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Old 06-12-2010, 06:04 PM   #1
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What type of glass for DIY fish tank

I called up Lowes and they had non-tempered glass for sale. Unlike Home Depot, they will cut the glass for you.

I've read that tempered glass is also referred to as 'safe glass' in that it doesn't crack as easily as normal glass. Naturally, I would think to use tempered. But since Lowes has no tempered glass, I was wondering if I could build a small tank (max 5 gallons) with the non-tempered glass.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:29 PM   #2
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non- tempered glass will work fine as long as the thickness is good. Tempered glass will break into thousands of tiny pieces that are not sharp if it breaks, usually this is a good thing because it prevents getting cut on razor sharp shards of glass, but it makes any glass problem in an aquarium into a major catastrophe instead of a possible leak that you have time to deal with. A small 5 gallon tank can be built with non-tempered glass that is around 1/4 inch thick. all you need is to use GE type I silicone to build the tank. I did this when I was in college inside an old Macintosh computer case.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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How big can you go with a non-tempered tank? Do you need thicker glass? I want to do a homebuilt 100-150 but I want to drill the bottom for overflows.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:52 PM   #4
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150 glass is really thick. About 3/8" is what i've seen.
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
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I would use 1/2" if it meant that I could make the tank myself. I also read a thing saying that you don't support the bottom glass...is it really just held on by the silicone? I would think it would need more support than that!
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
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A big tank usually needs cross struts and a metal frame at the bottom.
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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Is it possible to do a wooden frame?
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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Yes probably.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:08 PM   #9
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Hmm.. I came up with a crazy idea when I was designing the tank. It has to be bigger than 5 gallons now.

I've found a calculator: DIY - Calculate Glass Thickness That Fits Your Aquarium | TheAquaTools

I'm hoping that this applies to non-tempered glass too?
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:46 AM   #10
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The required glass thickness primarily depends on the depth of the tank. Keeping large fish, using a rimless design, and peace of mind are other reasons to up the safety factor.

Building your own tank usually doesn't make any economic sense unless you're building a huge tank or you want the tank in some non-standard geometry. It's usually cheaper to buy a completed tank than just the glass.
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