WP's 250 gal Plywood Starphire Tank
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:48 PM   #1
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WP's 250 gal Plywood Starphire Tank


This wasn't supposed to start until the end of this year. Some other projects got delayed, so I have a few weeks available to work on this now. Another reason, probably more important - the garage plywood tank that I built late last year has some minor moisture/leak issues, and while I don't want to rush things, I am looking forward to draining and repairing/redesigning that one.

Why plywood? I recently took down my 100gal tank. While not a bad size, the 18" depth isn't enough to allow Swords and such to stretch out, and the back is always very visible. I wanted a much deeper tank. I don't have enough confidence to silicone an all glass tank, so that would have meant purchasing a custom built tank. Including shipping not affordable for me.

With plywood, I can use the available 70" length, and decide exactly which height and depth I want. Furthermore, drilling bulkhead holes through plywood is easy, and plumbing through the bottom will keep all the technical stuff invisible.

The tank will be sort of integrated into a large bookshelf looking piece of furniture. Most bookshelfs measure only 12", which will make the tank appear endlessly deep if I design the rest of the furniture accordingly.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:50 PM   #2
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Default Prep and Planning

Last year I built another large plywood (double) tank for two reasons - to temporarily house plants and fish from my to be discontinued 100gal tank, and to gain some experience with plywood/epoxy tanks. Sitting in the garage, it wouldn't be a huge disaster if something failed. Now, with that experience, I am ready to take on the "ultimate show tank" that will be inside the house, hopefully for a long time.

With the previous plywood tank, I cheaped out on many things. To keep risks low, this time I am going for more safety. Instead of $0.38 sprinkler extenders, I am using real bulk heads. To further prevent any leaking, I am going to add some expensive Sweetwater Epoxy paint over the Coat-It epoxy.

I did some research on various related things earlier this year:

General design

Optimum size
Water change options
Glass choices

Thanks to all that helped making decisions. Basically I settled down with 70 x 30 x 28 (tall) dimensions, non-tempered Starphire glass, and a water change system that incorporates a passive overflow.

Besides the standard things that would go into a tank like this, I thought up some new ideas, hopefully they will work out. For example, I am planning to exhaust the hot canopy air into the garage, both to keep temperature in the room down, and with the fans running in the garage, I should be able to quietly enjoy the tank. I will post things in detail as I build them.

First pictures to follow soon.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:57 PM   #3
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i can't wait to see this. it will be impressive.

it looks as though you copied those links with the url tags into the link box, so they don't really go anywhere.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:18 PM   #4
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you're truly a DIY"re...
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:23 AM   #5
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FYI

This month's issue of FAMA has an article about building a
fiberglass and plywood aquarium. Might be a few helpful ideas
in it............

Doug N
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:26 AM   #6
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Default Humble beginnings

A photo album thread without photos is a bit sad.

Previously I had mainly worked with plywood. Once dimensions go beyond 24", this starts to get really expensive. So I studied some of the excellent DIY stand threads, and started with a number of 2x4s. These have the annoying tendency to look fairly straight in the store, and start to twist as soon as you unload them from your car.



My wife let me borrow her office to assemble the top and bottom frame. Continuing in the garage, I screwed and glued the stand together. I followed this design and made some modifications to support a plywood tank (rather than a glass tank with a frame).



So far, so good.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:59 AM   #7
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Cool!
I always enjoy a good build thread.
And Large tanks just add to the cool factor.
Good luck with your project
MD
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:15 AM   #8
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Awesome! I was gonna say it looks like you used rocketengineers stand, but then I saw your link. Awesome job! I hate how 2x4s are always so twisted (which is why I used 1x4s and 1x6s to build my 40 breeder stand, hand tools and twisted wood don't work out well). If you have an 84 lumber near you, or some other lumber store, you can usually get better wood there, for about 1/2 the price.
I can't wait to see this beast built!
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clwatkins10 View Post
If you have an 84 lumber near you, or some other lumber store, you can usually get better wood there, for about 1/2 the price.
I can't wait to see this beast built!
the Home Depot is unfortunately the most convenient lumber source for many people and unfortunately has the most maliciously twisted, contorted and knotty wood on Planet Earth.
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
the Home Depot is unfortunately the most convenient lumber source for many people and unfortunately has the most maliciously twisted, contorted and knotty wood on Planet Earth.
LOL! Ain't that the truth.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:25 PM   #11
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O man, I am totally following this thread! *subscribed*
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clwatkins10 View Post
If you have an 84 lumber near you, or some other lumber store, you can usually get better wood there, for about 1/2 the price.
I can't wait to see this beast built!
Thanks Chris, I can't wait either...

I have several lumber stores around, like "Hayward Lumber", but HD is more convenient. Are you sure about 1/2 the price? I am pretty sure here it is the other way, a 102" 2x4 costs $1.95 in HD, and at the lumber place maybe twice that. Bought from them before, and in the end it is also just wood, prone to twisting whenever possible...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
the Home Depot is unfortunately the most convenient lumber source for many people and unfortunately has the most maliciously twisted, contorted and knotty wood on Planet Earth.
With some time, you can fish out some decent pieces. Someone told me to buy them, and use them right away to keep twisting to a minimum. On the other hand, I have some 2x4's that I bought quite a while ago and they are still straight. Luck of the draw...
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:06 PM   #13
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That's the way it is here, at least for 1x4s And of course, I'm comparing to Lowes
An 8 ft 1x4 is around $5 at lowes and only $2.80 at 84 lumber (I only buy 8 footers because that's the max I can fit easily in my corolla, I could probably get a 10 foot board in there, but it would have to sit on the dash board.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:43 PM   #14
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Default Plywood

With the stand skeleton completed, it is time to add some plywood. I used a circular saw and some twisted 2x4s to cut them to length.



I purchased some cheap plywood for the back and sides, reusing some from my former 100gal stand, and for the front, one nice sheet of oak plywood.



The tank will sit on a 1.5" plywood base. Should be sufficient...
Honey, these are real bulk heads. Exciting, no? Six for filter inlets/outlets, and one to be able to connect cables and airlines and such from the stand underneath the tank to the area above the tank.



Next I'll need to cut a rectangular hole for the viewing pane, and connect it to the bottom panel. Then glue/screw back and bottom, cut the sides, and add them as well.
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:25 PM   #15
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Looks like this will be yet another awesome creation.

My one major problem with plywood tanks is a lot of the time people make them and the viewing pain has a center brace... Please tell me you're getting thick enough glass for one single pain.

I figure you probably are, but it still is the first thing that comes to mind...

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