Now that the tank is up and running, though lightly stocked, it is finally time to post this up. Much of my plant knowledge and inspiration for this project came from this site (mostly a lurker up to this point...) and I'm proud of what it has become. Enjoy!
I have wanted to do a "cube" tank for sometime now. We have the perfect spot in the basement for a 4' tank with one wall shared with the laundry room(has a floor drain and water source), and have kept my eyes open for one locally for a couple years. Over the summer I found a custom 4x4x2 acrylic tank with overflow for a good price, and still wrapped in plastic no less. After convincing the wife that there would be nothing better than an impressive aquarium to fill in that void-of-a-corner in the basement (easier said than done) we went and picked up the beast.
Originally, this tank was purchased with an SPS reef in mind, both by the guy who had it made 3 years ago, as well as myself over the summer. In both instances money became the limiting factor in getting things set-up and running. I decided rather than let it sit in the basement until funding could be had, I would set it up as a low-tech planted asian biotope tank tank instead. No CO2, 1 175 watt 10K halide, all adaptable or low light plants (wisteria, crypts, Crinum thaianum, java fern and java moss). The idea is a "cheap", low maintinance show tank. Stocklist includes SAEs of course, assorted gouramis, a large shoal of harlequin rasboras, and possibly bala sharks. All easy to get, realatively cheap hardy fish.
So on with the stand build. I used pressure treated 4"x4"s for the legs, 2"x6"s and part of my old waterbed frame for the rest of the wood, and galvanized 3" screws.
Here are the detailed plans.
I tend to write very few details down when I build things aside from general dimensions. I'm not sure why, but it has caused me very few problems. I just like picturing the finished product, and building as I go. The stand was built 30" tall, so the thing can be removed from the house without any major deconstruction needed.
I made the frames for two sides first.
Then attached the other 2x6s, being sure everything was square often.
I added a cross support with wood from an old waterbed frame, and attached this to one side only so I could have easy access to the bulkheads for plumbing and also for more accessible storage.
Diagonal supports were placed on the two sides I would not need to work on or through once the tank was plumbed and the stand was faced.
I didn't get a shot if it, but I used a 4'x4' piece of 3/4" ply for the stand top, and then a 1/2" piece of insulation under the tank.
At this point, I pulled out the cable/phone gang box and ran all plumbing through this very convenient whole in the wall.
Shot of "back-of-house" plumbing.
Then the first fill.
No leaks (at least at first, I caused some later when I drained it and moved the tank around a bit, cracked a bulkhead.....dumb idea). The tank sat for a while like this to sink a 5 ft piece of manzanita, and because facing the stand cost MUCH more than building the structure itself.
About a month later, I bought the wainscoting and molding to face the stand. I wanted a boxed-in look, and made it with crown molding. I really like how it turned out. The last 18" closest to the wall was made as a hidden access door, and slides into place. This was made by gluing a few pieces of the wainscoting together and the trim on the side. It slips into place very nicely, and gives me enough room to completely climb under the stand if I need to.
I decided to go with black semi-gloss, and really like how it looks.
Now the hood was a little tricky. I wanted to have easy access to every corner of the tank, without reaching through, around, or over anything hood related. I came to the conclusion that two fully removable panles of sorts would work very well. Each of these would be attached to the top with industrial strength velcro, and could be removed and replaced in a matter of seconds.
I built the frames out of 2x4s, and faced them with wainscoting and the same crown molding.
From the inside.
The velcro holds very well, but to keep the two panels flush together at the corner, I did add additional support across the inside corner with a small strap.
More to come soon. Comments/suggestions are appreciated, and questions are welcome.