New to DIY Aquariums, Looking for Help. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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New to DIY Aquariums, Looking for Help.

Hello everyone, I am looking at making my own tank for my turtles, as none of the options i have found are to my liking. So I have decided to build one, but I am unsure of a few things and was hoping to get some clarification on them.

Tank Dimansions: 48"x48"x12" or 16"
Rimless design

Water will only be about 6" or 7" deep with a layer of gravel and the TetraFauna Viquarium with an upgraded pump in one corner.

My concerns are
Do I need bracing?
If I do, can I use angled bracing? (pic attached)
and do I need Tempered Glass? As I have heard mixed answers....

Is there anything I should watch out for?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 02:25 PM
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Welcome to the Planted Tank Forums. Glad you've joined us.
I have zero experience building tanks, but with that being said, I've been reading up on it, intending to make my own at some point. There are a few good threads on the forums, use the search feature and read them. I don't have the bookmarks to give you the links, so you'll have to do that yourself.

There's a few key things to consider.

1) What is holding things together? If it's just silicone it had better be a smaller sized tank, and you'd best find the best quality silicone available, as some of the DIY threads on here seem to indicate a stronger hold with industrial grade stuff.

2) Do it once, and do it right. When you put everything together with silicone, it's put together, there's no going back. It is pretty near impossible to clean off 100% of silicone from the glass after it's applied, and without a clean surface, a new layer of silicone won't hold as well. In other words... if you put it together once, and it leaks, putting it together again may just yield even worse results, as the new silicone is now going to be bonding to old silicone remnants, not to the clean glass surface.

3) Tempered glass resists breakage better than non-tempered. But which you choose is a bit less important than the thickness. But ultimately you need to ask WHY you are building this tank. If you are trying to save money on something that will hold many gallons of water in your home, you are playing with fire... er... water. When you compare price differences between tempered and non-tempered, and 1/4" vs 3/8" always remind yourself: What I'm building could potentially cost me hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs if I don't do it right.

4) If I'm trying to save money, I'm probably going to lose unless I:
A.) Already own most of the things needed
B.) Am avoiding paying a custom fabrication company to build this for me, and I know what I'm doing.
C.) Don't value my time. (Even if you consider your time at national minimum wage levels, how many dollars of your time have you spent just researching?)
D.) Don't need things to look super fancy. If you look around online, some people build plywood tanks. They aren't necessarily cheaper, but can be more sturdy, and if you already have plywood leftover from some other projects...

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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would 1/4 be enough to hold 75 gallons?

to answer those questions:
1: Silicone, i would prefer Rimless, but can make wood bracing if needbe
2: i purchased 2 of "MOMENTIVE RTV108-300ML RTV 108 Silicone, One-Part, Translucent, Paste" from amazon
3: this one is a mixture of trying to save money, as well as having a custom habitat for my aquatic turtles.
4a: have purchased everything but the glass
4b: avoiding custom fabs, but have little knowledge (hence why im here)
4c: i value my time thats why i wont be rushing things and want to go in as prepared as possible
4d: i would prefer it to look nice, doesnt need to look fancy fancy but somewhat good.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 09:20 PM
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Go for 3/8" or better on the sides, and see if the glass shop is affordable at polishing the edges, with a slight bevel. It'll look much better, and be nicer on your arms when working in it. I would probably go with at least a 2" glass "euro brace" just to be safe.

Do you have a place to set it in mind yet, or are you doing a stand as well? If building a stand to go with it, consider a sump and a place to grow anacharis or other fast growing plants. It'll give a chance for nutrient export for the notoriously messy turtles, and allow all the equipment to be nicely hidden. Now is the time to decide such things, and in all honesty having a sump on such a setup makes it ten times easier to maintain. Drilling the glass is a bit daunting, but not too bad.

I've built a similar setup, 12x48x48, 3/8" glass, 2" euro brace, and a stand made from 2x4 lumber. Used a livestock water tub with added pond filtration gear underneath the stand, with a shoplight over half of it to grow plants faster than I could throw them away. Worked a treat, and was very affordable using gear I grabbed used, and the stand was maybe ~$80 in materials. Display housed some driftwood, slate stone, turtles and larger cichlids. I think it cost less than $500 even buying new glass. Guy I sold it to was going to use it for a frag tank.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 10:39 PM
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most "complete" aquarium calculator I've ever found:
Use this one:

due to the odd shape and considering only 8" of "water" glass only needs to be 1.63mm thick on sides , 2.74mm on the bottom.. Floating bottom..

48x48x 12 changes it to 3mm sides, 5mm bottom..say 1/8x 1/4...

NOW would I build to that?? Prob. not...doubt if I'd ever use less than 1/4 glass..
As sort of a check.. 40b glass should be 1/4" sides.. 1/3" bottom..or 1/4" tempered..

To update everyone, according to Aqueon their glass thickness on the 40 BR is 1/4" or just over 6mm. My tank is definitely 5 mm and they said it might have accidentally been built with their critter cage glass instead of aquarium glass.
i called them on a 50 breeder a couple weeks ago and was told 1/4 tempered bottom, 1/4 sides, and 5/16 front and back.
50B per calc.. 0.34" sides 0.45" bottom

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 02-14-2019 at 11:05 PM. Reason: edit
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 01:45 AM
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you probably don't need that thick of glass if you're only planning on having 6" of water. the taller the aquarium the thicker the glass you'd need because of the water pressure. having said that, having thicker glass definitely doesn't hurt. it's just a bit more expensive and heavier. most of the reptile tanks hold water pretty good but they don't recommend it because of the thinner glass. at least not recommended to fill all the way.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 08:56 PM
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Glasscages sells a rimless's not cheap. There are also some other similar sizes.
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