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Building your own custom tank....

1434 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  talontsiawd
CALLING ALL DIY MASTERS!! Advice, opinions & suggestions needed! :biggrin:

I've got this awesome aspiration/idea to build my own 66 gallon custom tank (hopefully for my birthday!) and so I have come here for any advice, tips, suggestions, etc on tank building - as well as to ask some questions! :icon_bigg

Above is a general idea of the tank I want to build, I have a stand that is perfect for it.
My main concern is, well, I have never built a tank of any size before.
I will have help, but not from anyone who has built a tank so I thought I would come here and ask.

(In case anyone is wondering, this tank is intended to become an african biotope riparium.)

My questions are in regards to materials and the actual construction of the tank.

How thick should the glass be?
How much (roughly) do you think this will cost?
Considering that I am really into my frogs, but relatively low on $, is this project even worth it?
Should I build a frame to hold everything in place while it's being put together/cured/dried?
What glues/silicons would you reccomend?
Any DIY lighting ideas?

As said above, any input at all is much obliged! :red_mouth
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That will be difficult because of the non-square corners. You will need to bevel the pieces to get a good fit at those corners. And, that is a major job for a DIYer. Also, the stress on the corners will be much more than usual in a glass tank. I think you should try a rectangular tank instead.
It's a neat idea, but if you are "relatively low on $" then this isn't a project to start with. Six pieces of decent glass with beveled edges is going to cost big $$ (and it will have to be beveled by a glass company with a glass router).

For the cost of the glass and beveling, you should be able to purchase a new 75/90 gallon tank with a warranty and a fair amount of other bits.
For the cost of the silicone I, you should be able to purchase the materials to build a stand.
For the cost of a DIY that fits that shape, you should be able to purchase a nice off the shelf T5HO fixture for a 70 gallon.

If you ever want to sell the tank, a standard tank is a LOT easier to sell.
Advocate what the other posters advised regarding dimensions and cost efficiency.

I saw a program on how aquariums are made. Very large ones require a sophisticated machine process, mainly due to the thickness of the glass that should be nearly 1/2" thick. Smaller ones were measured very precisely to avoid leaks. Silicone needed to be free of air bubbles, too.

Personally, I have learned a totally different way to hand make aquariums while in China. They don't line the bottom with plastic rimming. The bottom is the bottom that makes contact with the surface that the tank will rest on (table or tank stand). If it is about 20 gallons, 5 mm thick glass is used.

I have made aquariums. The most difficult part for me was running the silicone evenly along the edges. Glass is cheap in China so I was able to test it out for fun. I don't advise this in the USA. I recently looked in a petland a few days after returning to NYC and saw some fair prices. Unless you really want to experiment, buy an already made.
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You would absolutely need some braces for those top corners going from the front to back. Also, a big factor is the height. If you went with a tank that was only 6-8 inches tall, or planned on only filling that full, it would be a lot less stress on everything, and you could avoid using beveled edges. So going for an emersed look, or terrarium or paludarium would get this back into the realm of doable.
If you can get cheap glass, it could be done. Craigslist is a source, or being good friends with a glazer. Remember not to try to cut tempered glass, though.
The cost of the silicone is not high, BTW. It would not begin to cover the cost of materials for a stand. Unless you are talking cinder blocks and boards, of course.
Thanks for all the detailed feedback everyone, very helpful!
I decided that I am going to wait until my dad gets his shop back together (he's been sick) and I am going to get him to cut the glass for me. Save me some $!

I think I will go with bowed sides rather than have the two separate panels, suggested by my dad. He also says it would be a good idea build a metal support frame for the outside.
I have never built a tank so my advice doesn't really matter...but, it seems if you used acrylic, instead of glass, it could be much more doable.
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