PDA

View Full Version : diy 125 gallon* acrylic construction



BIO-Linist
04-26-2009, 07:27 PM
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/515/medium/aq003.jpg
*Calculated from projected outside dimensions, 48x24x25 in. Inside capacity will probably be somewhere around 110 gallons.

I have the materials ready to start building!
Any suggestions for cool stuff to do with the "practice" scrap pieces?

jackson17
04-26-2009, 08:06 PM
Maybe make some Tunnels in the tank? Thats what I would do. Small circular pieces that fish can swim through. But cover with substrate so it looks as natural as possible.

Red
04-26-2009, 08:11 PM
Good luck, if you can take pictures through the process. Could you make a mini shrimp tank?

BIO-Linist
04-26-2009, 10:53 PM
Good ideas, I was actually thinking more of filtration stuff. I'm planning to make an intake in a corner with the longest piece.

Actually I already have a mini amphipod tank.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/516/thumbs/p000.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=12104)http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/517/thumbs/sc000.JPG (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=12176)

Sure I'll take pictures when things get going. Right now all there is is sheets of acrylic leaning against the wall.

korith
04-27-2009, 02:07 AM
With scrap pieces hold onto them, never know when you might need to make. Could always make "shelves" in the tank. Add a little substrate on them and some plants or decorations.

Northernguy
04-27-2009, 02:45 AM
This will be a interesting to watch!thumbs2:
How are you joining the seams?

BIO-Linist
04-27-2009, 02:52 AM
Acrylic is joined using solvent cements. They work by melting the acrylic together.

OscarFan
04-27-2009, 04:15 AM
Ill definately be watching this thread. You should also keep a running tab of how much it costs. With the scrap pieces I would just use to practice everything that needs to be done before you actualy do it.

BIO-Linist
04-28-2009, 01:27 AM
Yes. The idea is to make useful stuff for the tank using the scrap pieces, that don't really need to be completely watertight (but still trying to get it perfect the first time)

jackson17
04-28-2009, 01:30 AM
What I would do if I could, try to make a shelf with a circular cut out, then make (if possible, don't really know) a rounded tube piece going down to another shelf that the fish can swim through/hide in. On the shelfs add some small plants. If there are any plants that grow and overhang on areas that would look pretty cool. The fish would probably enjoy swimming in that to.

BIO-Linist
04-29-2009, 04:00 AM
Yesterday I tried to cut a scrap piece (it was already cracked, but hey it was free so who cares) with a jigsaw. Even though it was weighed down with heavy stuff it still jumped all over the place, giving a really ugly cut. So I'll have to get some clamps in order to continue, then fix the edge with a router.

reptile dude007
04-29-2009, 04:30 AM
How thick of acrylic will you be using?

Z Fish Man
04-29-2009, 05:02 AM
Yesterday I tried to cut a scrap piece (it was already cracked, but hey it was free so who cares) with a jigsaw. Even though it was weighed down with heavy stuff it still jumped all over the place, giving a really ugly cut. So I'll have to get some clamps in order to continue, then fix the edge with a router.

Perhaps you could use the router to cut the acrylic as well?

Flowcus
04-29-2009, 06:15 AM
Easiest way to cut it if you have the means to do so is a band saw. It melts right through it, and unless you're a novice to power tools its a nice straight cut every time. If thee acrylic is thin enough its easy to just score and break, but for a 110g tank its gonna be too thick to do that.

BIO-Linist
04-29-2009, 08:26 AM
The acrylic for the tank is 1/2 inch thick.

Most of the scraps are 5/16".

I don't think cutting using the router is a good idea because it would take many passes to cut it or else it could overheat and melt the acrylic.

This is the longest scrap. It is just half an inch longer than the inside height of the tank will be, so I'm making a filter intake that will go in a corner. I tried to repair the crack by dripping solvent on it, but it didn't go in. The solvent marred the surface so I buffed it out. Then I tried to cut it at a 45 degree angle...
1414714148
Anyway it's just a piece of scrap to mess around with and get a feel of how to work the acrylic.

No I don't have access to a band saw.

BIO-Linist
05-25-2009, 04:15 AM
Been busy with school. Hopefully I'll get something done today or tomorrow.

BIO-Linist
06-10-2009, 12:12 AM
Delayed further because I got sick.

korith
06-10-2009, 03:25 AM
A friend of mine that made my small acrylic tank last week, used just a jigsaw to cut the acrylic I believe it was 1/4" thick, and a water spray bottle to keep the acrylic from melting too much.

BIO-Linist
07-07-2009, 06:22 AM
Hello I'm back. I was badly sick the first 2 weeks of June and I kept coughing for the rest of the month.
It would have been unsafe to attempt construction of the aquarium while ill. Violent bouts of coughing and sharp pieces of metal spinning at thousands of RPM don't mix well.
This has set me over a month behind. I am mostly better now, and I've begun to practice seaming the acrylic.

Northernguy
07-07-2009, 03:12 PM
Try using candle wax on the blade before and during the cut.
It will cool and lubricate the blade.It will also stop the plastic from melting onto the blade.

matthew.shelly
07-08-2009, 03:02 AM
haha i say youre brave. i dont think i would trust myself to build my own tank.

BIO-Linist
07-12-2009, 08:33 AM
Try using candle wax on the blade before and during the cut.
It will cool and lubricate the blade.It will also stop the plastic from melting onto the blade.
I figured out a way of "pulsing" the speed of the jigsaw so that it does not go fast enough to overheat. While the cut is still quite rough, it is consistent and the plastic does not melt on the blade. Anyway I can smooth it out using the router.

Sarkazmo
07-12-2009, 10:58 AM
To be honest, such a large tank is not the best undertaking for learning to work with acrylic. Not so much in the bonding as in the cutting. Those cuts have to be absolutely straight and the edged prepared right or the bond will be uneven. I would get a local glass shop to but the pieces to size then you can bond them at home.

If you're open to suggestions I'd say if the local glass shop really knows how to work with acrylic you could have the front and both sides of the tank as one piece buy bending the acrylic at the two front corners.

Good luck, take some in progress pics and let's see how it goes!

Sark

bushwhacker
07-12-2009, 05:32 PM
a local cabinet shop with a table saw. a very fine toothed blade like for plywood and there ya go perfect cuts

Northernguy
07-12-2009, 05:38 PM
a local cabinet shop with a table saw. a very fine toothed blade like for plywood and there ya go perfect cuts
Good plan!
Check out this link!http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/infacrylic.html

scotty
07-13-2009, 01:13 AM
i just cut some acrylic the other day and used a bandsaw(80bucks at homedepot) and it did a wonderful job

BIO-Linist
07-14-2009, 05:14 AM
It doesn't matter if the cut is rough because I go over it with router several times. Result is nice flat and smooth.

