Looking for in depth tank build thread

Fish Stix

New member
Not sure where to ask this so I hope this is the right spot. I am looking for a very descriptive thread or maybe a website that teaches someone how to build a tank of their own. I have been browsing for quite some time and it seems most of the diy tank threads are geared toward people who already have a decent grasp of tank building...often going right from "this is what I'm building" to "all done tadaa!" Lol

I currently know how to build old school plywood tanks with glass fronts and up til now had no qualms about building one for a reef tank...but after seeing the nice diy builds on this forum using all glass or acrylic for the complete build I am almost ashamed that I was planning a plywood reef tank...certainly nothing I would want to show on here....so strange how things vary so greatly from one forum to another....
 

RocketEngineer

Space is big.
Very few people build the aquarium itself. Most folks start with a purchased tank and then build the rest of the pieces to go with it. There is one total build from plate glass that was on here but it took him and his two sons (one could bench 300#s+) to get it assembled before the silicone skinned over.

I've contemplated building a large aquarium myself and I keep coming back to a plywood build with 2-part black epoxy for the interior. There are a couple builds on there but the one I know the best was done by CyclistMT.

CyclistMT's 300 Gal Plywood and Glass Build

I would duplicate the basic design, maybe tweek the dimensions but thats about it.
 

Fish Stix

New member
I was referring to the ones in the large reef tank section, for example... There must be 20 builds in the first 3 pages...all using either acrylic or glass on all sides...I only know how to do plywood and pond liner with a glass window in front ��
 

RocketEngineer

Space is big.
Yeah, most of those purchased the tanks. Very few folks are going to risk hundreds of gallons of salt water on their floor when they can pay someone who knows what they are doing to build it for them.
 

Fish Stix

New member
I feel like either we are not on the same page or I am the target of a practical joke lol....

Many of these people are building their tanks from scratch..here are a few I was reading: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2453966

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2464613

On many threads the builder comments about having little or no tank building experience...so I was just wondering how they were learning how to do such a thing...perhaps I should ask the posters of said threads.

A well made plywood tank is not going to be scoffed at, then?
 

Gorgok

New member
For acrylic, just welding up small pieces of scrap together will teach you lots about building them. The biggest issue is always edge prep. The better your edges are before, the better your seams can come out later. One of the threads here recently showed a custom made auto-feeding setup for a table saw to prep edges. But thats just one way, and really many ways can work it just depends on what you want to do and can do and have access to. It does get trickier with really heavy pieces, but that can be solved with pins separating them, or clamps/jigs keeping pieces spaced properly. To simulate this you could try making the same small scrap joints with weights on the piece. To simulate thicker acrylic you can cut strips of something cheaper and lay them on their side (with weight).

Even then, acrylic isn't cheap. Messing up half a sheet will hurt very very much...
 

1234

New member
I started out with plywood tanks, then graduated to acrylic and now I build for the local club members and several LFS in the area. I never used pond liner for the interior, but use epoxy resin to seal the interior and glass cloth in the corners.

Checkout the thread started by Acrylics aka/James the best in the states, he shows you how he does his prep and so on. Most acrylic guys use their own formula for solvent and not Weldon #4 and not #16 either.

I can see how you got a little flustered from rocketengineer's answer's.

As mentioned, grab some scrap and practice, practice.

Just one that I built for a local club member and a kalk reactor


gl
 

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NanoReefWanabe

New member
that first one you posted, the second post says water testing in manufactures shop…

as for building with glass…you will not find a webpage or site that will give you the valuable information that years of practice will have bought someone…simply put, anyone can lift a piece of glass, anyone can pull the trigger on a caulking gun (or depress a trigger on a pneumatic one) and anyone can scrub and clean a piece of glass with paper towels and acetone…very few can put that all together swiftly and effectively, without many many years of practice…

so my best advise is practice lots on small tanks, and by lots i mean find about 30 friends who want smallish fish tanks and build those first.
 

rickztahone

New member
You can watch Joey "King of DIY" on YouTube and he shows you how to make tanks. His books cover it in depth as well. Just another option.
 

uncleof6

New member
You can watch Joey "King of DIY" on YouTube and he shows you how to make tanks. His books cover it in depth as well. Just another option.

I watched ole joey for around 9 minutes, and after him suggesting GE Silicone I, after having scored and snapped glass without using gloves, and using tape to secure the tank after the tank is assembled, I shut the video off, finding it to be a typical example of how not to build a glass tank. These people are simply self promoters, and this topic cannot be, and has not been, sufficiently covered on the internet. I don't have the "books" but it would be my guess, they would not be much better.

Building acrylic tanks is a different discipline, and I leave that to James (Acrylics.)
 

Fish Stix

New member
that first one you posted, the second post says water testing in manufactures shop…
I'm sorry I don't understand quite what's being said here... Are you referring to the links? If so that is odd, they both take me right to diy build threads...the second one is a 1500g diy.

Thank you everybody for the pointers in the right direction...

I have made several plywood tanks and a plywood pond with a window in it using a plywood and liner method I got from MFK. You make a frame for the tank and put up plywood walls and floor, you build a frame in front to hold and support the front window. After window is secure in place you drop in Firestone liner and smooth it out and folded into the corners to make it look neat... Then you cut a hole to fit the window and you silicone the crap out of the edges...no less than 3 times.

The result looks like a wooden box with a window in it but you can paint the wood black or whatever to improve aesthetics. Looks aside it functions beautifully. I have built indoor tanks up to 500g and an outdoor koi pond which was 15'x15'x15' which went 2' below ground and was raised 2' above ground with 2 48"x20" windows in the side. I wish I had the accompanying build pics however they were all on the computer and camera... Both of which were decided not to be mine in the divorce....

I will likely still use this method if it is not something I need be ashamed to share here on reefcentral... It's just after seeing some of the nicer builds on here I thought to myself "they're all gonna laugh at you!" Lol
 

Gorgok

New member
Any well done tank i'd say is a well done tank. You can make a horrible glass tank, or acrylic tank, or plywood tank too. The main reason you might not see as many plywood builds is when people go crazy with custom stuff the location wouldn't really work great in plywood. Like a peninsula tank, where you really want 3 sides viewable, or that big octagon. Plywood tanks excel at in-wall builds though, i'd say.
 
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