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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been inspired by all the DIY projects that I have seen with plywood tanks. :D I really want to plan one for my basement (which is fancy for the lower level of a split level home). I want to build the tank semi-permanent along an L-portion of wall and want it too be one unit and not two seperate. I have yet to get the exact diemsions down on paper yet as our lower level is only half finsihed right now. But I guess a rought estimate would be to have the tank dimesions be 24" tall by 18" (front to back) depth. One portion of the L-spae will be about 36" and the other portion around 60".
My main reason for posting is to find out what are the best (highest recommended) ways to filter such a large tank. I have seen may sumps and external canister filter invetnions but I am not sure how to build such or how to incorporate one either. :-? My experience has been with hang of the tank filters for a 55 gal. I am sure I can not build such an ambitious project with having to do some plumbing work with bulkheads and such. What other plumbing considerations should I take into account on such a build (i.e. spray bars [are such really neccissary?], under gravel filtration [fesible for such a large tank?], gravel jet systems)?

Also, the glass calculators. I am planning to have a 21" veiwable hieght on the glass framed into the tank and maybe a small porthole type window on the ends. When I enter the full tank dimesionse I get a huge number for the thickness of the glass/plexi. I don't really need half inch thick glass do I?

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated :)

:fish: GerBear
 

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This is an area that requires lots of calculations that pretty much HAVE to be right. That makes it dangerous if one does not study things carefully. So far I have always backed off on building a tank. While I am sure it can be done. I'm not sure I could/would do it right. If it is not done right, it can turn into a nightmare. For the glass thickness, it will be a major question of how you design and support the glass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I want to have the glass "framed" into the front; 1 and half inch reveal if you will. I want to have a good amount of area to get a good seal. This will also allow me to use several panes of glass instead of on huge one. It will kind of look like three tanks butted together but in acuality it will be one lrg tank for the fish to explore.

Probably a rought drawing would serve everyone better.... I will have to work on one so the vision makes a little more sense.
 

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There are some problems with L shape tanks. The bottoms are more likely to leak because of the stresses inherent in the design. There is a huge blind spot in the corner where nothing can be seen. I would make one five sided tank, but with a single diagonal window from near corner to corner. It would be as if you started with a rectangular tank but then removed a large triangular section and put the glass there.
 

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So.... even if I install brace bars along the top ( like the once that come in the pre-manufactures ones), there will be too much stress? I think I would be fine with the 2 to 3 inch blind spot on either side of the coner, but maybe I need to get some card board a make a template to really get visual repect for it.

It is good that I posted here to get the good feedback.
 

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I think what he might be talking about is leaking through the bottom glass at the joint between the left and right leg of the tank. Since glass is normally cut in staight lines, many tries at doing this have a joint in the bottom glass. This often leaks if not done really well. There are ways to avoid this but with more planning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If I make a frame on the inside of the tank and lay the glass into that frame with silicon.... this should work right? The glass will not be butted together to be an L... make sense? The tank is going to be long on one side, so figured I will have to use two smaller sheets of glass or plexie to keep the cost down and reduce the overall stress on the glass surface. I have a crude drawing.... I just can't figure out how to post it :-?
 

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The joint just seems to have a way of being a weak point.

For adding the drawing-- you may have to put it into a picture format and post it on some site like Photobucket. Once on a site of that type you can then post it here as a picture. Hit the IMG box above, add the direct link to the pic, then hit IMG again.
 

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GerBear said:
So.... even if I install brace bars along the top ( like the once that come in the pre-manufactures ones), there will be too much stress? I think I would be fine with the 2 to 3 inch blind spot on either side of the coner, but maybe I need to get some card board a make a template to really get visual repect for it.

It is good that I posted here to get the good feedback.
It is not a two or three inch blind spot. If your tank is 24" front to back, there will be more than a 24" wide left to right area in the corner that you can't see from either glass window. It will only happen when the tank is full of water. You will not know about it until the tank is finished and you fill it. Someday a three foot long pleco could be dead and rotting diagonally back there. Plus the cichlids seem to know you can't see them, so they will all hang out in that blind area.

Glass is the most expensive component of a plywood aquarium, so one diagonal piece will cost less than two pieces that have to be longer. The diagonal glass works with the water/glass refractive interface to make the view into the tank complete and visually great. It makes that idiosyncrasy of glass and water work for you instead of against you. I built a 330 gallon plywood tank like this for a friend 25+ years ago. It is still running. Smaller one way than the one you plan and longer on the other, it is a four feet by four feet square footprint, with one corner omitted for the diagonal glass. When you look in the two four foot back walls seem to flatten out into one eight foot wall. and the tufa rock background conceals the far corner, perfecting the illusion. You can do the square of the hypotenuse thing to get the width of the glass window for your tank. With 24" front to back walls on the ends, it would be the square root of ten feet, just over three feet of glass giving you an eight foot view into the tank.

One of the pet shops here got some really cool looking glass L shaped tanks in, and they sold quickly and just as quickly were returned because when filled up, about a third of the tank was unviewable, and then the bottoms leaked if they didn't bring them back right away. The stress concerns are on the bottom, not so much the top of the tank.

L-shaped tanks do work out visually if you have a obverse corner in your room so that the tank view is from the outside of the L. They still have stress concerns, but if the bottom is cut from one single piece of plywood, it wouldn't be the problem it would be with a glass bottom tank. But now you have one 60" glass panel and one 36" glass panel to buy. Obverse corners are usually already intrusive in the rare architectural cases where they are part of a room, and wrapping a tank around it might exaggerate that.
 

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There is a thread on the forum where the person is having the veiwing problem McDaphnia is describing. As he says there is a large section missing, and in my opinion "L" shape is not a practical design. Visually speaking :(
 
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