Building my own glass aquarium

cichlidmac

The wife and I are looking at purchasing our first house. The garage will be a fish room/man cave. I want a center piece 360 viewing tank. The guys in the glass department at work think I can build a 4 feet long x 4 feet wide x 3 feet high with tempered glass. I'll have to do some research what do you guys think? I calculated 359 gallon if full, I also want to do a riparium island in the middle.
 

antec

careful with tempered glass. if you want to add a sump or anything like that you won't be able to drill into the glass. you will also need to be careful not to bump it with anything, if you manage to bump it enough to scratch the glass. . . deep enough....! BOOM !.... everything will go.

I'm actually in the process of research and development with a tank build. I chose acrylic because it is light in weight, ~90% clarity, acts as an insulator = saves on electricity and heating, and is significantly stronger. yes its easier to scratch compared to glass but that can be fixed- scratching glass cannot be fixed. on top of that, glass you have to silicon it together. with acrylic you basically chemically weld the pieces together. at the end of it your left with one, giant, solid piece of acrylic shaped as an aquarium. just my two cents
 

Malcolm

HI there

Interesting project.

If I may offer a little of my experience in building tanks as I used to do bespoke systems when I had my store.

DO NOT use tempered or laminated glass, even though it may sound logical to use it due to it's higher strength it really will end in very wet tears, the glass to use is annealed as it retains the necessary give that helps withstand the pressures involved.
Also going up to a 3ft deep cube tank will involve some thick glass as a brace is hard to do for all sides, 1/2" sides and double base 2x1/2" would be what I would use, now the problem with glass that thick is that the cuts need to be square and straight in order that the silicon can a) get a good grip and b) seal consistently along the full length,
Pressure is a big problem when going deep using butt jointed silicon as it is only recommended for use unsupported up to 28" or so.
I have personally built tanks of 39" deep with a length of 8' and width of 3' 6", it was built on-site and the glass used was 3/4" sides with a double floating base of 3/4", took me 3 days to build and was the most nerve wracking 6hrs when I eventually filled it 2 weeks later during the wet test.

Maintenance is a huge problem with deep tanks too, simply reaching to the bottom for routine tasks involves some long tongs and/or some very wet sleeves.
I would suggest dropping down to a more standard 30" deep (28" of water) and putting the tank on a higher stand if you want eye level views.

Great idea though, looking forward to it progressing.
 

cichlidmac

I work in a glass factory = free glass. I couldn't afford to build an acrylic tank of that size. Tempered glass can be hit pretty dang hard before breaking, I've thrown all types of glass around, we have almost bullet proof stuff here.
 

Malcolm

With the greatest respect, when I started making tanks I used all sorts of glass and the only one recommended is annealed, The only one that had the least failures is annealed.
Think of this, try bending some tempered glass, it doesn't.
The pressure involved in a tank is a lot bigger than people imagine, the weight of water alone in a 4x4x3 will be close to 3,000lb's
 

antec

I concur with Malcolm. if you want to use the tempered stuff, its up to you. but I'd hate to say "we told you so" when we see a thread that read, "my aquarium exploded" lol
 

ETAMH

You would need diving gear to clean it but go for it what fish are you looking at getting
 

cichlidmac

With the greatest respect, when I started making tanks I used all sorts of glass and the only one recommended is annealed, The only one that had the least failures is annealed.
Think of this, try bending some tempered glass, it doesn't.
The pressure involved in a tank is a lot bigger than people imagine, the weight of water alone in a 4x4x3 will be close to 3,000lb's

Thanks for the info, so annealed with braces on top would work or should I go smaller?
 

cichlidmac

HI there

Interesting project.

If I may offer a little of my experience in building tanks as I used to do bespoke systems when I had my store.

