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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at a set of directions that would make it cheap to build a big tank. Here is my question:

The only piece of glass used is on the front. The side, back, and bottom are the wood used from construction. The wood is sealed and covered with epoxy. Is this okay for the fish (assuming a proper wait time before putting in the fish).

Anybody with information on this would be great!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, I've done a lot of research and this is a project that has actually been cleared by my fiance! :lol:

My current plans will allow me to really expand my fish inventory! :D

I'm going to make a Plywood tank using instructions from garf.org. My measurements will be as follows:

Height: 36 inches
Width: 24 inches
Length: 48 inches

A tank this size will add up to 180 gallons! Since I'm building it this way I'll be able to rearrange my living room and maximize the space available to me, which most store tanks don't fit into (especially at that huge size). The directions at garf.org are wonderful, but I'm going to try to take some pictures along the way to help anybody who may want to do this in the future. Ideally, I'll be able to start the project the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it shouldn't take too awful long to complete. The most tedious part will be letting the epoxy dry before adding more layers.

If anybody knows ANYTHING about constructing a plywood tank please feel free to post anything at all. Any experiences or links will help tremendously!
 

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Plywoods for walls on the sides, back and bottom?:blink: Wouldn't the water contents strain it and eventually destroy the woods?:blueshake:

I don't think I understand your concept of how you're constructing the tank with plywoods as tank walls except the front.:squint:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's where the epoxy comes in. :wink:

I'll put on a layer, then sand it with 120-grit sandpaper. Then apply another layer and sand it with the same. After that I'll put on a third layer of epoxy and then use 220-grit sandpaper and add two more layers of epoxy.

Holes will be filled properly and the seams will be filled with silicone adhesive. I've been reading about them, and a lot of 500-900 gallon tanks are made this way, so long as the epoxy is applied correctly it will be a really cost effective way to build a tank.

The problem: Who wants to see a board in the background? So right now I'm looking at DIY backgrounds, but I lack a lot of creativity and I want it to be something that will be okay with any combination of fish and doesn't clash with different decorations I may use in the future. (ideas welcome!)

If I didn't explain that correctly, please let me know and I'll try again! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While I'm waiting for wood and whatnot, I figured I could ask everybody what they think about the "fish" issues.

Right now I plan on running the three filters, 2 of which I already have. That would be composed of the following filters:

2 30-60 gallon filters
1 80-100 gallon filter

I plan on running bubble strips along the entire bottom in order to create enough oxygen in the tank without it being an issue (since I am planning on having a height of 36 inches).

Right now I have 2 heaters, and I'll have 2 installed. I'll need to upgrade at least 1 of the heaters, if not both.

What else do I need, or what recommendations may you have? All ideas are MORE than welcome! :wink:
 

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This sounds like a great project -- can't wait to see your progress. :)

I have considered something similar for a dream project, but my main questions are: Is wood any stronger or more stable than an all-glass tank? Is it any lighter? Is it any more durable?

Here are some links to some interesting DIY background projects if you don't want the standard paint-on background. THe last link is to a distributor of pre-made 3D backgrounds.

http://www.aquariumlife.net/projects/diy-decoration/7.asp

http://www.aquariumlife.net/projects/diy-decoration/17.asp

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_aquarium_background.php

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_background_ii.php

http://www.alibaba.com/catalog/11666759/Super_Realistic_3D_Aquarium_Background.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
love_my_fish, GREAT LINKS! Thank you very much, there are some great resources there, and extremely thorough too.

Here is an update of where I am currently at. I've contacted several local hardware stores and they don't carry the epoxy needed for a fish tank (FDA approved). I've talked to a pool supplies company who is going to contact they're supplier for pricing information. I've also contacted a glass company to get the prices, just to make sure that it will be price effective to go with plywood. I think it would look better making it out of oak, but for safe measure I figured I'd e-mail the company.

I'll keep posting with progress, and thanks again LMF...it'll give me some reading to do! :D
 

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Nope, not the plywood tank. With 4 layers of epoxy it will contain the water as well as glass. Just to show the extremes of what you can do with a plywood tank, here is somebody who made a 1700 gallon shark tank.

For a more conventional link, more along the lines of what I'm planning, here is a link.

The instructions of putting it together are on garf.org. My hope is that once I hear from the pool supply company that I'll be able to get the epoxy reasonable enough ($50/gallon). If not, I'll probably go with the glass prices, but a plywood tank with a 3D or painted background would look really amazing. The biggest negative with plywood is that 3 sides will be wood, which only leaves the view to the tank from the front. That will be fine with where I plan to put the tank, though.[/url]
 

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I got a couple questions, but first of all sounds like you have a nice start to the project.

