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Old 04-22-2004, 07:46 PM   #1
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New DIY Tank setup...

I've been reading the DIY forum and Garf.org a lot lately. I think instead of buying a tank and overflow setup, I'll just build my own. I'm pretty mechanically inclined so I don't think it would be a problem. The biggest and probably the only thing that worries me is bonding acrylic. I've never attempted anything of that nature before, but it really doesn't look that hard. After checking out usplastic.com to see the prices of acrylic sheets, the total cost of a DIY project is definately appealing compared to a prefab model at the lfs.

So... does anyone have any suggestions, or horror stories about building tanks? If so, let me know.

TIA

Alex
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Old 04-22-2004, 07:56 PM   #2
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An estimate of $550 for 2 sheets of 1/2" acrylic (48"x96") and all the supplies I would need compared to $850 - $1000 for an acrylic tank from an online retailer or the lfs. A couple hundred dollars doesn't seem like that much of a difference until you think about the amount of live rock I could purchase or other essentials like protein skimmers.
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Old 04-22-2004, 08:21 PM   #3
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well you coukld buiild a skimmer too. you can build just about any thing for the tank. i think that the hardest thing for a diy would be the tank. but that is just me
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:13 PM   #4
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First of all $550 for 2 sheets is entirely too high! Shop your plastic places. Here 1/2" sheets are $135. Depending on the size of the tank you want 3/8" is sufficient which is cheaper yet by $20 a sheet. I have built several sumps with 1/4" at appox $80 a sheet, which depending if your stand will be flat topped as opposed to just supported on sides can be used for the bottom. Look in the yellow pages or even the next largest city near you. It may be worth the drive to save on materials.

Bonding acrtlic isn't bad at all. Weld-on literally melts the acrylic together instead of glueing it I have found some joints to be stonger than the acrylic itself. You should be able get this from the same place you get your acrylic. The #3 is thin and applied with a needle bottle just like the garf instructions and the #16 is better applied IMO with a small paintbrush or trasfer it to a syringe as it can run a little strait out of the tube.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask or PM me and I'll send you some pics.
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:43 AM   #5
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Thanks sumphead,

Unforntunately I can't get acrylic sheets locally. The closest city I found is about a 3 hour drive and I have no way to pick it up, so unfortunately, mail-order is the only way I can go. The $550 is including shipping and all the solvents, applicators, whatnot I should need. www.usplastics.com is where I plan on ordering the acrylic from... unless I find it cheaper somewhere else. The tank I would like to build is 72"x24"x24". garf.org recommends 1/2" acrylic for it, but I wonder if 3/8" will work? By the time it's all together and the braces are on it, shouldn't it be strong enough to hold 180 gal of water? The tank is just the first step, I have an old 30 gal tank I plan on using for a sump, and then I plan on building a fuge as well. I've got a ton of ideas, but right now limited time and money. LOL I feel this salt tank adventure is going to be a year long process.
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Old 04-23-2004, 01:52 PM   #6
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Nothing good happens fast. You are going to hear this over and over in this hobby. The wait sucks but payoff is amazing. If you have good cuts, seals, and brace it well I would think 3/8" would suffice. That is entirely up to you. I think you could get a used glass tank a lot cheaper like a 125G close to your specs, but if you are anything like me, then you gotta do it yourself! Drop me an e-mail and I'll send you some pics that may help with bracing and cuts.

Good luck whateer you decide.

R-
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:40 PM   #7
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Or you could post those pics here sumphead! Lots of folks go through this process, making a thread documenting how you constructed yours would be of great use to many folks here! (if you're running out of space for images send a PM to ReefRunner69 or Fishfreek and let them know what these images are for and I'm sure they'd be willing to help you)
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:48 PM   #8
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Billy, I have posted several sump pics in the past. I can easily post more. I am in the process at the moment of building a 30 cube display out of 3/8" I have taken several pictures and planned to post a chronological list when finished. If you have any specific requests for specific cuts or something I can try and ablige. Again, I don't think building a half dozen sumps and a few oddities with acrylic makes me an expert but I have yet to have any major difficulties either. Fortunately me plastics distibutor is very friendly and is quite helpful.

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Old 04-23-2004, 04:35 PM   #9
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Thanks sumphead! I am like you, I would much rather do it myself whenever possible. I've looked into getting a used tank, but I live in a rural area and the only thing people around here do with fish is catch them or eat them. LOL So finding a good used tank is hard to come by. I hope to tackle the new tank setup this summer. If I have any questions or need some help, I'll be sure to send you an e-mail. Thanks again.

If anyone else has any comments or suggestions just post them. I'd like to get as much feedback on this as possible. Especially experiences that people have had.
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Old 04-24-2004, 08:17 PM   #10
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I found a new acrylic supplier that's almost $100 cheaper that www.usplastic.com. The new supplier is: http://www.delviesplastics.com

I thought everyone here on the forum may be interested for DIY projects. They also offer free sheet cutting down to sizes that UPS will deliver. That way you can avoid using a freight company for shipping.
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