Question for you Acrylic Builders - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Question for you Acrylic Builders

I am in the process of designing and building my first tank out of acrylic. Yes I have done the pros and cons research and I am excited to try this. I have debated for some time and come to terms with proceeding. This tank will be 175-180 gal (72x24x24, depending on cut tolerance) and hopefully slightly overstocked and moderate to heavily planted.

Since this will be my first acrylic build I plan to take some scrap pieces from the supplier to toy with. My main practice piece will be a new sump for this setup. In mind I have a 135g sump (60x18x30)

Now my question (for assurance) is do you guys think I will be okay constructing this using 3/8" cel cast instead of 1/2". Let me explain. I know from 18"-24" a build calls for 1/2" and over 24" I have to go thicker. Well this is for a tank at full capacity. I plan to run the sump at 58-60% normal use which is about 80 gallons. I also plan to add a emergency over flow in the sump at about 20-22" above water line that will tie into my tank drainage system. With baffles and euro bracing as welded internal support this build seems feasible but I am not sure. The reason for the height being 30" is due to me wanting 14-18" of filtered water below my 6" depth bio ball chamber. See attachment.

The 14-18" of water will give me my intended 20-30% worth of water changing in the sump without dumping the whole tank. I am hoping there could be enough water remaining in the sump to avoid having to re-route or turn off the sump pump as I perform my water changes. What are you guys thoughts....
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File Type: pdf new sump02.pdf (7.4 KB, 56 views)
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 06:37 PM
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I'll say good luck. Most tank builders start off small. Then a bit bigger, then see how those run for a year, then go bigger, and test, etc. To jump into a 180gal tank with no experience at all, hope it's in a basement near a drain in case something happens.

I've seen lots of people do fine building a 2gal tank, a 5gal tank, 10gal tank, then they get bigger and they break and leak.

20g platy, , 2 x 10g shrimp, 3 x 20g shrimp, 7.5g shrimp and 1 great dane/mastiff puppy.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 06:40 PM
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A 30 inch tall sump? How tall is the stand..? And if the sump is remotely located you might be better off (time, cost, etc) to go with a pre-made container.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:24 PM
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+1 for starting out small. I have built two acrylic tanks out of 1/4" cell-cast acrylic. The first was a tiny 5 gal and the second a 47 gal. Both came out fine, but if I had not started out with the 5 gal, I probably would have messed up somewhere!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by prototyp3 View Post
A 30 inch tall sump? How tall is the stand..? And if the sump is remotely located you might be better off (time, cost, etc) to go with a pre-made container.
I have the stand at 42" (shelf height). Raised 6 inches from what I had at first. I checked everywhere that I could think of for a heavy duty premade container that would fit within my stand measurements with no luck. My best choice is an actual aquarium. The largest glass aquarium that will fit is a standard 75 gallon. My choices for sump location was either underneath, or run plumbing thru the wall into my garage. Problem here is my garage is not a living space. Down here in Texas my garage can be an oven in the summer. I thought about doing a diy small refrigerator chiller for the summer to combat the heat if I placed it there.

Yes I have seen that most start small and work their way up. I am sure those that have broken or leaky tanks are due to the builder and not the material itself. If I was overly cautious and scared of most things that I have constructed, I would have spent thousands of dollars by now buying what someone else has designed and built. I have seen a few people on youtube build acrylic tanks and it looks fairly simply. Easier said than done I know. I don't have the time nor the space to start small just to work my way up. I would hate to break down a tank just to upgrade. I am upgrading now because my 55gal finally broke a seal after 9 years of being setup. For me its all or nothing.

If I fail, which I don't anticipate, then at least I know I tried. My overall build will be over the course of 6-12 months so I have plenty of time for testing and practicing. I plan to leave my tank filled for several months while sitting outside under my covered patio to check for leaks. If I succeed with my sump, I know I can do the big tank that will be more expensive. If my sump doesn't go as planned, I won't attempt the main tank and will just buy a glass one. I can then use the attempted sump as a toy box or something.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Stand design is attached. I got the design from the web that has been used by many. I modified it for extra supports for an acrylic tank. It will be surround by 3/4 ply to further strengthen the stand.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 12:42 AM
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Well, good luck, and let us know how it goes!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 02:56 PM
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Build a separate bio ball chamber to sit on top of a part of a lower height sump. The reason to go thick is to stop the bowing. I would think you should be fine with 3/8 with bracing and baffles..

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2012, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Build a separate bio ball chamber to sit on top of a part of a lower height sump. The reason to go thick is to stop the bowing. I would think you should be fine with 3/8 with bracing and baffles..
You know I was going to do just this if I was going to use my 55g as my sump. But I knew I wanted a bigger sump. Well I found a suitable tank on craigslist and just today I picked it up. A brand new never used custom 90gal (60.5x18.25x19 1/2glass) for only $125 from a sweet older couple.

This cuts down cost on acrylic. I can get my practice on acrylic from the chamber build and scrap pieces from the supplier. A separate chamber will maximize my volume for sure. I will sketch up this new tank to find my needs. But thank you jjp2 for answering my O.P. I needed assurance for the build, not persuasion not to build it.
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