So I just setup a saltwater tank, running on a canister filter. I am going to build a sump for it, but was doing more of a 'scientific' test.
I'm testing whether 'lexan' is going to be a suitable option as opposed to acrylic. When I speak of this, it is assumed that both types are the same size and thickness. Most of us know that acrylic is less resistant to scratches. Another downside is the chances of bowing are greatly increased in lexan, and reportedly does not bond as well as acrylic. Cracking is higher up with casted acrylic than the normal lexan. They do have a type of lexan that has a scratch resistant coat applied, which increases it's strength; but I'm going to be using the normal off the shelf stuff. While lexan is stronger than acrylic, when it bows, it might break the 'bond' that creates the box. So being more resistant to shattering damage is a perk, its less likely to be shattered while in your aquarium cabinet.
: 3/8" (0.375")
Dimensions of Tank
: 20" long, 13" tall, 10" deep.
: 11gal (2600 cubic inches)
: Weld-On #16 (#16 is thicker than #3-4)
: Top Brace - Single sheet with cutouts
Ok, so while it's max is 11 gallons, we won't be using any more than 70% of it's capacity while in use. Any more than that, and something went very wrong. My sump is for a 55, and will not be an extremely sought out sump as this is my first build, and trial with lexan. It will house 3 areas - Intake (with drilled leads to external skimmer), refugium area, and outlet.
Drip tray to bioballs, and 25% area used (w*l). Outlet and inlet for external skimmer + pump. Bubble trap dividing the next area.
Chaeto, possibly sand, and live rock, about 50% area used. A nice powerful led
overhead. 350Magnum Canister filter inlet/outlet. Basic 1 panel divider into next area.
A pump 600-700gph? Final 25% area being used.
Basic blue & black filter pads or blocks TBD. Will have an area where they can be used by the dividers; where water is forced to travel through them.
Overall this is the setup, if you have questions or helpful advice, all is welcome. However, do not slander me for attempting this. I know there is a chance of failure here, and accept that. It might be wasted money, and possibly cheaper to just by one, but I want to do this one on my own. If it works, I will make it a lot fancier and more eye appealing. If it fails, then I will try acrylic with the same thickness. However, with the acrylic there is a 99% chance of success as long as material is cut straight, cleaned edges, no gaps, and bonded properly.
I will post pictures of progress starting tomorrow. So far I have my bottom and sides put together and bonded as of tonight. Not all pieces are perfectly cut, so there is a little overhang on material, but no major gaps. I applied a very thick layer of Weldon 16. I will test flex tomorrow, and see how it goes. Once cured, I will start putting water in it until I notice a leak or any major bowing.
Obviously the dividers will help with bow (I hope) but I want to do ALL durability checks. Once dividers are in, I will put the top brace on, which will help with the bowing as well.
This is going to be a 1-2 week project, as my time is spent working more so than free time. Stay tuned!