The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!

This summer, I'm planning on making this:



That's the rough sketch. I started planning out the structure and materials in a more detailed model, using aquarium stands on the internet as a reference, but it started to become a dense mass of 2x4s.

Considering how shallow and widely distributed the water is in this tank, do you think it would be possible to make a thinner than usual frame? What should I make the bones of this thing out of?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
If I wanted to make that stand I wouldn't use any 2x4's or any other frame. I would build it out of 3/4" plywood or MDF. Building the stand would be very easy compared to building such a complex tank. The problem with the tank, other than being hard to make, is figuring out how to keep the 31" high part clean, and planting it. But, it would certainly be an interesting aquarium/paludarium.
 

·
Pixel Prestidigitator
Joined
·
4,343 Posts
Skip the construction lumber and use either 1x3 or 1x4 or rip some plywood down. Don't use MDF use MDO instead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys!

Yeah I plan on having all the cuts for the acrylic done by the acrylic supplier. I'm also going to pick up a bunch of scrap to practice with. While I do have pretty adequate woodworking experience, and even some experience working with glass, I've never worked with acrylic before. So, yo know, this might be a stupid idea.


Will I need something thicker than 1x3 and 1x4 below the 31" tall column of water? In that 10" tall box? It has to hold up 36 gallons over a 14"x14" area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
A tricky part in making the stand is that you have to have the height dimensions just right, or the tank itself will be supporting either the horizontal leg of the tank, or the column portion of the tank, and that will quickly cause a failure. It might be that you can shim the heights to get the exact fit, but that means using solid wood shims - no paper or other "cushion" type materials as shims. This whole project is filled with potential problems!
 

·
Children Boogie
Joined
·
16,743 Posts
A tricky part in making the stand is that you have to have the height dimensions just right, or the tank itself will be supporting either the horizontal leg of the tank, or the column portion of the tank, and that will quickly cause a failure. It might be that you can shim the heights to get the exact fit, but that means using solid wood shims - no paper or other "cushion" type materials as shims. This whole project is filled with potential problems!
Yeah, now that you brought up the issues, it could be a headache.

The tank has to fit the stand pretty much perfectly or it'll warp and break especially on the diagonal parts. I wonder if it'll be better to simplify and make it all squared and do the slope in the tank.

ps. wood will warp, shrink, expand with the seasons so something to think about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
I can't see the pictures unfortunately, but it sounds like there may be some build issues. However, for what it is worth, I currently have a 65 gallon aquarium sitting on a DIY stand out of 3/4 plywood on three sides. No issues, so no, you don't need 2x4s. From the sounds of things, getting support in the right areas might be a bigger issue with this build however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,411 Posts
For the 2X4 question, I don't find I need that size for strength but it does work much better when building the "standard" stand to keep the cost down. Good looking, straight, dry 2X4-8 is much cheaper than the same quality in 1X4-8. If you want to have the strength without the bulk and are willing to go the expense, putting two 1X together at an angle (L-shaped) will get you what you want. Each leg of the "L" keeps the other in line like an angle iron versus flat.

I might consider making the top rim level all around. Both to ease the cutting as well as to provide a bit more "buffer" for any waves. Assume you might be planning something like turtles that might flop into the water at top?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,317 Posts
that looks like a pretty ambitious project.

As so many people pointed out up above, the different leveled shape of that tank can pose some potential problems. Might be easier to make the whole thing a big 'L' shape the same depth/height as the front bit, and then fill the rest with dead volume. You'd spend a lot more on acrylic, and loose some of the shelf space, but it would probably make the stand/tank mating a non-issue.

I'd also consider going with quite a bit thicker acrylic then what is needed, just to get some extra strength, as their might be some weird stresses in a sytem like that.

Could possibly try making part of the stand out of concrete (light weight version?), that way you could upend the (reinforced) tank, build a form around it, and effectively mold the stand to the tank. (there's probably just as many problems with that method...)