I'm working on cementing technique trying out different methods to see what works best for me. Just got some insulin needles and will try them out soon.

Sarkazmo
07-14-2009, 01:09 PM
It doesn't matter if the cut is rough because I go over it with router several times. Result is nice flat and smooth.

I'm working on cementing technique trying out different methods to see what works best for me. Just got some insulin needles and will try them out soon.

There's a few articles on www.instructables.com on working with acrylic and techniques on bonding.

Sark

BIO-Linist
07-14-2009, 07:13 PM
Thanks. I liked the Tap Plastics video.
I did plenty of reading before even considering building the tank.

-Lp
07-14-2009, 07:38 PM
That's a nice size project hope everything goes smooth for you, and I can't wait to see pics!

BIO-Linist
08-06-2009, 10:07 AM
In the past few weeks, I cut up the biggest scrap piece into many many small strips and practiced and practiced and practiced. (Routed the edge first, cut off the strip, routed the edge on the bigger piece and repeated. Joined small pieces in L shape.)

I am using capillary solvent cementing as my primary joining method.
(Place parts together, apply solvent at edge, solvent seeps in and melts them together.)

Experimented with different tools for applying solvent - eyedropper, watercolor paintbrush, insulin needle.
Experimented with variation - "pins method" - pins placed between pieces to be joined, run solvent, remove pins.
______

Pros and cons of tools tried

eyedropper:
pros - fast and easy to use
cons - no precise control

watercolor paintbrush:
pros - good control
cons - need to keep dipping in solvent can and wiping excess off to prevent dripping, wastes solvent in brush and to evaporation

insulin needle:
pros - very precise control
cons - solvent eats rubber, preventing reuse for more than twice, needle sometimes catches on the acrylic

using pins:
pros - prevents cloudy joints, prevents entrapment of air bubbles
cons - needs far more solvent, joint takes longer to cure, excess solvent/dissolved acrylic oozes out and makes a mess when pins are removed, it could work way better with skinnier pins (like the width of a hair) but I can't find any
______

Solvent cements used

IPS Weld-On 4
"Clear, water thin, moderately fast curing solvent cement"

IPS Weld-On 16
"A clear, syrupy cement for high strength joints"
(IPS says that it can be thinned using #3)

IPS Weld-On 3
"Clear, water thin, very fast curing solvent cement"
(the booklet the shop gave me says that it is not good for high-stress areas; I guess that's because it evaporates too quickly)
______

Observations and conclusions

My first practice run used two small scraps. Since they were too small to use the router on, I smoothed the edge of one of them by hand using the straight router bit.
Applicator: eyedropper
Solvent: Weld-On 4
Pins: no
The solvent quickly seeped in and filled the joint. However, air bubbles soon invaded from the edges. I ran a bead of #16 on the inside of the joint, but that did not stop them. After only a few minutes I grabbed the joined scraps and tried to rip them apart with my bare hands. I pulled very hard but it wouldn't budge. I tore off the masking paper and inspected the joint. It was clear all through the center, and none of the bubbles got more than 1/3 of the way in. The joint was ugly, but it was strong and watertight.
The bubbles forming on the edges could be attributed to my hand-smoothing the edge - it became rounded. The tip on the tube of Weld-On 16 was too wide, so when I ran the bead of it on the inside of the joint, it skinned over and bubbles formed on the inside.

My second practice run was with strips cut from the biggest scrap piece, the one with the crack described earlier.
Applicator: eyedropper
Solvent: Weld-On 4
Pins: no
The solvent quickly seeped in and filled the joint. There were air bubbles coming in from the edges again, but this time they were a lot smaller and at most went in 1/5 of the joint thickness. There was also some cloudiness inside the joint.
This time I did not run a bead of #16 on the inside.
For some reason I got all excited and polished it up nice and shiny.
Close inspection of the joint revealed that the cloudiness was actually many tiny bubbles. None of them connected enough to create any potential leak path.

I don't remember all the other practices individually, so anyway here is what I got out of from all of them combined:
I learned how to move the router more steadily to produce a really smooth edge. My experiments with both my routed edges, and the perfect factory flat, showed that bubbles still came in from the edges so further improvement in my routing skills wouldn't help. I eventually developed my own best method. It is to run #4 as quickly as possible using the eyedropper, not using pins. The piece whose edge is joining should be at least 1/8 inch back from the edge of the piece whose flat is joining. I get a nice pool of solvent on both sides of the joint. To prevent bubbles forming from the edges, I used a thinned mix of #16 with #3, just thin enough go in an insulin needle. Mixing was done in a glass furikake jar with a polypropylene lid. I inject a small amount of the #3/#16 mix on the inside the pool of #4 at the edge of both sides of the joint while it's still wet. It works consistently. There is still a small problem with cloudiness, but I am confident in the strength of my joints.
Oh yeah and I clean the cementing tools with acetone.

I have already started cutting/routing work on the actual tank pieces.

I did some more, different experiments, but it's late night now so further description and pics will come later.

BIO-Linist
08-12-2009, 06:27 AM
I found something to use instead of pins - 2 lb. test monofilament fishing line (nylon). It is solvent-resistant, and it's almost as thin as hair. I went on to experiment with it, and it worked pretty well. The size of the gap between the pieces has a good balance between freedom for flow and capillary action. It eliminates cloudiness from bubbles, but the increased contact with solvent causes the acrylic in the joint to refract light slightly differently, creating a visual effect like shimmering air and/or a mirage on a hot day. I don't like it but it's better than having bubbles in the joint.

Something else I've also been working on is attaching strips of acrylic cut into a 45 45 90 triangular shape on the inside of joints for extra strength. I've gotten the routing procedure down - first, rout the edge of the parent piece straight. Next, cut off the routed edge in a strip a little wider than the thickness of the acrylic. The strip of acrylic is taped to a jig improvised from other pieces of acrylic, with the rough edge facing out, and routed using a 45 degree bit in several passes, re-taping the piece as needed. Result is the bonding sides are square and smooth, while the exposed side is matte and slightly irregular because the tape allows the strip to move a little while I'm routing it. (which doesn't matter because it is not cemented on that side.)

I have enough acrylic for practice and to do it on the real thing. So might as well.

I'm still working on the cementing procedure. So far everything I've tried ends up with lots of bubbles inside. Will continue when the weather clears up.

I can't do any more cementing today because the weather is very wet from the remains of hurricane Felicia. This keeps me from opening the windows fully to ventilate away the toxic solvent fumes.

