DIY ADA Style Rimless 22g tank & stand
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:25 PM   #1
malaybiswas
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DIY ADA Style Rimless 22g tank & stand


With a little over an year's experience in aquarium setup and less than 6 months experience in maintaining high end planted tanks, I am truely a novice in this area. However after doing my research and setting up my 80 gallon planted tank in the first go and seeing it thriving for over 4 months nows (my personal blog on 80 gallon) I felt confident to move on to my next projects of setting up 2 more layouts in Amano style.

I am not a typical DIY guy, nor do I have the luxury of a good work area where I can execute elaborate DIY projects with wood, glass and power tools. But after budgeting my needs for setting up 2 ADA style tanks and stands (really love the clean and modern look), I decided that I am better off giving it a shot at making them myself and saving some money as well as enjoy my holidays doing these projects.

So my plan
1. Make 2 rimless 22 gallon tanks to maintain 2 aquascapes
2. Make 2 stands. I could have made one bigger stand to hold both tanks, but I chose to make 2 to be able to configure them separately or together as I wish over time.

My friends
1. Step by step DIY aquarium setup guide that I want to follow.
2. Useful link to calculate dimensions of my tank
3. A very helpful thread on DIY rimless tank building
4. 2 step by step guides for ADA style stand setups here and here
5. Setup guide for ADA style light bar

More to follow....

Looking forward for your continuous support, feedback and criticism.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:29 PM   #2
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Default The plan of work

Since I have 4 projects (2 tanks and 2 stands) to do, I planned them out as such

1. Make and test first tank and stand
2. Ditto for second tank
3. Make first stand
4. Second stand

As I move forward, this thread will start with the tank building experience. I have not decided yet whether to append the stand building in this thread itself or make it a separate one. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:32 PM   #3
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There's that place in SJ that makes the stands for about 200$, might be less for the smaller tank you have. Not bad given the work involved, it's no issue if you have a wood shop, but if not etc........might be wise.
The light bar is a no brainer.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:35 PM   #4
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Default Tank design

I am no CAD designer, but I took a shot at designing the tank using Google Sketchup. Here are some pictures of my design with some basic substrate layout that I wish to do.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:40 PM   #5
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This will be a very interesting thread, one I will be checking on every time I am here. I still get cold chills thinking about working with big sheets of glass, so I admire your willingness to tackle this.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
There's that place in SJ that makes the stands for about 200$, might be less for the smaller tank you have. Not bad given the work involved, it's no issue if you have a wood shop, but if not etc........might be wise.
The light bar is a no brainer.

Regards,
Tom Barr
Thank you Tom. First of all I'm an avid reader of your posts. Your knowledge, setups and suggestions have been a constant inspiration for me.

As far as buying vs building, I am a constant visitor of almost every LFS in bay area and I can get a 20 gallon ADA tank for aqua forest in SF for about $160. But I guess I will try building them myself just for the thrill of learning and do it myself. If it is turns out to be a nightmare that I am yet to realize and can't handle my wife's looks, then I might have to return to the "buy" path. But thats "Plan B" right now
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
This will be a very interesting thread, one I will be checking on every time I am here. I still get cold chills thinking about working with big sheets of glass, so I admire your willingness to tackle this.
Thank you Hoppy. You bet!!! that's why starting with 24" X 18" sheet (biggest one I have). Keeping my fingers crossed and see how it goes. If it turns out well, may be bigger ones and advanced tools in future.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:21 PM   #8
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Default Materials

I wanted to get Starphire glass but my local glass shop do not carry them and special orders are way too expensive, so I settled with regular clear glass.

1. Glass Sheets - $97
24" X 15" X 1/4" - 1
24" X 18" X 1/4" - 2
18" X 14.5" X 1/4" - 2
2. Duct tape
3. Acetone
4. Razor blades
5. 100% silicone (DAP)
6. Emery paper
7. #0000 grade steel wool
8. Anti-skid runner to "draw" my work area

Total about $199. Most of the stuff except glass and silicone is already in sufficient quantity to be used for the second tank. So if I add up the cost of silicone and glass for the second one (about $105), the average cost of materials come to about $152 per tank.

Here are a few pictures of the material. The location of these pictures is my make shift work area (a.k.a my garage ). As you can see I don't have much tools, nor did I want to buy clamps etc, so after some more investigation I decided to use tons of packing boxes(already covering half of my garage) as support material.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:11 PM   #9
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Default Construction - Phase I

Hey, did I mention that I already started the project last Friday?

1. Attach duct tape on all 4 sides on the bottom panel
2. Silicone back panel (24" X 18") to the bottom (24" X 15") and duct tape them.
3. Next fix the side panels (18" X 15") to bottom and back panels and duct tape them.
4. Finally fix front panel (24" X 18") to side and bottom panels and duct tape them.

At each stage, I used packing boxes to support the freshly fixed panel (in addition to duct tape) for about 20 mins till the duct tapes alone were enough to keep them in place.

This is how the end product looked. It was left to cure for 4 days
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:10 PM   #10
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Default Construction - Phase II

After 4 days of curing, I finally felt confident to start removing the extra silicone. After 4 grueling hours of scratching and scraping it looked like done enough for now to move into testing. There are some more bits of fine tuning left but that can wait till I am ready to start using it.

There are some bubbles here and there, but nothing seemed ominous enough right now. Fingers crossed

I did not care to remove silicone from the bottom seems because they will anyways be under the substrate and will help to keep the bottom seem joints (which takes the most pressure) stronger.

Here is the finished product. Placed it on a couple of styrofoam blocks to level and provide uniform pressure bearing surface. Now its off to testing...
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:15 PM   #11
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Default Its testing time...

Ok. Finally the scariest time has arrived. Filled my baby with water, marked the water levels with felt tip marker and covered it with a plastic sheet to reduce evaporation. Now just have to wait till weekend (5 days) to see how it holds. pray for me

I know the bottom seems look horrible. But right now safety is the key concern not beauty. Once that is established, beautification will follow.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:47 PM   #12
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Looks good to me. I don't see a good reason to worry about extra silicone at the bottom, it will never be seen. The side seams look very good, and it is the silicone between the mating glass surfaces that provides all of the strength, so if there are no serious flaws there you should have a tank good for a lifetime.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:23 AM   #13
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I just built a similar rimless tank... 25x18x13. Just past the one week mark in the water test.

Nice work!
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Looks good to me. I don't see a good reason to worry about extra silicone at the bottom, it will never be seen. The side seams look very good, and it is the silicone between the mating glass surfaces that provides all of the strength, so if there are no serious flaws there you should have a tank good for a lifetime.
Thanks for the encouragement Hoppy. So far so good since I filled the tank, but it is only 1/2 a day now
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by nellis View Post
I just built a similar rimless tank... 25x18x13. Just past the one week mark in the water test.

Cool. How long more do you plan to test it? Do you have any pictures posted?

My tank dimensions are 18" high and 15" deep. I wanted to keep the depth more than the width to account for the vertical height lost in substrate.

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Nice work!
Thank you
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