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Old 09-18-2003, 01:06 AM   #1
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Dreaming of a DIY tank - advice & comments appreciated

Just a month after getting into fish keeping and I am getting upgrade-itis!

And your sticky on the DIY tank got me hooked.

I have done extensive furniture building before so I can handle the cabinet & hood work, but since I have never build a tank before, I would love to get some advice & comments on the planning stage, before I get too deep into trouble. So thanks in advance.

I am planning something like a 36x18x18 out of acrylic (easier to work than glass, plus I can use all my wood working tools). The site gave pretty good instructions but I have more questions:

1. Anyone has experience with acrylic over the long term - ie with yellowing or scratches, etc.

2. Glass tank is supposed to be supported around the edges only, how about acrylic? I figure this will weigh some 400 lbs, and I would rather like to overbuild and have solid support on the bottom too.

3. How much weight can the acrylic hold? I am thinking of resting the hood directly on the tank, is this advisable? or should I build extra support?

4. For filtering, I am thinking of an interior overflow into a trickle filter - BTW great post on the trickle filter design here! VS a fluval canister. Any thoughts on the pros & cons of each?

That's all for now. I'll probably spend the next month researching & planning before starting the project, and would love to hear from you all.

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Old 09-18-2003, 09:23 AM   #2
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Given that acrylic is softer than glass is will scratch easier. Care needs to be taken in the building phase as well as in your regular maintaince phase to keep from introducting large gashes in the surface. Small scraches can be buffed out with a scratch removal kit.

I have not built or worked with acrylic but my understanding is that the sections of acrlyc are bonded to eachother with a product called WeldOn or something liek that. its simular to PVC glue in that the product melts the two sections of acrlyc together forming a very strong bond.

Acrylic can support more weight for a given thickness than glass. The exact limit a set thickness of acrlyic can support but when i helped a guy put a 180 acrylic tank in his house it appeared like the acrylic was 1/2" or 3/8" thick vs the equivlent glass thickness for that size tank of 3/4"+.

Many of us support our hoods by putting little blocks inside the canopy and the canopy itself fits over the sides of the tank and rests on the top lip of the tank. This puts all the weight of the canopy on the sides. Alot of the comercial acrlic tanks have a top on them with access ports cut out. I think this improves stabliity.

Interior bulkheads are great as it really simplifies the process of getting water out of the tank.
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diy, tan

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