Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Falina 04-13-2007 11:16 AM

what does everyone think of this idea???
ok so i have been planning to build my own tank out of wood for the back and sides and glass for the front. 2 reasons for thi:

1) wood much cheaper than glass for large aquariums
2) i actually just kid of like the look of it

howeveer my issue is this:

originally i planned just to use non-toxic yaught varnish to seal the wood as i couldnt get epoxy paint ANYWHERE. however i have since spoken about this with many people. some are of the opinion that the varnish will be fine, some are fo the opinion that it will be fine for a while, but after a few years it wont hold the water 100% so i have decided i cant take that risk.


i still cant get epoxy paint anywhere (that i can afford - it is available from america to be posted but is dearer than the tank would be itself if i boguht it) and i still definitely want to build the tank this way for the above reasons


my plan was to go ahead with the wood and varnish, THEN, put thin perspex on top of the wood to stop any issues with the varnish and seal it in with silicone as normal. to me this has a number of advantages:

1) it makes the varnish totally safe to use as it wont be in actual contact with the water, and even if the water does leak a tiny bit through the perspex joints, its only a tiny bit of water which the varnish would cope with
2) it means i can still have the look i want
3) much less expensive especially since i can get the perspex for free
4) it allows me to have different fish - even witht he epoxy paint or varnish, plecs for example would be out of the question as they tend to rasp on wood and could cause problems

however, what i want to know is are there any issues with this plan that im just not seeing? perhaps im getting too carried away with my "masterplan" to see some obvious, or not-obvious problems

any advise/suggestions would be appreciated as i plan to make a start on it soon

jones57742 04-13-2007 12:00 PM


For large aquariums (length wise) the alternates are to use:
very thick glass or
multiple cross bracing.

This is really "off the wall" and I have never heard of it before BUT

How about laminating thin, transparent "flexible" plexiglass onto the face of the wood.


Falina 04-13-2007 12:11 PM

that is a bit off the wall however, it could really work i think! id need to look into it but it seems feasable to me. that would eliminate the need for varnishing really woulnt it (on the inside anyway)? in fact it would attatch better without the varnish i would expect. i am assuming that when you say laminating, you mean heating it while on the wood so that it sort of melts onto the wood? or are you meaning somehting more high-tech than i am imagining?

if this turns out not to be so do-able, would putting thin perspex inside it work? so long as the wood was thick enough and braced in order to take the force?

i would definitely cross brace it - no worries there. no way am i putting that time, effort and money into it for it to falla apart because i havent given it enough support.that ON TOP of my poor fishes if it was to collapse on them while in it. whatever i eventually do it will be thoroughly tested before anything live is put in it.

thanks for that idea btw - id never have thoguht of it myself

usmc121581 04-13-2007 12:12 PM

I say forget about it. I have never heard of wood being used to make an actual aquaruim. There seems to be two many things that can go wrong with this picture.

Falina 04-13-2007 12:21 PM

there are a couple of posts on this forum with people doing the same. one is

there are also a number of sites i have come across talking about this method of making a tnak. the only thing that bothers me is that the link i showed you is certainly sucessful to the point where it has been filled with water - what happens after that hasnt been mentioned. from it shows you how to build a tank this way as well but i am not sure about the long term effects of using wood, regardess of what its coated in. this si why i was considering using perspex of something inside the wood


Daz 04-13-2007 12:25 PM

Julie, I take it you mean something like this....

Drop me a pm and I will forward you exact instructions. :D

This is a 170g tank.

Falina 04-13-2007 12:26 PM

i mean something very much like that

pm on its way...

i should also have added that while i say i am looking for something big - i dont mean something of 170g like you showed there. i intend to start off with something smaller - maybe 15 or 20g, then move to something about 90g is i am sucessful with the small one

Lupin 04-13-2007 12:32 PM


Originally Posted by juliewiegand
i still cant get epoxy paint anywhere (that i can afford - it is available from america to be posted but is dearer than the tank would be itself if i boguht it) and i still definitely want to build the tank this way for the above reasons

Julie, have you tried online shopping?:) I don't know if they come cheap though.

Good luck with your project.:)

jones57742 04-13-2007 12:41 PM


The following may be of some help should you decide to pursue this endeavor.

I am not familiar with perspex.

I was referring to a transparent glue (similar to a laminated beam) but spotted very limited.


Falina 04-13-2007 12:59 PM

jones: thanks for that link. instructions i got some tiem ago are very similar but that ones you sent mentions getting epoxy resin from swimming pool supply stores which is actually believe it or not something i havent thought of. i will have to look into this more.


I was referring to a transparent glue (similar to a laminated beam) but spotted very limited.
i see what you mean now - sorry i misunderstood to begin with

blue: thanks. i have searched online but dont really know where to start loking and whenever i just type in "epoxy paint" or "epoxy resin" i ahve little luck finding suppliers. i found one but it wa sin america and didnt say anything about shipping abroad. it also wasnt to cheap at all

thanks everyone

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