Part 1: Everything is harder than expected.
I decided to build my own stand, modeled after those sleek ADA stands. In retrospect, I should have just bought a used stand, since buying the materials ended up costing about the same and building the stand was way more complicated than expected. I'm pretty happy with how it ended up, but I'm not completely sure I trust it yet. I know it's plenty strong, but if it's uneven I could crack the tank.
The tank is a used 55 gallon tank. I liked the dimensions because it's longer, lending itself to the stream style, and very deep, giving plenty of space for the lower chamber. Most of the stream tanks I've seen are wide and shallow. This looks great, but I really wanted to be able to see long stem plants swaying in the current, so I went for a deeper tank.
To modify the tank, I ultimately ordered 5 pieces of glass from a local glass shop. I tried all sorts of DIY glass-work first. I tried salvaging glass and cutting glass and sanding glass that I didn't cut accurately, and at the end of the day, I was struggling to get the pieces I wanted. On a whim, I asked a glass company for an estimate. Turns out I could get everything professionally cut for just over $50. So I went with that.
The dimensions of the pieces are:
(2) 4" x 46 1/2" - these are the supports that run the length of the tank. They are adhered to the sides.
(1) 11 5/8" x 39" - this is the false bottom of the tank. It supports the substrate.
(2) 11 5/8" x 2" - these edges contain the substrate.
All the glass is 1/4" plate.
I ordered SDS 1200 silicon to stick everything together. It wasn't that expensive, and I wanted the extra strength.
After assembling the tank, I covered the lower chamber with a stick-on vinyl window tint to hide my messy silicon work. I think it looks sharp.
Tomorrow I install the powerhead and test the flow through the tank.
The plural of 'anecdote' is 'data.'