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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Help me DIY a nice tank

Ok guys, I'd like to build myself a nice, completely custom tank. As of now, I plan for this to be a sort of project to help occupy myself over the coming Christmas break, so I can be relatively productive. The only problem is I have no experience in building aquaria, or really in anything related.

I have read through Scolley's sticky at the top of this page, and a few other articles scattered over the interwebs, and so I've got a grip on the basics of what will need to be done. I do need help with some details, though, and I expect more experienced advice to continue to be useful.

So here we go. As of now, this is completely in the brainstorming/designing stage. My requirements for this tank are that it must be all glass, and that all equipment must be hidden. I want this thing to just look like a box of water, with no hoses or tubes running into it. So, it will obviously need to be drilled, and that leads to my first question:
  • How much space needs to be left between holes drilled for bulkheads? Like, if a 1" bulkhead needs something like a 1.75" hole, what's the closest two 1.75" holes could be from each other?
Beyond that, for now, I'm just looking for anyone's ideas on how to design a tank to completely hide equipment. I don't care even if it's designed around one general hardscape. I'm going all out with one design, that'll obviously be one I like. So if any of you out there have something in mind you can describe, draw up in paint, or google sketchup, or what-have-you, that'd be awesome. This is your chance to live vicariously through me, in the way of tank designing and constructing.

Ah, and the tank will ideally be 30" long, to allow me to use my current light, though even that isn't a dealbreaker.

So that's it. I won't start this for a month or so, and up until then will just be planning and gathering materials, but I'll likely put up sketchup drawings of what I have in mind from time to time for critique and such.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 07:27 AM
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What dimensions do you ideally want on this tank? 30"x18"x18" would be a nice size tank to scape either wood or rocks. If you filtered it with a canister you would only need 2 holes drilled.

Last edited by Capsaicin_MFK; 11-15-2010 at 10:38 AM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 04:40 PM
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if i were to build my own tank i would make sure it has plenty of depth, it makes my 55 hard to scape being so big but only 12 inches deep.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 07:02 PM
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I think I would make a 30 inch long tank about 24 inches deep, front to back, and 18 inches high would be plenty. Those dimensions should put all of the substrate in reach for average arm length people. If you drill the bottom, you can use a canister filter, and keep almost the entire filter plumbing hidden. For that size tank, the filter output could be single point, but using a pair of outlets wouldn't hurt anything, and could make getting good water movement throughout the tank easier. I think I would want the drilled holes in the back half of the tank bottom.

You could then put the water heater inline under the tank. And, if you use pressurized CO2, which would be a very good idea, you could use a needlewheel pump in parallel to the filter outlet, to avoid adding too much head loss. (If you hate the champagne look, use a Cerges style reactor.)

With a 24 inch front to back depth, you could hang a 4 tube T5HO light 16-20 inches above the tank, and get great light distribution over the whole tank, without too much light spill over.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin_MFK View Post
What dimensions do you ideally want on this tank? 30"x18"x18" would be a nice size tank to scape either wood or rocks. If you filtered it with a canister you would only need 2 holes drilled.
I'm not sure what my ideal dimensions would be, even. I've got a couple ideas in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I think I would make a 30 inch long tank about 24 inches deep, front to back, and 18 inches high would be plenty. Those dimensions should put all of the substrate in reach for average arm length people. If you drill the bottom, you can use a canister filter, and keep almost the entire filter plumbing hidden. For that size tank, the filter output could be single point, but using a pair of outlets wouldn't hurt anything, and could make getting good water movement throughout the tank easier. I think I would want the drilled holes in the back half of the tank bottom.

You could then put the water heater inline under the tank. And, if you use pressurized CO2, which would be a very good idea, you could use a needlewheel pump in parallel to the filter outlet, to avoid adding too much head loss. (If you hate the champagne look, use a Cerges style reactor.)

With a 24 inch front to back depth, you could hang a 4 tube T5HO light 16-20 inches above the tank, and get great light distribution over the whole tank, without too much light spill over.
Hoppy, I've been considering the same thing recently, as far as a tank with a 30"x24" footprint. Instead of 18 inches high, though, I've been playing around with the idea of the tank being closer to the shallow lagoon type. So I'd go with sides around 12 or 13 inches high, and with a structure offset in the middle right to build up a mound and have plants and maybe wood breaking the water surface. Something like this:







The pipes and such would run up through this middle structure to hidden outlets and inlets. Multiple outlets seems like a good idea to me, to allow for good water flow over the entire tank.

This, I imagine, would allow the tank to stand alone in the room on a stand, with no visible equipment. Does anybody have any experience with something like this? I imagine it's nothing new, but would it be too difficult, pose too many problems to be worth it, etc?

And still the bulkhead question. I'd just like to have an idea for that for when I continue to mess around with ideas, I can have some clue as to what placements would be possible, etc.

All just spitballing.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 01:43 AM
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I don't see any advantage to having that structure in the middle, and the big disadvantage would be that you would be stuck with it, unable to make major aquascaping changes. With just the two holes in the bottom, and using multiple outlets, which you can plumb with Lok Line stuff, you could direct water where ever you wanted it. Then an "island" of tall plants in the middle would easily hide the plumbing, or a cluster of driftwood, or rocks would do the same.

You asked how close together the holes could be. I don't know, but I do recall reading something that said what the limit is. For sure you would want to have the bulkhead fittings before drilling, so you could see how close you could get them without them interfering with each other. I would add another inch to make sure I could get some kind of wrench or pliers around fitting nuts.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 04:46 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't mean that I would permanently seal in that structure, just that I would make something around that size to hold up substrate, and place it in the tank. I thought it might be useful, since I was thinking about doing a sort of mound of rocks, and don't want to worry about or deal with the substrate pouring through cracks between rocks. Especially if I used soil. I think I'd prefer a bit of a hardscape mound than simply taller plants. I included it in the little sketch to try and give an idea of what I was talking about design-wise.

The idea was to have the tank viewable from all sides, without plumbing really visible from any direction. There's a picture of it in my head, but I'm not sure about all the dimensions. Of course, that's not a problem, as I have plenty of time to plan everything out, and decide on what I want.

But Loc-Line definitely seems the way to go for water returns, and so finding space for two holes on the bottom pane should be more than doable.

Thanks for the all the input. And if anyone has any ideas or musings on what their ideal aquarium might look like, let me know. This project is more in the looking for inspiration and basic options phase than anything else right now. Still, I'm excited for it.

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