Pics later.

BIO-Linist
08-17-2009, 05:36 AM
Wedge routed. For increased strength at seams. Small test piece.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/medium/w001.JPG

Vacuum full. Happening a lot.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/medium/f16ull.JPG

BIO-Linist
08-30-2009, 10:07 AM
Edge prep on main pieces completed.
Made all sixteen segments of the actual wedge thingies. Buffed the inside side (not the sides to be joined) of each one. It took a very long time. Each one is about 24+1/2 inches long.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/16.jpg

A reminder of goal to keep on track:
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/515/aq003.jpg

Northernguy
08-30-2009, 02:30 PM
I thought you were just butt joining everything!
Those peices are for the inside corners.That will add nicely to the strength of the seams.thumbs2:
I am looking forward to the build!

Sarkazmo
08-30-2009, 10:59 PM
Yeah, I'm anxious to see this thing come together. Take some movies as well as stills, please!

Sark

BIO-Linist
09-13-2009, 11:34 PM
Just started university, so I haven't done much the past few weeks. I get to live at home and take the bus. The thing I'm supposedly working on now is making the corner pieces where the wedges will meet.
Picture three wedges meeting at a corner - there would be a gap if something isn't put there to fill the corner. So I'm making cubes and sanding off one corner, so there would be the all square sides meeting the inside corner of the tank, and triangular sides matching the ends of the wedges. So far I've only made three, while I need at least 10 (8 for real and at least 2 for practice).

Sorry Sark it could be an unsafe distraction for me to take video while working. :11:

BIO-Linist
09-20-2009, 06:50 PM
did nothing this week

Ampatent
09-20-2009, 09:11 PM
Is there more than one university in Hawaii?

BIO-Linist
09-30-2009, 12:39 PM
Get plenty. http://www.univsource.com/hi.htm :spam:

My fish is sick.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=51628

BIO-Linist
12-22-2009, 05:01 AM
I'm back from a very stressful semester.

Cut main holes in top:
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/HolesCut.jpg

Cemented right side to back:
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/crsb.jpg

lowlight
12-22-2009, 08:48 AM
Looks good, informative to. It'll be nice to see the finished product.

Scrup
12-22-2009, 04:09 PM
Looking good. Was going to ask if you were using dowels in the seams. Good call on routing them into wedges.

I have them on my 225, only they weren't routed. Not the best design for reducing stress points, as a wedge works a bit better, and they are razor sharp.

Looking really nice.

do you plan on plumbing the tank?

Two other things to know now.

1-Acrylic polish will be your best friend.
2-Crazing happens, dont sweat it.

(good call on the 1/2", will help a lot with crazing/bowing)

BIO-Linist
12-29-2009, 08:38 AM
I'm just rushing (bad - making a big mess :14: ) to build it before my winter break ends and I get buried under schoolwork again - will figure out plumbing later.

All panels cemented, haven't started putting in wedges yet...

All panels cemented:
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq006.jpg

Compare with model drawn eight months ago:
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq007.jpg

Scrup
12-30-2009, 12:13 AM
looking good!

lowlight
12-30-2009, 05:41 AM
Yea. Looks good and looking forward to seeing it full of water. Keep going.

Hailey
12-31-2009, 12:23 AM
Thats going to look awesome! its comming along great!

BIO-Linist
01-16-2010, 09:05 AM
Thanks!

I'm gonna work on it some more this weekend.

Since my last post I have:
- routed off excess overhang
- sanded down the razor sharp edges
- begun rounding off inside edges of main holes

Now, I'm thinking of adding bulkheads. Any suggestions appreciated!

BIO-Linist
01-17-2010, 12:11 AM
I made 1/2 inch 'cubes' I made for reinforcing the inside corners. They are to meet the ends of the wedges. I made them using jigsaw, router, sandpaper and buffing wheel. I cut/routed out a square prism, then cut/routed out each cube. Sides not to be sanded/buffed were covered with masking tape. One corner was sanded off each cube, buffed and polished until shiny. Masking tape was then removed, and excess buffing compound wiped off with alcohol.
I have started cementing them in the corners. (Progress: 1 of 8)
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/cc000.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/cc001.jpg

BIO-Linist
01-18-2010, 09:07 AM
(Progress: 2 of 8)

BIO-Linist
01-22-2010, 06:29 AM
(Progress: 4 of 8)

lowlight
01-22-2010, 07:16 AM
:gotpics: :gotpics: :gotpics:

BIO-Linist
01-23-2010, 12:40 AM
(see previous page)

lowlight
01-23-2010, 08:33 AM
As you can tell I am anxious to see what the tank looks like. You are putting allot of effort and thought into it and I hope it all goes together smoothly. I might have a go at it when I finally get my garage and tools in order. I am enjoying this thread.thumbs2:

BIO-Linist
02-01-2010, 03:48 AM
Progress: 5 of 8 - cemented fifth corner last week

No progress this week - too busy

BIO-Linist
03-06-2010, 08:59 PM
Still no progress. Probably won't get to work on it until spring break.

lowlight
03-07-2010, 09:19 AM
I was wondering where you went. I guess we will have to wait then. Glad you haven't lost interest in the project.

BIO-Linist
03-13-2010, 06:35 AM
...in an unexpected way.

Well the cutout from the bigger hole just helped me on an exam!

For some dumb reason the pathetic little excuses for desks in the room are only like 6 inches wide. My first midterm was poor (didn't even come close to finishing) because of this - the "desk" was significantly smaller than a sheet of paper so I couldn't put the questions and bubble sheets side by side and kept dropping my pencils/eraser/calculator in my lap and on the floor, it was so annoying. Should have brought something to write on like the teacher said...

This time I was prepared. Using the cutout as a portable desk, I was able to take the test much more efficiently (and finish). The large, stiff acrylic/paper surface provided enough room for calculator, test and answer sheets to be positioned for good use.

Happy happy praise the Lord!

(this is an old picture. The cutout section on the top was the one used for the exam)
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/medium/HolesCut.jpg

domjd05
03-13-2010, 08:07 PM
Looking great so far! Had the same issues with those desks when I was in high school too, they're useless.

BIO-Linist
03-14-2010, 02:09 AM
Finally got around to taking a pic of a corner "cube" installed. It is hard to get a good picture.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/cc002.jpg

hockeyhead019
03-14-2010, 08:32 PM
this look great!! i've wanted to do this figuring it would be cheaper than getting a whole tank set up....

so how much total have you spent already?

