Building my own aquarium -height/depth, the point of diminishing return?

adhdan

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Hi im building a plywood aquarium & stand with sump filter beneath, for freshwater tropical fish (i have built large bass cabinets in the past and thats partly why i want to build an aquarium out of plywood, i have the tools and knowledge and enjoy the work) , i havent decided which or what kind of fish i want to keep yet, the length is 1800mm is set by the room, but the depth and height can be upto 1000mm either way, i was thinking of 700mm for both, is there a point the extra size starts to be less significant or is 'more' better with fish .
thanks
Dan
 

P J

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Are you building a stand for a glass tank? Can’t imagine a plywood aquarium with fish in it, may have missed the point.
 
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adhdan

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The aquarium is made from ply, coated with 2 part paint inside to waterproof & then glass windows are fitted for viewing , the wood does all the structural heavy lifting and the window just sits overlapping the ply on the inside with a silicone seal ,
is also cheaper then buying a large all glass/acrylic aquarium . I also have built a fair bit with ply and enjoy it
 

P J

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That sounds like an unhealthy aquarium and if it’s of a significant size the plywood will pop open and the two coat paint will degrade over time and could damage the fish. I wouldn’t vote for it to last more than a month. You’re on the wrong track mate.
 

Slaphppy7

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That sounds like an unhealthy aquarium and if it’s of a significant size the plywood will pop open and the two coat paint will degrade over time and could damage the fish. I wouldn’t vote for it to last more than a month. You’re on the wrong track mate.
Wrong, people do it all of the time

 

eatyourpeas

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Hi im building a plywood aquarium & stand with sump filter beneath, for freshwater tropical fish (i have built large bass cabinets in the past and thats partly why i want to build an aquarium out of plywood, i have the tools and knowledge and enjoy the work) , i havent decided which or what kind of fish i want to keep yet, the length is 1800mm is set by the room, but the depth and height can be upto 1000mm either way, i was thinking of 700mm for both, is there a point the extra size starts to be less significant or is 'more' better with fish .
thanks
Dan
I think it will come down to what fish you'd like to have. If you are going to have a very tall aquarium, remember you have to clean the tank and should be able to reach the bottom via tools, siphons, etc. Research your water parameters (pH, GH, etc.) and then look at which species can be happy in there. You can then decide to go big fish, or lots of little fish, or both as long as they are compatible.

I have seen an incredible salt water tank built out of wood with just the front panel in glass and side "portholes", and I believe it was several years old.
 
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adhdan

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That sounds like an unhealthy aquarium and if it’s of a significant size the plywood will pop open and the two coat paint will degrade over time and could damage the fish. I wouldn’t vote for it to last more than a month. You’re on the wrong track mate.
I can’t speak from experience for longevity but the online consensus is that they make one of the most robust tanks of built properly , outlasting glass or acrylic that rely on silicone for structure , wood , glue and screws are far superior , I’ve built very large bass speakers and the pressure/vibrations they withstand would shatter a glass/acrylic box in seconds. There are also plenty of well known youtubers that build nearly all there aquariums from ply , the plywood isn’t an issue , I’m just curious about dimensions 😅
 

Colin_T

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The bigger the tank the better it is for fish. However, the bigger the tank the harder it is for you to clean and work in.

I generally won't keep a tank that is more than 2 foot high x 2 foot wide, simply because it's too hard to reach into and clean. I am 6 foot tall and have longish monkey arms so if you are 5 foot with short arms, 2 foot is the maximum you want.

I have worked in tanks that were 30 inches high x 30 inches wide and they are just a pain in the butt to clean. You need algae magnets for the glass and if something needs sorting out along the back or on the bottom, you have to drain half the tank and climb up into the tank to work on it. Some people don't mind doing that but I am not one of them.
 

seangee

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I think it will come down to what fish you'd like to have. If you are going to have a very tall aquarium, remember you have to clean the tank and should be able to reach the bottom via tools, siphons, etc. Research your water parameters (pH, GH, etc.) and then look at which species can be happy in there.
+1. At 1800mm there is plenty of swimming space but I would probably go 400mm for width and height, maybe 500 at a push. Beyond that cleaning and maintenance will be a real pain.
May be a consideration that 1800x700x700 will give you 882Kg of water before you think about substrate and rocks. 1800x400x400 drops the water to a mere 288Kg - assuming you fill the entire space with water.
 
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adhdan

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The bigger the tank the better it is for fish. However, the bigger the tank the harder it is for you to clean and work in.

I generally won't keep a tank that is more than 2 foot high x 2 foot wide, simply because it's too hard to reach into and clean. I am 6 foot tall and have longish monkey arms so if you are 5 foot with short arms, 2 foot is the maximum you want.

I have worked in tanks that were 30 inches high x 30 inches wide and they are just a pain in the butt to clean. You need algae magnets for the glass and if something needs sorting out along the back or on the bottom, you have to drain half the tank and climb up into the tank to work on it. Some people don't mind doing that but I am not one of them.
thanks, i hadnt considered that at 700mm water height + the top frame i would be at 800mm , id be having to lay on top @full stretch to reach down into it, how often would you say people have to go in and clean tanks? presumably some remain clean a long time and others not so much
 

ClownLurch

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Mine is 580mm high. Cabinet+tank means the top of the glass is 1650mm above FFL. I’m still well over 6’ but shrinking and reaching the bottom of the tank is a pain in the neck. Proper shirt off and towel needed every time.
I’ll never buy a tank so deep or a cabinet so high again.

Marine ply I take it?
 

cdelly

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a lot of marine tanks made from plywood, seems to be more popular in states than overhere in uk

like others have said would go to 2 1/2 foot front to back and 2 foot deep unless you have long arms
 

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