Metal frame DIY? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
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Metal frame DIY?

Is anyone aware of attempts to DIY a tank with a steel frame similar to Amano's personal altum tank? I ran across this (How Does Silicone Stick to Different Surfaces?) talking about bonding ability of silicone to metal, better than to glass even. I'd been thinking about doing a large plywood tank but this metal frame idea appeals for multiple reasons.

1. Modern look, potentially better aesthetics for the house we are building.
2. Potentially not having to mess with bracing.
3. Not having to deal with epoxy/pond liner, fiberglass in the joints, etc.

I realize it would cost more than a plywood build but maybe less than all glass? Could I plywood the short sides and bottom to save on cost + make it easier to drill? So is this totally bonkers?




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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 02:13 PM
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It's been done A LOT. Most plywood builds incorporate metal bracing if they are large. Anything under 200-300 gallons is likely a waste of a plywood build though. You can easily use a steel frame with plywood sides, bottom, back and a glass viewing panel. Many, MANY, plywood tanks use steel rods as braces front to back. The reason you fiberglass corners is for a smooth, water tight, seal. Plywood to plywood in the corners could easily allow water to pass between and ruin the tank.

If you are going to go with glass on all sides with a steel frame, you're likely better off buying it.

This site is terrible for plywood builds, but monster fish keepers is great. Very few planted tanks exceed 100 gallons. Even less get into the realm of feasible plywood builds, cost wise. You need a tank that is several hundred gallons to make a plywood tank 'worth it'.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
It's been done A LOT. Most plywood builds incorporate metal bracing if they are large. Anything under 200-300 gallons is likely a waste of a plywood build though. You can easily use a steel frame with plywood sides, bottom, back and a glass viewing panel. Many, MANY, plywood tanks use steel rods as braces front to back. The reason you fiberglass corners is for a smooth, water tight, seal. Plywood to plywood in the corners could easily allow water to pass between and ruin the tank.

If you are going to go with glass on all sides with a steel frame, you're likely better off buying it.

This site is terrible for plywood builds, but monster fish keepers is great. Very few planted tanks exceed 100 gallons. Even less get into the realm of feasible plywood builds, cost wise. You need a tank that is several hundred gallons to make a plywood tank 'worth it'.
Welp this means my googling skills are definitely not up to par. I'm off to monsterfishkeepeers!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 11:23 PM
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Dave's 1,200 gallon double reef drop off

Read this thread. It's a doozy at over 300 pages long but they guy goes into crazy detail on his build and is still active and answers questions
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by theatermusic87 View Post
Dave's 1,200 gallon double reef drop off



Read this thread. It's a doozy at over 300 pages long but they guy goes into crazy detail on his build and is still active and answers questions


I'm only 5 pages in and my head is exploding! Thanks for the link.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 04:17 PM
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The Meta Frame tanks were big way back. Slate bottom, polished metal frame tanks. Assembly is quite easy, once the frame is built. You don't need to be as precice or clean with the seams and setting the panels in place is easier.

Although the original tanks used a tar like substance to hold the tanks together.


I have a feeling the rest of the day is gone with that link.

I usually feel kind of guilty using the quick reply... my replies are rarely quick.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer View Post
The Meta Frame tanks were big way back. Slate bottom, polished metal frame tanks. Assembly is quite easy, once the frame is built. You don't need to be as precice or clean with the seams and setting the panels in place is easier.

Although the original tanks used a tar like substance to hold the tanks together.


I have a feeling the rest of the day is gone with that link.
I've seen those and I love the look of them! Not so much the tar, haha.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
metal frame idea
Pretty soon you will suggest a slate bottom...
What comes around....


don't know what the black tar like stuff is that they used to seal these things with though..

https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/f...aframe.441645/

suppose frame-less tanks took off as saltwater got bigger...not too many cheap metals like saltwater..

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 03-20-2017 at 09:48 PM. Reason: edit
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 11:07 PM
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There were a bunch that just went at a few local auctions. I was hoping to get my hands on a 2.5 or 5 gallon, but the prices went up higher than I wanted.

I guess the sealant was asphaltium, what ever that is.

I haven't seen the ones woth the spot-welded frames. The ones I have seen were fully welded, smoothed out, and polished. A much cleaner look. That one must have been after the Metaframe company sold off that portion of the business to Mattel (they had patents on the design).
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I usually feel kind of guilty using the quick reply... my replies are rarely quick.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer View Post
There were a bunch that just went at a few local auctions. I was hoping to get my hands on a 2.5 or 5 gallon, but the prices went up higher than I wanted.

I guess the sealant was asphaltium, what ever that is.

I haven't seen the ones woth the spot-welded frames. The ones I have seen were fully welded, smoothed out, and polished. A much cleaner look. That one must have been after the Metaframe company sold off that portion of the business to Mattel (they had patents on the design).
Don't remember any full weld ones (60's)
http://imgur.com/gallery/RqWkz


http://www.rickwrench.com/index79mas...aquariums.html
https://www.petage.com/a-look-back-a...illinger-bros/
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-0...ture/index.php
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Last edited by jeffkrol; 03-21-2017 at 12:55 AM. Reason: rfit
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 06:09 PM
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I have a number of the old metal frame, slate bottom tanks; they are some of my favorites. Some have been resealed with silicone while others are still doing fine with the original sealant. Some will likely need resealing soon though The biggest I have seen is 29 gallon, I would imagine a 75 with slate bottom would be rather heavy. I know about ten years ago lots of people were looking for them around here for breeding tanks, they said their fish did better with the slate bottoms.
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