BIO-Linist
03-15-2010, 01:20 AM
Eleven months and well over $800 (but including new tools), about $690 after subtracting things left over that can still be used for other purposes. Cost is probably only a little less than buying a similar tank already made, so not worth it if you have a job and are capable of diligently setting aside and not spending some money.
Not included in these estimates is balance of own time costs vs. the value of the hands-on learning experience. I had originally intended to complete this project last summer, but got very sick. Either a very bad cold or a somewhat weaker version of swine flu. The long delay increased costs. For example, unused cement went bad and I had to buy more.

N.B. I live in Hawaii and everything is more expensive here. Most people will probably be able to get lower prices.

This is very rough estimate going from memory only and only includes items purchased specifically for construction of the tank itself. I added in tax already. Stuff used that I already had (such as drill, masking tape, etc.) is not included in this list, nor are other parts that will be required for an aquarium to work (such as stand, filters, etc.)

(consumed items - these are used up/worn out more or less completely): $655
Plexiglas sheet: $608
Cements: $33
Cement applicators: $7
Jigsaw blades: $7

(partially consumed items - partially used up/worn out so that a lot is left over/can be reused): $72
Router bits: $40
Buffing wheels: $15
Buffing compounds: $7
Sanding wheels: $6
Sandpaper: $5

(durable items - these are not significantly used up/worn out): $110
Router: $85
Clamps: $25

Gramazing
03-15-2010, 03:11 AM
Good ideas, I was actually thinking more of filtration stuff. I'm planning to make an intake in a corner with the longest piece.

Actually I already have a mini amphipod tank.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/516/thumbs/p000.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=12104)http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/517/thumbs/sc000.JPG (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=12176)

Sure I'll take pictures when things get going. Right now all there is is sheets of acrylic leaning against the wall.

Is that a brazilian sword aka peace lily?

Dacotah7
03-15-2010, 06:42 AM
I just discovered this thread and read all of it with great interest.

No one has questioned your design. The first thing I noticed was the top and assumed you were going to cement it to the sides. If my assumption is correct, it will add strength but I think will be a pain, a big obstacle when cleaning, vaccuming and servicing the tank. You could end up with algae or mold growing under the top. The size of the holes in the top are going to limit the size of in tank rocks, coral, driftwood, ornaments or filters.

Unless you drill holes for heater cords they will have to enter through those holes. You could use an inline heater and heat the water outside of the tank. If you drill holes there is some risk of causing cracks. My suggestion is to drill all holes before cementing anything, in case that should happen. Same with water piping / hoses, air lines, or HOB filters.

What are your plans to cover the holes in the top?

What type of filtration are you planning?

Some posts appear as having no content except a book icon, which are not a web link, such as Progress 2 of 8, 4 of 8, etc. What am I missing?

I was under the impression throughout the posts that you had acquired a free supply of acrylic, which was your motivation to build a tank. I must have misunderstood, as your summary to date post lists $608 for acrylic sheets.

What is the cementing sequence? Cement ends to front first, or cement front to bottom first, etc.? I am curious how this is going to come together, with concerns:
* Building a square (or rectangle) box and having all corners and edges line up is a major challenge. It sounds simple enough, but takes skill and tests one's patience.
* Getting everything square and holding it that way until the weld is complete.
* A slight error in the first corner, being off from a perfect RT Angle even slightly will cause a problem with later joints.
* As the welding progresses, the linear length and number of joints will increase. For eample the first joint will be one joint, and any two pieces. The last weld will include adding one pannel to four pannels already assembled.

I don't think I would attempt installing a pannel between two others. For example: Welding the front and back to the bottom, followed by installing an end between the front and back. The reason, a solvent mess, and getting enough solvent where needed and keeping it there.

How many hours have you actually worked on this project?
How many hours do you estimate to finish it?
Do you have a completion date in mind?

Have you actually cemented any of the sides to each other or the bottom yet?

Interesting project to say the least. Good Luck with it.

BIO-Linist
03-16-2010, 06:28 AM
Is that a brazilian sword aka peace lily?
Yes, the plant is most likely peace lily.


No one has questioned your design. The first thing I noticed was the top and assumed you were going to cement it to the sides. If my assumption is correct, it will add strength but I think will be a pain, a big obstacle when cleaning, vaccuming and servicing the tank. You could end up with algae or mold growing under the top. The size of the holes in the top are going to limit the size of in tank rocks, coral, driftwood, ornaments or filters.

Unless you drill holes for heater cords they will have to enter through those holes. You could use an inline heater and heat the water outside of the tank. If you drill holes there is some risk of causing cracks. My suggestion is to drill all holes before cementing anything, in case that should happen. Same with water piping / hoses, air lines, or HOB filters.

What are your plans to cover the holes in the top?

What type of filtration are you planning?

Some posts appear as having no content except a book icon, which are not a web link, such as Progress 2 of 8, 4 of 8, etc. What am I missing?

I was under the impression throughout the posts that you had acquired a free supply of acrylic, which was your motivation to build a tank. I must have misunderstood, as your summary to date post lists $608 for acrylic sheets.

What is the cementing sequence? Cement ends to front first, or cement front to bottom first, etc.? I am curious how this is going to come together, with concerns:
* Building a square (or rectangle) box and having all corners and edges line up is a major challenge. It sounds simple enough, but takes skill and tests one's patience.
* Getting everything square and holding it that way until the weld is complete.
* A slight error in the first corner, being off from a perfect RT Angle even slightly will cause a problem with later joints.
* As the welding progresses, the linear length and number of joints will increase. For eample the first joint will be one joint, and any two pieces. The last weld will include adding one pannel to four pannels already assembled.

I don't think I would attempt installing a pannel between two others. For example: Welding the front and back to the bottom, followed by installing an end between the front and back. The reason, a solvent mess, and getting enough solvent where needed and keeping it there.

How many hours have you actually worked on this project?
How many hours do you estimate to finish it?
Do you have a completion date in mind?

Have you actually cemented any of the sides to each other or the bottom yet?

ack, too many questions! here goes...

I actually cemented all the main panels together several months ago:
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showpost.php?p=676552&postcount=44

Oh come on, Algae is a fact of life. Fear not The Algae. The main holes were 12x12 and 12x16 inches on paper. They will actually be a bigger after I finish sanding down the edges.
The extra wide left and back is intended to allow for cutting any required holes at the edge without compromising too much strength.

I plan to use a 42 gallon sump.

