Plywood aquarium

Discussion in 'Anything DIY Related' started by 459b, 2 Apr 2008.

  1. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    A while ago i decided i needed a new bigger tank and wanted to see if a tank can be built out of wood. Here are a few pictures of the tank at various stages.

    The tank dimensions are 13500 X 51 X 70 cm. When filled it hold about 330 litres water. It will have a sump of around 120 litres. The main tank occupant will be my juvenile octopus. So far the tank, including wood, glass, resin, scres, paint, pvc etc has cost a little over R1200.

    [​IMG]

    I used 7-ply 18mm plywood, bought and cut at timbercity for only R300!! Sides are glued and screwed together. Eventually used over 100 screws in total. Then came the fun part of filling in all the slight imperfections with wood filler. Sanding the tank was also a bit of a mission. The entire tank, including the outside, recieved two coats of epoxy resin. If you look carefully you can see that the inside joins have been reinforced with fiberglass.

    [​IMG]

    Apparently its not advisable to epoxy over paint, so i decided to colour the resin. The inside got another two thick coats of blue resin.


    [​IMG]

    One of the benefits of using wood, is the ease of drilling,cutting etc. I have drilled holes for plumbing and electrics and should be able to drill holes even when the tank is filled.


    [​IMG]

    I then gave the outside of the tank two coats of Plascon velvaglo, apparently this paint is water resistant and can withstand salt water. If i had to build this tank again, i might consider buying more expensive wood for the front, althought the black/blue combination looks awesome!


    Then for the fun part - - putting in the glass. I bought a piece of 10mm glass ( 1300 X 56 cm) from a place in Parow for R350, less than half the price of the next cheapest quote. The glass fits in behind the front frame, so there is little to no chance of it ever falling out.
    In the next picture you can see the plumbing. I designed my overflow so that water leaves from the bottom of the tank but the overflow is still at the top (if that makes any sense). The inlet is on the same side as the outlet, so i have pvc pipe running the length of the tank. I also put in two horizontal supports for extra strenght.

    [​IMG]

    Heres the tank as it stands at the moment. Ignore the crap looking rocks in it, they only temporary!

    [​IMG]


    Last weekend i filled it with water to check if it leaks. And it didnt. It didnt even bend from the water pressure. It seems to be alot stronger than a glass tank. Wood wont break if bumped either, which is an important thing in my house.
    At the moment im having difficulty finding someone willing to make me artificial rock (i want to save on weight and the octopus has a habit of rearranging the tank). All the plumbing etc is lying on the floor wating to be connected. I even have the water ready. Im seeing a guy about rock this morning so will hopefully be able to fill the tank this weekend. Will post more pictures when it is finished.

    Let me know what you think.
     
    viper357 likes this.
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  3. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Thats looking very nice, the plumbing we see is that your return pipe, if so how deep is it?
     
  4. Brucemg

    Brucemg

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    Looking good 459b, so how thick is the ply wood. and how is the glass attached to the wood.

    Morning Kanga long time no hear.
     
  5. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i used 18mm plywood. Its alot stronger than i thought it would be.
    glass is stuck in with marine silicone. the front frame is approx 4cm, the glass is stuck to that.

    that is the return plumbing. It will run just above the surface of the water, not sure of exact depth.
     
  6. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Fantastic thread :thumbup:

    Really keen to see this up and running with your octopus in it.

    One thing that concerns me a bit is with the water exiting your overflow at the bottom of the tank, if the power fails then your entire tank will drain out.
     
  7. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    the overflow is at the top of the tank, but the water leaves the tank at the bottom, almost like the setup in a sump.
     
  8. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Oh ok, I see what you mean.
     
  9. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i have a picture of it on Sketchup which is alot clearer, but my computer wont let me open it at the moment.
     
  10. shan

    shan

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    very cool
     
  11. lappiesreef

    lappiesreef

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    Awesome Idea!! Hope it all works out great. :thumbup:
     
  12. dendrosa

    dendrosa Member

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    Looking good! Another convert to plywood tanks?
     
  13. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    AWESOME 459b! Thanks for the thread! How and what are you going to do about lighting? How will you be suspending what type of lighting over the top of the tank?
     
  14. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Still a bit unsure of how to connect lights/canopy. And i havent fully decided on the lights either. The last plan was to build a support for the lights on the horizontal struts, as i should have enough space between the top of the tank and the water level to do this. But this morning a friend suggested i build a triangle shaped canopy, which sounds like a better idea as it will bring the lights further away from the water. Any suggestions?
     
  15. HenkHugo

    HenkHugo

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    BLIKSEM!!!!!!!!!!! now THAT is cool! i would love to see it upclose :D
     
  16. Rory

    Rory Admin MASA Contributor

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    Very awesome! Can't wait to see more of this tank...
     
  17. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    hey dude!
    this tank looks pretty damn nice:thumbup:
    DIY 459b is in da house!
     
  18. dendrosa

    dendrosa Member

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    Cant you suspend lights from ceiling above tank and leave open instead of going with a hood? It definitely helps keep temp under control as well as condensation , salt creep etc that can occur inside hood
     
  19. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    keeping the top open isnt a bad idea. Wont that result in alot of evaporation?
     
  20. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    It will increase evaporation but your auto top up should keep up easily
     
  21. dendrosa

    dendrosa Member

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    As kanga says auto topoff will sort that out. The advantages , for me, outweigh the extra evaporation ie ease of access during housekeeping, avoidance of high humidity inside a canopy, heat issues.
     
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