making a tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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making a tank

I am thinking about building a tank and I am interested in hearing everyone's thoughts and opinions on my ideas.
The tank will be 5'X5'x2' tall. The water inside will only be one foot deep give or take an inch. I want to create a cliche tropical island cove with a couple sailing ships and sandy beaches. The general floorplan is something like the picture that follows.

The white area will be water, the sand colored areas are obviously the sandy beaches and the grey is going to be the jagged reef area that will have a half submerged shipwreck on it. I will have a second ship beached upon the sand and if things don't appear too crowded I'll sink another ship out in the bay. I have something similar in a smaller tank so I can share a couple pictures to give you an idea what I am trying to do.




Ideas are the easy part. Making it happen is where it gets difficult.
How do I go about making a 5'x5' fishtank? I called a local glass shop and they gave me an approximate price of $12 per square foot for the 5'x2' X10mm pieces. My jaw dropped then and I forgot to ask about the 5'x5' piece on the bottom.
Do I really need glass on the bottom?
One idea I am kicking around is to make an aluminum pan with 1.5"-2" sides and sealed seams. Then I could just load up on silicone and push the glass up against the inside lip. Seems easier. The aluminum would certainly add a lot of strength at the bottom edge of the glass. I wonder if the flexibilty of the aluminum would make it a tank that could never be moved? The aluminum pan may flex when I move it and the rigid glass might just crack.
Would stainless steel be better in some way over anodized aluminum? Would wood be a wise choice?

Do I really need glass on the sides?
What other options do I have here? Plexi? Clear acrylic sheet? Pros and cons you have experienced?
Maybe 5'x5' is an impossible size and I should rethink it too 5'x4' because nothing comes larger than 4' in two directions.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 07:51 PM
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That would be one heck of a huge tank. I would think plexi would be better than glass just because it would weigh a lot less.

Love the idea of putting a sunken ship in the tank, though I think 3 might look way too crowded.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 08:30 PM
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If you don't need viewing areas on the sides, you can build a plywood tank with the glass/plexi front. I think it would be cheaper but still not an inexpensive venture. There are a handful of threads here and on other sites about building a plywood tank. It's fairly straight forward, it's just the cost of materials and time involved.

If you did use plywood you may be better off doing a 5' x 4' footprint so that you could avoid having a seem on the bottom since plywood comes in 4'x8' sheets.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigd603 View Post
Love the idea of putting a sunken ship in the tank, though I think 3 might look way too crowded.
I agree, three probably would be crowded, but I think overcrowded with ships is sort of what I want. A sort of a ship graveyard theme. Maybe this cove is in the bermuda triangle?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
If you don't need viewing areas on the sides, you can build a plywood tank with the glass/plexi front. I think it would be cheaper but still not an inexpensive venture. There are a handful of threads here and on other sites about building a plywood tank. It's fairly straight forward, it's just the cost of materials and time involved.
While I only need viewing underwater on one side I need clear walls rising above the sand and water to contain the crabs that will haunt 'Davey Jones locker'. I guess I could make a plywood bottom and then use a thin plexi for the top half but I think it may look sloppy (based upon my own lack of skill and knowledge). I think glass all around will be more easily adapted to a different layout in the future if I should change the design.

Thanks for the thoughts and keep them coming if you have more.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 02:49 AM
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love the idea. I like how the little men are still carry about the business underwater
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 05:09 AM
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Years ago they used to make aquirums with slate bottoms. They would have stainless corners and time and actually looked nice. I think it might he hard to find a piece of slate that's 5x5, but possible, also that being said its deffinatly possible to use a alternative bottom. I would avoid aluminium as it might affect the water parmerters...
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 05:41 PM
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I would personally use plywood for all sides excluding the front. The wood sides can still raise above the water, and in order to keep the entire thing from looking bad, I would put cabinets on both sides of the tank. Use regular glass for the front viewing area. Look at some of the plywood tanks on monsterfishkeeper, or look them up on youtube. Cost is obviously an issue, and plywood+epoxy is certainly cheaper than glass.

What you really need to do is research "building your own aquarium" There is a lot of info out there, you just need to research it.

As a matter of fact, yes, I always post, or reply, in novels. I'm adding it to my signature because it seems like I say it in every post!
Fraternity of dirt #32 I'm dirty

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