Building your own tank

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Building your own tank

Post by cancichfan on Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:12 pm

It has started to become apparent that my 90 gal malawi tank is going to have to be dealt with. It has a mixture of haps and mbuna in it today and although there aren't any major battles, I am thinking of how I can clean it up and make it a straight mbuna tank. But then, what do I do with the haps and the one stray OB peacock that is in there.

I've been toying with the idea of trying to build my own tank and stand to house them. But, is this a realistic idea? Is it likely to be cheaper than buying a new one (I am sure if I looked long enough I could find a used one that would be cheaper but when??). I like the idea of building my own and I've seen some plywood builds on here that look sort of neat but I am not sure if that is what I want to attempt or all-glass.

If I decide to try a glass one where do I start? Same for plywood. Can you do a combination? I'd like to do a tank that would fit in a corner and be visible from 2 sides. Could I do glass on two sides and plywood on the two that aren't visible? I'm even debating an "L" shape that would wrap into a corner. Sort of like two 4 foots butted together at a right angle in footprint. But, does this work or am I better off to do straight and long? I have built furniture in the past and am fairly handy and have pretty much whatever tools I'd need but I don't know where to start with this.

Sorry, too many questions but I have started thinking about it as a project for the summer.
Please feel free to give me any and all advice.
Thanks
Graham

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Re: Building your own tank

Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:31 pm

Have a look at this, it won't help you with a "L" shaped tank but will come in handy for a regular shaped tank with whatever dimensions you choose.

http://www.riftlakecichlids.com/diy-library-f23/diy-tank-calculator-t26.htm

As far as building a tank... Norm (Iceblue) is our "Resident Tank Builder". He can give you plenty of idea's Wink

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Re: Building your own tank

Post by iceblue on Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:26 pm

Building an all glass tank can get expensive real quick depending on size. Aquarium manufacturers get their glass wholesale and are able to build them more cheaply then the average person.

A plywood tank on the other hand can be done at a lesser cost but keep in mind the larger the tank the better the savings. Anything under a 100g is usually cheaper to buy.

My total cost for a 350g plywood tank including diy filters, lighting,150g sump, stand and hood came to $800.00. Throw in the pumps to run it and another $200.00 for the glass front (which I still don,t have.) and the grand total cost is around $1200.00. Not to bad at less then 2 1/2 dollars a gallon including the huge sump ready to put fish in.



You have an advantage already with the glass from your 90g. Taken apart you have the makings for 2 tanks. I would avoid making an L shaped tank. Any shift in level will cause a great deal of stress on the inside and outside corners usually leading to failure.

Remember that the deeper (more width) you give your tanks the more water you can get for your fish. Don't change the height of what your 90g already is. The higher the tank the thicker the glass will have to be. But, you can go as far as you want with the width without effecting the strength of the tank to a certain point.

One of the bigger costs is the water-proofing for the tank. I used 2 part potable water safe epoxy from Sweetwater. My cost for 3 gallons was $160.00 (including hazard shipping costs) But that gave me 7 coats for the tank and 6 coats for the sump. Others are having success with hardiboard inside the plywood structure painted with Drylock and it does lower the cost somewhat. I went with the epoxy because it is a proven system.

I can go on and make this a three page thread with one post but I think it would be easier just to answer questions. By the way, you can put glass at the front and one or both sides of a plywood tank.
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Re: Building your own tank

Post by cancichfan on Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:50 pm

Thanks a lot. Already given me some stuff to think about.
I was thinking of doing something in the 8 foot long range if I did it myself. I think for a 6 foot tank I could buy all-glass ready to go cheaper and easier. I don't intend to dismantle my 90 so I would be starting from scratch. I'd probably add an extra foot to hide the plumbing etc.
I'd give it a 10% chance I'll actually do this, 15% that I'll start and get frustrated because I don't know what I am doing and quit and 75% that this will be just another string that doesn't go anywhere and ends in a bunch of messages but no tank. Still, I like the idea of doing one and I have a great place for it so who knows.

From what you are saying here, it would be better to be wider than taller. Probably no more than 18 inches high by 30 by 96. Anyone have any idea how many gallons that would be? Being Canadian, I have no idea how many cubic inches in a gallon. I checked out the DIY calculator. Great info but not sure how big that would be in gallons.

Thanks for your help but like I said, until I have a pile of lumber in the driveway I wouldn't go too deep with your replies. I was more curious if it was do-able and cost effective.

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Re: Building your own tank

Post by iceblue on Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:45 pm

223 gallons U.S.A. with your dimensions.

The most economical way to do it is to find that piece of glass first. Look through Craigslist or other selling sites in your area and see if anyone has a glass table top or something similar for sale. It is cheaper to build to the glass then to buy it after the tanks built.
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