DO NOT use tempered or laminated glass, even though it may sound logical to use it due to it's higher strength it really will end in very wet tears, the glass to use is annealed as it retains the necessary give that helps withstand the pressures involved.
Also going up to a 3ft deep cube tank will involve some thick glass as a brace is hard to do for all sides, 1/2" sides and double base 2x1/2" would be what I would use, now the problem with glass that thick is that the cuts need to be square and straight in order that the silicon can a) get a good grip and b) seal consistently along the full length,
Pressure is a big problem when going deep using butt jointed silicon as it is only recommended for use unsupported up to 28" or so.
I have personally built tanks of 39" deep with a length of 8' and width of 3' 6", it was built on-site and the glass used was 3/4" sides with a double floating base of 3/4", took me 3 days to build and was the most nerve wracking 6hrs when I eventually filled it 2 weeks later during the wet test.

Maintenance is a huge problem with deep tanks too, simply reaching to the bottom for routine tasks involves some long tongs and/or some very wet sleeves.
I would suggest dropping down to a more standard 30" deep (28" of water) and putting the tank on a higher stand if you want eye level views.

Great idea though, looking forward to it progressing.

I'm thinking shallow would be cool anyways, even 4 x 4 x 2 would be awesome.
 

cichlidmac

You would need diving gear to clean it but go for it what fish are you looking at getting

Would almost have to do discus in a tank like that.
 

Malcolm

A 4 x 4 x 2 would be fine and good visually, just use 3/4" as the bottom pane. and run a 4" wide supporting rI'm all round the top and bottom.

Would you be using a sump seeing as you want a 360deg view if so then a centre weir is the way to go, Centre weir feeding a 42x42x18 four chamber sump would keep all equipment out of sight and the water spotless.
 

cichlidmac

Hmmm glasscages.com has a 48"x48"x31" and says you can have tempered glass on any aquarium they make.
 

cichlidmac

A 4 x 4 x 2 would be fine and good visually, just use 3/4" as the bottom pane. and run a 4" wide supporting rI'm all round the top and bottom.

Would you be using a sump seeing as you want a 360deg view if so then a centre weir is the way to go, Centre weir feeding a 42x42x18 four chamber sump would keep all equipment out of sight and the water spotless.

This sounds good.
 

horsin1787

A 4 x 4 x 2 would be fine and good visually, just use 3/4" as the bottom pane. and run a 4" wide supporting rI'm all round the top and bottom.

Would you be using a sump seeing as you want a 360deg view if so then a centre weir is the way to go, Centre weir feeding a 42x42x18 four chamber sump would keep all equipment out of sight and the water spotless.

I can't find any info on "center weir" do you have a picture or more info on it?
 

Malcolm

I will draw up a little sketch-up drawing to explain
 

cichlidmac

I can't find any info on "center weir" do you have a picture or more info on it?

Basically an overflow built into the center of the tank to hide underneath I believe.
 

Malcolm

Okay I tried to make a drawing but it has been so long since I last used google sketchup that it is easier to grab a picture from elsewhere, the mods may well remove the picture as it is not my own but hopefully you will see it before it goes.

Here is a central weir

Capture_1.png
 

Malcolm

HI again

Okay now this is MY dream and done when I could use sketchup LOL

The tank will be saltwater with dimensions of 8'x8'x30" at the shallow end and 60" at the front deep part, it would be in acrylic and have a massive (30,000gph) surge pump to flow from the bottom of the deepest part forwards and up twice a day to replicate the upsurge along the reef dropoff



Any yes feel free to call me as crazy as a box of og5
 

cichlidmac

HI again

Okay now this is MY dream and done when I could use sketchup LOL

The tank will be saltwater with dimensions of 8'x8'x30" at the shallow end and 60" at the front deep part, it would be in acrylic and have a massive (30,000gph) surge pump to flow from the bottom of the deepest part forwards and up twice a day to replicate the upsurge along the reef dropoff



Any yes feel free to call me as crazy as a box of og5

That's amazing!
 

cichlidmac

Okay I tried to make a drawing but it has been so long since I last used google sketchup that it is easier to grab a picture from elsewhere, the mods may well remove the picture as it is not my own but hopefully you will see it before it goes.

Here is a central weir

Capture_1.png

So that would sit inside the center of the aquarium?
 

cichlidmac

Oh I get it lol, that is an aquarium with the weir installed.
 

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