Half Emersed Plywood tank idea? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2015, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Half Emersed Plywood tank idea?

I'm guessing this is the right spot to post, this is a project for sometime next year but I want to get it figured out ahead of time.
any suggestions would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2015, 11:23 PM
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Plywood tanks can be fine. Standard 3/4" wood be a bit weak for the tank part and to be honest I think you're asking for trouble making the entire project from plywood.
I'd find a tank to use as well, the tank and build around that. Then your not fighting to keep water in.
For the top part I'd look at glass and build on top of the tank. The plastic trim gives a lip to rest on. Doing that the only wood you have to worry about sealing is the front part on the sides of the glass.
Your glass for the top wouldn't need to be exceptionally thick since it doesn't hold water. All your seams for the glass would be siliconed and putting the top glass into the lip on the tank gives positive water flow back into the tank.

Thinking further you could use hinges made for glass on glass and not have any wood in contact with water. All the wood is then partially structural. fully decorative and minimally sealed with epoxy.

If you were insistent on all wood I'd double up on the plywood for the tank and use pond liner contact cemented to the plywood on all surfaces.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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2 40b one for the tank one for the sump and build around that? Fairly inexpensive can i drill the bottom of one of those aqueon 40s? Or i guess i could just put a bullhead out of the back as i plan on having one come up the back to the top of the falls.

Also would i need glass for the top parts back and sides? Or would pond liner work on that glued to the ply?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 05:12 AM
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The Aqueon 40B can be drilled on the bottom IIRC. I'd get 2 of them. One stays intact as the tank. The other I would harvest for the glass for your rain forest area. You would have to cut the glass a bit though since it needs to fit inside the lip.
Or maybe you can remove the front panel only and reattach the frame then silicone or glue the two together.

Or remove both top frames and silicone the glass on glass and remove that frame separating the tank from the forest for more effect.
You might have to polish the top glass of the bottom tank but that's not hard.


Sure. You could use pond liner. But why?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 12:05 PM
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How big is this project? There's a cost ratio where the plywood is not worth it if the tank is too small. I think it's 150+gallons.

Here's a tutorial for you to look at
http://youtu.be/6FDUfglurns

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not even sure yet how big it is, just really in the planning.

I know what i want but just figuring options to make it happen.

I'd like bigger than 40b width but the height is about right for the water portion. The out of water (falls) portion maybe a little taller.



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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 04:54 PM
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I would figure out how large a tank you want and just have glass cut to fit inside the top rim of that tank to make your rainforest section.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 05:29 PM
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If it's a small tank, it's cheaper to buy glass and make your own tank.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 06:23 PM
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if you decide to make the top half sliding glass doors you can use silicone for a gasket

how to: Silicon gasket between sliding doors - Dendroboard


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 08:07 PM
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As for 'scaping materials:
You could use real rock, but that is going to get heavy, and not stack up so high. OK in the tank, but I would not go much higher than the rim of the tank because of the weight.
A lot of these use wood of some sort, then attach stuff to it. You can use a thick sheet of acrylic as back and side walls. No matter what you use, I would plan some kind of nuts and bolts to attach things.

Cork bark is very common.
Styrofoam covered with something for texture and color:
Expanding foam filler can work.
Concrete that is a lighter blend (not pure sand and gravel). It can be tinted different colors as you build. Mortar, thin set and related materials may be better- the aggregate is finer, no gravel, so the finish can be applied thinner, and in layers. Sika product line includes some food grade products that you might look into.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 11:34 PM
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Building on Diana's post look here:

Dramatic AquaScapes - DIY Aquarium Backgrounds

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Those are impressive. I was thinking foam probably would be one of the easiest/lightest to use also easier to make a hole for planters.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 03:11 AM
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My nephew did a 125 with foam. He's going to do my back drilled 55 as a stream tank since it's got chips I don't trust. It's a used tank I bought and I did have it filled for a few months but it would look nice as a stream tank.

One thing he learned on his 125 you have to silicone all the layers really good. He thought the cement cover would help. It didn't. He's resiliconing as careful as he can but if that fails I told him to put real rock on top to hold it down.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 11:00 AM
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It is a neat idea and will absolutely work. But you should identify your budget and go from there. You should also start figuring what size tank you want. I'm working on a plywood tank myself and I started with a rough idea of what I wanted and went from there.

In reality, if you want anything smaller than 100g of water, I would buy a used craigslist tank. You can use 1/4" glass for the top section without issue. You may want multiple returns so all the flow isn't coming down the water fall.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-11-2015, 01:12 AM
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I wouldn't consider plywood under 250g, it's cost prohibitive. I do love your idea though my favorite tanks are similar to your plan, I wish you luck and I echo what other posters mention, use an all glass tank for the bottom

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