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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
just wanted to welcome myself to the community, and kind of start my own little project.

anyways my plans are to build a large aquarium in the neighborhood of about 1200 gallons.
interior dimensions of the tank will be about 9.5' wide x 5' tall x 3.5' deep

i don;t have a basement like everyone else that has attempted to build something like this. so my attempt will be in the garage. but where it gets good is that i plan to take out the wall that divides the garage from the rest of the house in my case, kitchen and front living room/pool table room. and from the house it will look like we have a wall fish tank. the garage will be closed in for a small theater room (its a single car). i plan on doing what similar set up of other plywood constructed tanks, with one side glass (to the living areas), which makes sense for me since a theater room needs to be dark.

i kind of didn;t want to post early like some others and say im doing a tank and wait a few months. so right now as it stands i'm in the early planning stages of construction. my coworker which does our customers acads is nearly freed up and will soon be getting me a full set of details. that way we can plan the construction as everyone else has. i don;t see that taking more than 2 weeks. which is good cause i have another project i need to finish (master bath).
so if those of you out there that have posted your entries, you may see alot of your ideas going into my project.

as far as material... i allready have the glass... i went with a 3/4 acrylic and its dimensions are 100" x 60"... and some leftovers in the sixes of (2) 6" x 60" and (2) 4" x 60" which i originally didn;t know if i was going with 2x4 or 2x6 construction so when i ordered the glass i told them to cut the remaining 20" glass to match either a 2x4 or 2x6. and those spare pieces will be used as a center bracing for the glass to help reduce bowing. anyways we'll get to that when we get to that.

so after discussion with my superintendent i decided to go with 2x6 construction, 3/4 plywood to match the thickness in the glass. cause i have a different plan of attack on the glass than that of what i have seen. i plan on framing that glass in a casing that should have a proper seal. and then all i have to do is water proof the frame the same way that im waterproofing the entire plywood wall structure. which is fiberglass and an epoxy resin.

there seems to be many alternatives to sealing a tank of this size but what i looked for was strength, thickness and longevity. i don;t want to have to worry about it for a long time. i also thought about flexibility, and i am a big believer in having a product that can adjust for settling, you know something that has a little give. so i looked into rubber paint that was marine friendly, but i couldn;t find me a manufacturer that would give me the guarantee that their product was fish safe. alot of them just never responded. One of them literally replied saying i won for the most unusual request of thier product to be used:

"We have decided you win this weeks prize for new ways Liquid Rubber can be used. We know it adheres well to wood because we have tested it on the wood pilings at my dock for several years as a bumper for boats to rest against.
We have no clue regarding the release of toxins into the water with long term exposure as that is not something we can test. We do know that once Liquid rubber cures completely (about 6-7 days) it will hold up to salt water and sun for years without any deterioration I.a. peeling or cracking.
I hope this info helps."

it didn;t....

and then other products that they use for ponds like paints i thought would go on too thin, and there were other products that came in too small of quantities to cover the area i needed so they got expensive...

anyways epoxy resin that is fish and aquarium safe was what i decided cause the cost wasn;t too bad for the strength.

my subfloor will consist of what i estimate to be 44 garden post legs which should be more than enough for that amount of compression.

i'm using mainly hex bolts, and bolts for structure and screws only on the plywood to hold the walls up

waterproof glue that is potable water and food safe (like butcher block). not that the water should make contact but nice to know.

what i have:
1. Glass (3/4" x 100" x 60")
2. Lumber (plywood, 2x6's, 4x4's, garden posts)
3. Various sizes in nuts, bolts, washers, hex bolts, and angle braces.
4. Wood Glue.
5. Pump and filter (which isn't enough water flow so i need another pump)

What i lack:
1. Fiberglass cloth (ebay)
2. Epoxy resin (ebay)
3. Fish safe silicone (ebay)
4. Lighting set up (ebay)
5. Piping for filters & pumps

anyways i guess as soon as i figure out how to post a picture i will be more than happy to start showing you guys pics of the proposed wall and materials.
 

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How are you going to seal the acrylic to the plywood? I've seen some people on here asking about it, but didn't see a resolution, just curious
 

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Sounds like a really cool project. I really like the idea of a tall tank that dominates a wall. A couple of questions I have:

How are you going to maintain the tank, are you going to get inside it?

How are you going to manage heat in the summer, I'm assuming the new theatre room and the tank area will get tied into central air?

Look forward to watching the progress, good luck :popcorn:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i plan on encasing the acrylic in a frame and making sure that that seal is good and strong.

for the framing of the acrylic i want to sandwich it between a 2x6 and a 4x4 and of course silicone as the seal. i have a photoshop illustration to explain (im not up on acad yet)

the bolts will compress the silicone to also help in sealing.



there might be two images. as i explained i don;t know how to get images on these posts yet so i didn;t know if HTML, or image code was required. anyways look it over and let me know what ya'll think.

oh i forgot to label the inside of the tank which is the top portion of the pic.
 

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I think booba's right you have to use acrylic cement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
tannable75 said:
Sounds like a really cool project. I really like the idea of a tall tank that dominates a wall. A couple of questions I have:

How are you going to maintain the tank, are you going to get inside it?

How are you going to manage heat in the summer, I'm assuming the new theatre room and the tank area will get tied into central air?

