Building A Tank - A Basic Guide

silvershark

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Firstly, the stuff you need:


Obviously glass is missing from the pic as i forgot to photograph it!!
Tape measure: needed when planning the size of your tank, measuring glass etc
Tissue paper of some sort: for wiping your silicone covered fingers and tools, BUT NOT FROM THE GLASS!!!!
Silicone: i was trying to find a cheaper alternative but couldn't. For £5 i had enough silicone in this small tube for a 6g. needs to be safe for fish!
corner clamps: for clamping the panes together while the silicone dries, about £1 each
plastic medicine spoon: for spreading silicone into the edges giving a nice even coat
Wooden working base: so i could move the work in progress out of the kids way!
3mm mdf strips or such alike: for placing between the clamps and the glass, thus preventing any scratches.

First step was to decide how to locate each pane of glass, i arranged mine so that the bottom pane was carrying the other panes on top.

First join was the back to the bottom.
Having glued the softening mdf strips onto the corner clamps i clamped one piece of glass at a time gently loosening the clamps and repositioning where neccessary

then running a small beading of silicone across the inside of the edge, finishing it using the plastic spoon (at this point i should note that silicone smudges are easier to remove if left to dry and NOT wiped with a cloth or anything!) leave this over 24 hours before removing the clamps.
I hung the corner over the edge of the wooden base i was working on and locked it in my shed, the weight of the glass "should" hold itself on, but please test it for yourself!

Next join is the front pane
using the same method as above i made a U shape with the glass leaving both ends open at the moment and locking it away the same as before

first end pane followed by final end pane
this was the easy bit (just so long as you've measured and had the glass cut to the correct size!) after another day i tipped the glass "channel" onto its end and slid an end pane into place running silicone all around the inner edge. i found that as it was i nice tight fitting pane of glass that i could tip it up the right way and clamp it, allowing me to tip it to its last remaining edge and do the same as above.


TESTING!!!
firstly its advisable to wait as long as the silicone manufacturors instructions before testing it out for leaks

my first test i lugged the whole lot out into the garden and filled it with just a few pints of water, checking all the seams and leaving it for about an hour to make sure there were no tiny breaks in the seal.
Any leaks were marked with an arrow using a felt pen.
After emptying out the tank, drying it and re-sealing i did another test the next day in the kitchen putting a layer of kitchen towel underneath the tank so i could see if there were even slight leaks



Finalising it

To finalise this tank i'm yet to paint both the back and the bottom completely black. I won't be using any sort of subtrate as this is a hospital, quarantine and breeding tank using sammydees sponge filter idea it can be completely cleared out and suitable for anything.


all critisisms are welcome as this was the first tank i've built and may have missed out some pretty useful stuff!

oh yeah, and i hope this helps too as i may post how i build the stand as soon as it is done!! :p
 

Ethos

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Nice job! I like it!
How many G's will that hold? :kewlpics:
 

Paul_MTS

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excellent guild, will come in handy for a future project.

where did you buy the clamps from btw? never seen them before.
 

andywg

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A quick tip from work I did on building my tank and setting up my sumps:

Always run masking or gaffer tape along the edge of where the silicone will sit. That way you can get that nice straight edge you get on factory aqauriums.

Basically you decide where the silicone will go and how far over you want it and then run tape to cover that edge. Once you have stuck the two panes together, leave about 5 minutes after smoothing with the spoon (or your finger like me :D ) and remove the tape. Now allow to dry. Voila! a professional looking edge.

On smaller tanks (mine was about 7.5 gallons) it's normally ok to just use Gaffer (or duck) tape - that thick grey stuff) to hold the tank.

Still, a very good guide to how to do it.
 
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silvershark

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Paul_MTS said:
excellent guild, will come in handy for a future project.

where did you buy the clamps from btw? never seen them before.
got them from the weekly market, they should be about in diy stores etc though as i said, they only cost £1 each!!
 

newland

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What about cost?

How much was the glass and where did you get it from?
 
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silvershark

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newland said:
What about cost?

How much was the glass and where did you get it from?
well, the glass was cut by a mate for free so if you got a buddy in either the glazing or conservatory business, you should be fine!! however, to get a couple of small panes cut about 2 years ago it was £5 (they were for a window but about the same size as the ends)

if you called up a glazing company they should be able to give you a quote...

as for the stand, i'm using bits from an old unit from a mates house so admitedly this is only costing me very little, along with smithrc' sponge filter, its only going to have cost me about £15 for a complete setup, including heater, i'd est at double that for anyone buying the panes of glass
 

BigC

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Nice job mate. I work in a glass factory and I've built all my own tanks for years. I like the corner clamp idea. I tack mine first using a smidge of silicone and some masking tape. The corner clamps would make life a whole lot easier.
Really good post. Thanks for sharing.
 
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silvershark

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BigC said:
Nice job mate. I work in a glass factory and I've built all my own tanks for years. I like the corner clamp idea. I tack mine first using a smidge of silicone and some masking tape. The corner clamps would make life a whole lot easier.
Really good post. Thanks for sharing.
very good idea!!! if this is what you mean: you put a line of insulating tape, say5mm from the edge of where the silicone goes, clamp them together, seal them and smooth it over with an old spoon or your finger, it wont go all over the place and you can peel the tape off leaving a nice and neat seam!!!
 

Bloo

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andywg said:
Always run masking or gaffer tape along the edge of where the silicone will sit. That way you can get that nice straight edge you get on factory aqauriums.

Basically you decide where the silicone will go and how far over you want it and then run tape to cover that edge. Once you have stuck the two panes together, leave about 5 minutes after smoothing with the spoon (or your finger like me :D ) and remove the tape. Now allow to dry. Voila! a professional looking edge.
Great guide thanks !

And great tip from andywg :nod:
 

BigC

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very good idea!!! if this is what you mean: you put a line of insulating tape, say5mm from the edge of where the silicone goes, clamp them together, seal them and smooth it over with an old spoon or your finger, it wont go all over the place and you can peel the tape off leaving a nice and neat seam!!!
Exactly, nice and neat.
 
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Just what i needed thanks, i have got loads of glass all with bevelled edges.
i was lucky cos i got the glass from an old shop that was shutting down.
they used it for shelving and gave it to me for free.

should be able to put it to good use now :cool:
 

BigC

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If you glass has beveled edges and was used for shelving then this leads me to believe that it is tempered or toughened. You will not be able to cut this glass to size.
 
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