Are you sure you read the whole thread? (near both the top and bottom left corners there are links that can take you to each page - go to page 1 and progress from there)

I had talked about the cost not in this thread, but in a different thread somewhere. TANSTAFL. Seriously, everything here is expensive and this was the best I could get at the time, after calling several places. Or maybe I just suck at shopping. But I did check Craigslist for quite a while in hopes of finding a suitable used tank, but that search failed. Anything larger than 55 gallons was hard to come by and/or much more expensive. And I don't have the agility to jump on a hot deal. Did you know that there are people with things like iphone with app that check craigslist automatically? Then they can just call up the seller right there. I simply cannot compete with that.

Sequence:
sides <-> back;
sides <-> front;
front and sides and back <-> bottom;
front and sides and back <-> top.

BIO-Linist
03-23-2010, 12:25 AM
Well I've put in all the corners.

Next: to add the wedges. They will have to be cut individually to fit each edge.

BIO-Linist
03-24-2010, 05:58 AM
Put in first wedge. AUGH BUBBLES...

Sarkazmo
03-24-2010, 06:24 AM
Always something, eh? Is there a solution?

Sark

BIO-Linist
03-24-2010, 08:34 PM
Dunno, just press on and do better on the others. I already gave up on making it look perfect.

The problem is I failed to apply even pressure over the whole length of wedge (and lack of practice). I'm going to try wrapping a pvc pipe in polyethylene sheet (solvent attacks pvc, but polyethylene is resistant) and pressing with that.

Sarkazmo
03-24-2010, 10:41 PM
That's a good idea! PVC is pretty rigid and would distribute the pressure more evenly.

Sark

BIO-Linist
03-26-2010, 04:53 AM
Well I put in another wedge (at top right edge - previous was top left edge). The pipe helped somewhat - there was less bubbling. However, I couldn't hold the pipe long enough time.

Conclusion: need some kind of weight to apply even pressure on wedge, really heavy yet can fit in corner of tank...

BIO-Linist
04-11-2010, 10:42 AM
corner cube from inside
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/cc003.jpg

corner cube from inside with wedge
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/ccw001.jpg

corner cube from inside with two wedges
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/ccw002.jpg

BIO-Linist
04-11-2010, 10:43 AM
fan attached to remove solvent fumes
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fan001.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fan002.jpg

oranda man
04-11-2010, 01:24 PM
nice it looks good

lowlight
04-12-2010, 06:10 AM
Glad to see you are still working on it, looks good so far.

BIO-Linist
07-08-2010, 09:38 AM
(I am still working on this(blush))

Northernguy
07-08-2010, 04:02 PM
No one said it was a quick or easy job. It looks great so far!thumbs2:
You will have a great sense of accomplishment when you get this tank finished.

BIO-Linist
07-16-2010, 11:37 AM
jig for routing ends of plexiglas acrylic wedges
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/w002.jpg

front corner bottom right outside of tank
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fo000.jpg

front corner bottom right inside of tank
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fi001.jpg

front corner bottom right inside of tank
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fi002.jpg

BIO-Linist
07-16-2010, 11:56 AM
sanding edges round
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fo003.jpg

drips
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/fo004.jpg



Edges sanded round using using 36, 80, then 220 grit paper. Intend to buff polish later.

Drips of Weld-On :insertangrysmileyhere: to be removed by sanding and buffing. Sorry for sloppiness. Need to rush before school starts again.






Had finished cementing the wedges in a few days ago. Went over each with Weld-On 4 in an attempt to fix some deep surface crazing caused by using Weld-On 3. Was somewhat successful. Weld-On 3 is really too 'hot' of a solvent for this type of job. But I would have to go far to get more Weld-On 4, while only Weld-On 3 was available at much nearer location.
Also dissolved some chunks of acrylic in WO 3 and 4, and attempted to fill voids/bubbles with it. (I ran out of 16) Not very effective. Mix it thick and it doesn't flow into the bubble. Mix it thin and it flows in, then dries leaving only a slightly smaller bubble. Maybe should have used a reactive 2-part cement for the wedges.. heard it can fill voids

BIO-Linist
07-16-2010, 12:20 PM
I am rounding off all the edges, because hitting a square edge really really hurts (and bruises, and bleeds)

Scrup
07-16-2010, 05:41 PM
Looks great! Keep the updates coming!

Good call on rounding the edges. I've lost plenty of blood to my tank.

Don't forget to save your scraps or buy some thick but small flat peices, you never know when you might need a scab patch.

Have you tried 1000+ grit (wet sanding) sandpaper? I used it to remove the blemishes from welding agents, as well as a few scratches on mine. Just wet sand it till you get a nice even haze and can't make out the blemish anymore, clean it off with a wet rag, then apply some acrylic polish (I use novus number 2 in the red bottle). comes out crystal clear. You only need to reapply the polish every 6-12 months, depending on how often that area gets washed/scrubbed. There are also many accounts of people using novus inside tanks, in marine and freshwater setups, with no impact to the fish. I cannot advocate enough the wet sanding as opposed to the lower grit. Would hate to see this get ruined. Try it out on some scrap first...see what you think.

Again, keep the updates coming!

BIO-Linist
07-16-2010, 10:48 PM
I already have buffing equipment and will be using that:

- buffing wheels and drill attachment
- buffing compound sticks (looks like big crayon loaded with abrasives in the wax)

After the dry sanding sequence, buff with a stiff wheel and abrasive compound, and next with a softer wheel and gentler compound. It is very effective and obviates the wet sanding step.

Thanks everyone.

Scrup
07-18-2010, 06:33 AM
Whatever method you choose, I still suggest hitting up some scrap with it first, at least to see how much play you have. acrylic gets chewed down suprisingly fast. Also might wanna make sure that compound isn't toxic...

But hey, its your tank.

BIO-Linist
07-18-2010, 08:48 AM
Finished sanding outside edges. Not buffed yet.

Now sanding inside edges of the two main holes in the top.


acrylic gets chewed down suprisingly fast.
Actually I had the opposite problem. My arms are now sore after all that sanding!:sconfused:


Also might wanna make sure that compound isn't toxic...
I was somewhat worried about that. How to check? The product is Task Force branded. I got it from Lowe's. Can't find any detailed information about it using Google (only results are "for sale" type things). It comes in a plastic tube and looks like a really fat crayon. It even smells like regular Crayola crayons (which are supposedly non-toxic). There are no warnings besides a graphic of somebody wearing safety glasses.

Speaking of possibly toxic buffing compounds, I was able to find MSDS's for some of the Novus compounds. One of them had mineral spirits, another had isopropyl alcohol. There were other things that I don't remember. Anyway I wouldn't use buffing compound inside a stocked aquarium. When there are fish inside, I'd only buff the outside.
I intend to only using buffing compound inside during construction of the tank, then try to clean the inside really well.

