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March 2007

Mortarless Masonry

Masonry Magazine

The completed project, with 48 tanks constructed using concrete masonry units (CMUs) joined with ITW TACC's Mason Bond masonry adhesive.

Side Story:
CMU Fish Tanks? You Bet!

The colorful fish that fill private aquariums all over the world don't get there by swimming. Raising aquarium fish is big business, involving millions of fish annually. One of the largest "fish farms" in the country is Ozark Angels Inc., located in Rogers, Ark.

Just in time to celebrate his company's 20th anniversary, owner Gary Maybury planned an expansion of Ozark Angels' facilities to accommodate a surge in business. Maybury needed a new building with more tanks in which to breed angelfish, guppies and oscars for pet stores and hobbyists across the country.

"We have an inventory of more than one million fish, and we needed more room to grow," Maybury said.

Maybury sketched up plans for a 3,600-square-foot building to house new, larger breeding tanks made of concrete blocks. He had originally planned on using traditional mortar for constructing the tanks, but he recently read a newspaper article about a building recently constructed for nearby John Brown University. The school's construction management students built a home using Mason BondTM adhesive in place of mortar to join the building's CMUs. Maybury was intrigued.

Masonry Magazine

CMUs are staged with Mason Bond on the head joints and the bed joints. Within four hours of the blocks being set in place, the wall's strength is equal to that of a wall with fully cured mortar.

"I contacted Mason Bond to learn more about their product," Maybury said. "It seemed like Mason Bond was something that would make it faster and easier for us."

Tim Walsh, Mason Bond business manager for adhesives manufacturer ITW TACC, responded to Maybury's inquiry. Walsh knew that Mason Bond was the perfect product to be able to construct Ozark Angels' 48 fish tanks — each 8' x 2' x 2' — using CMU masonry.

Mason Bond is made from a patented, high-strength polyurethane adhesive that offers simplicity of application with superior strength. The adhesive requires no sand, gravel or mixing, and is applied as a bead squeezed from an applicator tube directly onto the surface of the block. Tests conducted by the National Concrete Masonry Association have found that walls built with Mason Bond were five times stronger than walls built with mortar.

Masonry Magazine
Mason Bond masonry adhesive is easily applied from convenient tubes.
"The pressure of the water on a concrete block sidewall would be enormous," Walsh said. "Mason Bond can easily withstand that pressure."

Maybury was hooked. However, what he was not prepared for was the speed and ease of construction that the adhesive allowed; the tank construction was finished in no time. Using four people, 1,408 CMUs were laid in just seven hours. Once completed, workers finished the interior with a 1/8-inch coat of plaster and a special sealant called "Aqualock."

Maybury began filling the new tanks in plenty of time for Ozark Angel's anniversary. "We were very pleased with both the speed of the construction process and the aesthetics of the new tanks," Maybury said. "Making the decision to use Mason Bond proved to be a very good choice for us."



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