Start of my 130ish gallon corner setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-16-2006, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Start of my 130ish gallon corner setup

Hello everyone. I've been lurking around for a while and now I finally have something worth while to post about, at least I hope so I've had some sort of aquarium over MANY years, slowly becoming more serious as the years have gone bye. I've finally decided to buck up and go with a decent sized tank. I currently have a 40G setup.



I've started on my corner tank that I've wanted for a long time. It's a bit of a different twist on corner tanks, but I think it will turn out pretty well.

Here are the rough measurements of the stand:
72"W(F) / 13"W(R) x 29"D x 28"H
The framing is all 2x4s, all upright supports are at least doubled up, and all joining surfaces are glued along with being screwed together. Any thoughts/opinions?




I'm still undecided as to how high I want the tank. I originally wanted the tank to also be around 28"H but according to GARF's site, they don't recommended a DIY plywood going higher than 24" if the width is greater than 48". My vision for the tank portion is not what a normal DIY plywood tank looks like.

The top portion is actually my first attempt at the stand; A woodworking refresher, practice if you will Anyways, remove the upright supports, leaving behind the top and bottom frame portions is what I had envisioned for a frame for the tank. The tank walls would be inside of the frame. Plywood on the bottom, sides and rear, with a pane of glass for the entire front. Would GARF's recommendations still apply?


I have tons of thoughts and ideas for other aspects of this tank, but I need to finish one portion at a time

Whew, I think I'm done for now

Last edited by tusk; 06-12-2007 at 10:20 PM.
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-16-2006, 03:20 AM
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I like your rock castles.. I need to find some good rocks to make something for my shrimpies


Will work for good water and co2.
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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks
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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 11:19 PM
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Cool project. I think the toughest aspect here is keeping water and plywood separate from each other Working with epoxy and fiberglass and stuff isn't everyones favorite pastime, and with a large tank like that you are hopefully prepared and perhaps have made a few trial runs with smaller sizes?!

I wouldn't generalize Garf's rules... It all depends on thickness of the glass, bracing etc. Obviously, if you go larger you need thicker glass and more/better/wider bracing to avoid bowing and shattering.

But I assume you are way past that planning stage... Keep us updated. I am interested in knowing if you really save a lot of money by going plywood vs glass.


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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-18-2006, 12:44 AM
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Looks good

For what it's worth... I don't have much experience makin plywood tanks, but I have been building boats (up to about 50') with the stuff.

So, my advice:

Don't know about the recommendations. They probably apply, but it should be fine to either go for thicker plywood or make some kind of support for it. Make sure to have thick enough glass though...

About the tank itself. Some people are saying use marine grade plywood and waterproof glue. That is all good, but not really necessary. The whole point here is to use the epoxy to make a waterproof layer on top of the plywood. If this doesn't succeed, the tank is f****d anyway. Doesn't make any difference if it's "marine grade" or not. Same with the glue. However, you might as well use waterproof glue, the difference in price is insignificant.

About the epoxy. Make sure you get a good brand. I don't know who makes good epoxy, but I know that the "west system" will work. Many stores will say they have epoxy, but they don't know what they're talking about. If you can't get west systems, then get something else used for cold-moulding and strip-planking boats.

Working with epoxy sucks. It's poisonous, promotes cancer and whatever. You want to get dosing pumps to mix the glue and the hardener. They're cheap, and it makes things soooo much easier.

You want to make sure, after glueing the tank together, that there is no cracks or unevenness anywhere. If it is (and it usually will be), get some powder to mix mith the epoxy to make it thicker. Fill in everything. Sand down (wear mask). Make sure everything is perfectly smooth before starting "painting" with the epoxy.

Decide on your background. You get colored powder to mix with the epoxy, but the choises are limited. But you get black, which is what most people want. You can also paint the wood before applying epoxy, but then the the epoxy won't stick as good. Go for the powder if you can. But only on the last layer of epoxy.

You want at least four layers of epoxy. Thin layers, because it runs easily. After applying the second layer, you might want to add some of the aforementioned powder, to make it thicker. Use your own good judgement. And you should sand down the epoxy after each layer. You want to do this properly...

After everything is cured, you can silicone the glass in the front. Silicone sticks very good to the epoxy, so no problems here. I would recommend also to silicone all the inside edges of the tank. This shouldn't be necessary (if everything else is done properly), but it will let you sleep better at night

I don't know about the cost of this. I think it will be cheaper than an all-glass tank, and I know it is a lot more satisfactorly. It is also a lot more sturdy than just glass. If everything is done right, it should last practically forever. And less chance of cracking anything.

Some people are worried about scratching the paint (epoxy), and recommend acrylic on the bottom and sides of the tank. I think this is silly. It takes a lot to scratch the paint. As I said, it can take a lot more beating than glass.

Anyways, you probably knew most of this from before... Good luck with the tank, and keep us posted
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-18-2006, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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I have a bit of resin and epoxy experience; I have a bad car audio habit still

I was actually thinking of doing a liner of acrylic instead of the epoxy route. 2x4s will frame the outside of the plywood tank portion, and then line the inside of the plywood with acrylic, sealing the corners/edges with silicone. Wood for strength and acrylic for water retention. I'm just very paranoid of developing a crack, nick, or chip using epoxy. It' would probably never happen, but if it did......

Seeing that there is only going to be one visible side on the outside of my tank (And ascetics are important for this project), I think it gives me a lot more options for framing and finishing. In the end it is probably going to be WAY overbuilt, but that's fine with me
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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Eh, just crappy pic w/ a crappy update I'm ALMOST done with the tank framing. I'm going to finish up the framing this weekend and take some measurements to see just how much this is going to hold.
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Well, there are the finished framing pics. She's a sturdy one After seeing pics of the DIY plywood tanks, I have no fears about filling this thing. My framing did take a good size chunk out of the tank, but I'm still happy with its 109 gallons.

Next step is to talk to some of the local plastic places and talk about some acrylic. I'm still on the fence as to what I want to use for the front, but I 'm feeling like glass today....

Yes, the last pic is dorky, but I was trying to give a sence of size; I'm 6' and 180lbs.

Last edited by tusk; 06-12-2007 at 10:21 PM.
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 12:40 AM
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thats one heck of a tank there good luck with it!

and it looks as if stealthy ninja has a new recruite!

-=- fish newb -=-
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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Waiting in the depths of the garage he waits for his next victim.......

I was doing some sanding
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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 03:59 PM
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Thats a really cool project. What happens with a tank background? Do you just paint the back or leave it wood-backgrounded?
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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 04:41 PM
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Please keep updating us! Also, when you are done, maybe you can do a quick summary of all the expenses that went into this.

Looks very sturdy Only thing that makes me wonder is the 72" front/top, will you add a brace to prevent that from bowing?


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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 07:45 PM
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How about a low-iron (Starfire) glass sheet for the front?

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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 08:00 PM
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Cool project,I was wondering how well the weight is distributed on the legs, probably it is better to some how spread the weight evenly rather than on 3 legs.
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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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If I do end up bracing it on top, I'll have to wait until I get the front in there.

I have to hit up the glass shops this week and see what I can get. Ordering acrylic seems like it's more money than it's worth.

I think I'll be ok with the spacing. The bottom of the tank is 2 sheets of .75" high grade plywood, then the top of the stand is 2 layers of 2x4s.
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