BIO-Linist
07-21-2010, 06:28 AM
I am making the inside edges of the two holes in the top all round. Almost finished the bigger hole.

main hole rounded off - top view
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/h000.jpg

main hole rounded off - perspective view
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/h001.jpg

Scrup
07-21-2010, 09:41 PM
FYI mineral spirits and isopropyl alcohol evaporate completly. Between an unknown stick of buffing stuff, and a buffing agent with testimonials stating they are non toxic, I would go with the known.


It is looking really nice. Can't wait to see it finished and unwrapped.

BIO-Linist
07-22-2010, 03:26 AM
Wait, I think we might be misunderstanding/ talking about different things here. You said
You only need to reapply the polish every 6-12 months, depending on how often that area gets washed/scrubbed.? Meaning you're talking about a coating that wears away, like wax for cars?

What I'm doing with the buffing compound is actually abrading the acrylic, like with sandpaper, but way finer. That is where the shine comes from: the surface of the item itself is smooth, not just a layer of wax. When done, I clean off the residue with isopropyl alcohol.
I think it is unlikely that trace amounts left after cleaning will cause problems.



FYI mineral spirits and isopropyl alcohol evaporate completly. Between an unknown stick of buffing stuff, and a buffing agent with testimonials stating they are non toxic, I would go with the known.
I know mineral spirits and isopropyl alcohol evaporate; what I meant was, that it isn't prudent to use that inside a running tank when the fish are in it, if that is what you meant by
There are also many accounts of people using novus inside tanks, in marine and freshwater setups, with no impact to the fish.

Testimonials to its safety don't really make it more appealing to me, because it is extremely difficult for the average user to be able to discern non-immediate cause/effect relationships. Long term effects are hard to prove. Remember, there are also many testimonials of smokers who lived to a ripe old age.

Conclusion: Even though I was a bit worried about the unknown, I'm not worried enough to go buy Novus.

BIO-Linist
07-23-2010, 10:11 AM
Just to clarify, I appreciate your concern on the buffing compound. I'm not trying to poo-poo Novus, if it looks like that. I'm sure it is an excellent and safe product.

BIO-Linist
07-28-2010, 06:51 AM
After buffing with the heavy compound, I buff polish with softer compound.

main hole polished - top view
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/ws005.jpg

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but it is now very shiny. The heavy compound / firm wheel combo bring the sanded surface to a dull hazy shine, then the light compound / medium wheel make it brightly shiny!

main hole polished - perspective view
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/ws006.jpg

secondary hole rounded off - top view
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/ws008.jpg

Secondary hole has been buffed with the heavy, just starting with the polishing.

BIO-Linist
08-02-2010, 10:22 AM
All exterior polished.

Next is to remove drips from interior.

BIO-Linist
08-06-2010, 10:52 PM
I drew stand design. Here are some renders. Ignore the sump floating in midair.

Top
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aqtop000.jpg

Front
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aqfront000.jpg

Right
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aqright000.jpg

Back
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aqback000.jpg

BIO-Linist
08-06-2010, 11:46 PM
The floor is a concrete slab sloped slightly more than 1/8 in/ft.

Here is what i plan to do:

Each foot of the stand goes in a concrete block.
Each leg has the outside leg lower than the inside leg. So the outside leg supports the weight before filling with concrete.
The low end of the stand will have to be jacked up to be level. Two car jacks will support outside lower legs only, via a horizontal 2 by 4 or something temporarily attached between them. It is assumed the higher legs are level enough already.
The tank will be partially filled to pre-load the outer halves of the legs, then the blocks filled with concrete. After the concrete sets for a day or so, the jacks and 2 by 4 will be removed.

BIO-Linist
08-09-2010, 08:09 AM
Change to plan: fill concrete enough to hold outer legs but not inner legs first, allow to set for a few days, remove jacks, then pre-load and fill concrete all the way. So there is less risk of the jacks slipping and causing a catastrophic failure during pre-loading.

BIO-Linist
08-11-2010, 10:51 AM
A medium soft 4 inch buffing wheel I use
20716

Parts
20717

Attached to drill
20719

Applying compound - heavy compound is used on the stiff wheel. Actually, this is just a photo pose, the wheel is supposed to be spinning to apply the compound but I don't have enough hands to hold everything.
20718

BIO-Linist
08-11-2010, 10:58 AM
The buffing compounds are like big crayons
20720

This buffing wheel is starting to wear out
20721

fishman01
08-27-2010, 08:06 PM
any updates?

BIO-Linist
08-28-2010, 05:36 AM
Maybe I'll get to work on it this weekend.

BIO-Linist
08-30-2010, 05:28 AM
Well I sanded and painted the trapezoid things that will eventually go in the top corners of the stand. I had cut them from a long piece with a hacksaw about a week ago and the cut ends were starting to rust so had to sand that off.

fishman01
10-25-2010, 07:32 PM
i was just searching through the journals and i was wondering if there is any updates on your tank

CrazedMichael
10-27-2010, 05:21 PM
DOubt it, progress has been slow thus far! Don't give up, my friend!

BIO-Linist
10-30-2010, 12:28 PM
Pics over several weeks

Sump suspension construction - sump will be on suspended platform from metal stand to avoid wood/concrete contact.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss000.jpg

Components coated in contact cement and individually wrapped in several layers of 3 mil trash bag, adhered using contact cement - Note old Dap Weldwood contact cement may be thinned freely using MEK (methyl ethyl ketone). I learned the hard way that other solvents probably won't work, namely, mineral spirits will fail - add too much and it makes the rubber solidify out of solution. Also, MEK dries faster so surfaces may be bonded sooner.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss001.jpg

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss002.jpg

Particleboard fails rather quickly if it gets wet. Platform must be completely wrapped in plastic using contact cement. PVC pipes, (suspended from weighted chairs, with one end fixed and the other running over its chair to a small weight as a crude pulley to maintain tension), were used to suspend and stretch plastic covering prior to bonding. Also a sock was used to smoothly apply pressure minimizing wrinkling.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss003.jpg

BIO-Linist
10-30-2010, 12:37 PM
continued

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss004.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss005.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss006.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/sss007.jpg

Plan: Wrap on bottom, then sides, then top, repeat. That way they overlap so gravity prevents water from running in under the edges.

Still quite a long ways to go...

BIO-Linist
06-18-2013, 11:10 PM
Hey I'm back. Blame college, home renovation, and internship. Now free for the summer, then grad school!

I used up my last can of methyl ethyl ketone; it was juuust enough. MEK is no longer available, something to do with California more or less banning it.

Here are pictures of building the top deck of the stand.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/td001.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/td002.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/td003.jpg
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/td004.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-21-2013, 11:18 AM
Drilled the tank.

