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KevinVA
03-22-2012, 12:21 AM
Hey guys,

I've been trying to find a supplier of glass/acrylic sheets over the last couple of days. Unfortunately, I'm finding it extremely difficult to do so. And those that I find, are extremely expensive... even for glass.

I find it difficult to believe that DIY aquariums are cost effective... it almost seems like it's worth it to buy a completed tank from a store, since they're buying this stuff in bulk, on the cheap. The only thing I can see, is that people like the challenge and the satisfaction of building a tank.

Anyway, I refuse to believe that's the only reason people started doing it themselves... They must have seen the prices of tanks and thought they could build it for much cheaper than what the store was selling it for. Right?

I come to you, AC, yet again... for some help.

Do any of you know where to get some inexpensive 1/4" thick glass sheets/plates? I have a feeling acrylic is always going to be expensive, but the creation of glass is much more simplistic and not dependent on oil prices. There's GOT to be some discount distributor out there somewhere. So... any ideas? Your help, as always, is much appreciated.

MLBfan
03-22-2012, 12:25 AM
I have never built a tank, but I know it cost a lot less just to buy one. Building a tank can be good for your own enjoyment (if you enjoy that sort of stuff) or for custom designs, but money saving is not usually one of the reasons.

Crispy
03-22-2012, 12:32 AM
alot of people 'recycle' used glass from a broken or cheap aquarium and use it for viewing panes on a larger build. I suppose this is one way to make it very cost effective.

Cliff
03-22-2012, 12:40 AM
Maybe just phone around to a few glass shops

When I needed a few pcs of glass cut for my sumps, I was a little surprised at how affordable it was

Might be worth a phone call or two

patinthehat
03-22-2012, 12:41 AM
most of the time building your own tank is not going to be cost effective until you get up to larger sizes. unless you go local, shipping glass and acrylic is going to be really expensive.

Aeonflame
03-22-2012, 12:51 AM
Do not go to your local small glass stores. Find out who their big supplier is, then contact that place. Usually they have no problem cutting the glass to your exact specifications which makes building a lot easier. I have built tanks and found it to be quite a bit cheaper if you get the glass from the large suppliers.

KevinVA
03-22-2012, 02:25 AM
lol, well those were some interesting and mixed responses. Not exactly the "hope" I was looking for, but a dose of reality is always a good thing. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the help.

I've already posted a "want" listing on craigslist, so hopefully that pans out to some extent. I've also heard that builders will buy in bulk and toss the unused supply, so that might be an option, as well... just don't know how to go about that, really.

I'll try to find a supplier for glass shops. I've already gone the local glass shop route and found the same prices as online stores. Lowes has glass, too, but just as expensive and the special orders are supposedly worse than the smaller shops. I'm amazed at how much this stuff costs.

Thanks again for chiming in. I'll let you guys know where it takes me. Maybe my search will lead to some unexplored, hidden gem of a supplier somewhere. hah :scry:

Ashurbarnipal
03-22-2012, 04:03 PM
+1 to Cliff.

I've been researching starting a 55 gallon sump, and for one glass shop priced 12x16 panels at 4 bucks each.

Lady Hobbs
03-22-2012, 04:24 PM
I have never seen a piece of acrylic that was cheap. A small piece I bought was $23 and that was not fish tank quality or thickness.

For what it costs to buy one, unless you were building a monster tank, it would be cheaper to buy one and you'd at least have the guarantee against leaks. Many will build a huge, huge tank but it's all plywood but for the viewing window.

http://www.glasscages.com/ acrylic sheets here

Aeonflame
03-22-2012, 04:27 PM
Glass will always be cheaper than acrylic.... you just need to find the right supplier. I have even used second hand window glass that was in good condition.

William
03-22-2012, 04:47 PM
My experenience is that the cheapest alternative is to buy a used tank. But if you want a new one it has allways been a lot cheaper to build them than to buy them ready made in the areas I lived. The last tank I built cut 70% of the price of buying a ready made tank. But judging from the answers here I think glass prices vary a lot in different areas.

Dave66
03-22-2012, 04:49 PM
Only in smaller sizes is glass cheaper than acrylic. In larger tanks, acrylic is cheaper than glass.

Dave

KevinVA
03-22-2012, 05:08 PM
Hey William,

Where's "Paradise?" ;]

William
03-22-2012, 05:44 PM
Nicaraguas pacific coast at the moment. But I am originally Swedish.

KevinVA
03-22-2012, 06:07 PM
Nicaraguas pacific coast at the moment. But I am originally Swedish.

Ahh. Would you say that both places offered cheaper alternatives to premade? I'm just curious what we're comparing.

On a side note, I went back to Petsmart to price some aquariums... It's funny how everything seems a lot more affordable, after having done this research. lol

Only difference I see, though, is that the big companies are using plastic, in place of glass, to make their Euro/Cross Braces along the top.

Oglan
03-24-2012, 10:25 AM
I went on a search for glass one day to replace all the glass on my boat, the cheapest i found was Home depot

KevinVA
03-24-2012, 02:41 PM
I went on a search for glass one day to replace all the glass on my boat, the cheapest i found was Home depot

That had to have been at least 1/4" thick, right? I'll check them out.

Scrup
04-01-2012, 07:36 PM
Check nearby to see if you have a place called "ReStore".

They are nationwide, run by habitat for humanity, and they mostly sell salvaged and donated industrial and residential construction salvage. You can usually find TONS of random pieces of glass there. For DIRT cheap too. Might take some work to restore it, but well worth it if you are doing it on the cheap.

Looks like there is on in Manassas, which IIRC is not too far from Gainesville.

http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore_detail.aspx?place=46

KevinVA
04-01-2012, 11:52 PM
Check nearby to see if you have a place called "ReStore".

They are nationwide, run by habitat for humanity, and they mostly sell salvaged and donated industrial and residential construction salvage. You can usually find TONS of random pieces of glass there. For DIRT cheap too. Might take some work to restore it, but well worth it if you are doing it on the cheap.

Looks like there is on in Manassas, which IIRC is not too far from Gainesville.

http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore_detail.aspx?place=46

Nice! Thanks Scrup, I'll check them out.