01-14-2011, 04:09 PM
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Here is the breakdown of this project: Got a 18X28 sheet of acrylic for 14.98 Got one of the egg crate light covers for 11.99 Got 5 gal worth of bio-balls 29.99 Acrylic cutting tool 3.49 Tube of aquarium safe clear silicone 3.99 285 GPH pump Normally 24.99 but was on sale for 19.99 also had 20% off coupon so total was 17.99 To start out make sure your tank is clean and dry. Measure for your first cut, It will be the outside wall of the bio-ball container. I made mine to have about a 2 1/4 inch gap at the bottom and a 1 ¼ inch gap at the top. I made the gap at the top so if for some reason the drip try gets clogged it will over low in the tank and not the floor. Measure your inside width from glass to glass and then decide on the height you want. To cut acrylic it is best to use one of the sharp acrylic cutting tools you can get at the home improvement stores. Lay your sheet out flat and make your measurements, Use the factory cut side as much as possible to keep everything as square as possible. I used a metal ruler as my cutting guide. Just lay it on your marks and draw the cutting blade across it several times with steady pressure. I would run across it 5 to 6 times. Then you can snap it and it will break on the score line. Then use some fine sand paper to clean up the edge. To glue the piece in you can do this two different ways. You can put small dots of epoxy at three points and then let them dry and then come behind and apply your silicone. The other way works best if you have a helper. One person holds it in place and the other applies the silicone. Draw back to that method is that you’re stuck holding it until the silicone starts to set. Ok, now your outside wall is in. Cut some 1” pieces of acrylic and snap them off (go ahead and make then as long as the sheet you have. You will use them. After you have them done, cut them into 3 or 4 inch long pieces, These will be supports for your egg create. You can use superglue, epoxy, or silicone for attaching these pieces. Glue one at the bottom of the outside wall. Then measure to the top of it from the bottom on the tank. Now copy that measurement onto the three other walls. Glue your other support pieces at the marks you just made. Now your tray supports are done. Get your egg crate and lay it on a flat surface. Measure the inside length and width of your bio-box. And transfer those measurements to the egg crate. They are really easy to cut, I used a pair of diag. cutters to snip them off. If you happen to cut it a little small and it will not sit on the supports that’s ok, just double the supports by gluing another support on top of the other supports and you should be good. To make the drip tray you need to add supports at the top. I placed mine about an inch below the top of the outside wall to keep from having to make sides for the tray. When you have the support in place on the outside wall, measure from the top of the support to the top to the tank. Transfer those to the outside walls. Then glue your other supports at the marks. Now measure the box opening (length and width) and transfer them to your acrylic. Cut this out and then test fit. Sand the sides to adjust the fit After you have the fit correct. Lay the top on a flat surface and use your ruler to mark the edges at 1 inch increments (all the way around) then just connect the dots (first length then width) You should end up with a lot of small boxes (much like a checker board). You will want to drill a hole at the point where the lines connect. There are many ways to do this, you could drill them at completely random places. I like to have them uniform. I drilled mine starting with a 1/8 drill bit. You will have to test to see if you need larger holes. If your return pump runs dry then you need bigger holes. It is very important to place a piece of wood under this when you start to drill if not you run the risk of cracking or braking the acrylic. Do not apply a lot of pressure when drilling. I found that I got cleaner holes if I let the weight of the drill do the work and I just guided it. There your bio-box is complete. The next step is the baffle wall. This wall will dictate the depth of your water in your filter. I cut mine to make sure that the return pump would always be under water. Just take your length measurements on the inside of the glass and transfer them to your acrylic. Then decide on the height and cut to that. Glue it in and then silicone. Let everything dry for 24 hours and then apply one more layer of silicone to all edges. I added another egg-crate tray between the bio-box and the baffle for a place to put filter socks for AC or other things. I have yet to make my lid with the hose connection so I still have some work to do.