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Old 08-27-2010, 07:36 PM   #1
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Thoughts on building my own tank

Alright so, I'm thinking of building my own tank since i've gotten pretty good at building sumps and all that. And now, with more space between the contact points i should be able to make the silicone job strong and durable while still being aesthetically pleasing. But first, a couple questions.

The dimensions i'm looking at are 24"Lx16"Wx15"T. This is approximately 24.something gallons which is a great number for me, since i like nano's. I thought i was going to like this 25G cube thing.. but ultimately it turned out to disgust me. Probably just because it's too tall.. and i don't have lots of money to spend on beautiful SPS that would like the high light. And now, with a 24" tank.. and only 15" deep, the lighting possibilities are pretty wide. 24, 36, and 48 inch light fixtures are the most popular sizes around. I plan to make this a zoa tank, with some nice LPS like duncans and blastos, definitely some monti caps, maybe a chalice or two, but probably no acros. Too expensive and if something goes wrong.. dear god. I mean, if i can get one for a steal sure.. i'll take it.

ANYWAYS. I'm here to ask the experts so back on track.

A couple things i'm worried about:

Should a tank like this have a brace of some sort? It isn't many gallons, and I was planning on making it rimless as well. Also, what thickness should the acrylic be? I was thinking 1/4". I could go higher but i just want to know if 1/4" is enough, it's cheaper. I'm choosing acrylic because acrylic is clear unlike cheap glass that has the green tint. And starphire is just too expensive. Plus, acrylic is cheaper and easier to cut holes in. Oh yeah, and the overflow design i want to go with is a built-in external overflow, meaning, the teeth to the overflow will actually be cut in to the back panel of the tank. This way, there is no overflow box IN the tank. Pretty cool right? I've seen it done on really nice and expensive tanks and thought i could definitely pull it off. My dad has a tile cutter now so i can definitely pull off some nice, slim, clean cuts.

Another thing, i need a REALLY good type of silicone that won't turn ugly colors from long term exposure to saltwater, and WON'T give-in or corrode from long term exposure.

Alright guys, that's all for now, so please suggestions, advice, and answers to my questions above would help me in soo many ways you don't even know.

Also, just as a reference, if anyone wants to steal my ideas or create their own, the place where i'm getting my acrylic has amazing prices and the shipping is fairly cheap.

TAP Plastics

Thanks again guys!
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:04 AM   #2
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If you're going to use acrylic, you're going to have to use acrylic glue. Silicone won't stick to acrylic.

There are calculators online that will dictate how thick the acrylic needs to be. You'll have to put a eurobrace on the top, unless you really want to go overboard with the wall thickness.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:13 AM   #3
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BigJim nailed it. Check out the link in my sig to the 30g acrylic frag tank that me and pat8you built, there is some good info in there on techniques.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:18 AM   #4
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I would really consider going glass. For the thickness of glass you would need the green tint would be very minor. Acrylic is pretty expensive as well. I have not compared numbers but i would guess that it is close to as expensive as saphire glass. As bigjim said you will need to use acrylic glue. I've worked with acrylic glue before and it isn't overly difficult but it does take a bit of practice. Especially if you are doing structural bonds that would require a perfect seam. So be ready to have a good amount of extra acrylic around to practice if you want to go that route. Last think i would take into consideration is that if you screw up a seam with acrylic there is no going back. Glass you can always cut out the silicone and try again.

This is more personal opinion but acrylic really does scratch super easy. Even the made for acrylic scrubbers will scratch it. You have to constantly watch to make sure you don't get any sand or debries between the scrubber and acrylic because that will cause scratches as well. It just turns out to be a real pain.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:21 AM   #5
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I'm going to agree, I loved my frag tank, but MAN was it a PITA when it came to cleaning. For some reason algae grips the surface of acrylic (at least the stuff we used) much better, I had some hair algae run rampant in there that I couldn't do anything about. Glass is also much stronger and won't bow, so It will need less of a bracing.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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I have used acrylic and glass to build some small things... I would say that glass is better. If the glass is thick enough then you won't need bracing... Most 20-30g tanks I have seen don't have bracing.
Hole saws from e-bay are pretty cheep... I have used them and had no problems... I drilled 2 holes my 320g with 1" thick glass and the drill bit had no problems. Also my tank is made with "normal" glass and the "green tint" is not noticeable IMO. It's like comparing HD TV's, 720p to 1080p if they are side by side you can see the difference but if they are in different rooms it's hard to tell.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmaster View Post
Also my tank is made with "normal" glass and the "green tint" is not noticeable IMO. It's like comparing HD TV's, 720p to 1080p if they are side by side you can see the difference but if they are in different rooms it's hard to tell.
Really gotta disagree on that. I don't know how much you have been around starphire tanks, but man is there a huge difference. Its like comparing a Projection TV to an LED TV IMO.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:56 AM   #8
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^Truth.

Buy a 50G AGA tank and then buy a 50G Starphire tank and even in separate rooms you'll see the difference.
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