Ingredients for acrylic tank drilling:

1. A pair of male and female electrical PVC fittings for each hole. Cheaper than ordering bulkheads. Need to be electrical because only electrical has flat edge of male fitting. Need flat edge for seating against gasket to form a good seal. (Can't use plumbing fittings due to round edge of male fitting!)
I cut and sanded the ends of the female fittings to expose the threads. Otherwise they would have been too deep to catch the male threads after the thickness of the acrylic.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq011.jpg

2. Matching hole saw (Use with electric drill).
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq017.jpg

3. Water bottle with a pinhole poked in it. For squirting a steady stream of cool water on cut to prevent plastic from melting and sticking to hole saw.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq016.jpg

4. Practice piece. Important for clean edges: cut from one side halfway through the acrylic, then finish the cut from the other side.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq015.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-22-2013, 12:52 AM
I found some more photos from building the wooden parts of the stand.

Strip of plastic suspended above side for contact cementing
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23410

Counterweight for maintaining tension
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23409

A ladder was used for suspending the plastic on the ends
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23408

After 3 layers of black plastic, everything painted white
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq018.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-24-2013, 02:34 AM
More pics.

Drill halfway through from outside. Notice water.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq010.jpg

All 3 holes done.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq012.jpg

Hole saw closeup.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23413

Fit check.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq014.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-25-2013, 05:41 AM
Put it on the stand.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq022.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-27-2013, 09:34 AM
Scrubbed off masking tape/buffing compound residue using vegetable oil and then 70% isopropyl alcohol. Fan to blow away alcohol fumes. Ladder for climbing inside. Polyethylene foodservice gloves to protect hands (wear 3 layers of gloves). "Paint odor" respirator (these wear out way too soon, I don't recommend AT ALL. Don't cheap out on this, get an actual organic vapor respirator!)
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq023.jpg

yay
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq024.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-27-2013, 09:54 AM
Forgot to mention:
-socks to cushion the fan, prevent vibration between fan and tank from scratching tank.
-Also put on fresh pair of socks before entering tank, to prevent dirt particles on feet from scratching tank. Make sure clothing has no zippers, studs, etc.
-I used paper napkins for scrubbing. Lots of napkins. Throw away as soon as it picks up a little dirt.

BIO-Linist
06-28-2013, 01:34 AM
Fill 'er up!
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq025.jpg

And the sump too
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq026.jpg

BIO-Linist
06-28-2013, 11:25 AM
The tank is half full. So is the sump.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq027.jpg
Poured the (concrete) feet. Gonna leave it like this while waiting for the concrete to cure.
Plastic bags and spray bottle with water to keep concrete moist.

overkil2
06-28-2013, 01:00 PM
Very Nice!! Looks good.

BIO-Linist
06-30-2013, 09:22 AM
Thanks overkil2. I was wondering if anyone was even reading this.

Sorry no pics today.
Working on the plumbing while waiting for the concrete to cure.

Sandz
06-30-2013, 01:34 PM
Im definitely reading. I dont have input but am having fun learning!

madagascariensis
06-30-2013, 03:03 PM
I've been skimming through. usually any replies or comments will start coming in when you begin aquascaping, stocking and/or planting the tank.

BIO-Linist
07-02-2013, 10:09 AM
Cool, thanks for reading.

Sump shot.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq028.jpg

I think she's asking me, "Does this spraybar make me look fat?"(blush)
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq029.jpg

BIO-Linist
07-03-2013, 08:10 AM
Return line, 3/4" PVC. Also 1/2" with ball valve going back into sump. 3/4" with ball valve to garden hose.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq030.jpg

Overflow. 1-1/4" PVC. The gasket I bought for it years ago still stinks (chemical smell). Gave up on finding a safe premade gasket and used aquarium silicone instead. Smeared a thin layer of vegetable oil on fitting and around the hole to prevent silicone from permanently adhering. Applied bead of silicone to male fitting, insert in hole and press gently, NOT all the way in. Leave some thickness of silicone between fitting and tank. Couple days later (after silicone has time to cure), wrapped a thick layer of PTFE tape around end of fitting, then screw on the female fitting. Tight.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq031.jpg

Siphon break on overflow.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq032.jpg

Siphon break on return.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq033.jpg

Notice I didn't glue all the joints. Make it easy to move and take apart the pipes. Only glue where the joint is under tension, under pressure and/or needs to be absolutely leak proof. Other places just stuff the pipe into the socket. PTFE tape on end of pipe if necessary to prevent leak.

BIO-Linist
07-07-2013, 12:32 AM
Full & running.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq034.jpg
At first I thought the water level would be too low so I glued a 3/4" coupling into 1-1/4" male on the overflow (results in 1" diameter opening), however this ended up making it a bit too high for my liking (only 1" from the very top). Eventually I gotta replace the 1-1/4" male to get back the full diameter.

Pump turned off. Tank water level falls approx 2" and sump water level rises approx 4." So can safely fill up to 5" from top for water level in sump.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq035.jpg

BIO-Linist
07-19-2013, 08:15 AM
Worked on the intake today. Drilled lots of holes. They are intended to act as a triangular frame over which a huge filter pad will be sewn.
The 1-1/4" PVC fits into the overflow. The 3/4" PVC will act as lift tubes for backup filtration. Air line tubing to go into the holes in the ells. Bubbles and water to come out the small holes in top pipe. Water drawn in through bottom holes.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq036.jpg

BIO-Linist
07-26-2013, 05:53 AM
The fish are in.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/841/aq037.jpg
Questions/suggestions welcome.

Sandz
07-26-2013, 01:45 PM
Did you consider painting the background so to not see the piping?

BIO-Linist
07-27-2013, 06:23 AM
Did you consider painting the background so to not see the piping?
I went and taped trash bag to the back. It doesn't look very good, but at least the fish colored up a bit. My mom wants one of those "picture of a coral reef" type backgrounds.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/515/aq038.jpg
idk, what do you think?

BIO-Linist
07-29-2013, 08:47 AM
1. I go back to school in less than a month

- Hoping to minimize maintenance

- - Idea: plumb in additional tank(s) for more water volume, no fish, possibly heavily planted to remove nitrate
- - - Just ordered a cheap diamond hole saw, reviews say it's good for maybe 2-8 holes, will probably arrive a couple weeks from now
- - - Available tanks:
- - - - 29 gallon (Marineland Eclipse) the fish just came out of
- - - - Old scratched up 20 gallon tall (in storage, needs a new hood)
- - - - 15 gallon tall (Marineland Eclipse) a neighbor was throwing away, would need to be cleaned up but the glass is still pretty nice
- - - - 7x 18 gallon plastic totes

2. The current "aquascape" if you can even call it that is ugly. What to do?
Need to minimize maintenance. Fish and electric bill doesn't like intense light so no live plants. Fake plants are likely to attract algae and I won't have time to clean them. Rocks increase the chance of injury. No way to siphon 8 sq.ft of substrate.

