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Plywood tanks are a thing, but not a single panel. You need 4 of the 5 sides plywood covered in epoxy (like pond armor or west system). Then you put the glass viewing window in a kind of frame so the water pressure holds it against the plywood frame. You do not rely on silicone holding a tank like this together because it wont bond as well to epoxy as it does to glass. So yeah, don't do a single panel as plywood.

Similarly a canister filter really shouldn't go to more then one tank. The reason you are experiencing problems is the water pressure is going to be different from tank to tank based on hose sizes etc and water will always take the path of least resistance. Plus the potential for flooding is VERY real and even likely because again, water will flow back to tanks based on the path of least resistance which will almost certainly be 1 of your 4 tanks and not exactly all of them equally.

The cheap way to do multiple tank filtration is sponge filters and a single air pump.
 
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