As to 2x4's, I like them cause they are readily available and cheap, plus they are somewhat forgiving to work with, and strong as hell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
You could always have a fab shop weld up a stand. If you're that far into a custom tank spending $200 on a solid stand isn't that bad. You can also get metal shims at the same place down to probably 24 gage thin to accommodate the slight issues. Between a metal stand, foam, and shims, I would go for it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A tricky part in making the stand is that you have to have the height dimensions just right, or the tank itself will be supporting either the horizontal leg of the tank, or the column portion of the tank, and that will quickly cause a failure.
ps. wood will warp, shrink, expand with the seasons so something to think about.
Someone has recently turned me onto the idea of using high pressure laminate. As I understand, it'll be a lot easier to get a level surface, and it's pretty moisture resistant.
Does this increase your confidence at all?

I might consider making the top rim level all around. Both to ease the cutting as well as to provide a bit more "buffer" for any waves. Assume you might be planning something like turtles that might flop into the water at top?
I would really prefer to keep the water level pretty high for aesthetic purposes. Maybe around 2" from the rim.
No turtles. I'm really in the hobby more for the plants, and turtles are pretty limiting in terms of planting options. The terrestrial area is for riparian flora, maybe some crabs.

As so many people pointed out up above, the different leveled shape of that tank can pose some potential problems. Might be easier to make the whole thing a big 'L' shape the same depth/height as the front bit, and then fill the rest with dead volume. You'd spend a lot more on acrylic, and loose some of the shelf space, but it would probably make the stand/tank mating a non-issue.
Yeah, reading these comments, I'm definitely starting to feel for this position. The issue is that I live in New York City, where space is a little scarce. The goal of this project is to fulfill my desire for a shallow aquarium that does not take up a lot of space and yet does not compromise on water volume. Cropping out the shelves and filling in with "dead volume" wastes space. Cropping out the deeper 26 gallon section compromises water volume.



I'd just like to thank everyone in this thread for all the advice you have offered so far. I know this is probably a pretty hair brained idea, and I appreciate that you're all taking it seriously while offering practical, candid advice.
 

·
Children Boogie
Joined
·
16,743 Posts
Someone has recently turned me onto the idea of using high pressure laminate. As I understand, it'll be a lot easier to get a level surface, and it's pretty moisture resistant.
Does this increase your confidence at all?
Everything shrink and expand with temperature, wood being the most since it has pores and such that absorbs humidity. Particle boards being pretty good, not as bad as tree wood but it'll still shrink & expand.

I think you can achieve the illusion of something like this with one or 2 normal square tanks. It'll save you problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
That design would put a lot of stress on the joints of the glass. Any inconsistencies in the support of the angled part of the aquarium would result in a failure of the tank. It is a very nice design in theory but will be very difficult to engineer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,411 Posts
But keep in mind that it is not fatal if a major mistake does come along. Better to think of it as a learning experience even if it does come out as a total flop. But then I feel it could be worked out. Just needs some study which seems to be what you are doing.

Did you know that the pelican can not fly! Everybody can see it's just a really bad design for a bird!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
Thanks Rich, I neglected to add that just because something seems difficult, there is always a way. I didn't mean to sound negative.

TSex, keep up the great design work. Push the envelope of your imagination.
 

·
Pixel Prestidigitator
Joined
·
4,343 Posts
If you go with a wood stand use plywood. Overall it's more stable than solid wood and not as hateful of water as a particle board. MDO is actually resistant to water and very flat. Sign painters love it and use it outdoors.

if I were to build the stand I'd have the tank with me. I'd fit the pieces so it hugged the tank like a glove. I'd use the tank for the measurements and forgo a ruler altogether. But then I rarely ever use a tape measure anyway. I hate the built in inaccuracy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,722 Posts
Did you know that the pelican can not fly! Everybody can see it's just a really bad design for a bird!
I thought they were very graceful fliers! Migration must take them forever.:hihi:
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top