What are you doing for a top/canopy?
What fish are you planning on having?

With a tank that big, a couple powerheads wouldn't hurt either.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't know much about the powerheads, so information on that would be fantastic. As far as the top/canopy goes it will probably be oak either way (whether glass or plywood for the tank). I'm planning on having oscars, and maybe a couple other cichlids. I'm not sure what else I'll stock it with, I'll wait until I see the finished product. I'll definitely be able to expand what I have, but I won't have money to go saltwater since I'm getting the bigger tank. Eventually that's probably what I'll do with it. If it's plywood, the epoxy is resistant to the saltwater as well, so that wouldn't be an issue should I decide to do that.
 

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dprUsh83 said:
Nope, not the plywood tank. With 4 layers of epoxy it will contain the water as well as glass. Just to show the extremes of what you can do with a plywood tank, here is somebody who made a 1700 gallon shark tank.
[/url]
:eek:mg:

That is awesome. That would be awesome as a mighty tank for oscars or giant gouramis.
 

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You might consider asking pool manufacturers, those who build inground pools, to see if it's possible. A wooden tank holding water, I haven't heard of any such thing. I've seen people making large tanks, with only glass front, but majority of the tank is cemented, like pools, and/or lined.
 

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crazie.eddie said:
A wooden tank holding water, I haven't heard of any such thing.
Exactly.

What a weird way to create a tank. Plywood? That would be interesting.:squint:
 

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Honestly it's not interesting at all. Do a few searches and thousands of preints, plans, drawings. material lists, and directions will come up.

Short and sweet.

3 sheets of 3/4" or 1" high ply ist grade plywood, some recommend special hardwood ply only, like a furniture grade oak.

a lot of 2x4's

screws whether they are stainless or not.

a sheet of glass or acrylic about 4'x8'

some use sheets of fiberglass and resin.

Some paint the resin with a marine epoxy, some skip the fiberglass and only use epoxy.

silicone.


cut one sheet of ply in half 4x4

Lay one sheet down so it's flat, the 4x4 sheets will be the ends on the 4' side of the ply. Prop up the 8x4 remaining piece along the back. You now have the general tank, 8x4x4. You want to use 2x4 studs about one every 12" as a skeleton. You screw them in place so that the skinny side sticks out. Generally you glue them before screwing. The tanks I saw had the 2x4's stick out about 3 1/2" so that they can overlap and be screwed together. The bottom had 4 2x4's on their sides screwed under the sheet stciking out the 3" or so. Then the 4x4 sides had 4 studs runnign down and extending 3". This way they overlapped and could be screwed together giving it strength. Once you do this all the way around you add one more full elntgth 2x4 to the outside edge of the back bottom area. this way you have a runner that the 8x4 back piece can attach the 2x4 studs to. Once it was all framed together and the glue dried you begin on the glass. I saw a lot of tanks that had a 2x6 frame built to fit the front of the tank. Once that is positioned the entire inside was laid with fiberglass sheet and the proper amount of resin was applied. Pay special attention to where the glass goes , carefully wrapping the resin and sheeting around the 2x6. When that's all cleaned up you silicone the glass into place. When that dries you silicone more 2x6 to the inside overlapping to the original studs. This leaves a place to run screws through sandwiching the glass. Once that was done you fiberglass over the new studs to protect them.

Would I do it? Probably not. Seems like a lot of work. If I was going to do it I'd have to build at least a 1,000g tank. Used tanks can be had for a reasonable amount of money. I knew a guy that spent almost $1,000 building his own 90g. I asked him why? He said it was because he built it into the wall. Sure enough he did. But then again wouldn't a $200 90g complete with overflows have just as easily been slid into that same hole?
 

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This is done all the time :) If you wonder about it holding water just think of a boat the wood on a boat is covered with layers of epoxy my husband builds boats etc he is a finish carpenter and as I put under this section a while back he plans to build me one. The plans are easy to find on the net.

BTW The hoods lights etc also are included in the plans.. The reason for some people to build there own is wanting good wood and having a quality you can't buy for under a few thousand dollars. Price Oak or some of the nicer woods sometime you’ll see what I mean if you could even find one done that wasn’t custom built
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Progress was made today! I've been having an impossible time finding the right epoxy (at an affordable price). Tonight somebody supplied me with this link: http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/iid/11733

That helps out that much more! Thought I'd post it, as I certainly can never find this epoxy by searching. Now that I have an exact name brand I may be able to find it cheaper as well!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well because I found a dirt cheap 150 on craigslist I'll be scrapping this project, which is great because I'll save money...but kind of disappointing as I was really looking forward to the build. For future reference, if anybody has any questions on this project I've done a buttload of research so don't hesitate if you have any questions!
 
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