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-   -   DIY open top glass tank.. need your wisdom. (https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/diy-aquarium-projects/13132-diy-open-top-glass-tank-need.html)

roamingwesty 02-03-2006 05:39 PM

DIY open top glass tank.. need your wisdom.
 
There is a 20' by 30' room in my home that will be re-arranged. I have cleaned it to bare walls and a floor. Naturally it's day-dream time with what goes where, and I couldn't help with a vision of an open top tank that will be view-able from all sides. The tank may even sit somewhat near the center of the room. Wife didn't say no :dance: so now I'm asking for advise, please feel free to show newbie the DIY way to nirvana.

The desired size is 5' by 3' by 2', although it wouldn't be all that different if it were 6' by 4' by 2' in terms of its footprint. (The real difference is in glass thickness and thereby the cost to the tank itself, and of course the gizmos that go with it, I gathered, providing the construction of the tank was error-free.) Would half an inch glass walls and 3/5 inch bottom piece be sufficient for such size - 5 feet by 3 feet? Probably better if tempered glass, correct? Open top and braceless, is it possible? Where do you recommend to order such pieces if do-able? (I don't need the Starphire glass if the savings mean I can have better canisters and canopies and so on.)

The stand is also going to be DIY on the spot; I have found several useful web pages that provide excellent info, including the APC. But feel free to throw me any word of caution regarding either part about the stand or the tank.. or any part.

It will be on a hardwood floor with solid concrete underneath. It's weight should not be an issue.

Much thanks in advance!

Ricky

kilroy 02-03-2006 06:45 PM

I've actually thought about the idea of doing a tank like that someday. My idea though was to make it square, say 5' X 5', with a drilled bottom and an overflow in the center with rockwork around it to disguise it.

I would imagine that it would be possible to go braceless so long as you increased the thickness of the glass. I'm not sure how much you would need to increase it by but it would stand to reason that with less support thicker material is needed. Another option might be to make a top brace out of some nice 3/4" hardwood plywood finished to match your floor. With some creative scroll work it could actually add to the look of the tank as well. A matching hung light fixture would probably complement the whole thing nicely too.

roamingwesty 02-03-2006 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kilroy
I've actually thought about the idea of doing a tank like that someday. My idea though was to make it square, say 5' X 5', with a drilled bottom and an overflow in the center with rockwork around it to disguise it.

I would imagine that it would be possible to go braceless so long as you increased the thickness of the glass. I'm not sure how much you would need to increase it by but it would stand to reason that with less support thicker material is needed. Another option might be to make a top brace out of some nice 3/4" hardwood plywood finished to match your floor. With some creative scroll work it could actually add to the look of the tank as well. A matching hung light fixture would probably complement the whole thing nicely too.

Thanks for the quick reply and ideas Kilroy.

The thought of such tank started with a composition of what's inside. Unfortunately an overflow tower is kind of hard to go along with the composition so for now I am imagining the tank in the direction without it. I might not even have the bottom drilled.. I realize mimicking nature has its limits and I guess I'm at peace with letting the limits show by having tubes (lily or not) going in and out on one side.

But yes, by light canopy I do mean a ceiling-hanging light fixture like you suggested. I probably would use existing ceiling outlet too to provide power to the light fixtures. Probably a MH + PC + timers combo.

The square tank idea sounds cool. Thanks for sharing!

Ricky

kilroy 02-03-2006 07:56 PM

Yeah I have this strange fetish for tanks that aren't rectangular. Probably, simply becuse something like that screams "Custom". A huge circular tank would probably be "uber cool" though it would unfortunately also be "uber expensive".

Something else that might be neat would be a collection of cube tanks, each with thier own theme. Something like 3 rows of 3 arranged in a square with the center one raised up higher than the others for viewing. Or all the tanks could be arranged at slightly different heights for a real funky look. You could do 20"X20"X20" (roughly 34.5 gallons each) without having to go with super thick glass (9mm or 3/8 mght work) but then you will need to buy probably 3 times as much of it. Something like that could be adapted an infinite number of ways though.

It sounds like you have vision for your area though. It should look good whichever direction you go with it. Just be sure to share pics when you're done so others can drool.

roamingwesty 02-04-2006 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kilroy
...It sounds like you have vision for your area though. It should look good whichever direction you go with it. Just be sure to share pics when you're done so others can drool.

Hahaha. It's the other way around, I drool at other people's ability to create serenity all the time. I just want to impress myself as well by bringing an idea into reality, to be part of the "can do." Sure I'd share, if it'd ever get off the papers.

The square tanks do sound good as a matter of fact. I will play with that idea in my mind. :yo:

Again you are right that the room's layout plus the composition in my mind do call for something rectangular. I hope I get some more tips/advise with the said size(s)? Thickness? Sources? The whatever?

Ricky

jgc 02-04-2006 07:42 AM

I like the idea as well, but I would certainly consider trying to work in a sump. Main reasons is that it would simplify hiding stuff, help maintian your water level, and keep stuff from haning over the edge of your tank. Be creative, you could probably even disign it to look like drift wood, or use clear pvc tubes to help make it disappear. My next tank(s) will probably either be large and cheep (used) or custom cubes.

roamingwesty 02-04-2006 08:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jgc
I like the idea as well, but I would certainly consider trying to work in a sump...

Makes sense. Thank you. :)

freydo 02-07-2006 04:17 PM

another problem will be power to your tank for all the various equipment. i'm assuming this is in the basement, because of the concrete below the hardwood floor?

because this is hardwood on top of concrete, there probably isn't a lot of room between the two. otherwise you're left with running extension cords.

one idea is to use corner columns running from floor to ceiling. this way you can use the columns to hide the plumbing and run the electrical power along the ceiling, which would be easier to hide.

sorry... just spit-balling :)

roamingwesty 02-07-2006 07:29 PM

Thanks for the reply, freydo. I assume I will have to run the wire under one strip of wood - as if replacing the damaged strip - and install a CGFI inside the tank stand. Or risk tripping my young kids every day. It builds toughness, lol.

I haven't done much for this project other than looking up possible prices for glasses online from just one source in Illinois. The effect is somewhat chilling.. the bottom piece, 37" x 60" by 3/4" thick, which is not tempered at this thickness: $914.17. Just budget on glass panes alone, for the whole tank, pick-up only (the large pieces are over shipping limits of major companies): $1800 to 2200. 1800 if I could substitute the bottom piece to a tempered glass at 1/2" thickness.

For someone who hasn't built a single tank before, perhaps I should consider a more managable learning curve and build something smaller first. I could use a cultivation tank anyways if the big one is built.. lots of coverage to do. Is this the advice no one wants to give for the sake of politeness? :D

Well I will report back if it ever happened. Will the village idiot attempt flying by jumping off the steepest cliff? :rolleyes:

kilroy 02-07-2006 08:31 PM

Something smaller might be more managable for a fist attempt. Something 10g or smaller would probably be much easier to assemble and leak test multiple times until you get the feel for it. And you could always go to someone like Glasscages.com for a tank with custom dimensions.


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