Look forward to watching the progress, good luck :popcorn:
i don;t quite know yet how im going to maintain the tank, if i have to get in i certainly will lol.
but i have two sets of filters which concerns me cause its not as massive of an undertaking as i have seen for other filtration systems on large tanks like mine.

i have a pond filter w/ uv that claims it can handle 4000 gallons. and i have an old pool sand filer with a backflow cleanout switch. i just need another pump for that.

for the return i plan on doing the set up with a "jet" system setup under the sand as to create current and water flow to prevent dead spots in the tank that lead to waste build up. i will get over that hurdle when i get to it cause i hope it works well with however i decide to designe the tank. thats really my only concern. cause i really want it to look good but i can;t put too much thats over kill. and too little loses the awe of the tank you know.

Anyways hopefully that will reduce the amount of effort i have to put forth in manually cleaning the tank. and i can just focus mostly on the filters.

as far as the theater room i do plan on actually putting in a wall unit to maintain the heating and cooling in that room. my house is an older home and i doubt they sized the a/c to account for any extra, even though it was recently put in a couple of years ago.

but before i actually put any real fish in there i want the tank to sit at least a couple of weeks see how the water is sitting and see how the water temp. is maintaining. then we'll see how things are looking at that time take some PH readings etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
acrylic cement hu... didn;t see that coming.

so even though im not using the silicone as any purpose in the structure other than just a sealer you still think i need an acrylic cement.

which actually looks to be cheaper than a fish safe silicone.. now that im browsing for that on another window.
 

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yes it will still leak if the silicon does not adhere to the plastic. the water will seep in between the silicon and the plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ok the acrylic won;t work, its only meant to bond acrylic to acrylic.

so thats not an option i guess i will run some tests.

any advice ?

ooops, error... looks like acrylic cement does bond to wood.
 

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woohoo, i was thinking that would ruin your plan, I'm glad it's just a "oops, shouldn't buy this, I'll just buy this instead"
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
yeah its not ruining the plans thank goodness but its a kink none the less (budget wise)
im seeing that most acrylic cements are water thin, and bond acrylics by breaking down the surface and bonding them together. kind of like plastic weld. so wood has no use there.

the special acrylic bonding agent i have found for wood is weld-on #40

and that is expensive. $24 for a pint kit

but it sounds really tough.

i emailed gorilla glue but thats a long shot.

i'm looking into acrylics to see if they have anything to bond wood to acrylic sheets.

luckily i haven't bought any yet
 

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There is something that claims to bond acrylic to wood.

http://www.sanitred.com/waterproofing-b ... dfountain/

Price would be the problem, if you check it.

___________________________________________________________________________
"The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations."

â€" David Friedman
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mcdaphnia said:
There is something that claims to bond acrylic to wood.

http://www.sanitred.com/waterproofing-b ... dfountain/

Price would be the problem, if you check it.

___________________________________________________________________________
"The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations."

â€" David Friedman
i have seen this product and im not sure if i emailed them but it is actually a perfect example.

Kudos to Mcdaphnia ... cause i haven;t seen this article just this name brand

i will send a correspondence and lets see what they say.

you know similarly i thought of this and because i plan on using an epoxy resin & fiberglass cloth to line the tank... the real surface of course being the epoxy... which also can be used on wood can essentially create a new surface on wood thus eliminating the acrylic to wood dilemma.

and reading that article that is exactly what they are doing. and they state "The 2-part epoxy primer is used to better adhere to the acrylic."

i also have an email out to the epoxy resin folks i plan on buying from cause they carry a 2 part epoxy resin glue ( which by coincidence is mentioned in your article but as a "primer") and i think the "primer" part is just a selling gimmick so you buy more products. and use an offical top coating product.

anyways if you look at this product on ebay they call it out specifically used for koi ponds and constructed fish tanks, they even have the colorant that you can mix in. blues greens reds and mixing colors of course gives you a rainbow lol.

http://cgi.ebay.com/EPOXY-RESIN-GLUE-SU ... dZViewItem

not only that but the price is definitely right on i mean $80 for 2 gallons worth. and the way they present it... it has like hundreds of uses and like a forever shelf life i couldn;t go wrong with something like that. especially since thats what i was gunna pay for the resin. i could easily use this in its place.

but lets not get our hopes up as i do have to see what they say about thier products bonding abilities to an acrylic sheet.

they also have a chart and acrylic is listed but i can;t read the darn thing, does it make sense to anyone else...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i'm looking for suggestions on color for the background.

what do you guys think Black, Blue, White.....???

what would work best with the fish and thier color?
 

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Obviously it can depend on the fish, but overall I'd recommend either black or a dark deep-water green. I think those are the best colors for most cichlids and especially most of the large ones I can think of. In addition, if you're just coloring the background with one color and then adding a few rocks, both of those look quite nice with large gray rocks. If you wanted a lighter color sand I'd say green or black for the background. If for some reason you wanted a darker color substrate then I'd stick with black.

good luck with the project.
 

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I agree with the black. It is the absence of color so just about any color fish will contrast with it nicely.

For my 350g tank and 150g capacity sump I used Sweetwater 2 part epoxy. I bought 1 gallon of dark blue and 1 gallon of dark grey. I alternated them when coating the tank to insure that I was getting even coverage.

When I first bought them the idea was to decide on the final coat color by deciding which one I liked best. Grey was the hands down winner. The dark blue was really intense and imo would make you go crosseyed looking at it. :eek: It really didn't matter anyway because in the end my concrete background covered everything.

Here's a couple of picks of the colors. Sweetwater epoxy also comes in black.



 
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