratch). Most people attribute the softness to the lack of iron.

Would I get another Starphire tank? Only if it was going to be over 0.5 inches thick, and not in-wall.

One thing I have noticed is that my tank appears brigher than comparable tanks. Again, this is most likely due to the increased clarity.