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.