View Full Version : Small tank building questions

02-01-2008, 10:06 PM

I've always been interested in building my own tank (I'm also a ham radio operator, I love homebrewing whatever I can!). So I'm looking at building a small tank to replace my 5 gallon. It will likely end up being 7-10 gallons, haven't quite decided the size yet.

First off let me say, I know that a 10-20 could be bought cheaper, this is purely because I want something custom and DIY. I'll be sticking to common sizes (12 or 16) to accommodate lighting. I'll be buying the hinge material to make the glass top.

My first question was, what do people usually use to create the lip around the top? I was thinking 1/4" thick x 1/2" wide glass strips could be siliconed in place all around the edge, but I'm not sure how strong that would be.

Then, a similar question, what about the bottom? I can't seem to find any good tank building sites that discuss smaller tanks, and so I'm not sure what to use there. Maybe just some wood moulding (right angle, going underneath to keep the glass from resting directly on the stand)?

And as far as I can tell, the bottom will sit above the stand, between all the sides, not under them. Is this correct?

I also called a few glass places, and it seems they all carry 1/8" and 1/4", but all the tanks I've seen measured at 5mm (just under 1/4"). I know 1/4" may be overkill for a small tank, but I figured why not, and it may be a bit easier to work with (squaring edges, etc). Any thoughts here?

Sorry for the long post. Got a little carried away!

Thanks in advance!


Lady Hobbs
02-01-2008, 11:26 PM
Tank frames. I think they can be purchased online.

Maybe you could weld a top and bottom frame in the size you wanted. Stainless maybe or something that won't rust.

02-02-2008, 02:08 AM
And as far as I can tell, the bottom will sit above the stand, between all the sides, not under them. Is this correct?

Not so sure about that, If I recall, the side glass sits ON the bottom and the bottom sits on the frame. (thats how I made mine years ago, long before I began brewing my own Burton style ales) Everyone I see thses days is plastic. Yrs ago they were thin chromated metal strips.

02-02-2008, 02:13 AM
Id go rimless.....there sexy

02-02-2008, 03:37 AM
Id go rimless.....there sexy

Rimless is dangerous....

02-02-2008, 04:30 AM
a rimless tank 10g or under is fine, 20g+ i would worry

02-02-2008, 04:32 AM
Id go rimless.....there sexy

sexy equals unstable

You can order the plastic rings that the glass sits in. Once you silicone it you can place the rings.... just diy aquarium on google a million sights will pop up explaining how to join the glass.

02-02-2008, 12:51 PM
So I am curious. As you said 10g tanks are practicaly free, if you just look around a bit. What type of shape are you after that is creating the DIY angle?

02-04-2008, 07:17 AM
Thanks everyone for the input and info!

I can't seem to find any of tank rings/frames that are custom, just for predefined sizes, but I'll probably put something together out of oak strips for the outside top/bottom.

Becikeja: I'm looking for more of a slightly cubical shape, 16Wx12Dx12H, or something around there. I also just wanted to try my hand at making a tank. I love to build things, so I figured this could be a fun project, regardless if it costs more than a store-bought item.



02-04-2008, 07:21 AM
good luck with your tank and keep us updated.....

02-05-2008, 12:55 AM
I am a weekend warrior myself. I can definately understand the need to build it even if it costs more, which in the end it usually does. Good luck.

02-05-2008, 05:23 PM
I guess you will love the aquarium more just because you build it. Good luck with it.

02-05-2008, 06:33 PM
If you get the correct thickness and know how to silicone the glass correctly, you don't need any rim or frame.
even a 100g tank with 10mm glass thickness doesn't need any frame if siliconed correctly.
for a 10g you need 4mm thickness.
I can't explain well technical things in english, otherwise i would tell you how to silicone the edges exactly. google it and there should be good instructions.