Originally Posted by seastar0328
Hey all, I wanted to see what all this nano fuss was about :-)
So drawing from the threads here on different DIY nano construction I decided I wanted to make one. So modeling after an idea on here using pre-cut glass window pane replacements from HD, I went there and there were none. So I went to the acrylic/pc/lexan section where I get pieces occasionally to make covers for my open tanks and picked up a few pieces pre-cut. Here are my construction questions thus far:
1.) sealant: I looked at pc/lexan silicone sealant and it said it could be used for glass. I compared it to the glass sealant and the ingredients were the same. So I found some non-antimicrobial silicon sealant for both glass and pc. Will this work?
2.) What's the easiest way to construct the seams? I do not have any of that fancy manly tool stuff. How do I join the sides and base, where do I start first, and how do I make sure the seams are made correctly?
3.) My home made acrylic tops are rudimentary at best and tend to bow. I know this is because of the light. Will the walls of a nano bow like this? I will leave it open-topped and place a light source above it.
4.) How do you cut acrylic properly? I have used a utility knife and it caused a crack once. I do not have any fancy tools for this and the HD guy didn't even have any suggestions. I have a utility knife, a hack saw, and some drills. ????
5.) Finally, I wanted to put a filter section on the back like most of the models I've seen. Like a sump chamber. I have extra acrylic from past projects. If I do not want to sacrifice the space of the nano as is without the add-on, can I fashion one from extra acrylic I have laying around and seal the added on sump filter to the back?
Thanks for being patient with my "girl speak". If I can make things clearer, I will try just let me know. Any suggestions/comments/do's or don'ts are certainly welcome.
As for your question about bowing, that all depends on the length of the sides, the amount of water pressing on it, and the thickness of the acrylic.
A sheet of acrylic that is 10"x10" and only 1/8" thick will bow considerably under its own weight if supported only at the 2 ends, however a 5"x5" sheet won't bow nearly as much. Thicker acrylic like 1/4" thick also won't bow nearly as much.
As for cutting your acrylic, out of the tools you listed, the hacksaw looks like your best bet, just be very gentile take your time and don't apply much force. If you know someone with a table saw and a fine tooth blade, they should be able to cut it quicker, cleaner and straighter than you can by hand with a hacksaw. Fine sand paper polishes up the cut edges very nicely, although if you cut with a hacksaw you might have to start with coarse sand paper to clean up the rough edge, before going to the finer paper.
I prefer to leave the sticky paper on the acrylic while I'm cutting, drilling, and sanding to avoid accidently scratching it, then peal it off when I'm done.
I too have never built an entire tank, and would like to try one of these nano tanks myself someday. Please post pictures of how you make out with it.