Right away you can see the amount of surface area has improved a bit, in addition you will notice these tanks are simply tapered in and not actually stepped, which increases the gallons for the same tank, by floor space. Another attribute I like was these tanks had a lower profile than the Rubbermaid’s did, which in a small room helps a lot. Two advantages the Rubbermaid’s did have was strength and material.
The tank walls on the Tuff Stuff bow out as they begin to fill, where the rigid Rubbermaid’s do not change dimension. For me this is not really a problem, but maybe a long term concern. Secondly the Rubbermaid’s seem to be made from a less permeable composite than the Tuff Stuff tanks. They were covered in a black residue which took significant time to clean with water.
The manufacturer does claim that they are safe to be used as Stock Tanks and
do not leak contaminants into the water. Below you can see 2 of the 110 gallon tanks along the wall and on the right you can see one of the tanks filled. If you look closely you can see the tank wall is much straighter now that the vessel is filled with water. Again this really does not seem to have a negative impact. Another feature both share is the drain plug.
This for me would have been essential had I been building sumps into each system, however now that they have been eliminated the drain plug really did not make a difference. Actually it sits so low in the tank it is really not of value in the stand alone tanks because I plan to install deep sand beds in each system. On the Tuff Stuff tanks the drain plug hardware is not as nice as the Rubbermaid’s and is only included on tanks as large as the 140 gallon and larger. None of the smaller tanks implemented a drain plug into the design.
Looking back once all of the tanks were in, I think I should have gone with the Tuff Stuff tanks from the beginning, and perhaps I could have came up with an alternate design for the sump. Most of these photos were taken in September and October of 2002. Now in February of 2003, I am still wondering if there is some feasible way to incorporate sumps into the systems. If I can figure something out I will need to tear down all of the tanks, and eliminate the plans for my display tank. In the long run I think the health of the systems and decreased maintenance load will be well worth the sacrifice.