3. Should end this thread and start a new one? Because technically the construction of the 125 gallon tank is done.

Triton
07-29-2013, 11:56 AM
nah now is the part lots of ppl would chime in on.

Look for some good driftwood pieces and tie anubius and java fern off too it.

As for vac'ing the substrate, a thin layer of sand (1") would look nice and not pose any problems

BIO-Linist
07-30-2013, 11:41 PM
Look for some good driftwood pieces and tie anubius and java fern off too it.
Sorry I forgot to include driftwood in the list of stuff that fish might get hurt on. Although this could be an option for a connected nitrate removing tank.


As for vac'ing the substrate, a thin layer of sand (1") would look nice and not pose any problems
I've been reading up black or otherwise dark sands, getting mixed reviews about safety for bottom feeders. (Needs to be dark because the fish stress in light colored/bright surroundings.)

Here is a photo of the tank from its left side, as it would be viewed by guests entering the house.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/515/aq039.jpg
Notice how the orchid plant hides the basket of gravel.
But there is nothing to decrease the visual impact of the PVC piping.

There is a sofa in front of the tank on the right side, but hardly anyone ever sits there.

The 29 gallon is just slightly longer than the 125 is wide, so I'm thinking of putting it sideways on the left side of the tank (where the orchid is now), and maybe the 15 gallon in front of it (on the far left relative to the 125). Since it would require the least wattage to achieve enough light intensity, the 15 gallon is the most likely candidate for planting. It came with what looks like a 15 watt light built in, can easily add 18 watts using a 6500K CFL on a gooseneck lamp shining in from the side (can easily put away when guests come over). I also have 27 watt CFLs but the color temp is lower (5500K). If the plants fail maybe it'll turn into a giant algae scrubber lol:14:

The 20 gallon is so scratched up I don't think it would be presentable, it has deep scratches in the glass I think from gravel getting picked up in scouring pad when scraping off algae. Maybe can put it underneath the 29 gallon if I put the 15 gallon in front of it.

gronlaura
07-30-2013, 11:47 PM
Check out petco brand black sand. It looks nice and is good for bottom dwellers. I have sand in my 75 gal and I love it. I am going to use the petco black sand in my dual 29 gals.

BIO-Linist
07-31-2013, 10:17 AM
The petco sand is coated (like colored gravel).
In my experience with color gravel the color wears off and makes a mess. I often find green and blue paint chips caught in my filter pad.

gronlaura
07-31-2013, 02:47 PM
The petco sand is coated (like colored gravel).
In my experience with color gravel the color wears off and makes a mess. I often find green and blue paint chips caught in my filter pad.

That's possible, but the reviews I read were all positive.

BIO-Linist
08-01-2013, 05:20 AM
Think I'll stay bare bottom. Got used to it and kinda like it now. The spraybar points downward at an angle for a counterclockwise circulation. Keeps it nice and clean. And it matches the background because I used the same kind of trash bag underneath the tank.

BIO-Linist
08-05-2013, 07:51 AM
Got a background and taped it on. "Penn-Plax Double Back"
No pic because it is nighttime.

BIO-Linist
08-07-2013, 10:48 PM
Here's the pic
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/515/aq040.jpg

BIO-Linist
08-31-2013, 05:11 PM
- 1 tilapia
- 1 yoyo loach
- lots of Malaysian trumpet snails
- Filter: Marineland Eclipse3 (29 gallon size filter/light combo hood)
- Sump: 42 gallons; almost 2x of 312 sq. in. filter pad over the intake for both mechanical and biological.

The yoyo finally let me take his picture
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23519

Spardas
08-31-2013, 05:59 PM
Hmmmmm, that Tilapia is making me hungry......

J/k, so what's the plan with decorations? Sorry if I missed it and you mentioned it already....

What type of lighting is that?

BIO-Linist
09-01-2013, 05:51 AM
Hmmmmm, that Tilapia is making me hungry......

J/k,
I get that a lot.


What type of lighting is that?
It has 2 18W fluorescent tubes. Seldom actually use it because it stresses the fish.


so what's the plan with decorations? Sorry if I missed it and you mentioned it already....
There is no plan.:help:

I currently have a lot on my plate so the short-term goal is to increase the efficiency of water quality maintenance.

A small amount of brown algae is starting to grow, but I don't think it help much at all.

Water change takes 2-4 hours, mostly because the tap is cold and so I refill at a trickle. Originally I refilled full blast and it only took minutes but it seemed to stress the fish.
Today I fell asleep in front of the sump while waiting for it to fill up. I woke up to water splashing on my foot!:yipes: Good thing the floor is tile.

Here's the plan so that I don't have to constantly monitor the water level during water changes:
Adding a holding tank for incoming water.
Adding a second sump (the sump overflows into this) with a pump on a float switch for removing water.

After that I intend to add aquaponics for nitrate removal.

Got 6 Seascape strawberry plants from Walmart today, still need to unpot and QT them. Gonna leave them growing in their pots for now.

BIO-Linist
09-01-2013, 06:44 PM
yay
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23520

BIO-Linist
09-11-2013, 06:09 PM
good news:
-Strawberries tasted good.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23522

-Plants sending out runners, going to root these in water instead of dealing with uprooting the original plants.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23523

bad news:
-1 of the strawberry plants got crown rot and died. There is also an infestation of spider mites.

-This is HITH again isn't it? Battled it 4 years ago (see original thread here: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=51628 ), the scars never completely healed and looks like they're spreading again.
I'd blame injury and stress from the move which allowed the pathogens an opportunity.
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23524
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/watermark.php?file=23525

Parameters as last tested:
NH3/4+: 0 (9/9/13)
NO2-: 0 (9/9/13)
NO3-: 15ppm (9/9/13)
pH: 8.0 (9/9/13)
GH: 4d (9/9/13)
KH: 3d (9/9/13)
Temp: 86F (9/10/13)

BIO-Linist
10-20-2013, 01:22 AM
- Finished metronidazole treatment. The holes are still there.

- Another strawberry plant died. The spider mites have multiplied and are causing massive damage. The plants must have come pre-infested. There is very low chance for bugs to get in from outside because the growbox is right in the middle of the house, far from any windows or other plants.