Tank build time

HoldenOn

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Hey all,
I'm going to build a tank with my dad, custom. 150+ gallons. Was wondering what dimensions you all thought would be optimal, and any other hardware/material suggestions. Stock would be an oscar, some keyholes, and maybe a few firemouths. A green/red terror or dempesy would be nice if we go 200 gallons. Dither fish as well. Don't have much else to do, so I'm going to build a giant fish tank :).
 

Retired Viking

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Sounds like a lot of fun, I would suggest long and wide and maybe 2 feet tall at most. Easier to maintain and reach in if needed if the tank is not too tall.
 
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HoldenOn

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Sounds like a lot of fun, I would suggest long and wide and maybe 2 feet tall at most. Easier to maintain and reach in if needed if the tank is not too tall.
Exactly what I was thinking. Don't think I'd need all the height. Perhaps 2 high, 3 wide, 6 long.
Edit maybe 2 high and 2 wide. If I go 2 high 3 wide and 6 long thats 270 gallons lol. 6x2x2 would only be 170.
 

madmark285

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Are you building it out of glass or acrylic? There is an acrylic shortage due to the pandemic but I was surprise when I price out a 4'x8"x3/8" sheet the other day, $215. This was a local supplier. That was about 1/2 the price of cut glass priced online.

Being a cheap bastard, the raw material stock would be a major factor in determined the dimension. One sheet of acrylic would make a ~30 x 30"x 18" " cube ie ~65 gallons.
 
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HoldenOn

HoldenOn

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Are you building it out of glass or acrylic? There is an acrylic shortage due to the pandemic but I was surprise when I price out a 4'x8"x3/8" sheet the other day, $215. This was a local supplier. That was about 1/2 the price of cut glass priced online.

Being a cheap bastard, the raw material stock would be a major factor in determined the dimension. One sheet of acrylic would make a ~30 x 30"x 18" " cube ie ~65 gallons.
Probably acrylic. Such a big tank would be a real pain to make out of glass, and just moving big pieces of glass always comes with risk. That being said if there are any objections to acrylic I'd love to hear it. Also price wise that isn't shabby at all.
 

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Have you ever seen plywood tanks? They have a viewing window at the front but are essentially just a raised pond. Might work out cheaper?

Also from your fish like the keyholes really stand out as not being in the same category as the others. They are quite a timid fish though can be a bit aggressive with each other but wouldn’t put them with oscars and JDs.

I’d also recommend choosing between central and South American cichlids as combining them does not work out well long term in a lot of cases. They also have different water requirements centrals need neutral/hard and souths need neutral/soft.

Sounds exciting though!
 

madmark285

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Probably acrylic. Such a big tank would be a real pain to make out of glass, and just moving big pieces of glass always comes with risk. That being said if there are any objections to acrylic I'd love to hear it. Also price wise that isn't shabby at all.

Why I plan on using acrylic, I should be able to cut it accurately with a good circular saw and blade using a DIY saw guide which work very well. A key issue on saw guides, the piece of acrylic/wood you want use should be under the saw guide. If the saw wanders off the guide, just make a second pass on the acrylic. I would use the factory edge for the critical bottom seam.

The second issue, you can use a router to trim the edges. I want an acrylic tank with curved corners, cutting the top and bottom pieces which fit perfectly will be very difficult. So don't worry about a perfect fit, just trim the tank after it's been glued.

For me, this is a spring project which gives me plenty of time to figure out how to bend 3/8" acrylic (heat source and bending jig).

Note: for non-woodworkers out there who wants to cut plywood accurately, build a saw guide using Hardboard Tempered Panel ( 3/16 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft) and a couple clamps. When buying the Hardboard, double check the factory edge to make sure it is straight ie: just 'borrow' a huge level from the tool section in your hardware store. I would also suggest making a simple Plywood Cutting Table. You do not need an expensive table saw to cut plywood accurately.
 

madmark285

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. Don't have much else to do, so I'm going to build a giant fish tank :).

Cool project!

On what size of tank to build, I would start with Aquarium Thickness Calculator. A 6' long x 18' tall tank with a closed top will require 1/2" acrylic. From ACME PLASTICS, a 4'x8' sheet would cost $454. Interesting quote from ACME: 3/16", 1/4", 3/8" thicknesses are in high demand and have limited quantities available. Contact us for limited quantity purchases of those sizes.

So to build a 135 gallon tank (6'x2'x18") would take two sheets and should cost ~$900 assuming you can find a local supplier. Do you plan on cutting your own acrylic or buying custom cut pieces?

Mark
 
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HoldenOn

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Cool project!

On what size of tank to build, I would start with Aquarium Thickness Calculator. A 6' long x 18' tall tank with a closed top will require 1/2" acrylic. From ACME PLASTICS, a 4'x8' sheet would cost $454. Interesting quote from ACME: 3/16", 1/4", 3/8" thicknesses are in high demand and have limited quantities available. Contact us for limited quantity purchases of those sizes.

So to build a 135 gallon tank (6'x2'x18") would take two sheets and should cost ~$900 assuming you can find a local supplier. Do you plan on cutting your own acrylic or buying custom cut pieces?

Mark
It honestly depends. It would be really fun to cut my own pieces but I wouldn't want to screw up the sheets and waste a ton of money. I do think we have a local supplier in my town.
 

madmark285

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It honestly depends. It would be really fun to cut my own pieces but I wouldn't want to screw up the sheets and waste a ton of money. I do think we have a local supplier in my town.


I fully understand.

I am repeating myself but if you cut it yourself, design your tank so you primary use the factory edge for the glued edge pieces. Here is an excellent link that may be of help, Building an Acrylic Aquarium. What scares me is the glueing process, you only get one chance to do it right. With glass tanks you can remove the silicon and try again.

If you put a top on it (which I recommend) and you screw it up, just get some good black tape and cover it up. In college, I worked in an aquarium store which had alot of acrylic display tanks, the owner had tape on all the tanks to hide the water line.

Something to think about, first make a ~60 gallon tank with one sheet of 3/8" thick acrylic. If you screw up, you only wasted $200-300.

PS: I hope you build it so I can learn how to build an acrylic tank! :)
 
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HoldenOn

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I fully understand.

I am repeating myself but if you cut it yourself, design your tank so you primary use the factory edge for the glued edge pieces. Here is an excellent link that may be of help, Building an Acrylic Aquarium. What scares me is the glueing process, you only get one chance to do it right. With glass tanks you can remove the silicon and try again.

If you put a top on it (which I recommend) and you screw it up, just get some good black tape and cover it up. In college, I worked in an aquarium store which had alot of acrylic display tanks, the owner had tape on all the tanks to hide the water line.

Something to think about, first make a ~60 gallon tank with one sheet of 3/8" thick acrylic. If you screw up, you only wasted $200-300.
Its true. Thanks for the advice. I'll do some looking around to see what supplies we have in the area, and then update.
 
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