First build from scratch - thoughts?

manamanaak

Hi all! I've got a little 12 gallon long tank (35" L x 8" W x 10" H) but it's getting crowded and is limiting my ability to decorate. I'm getting the itch to upgrade. I want something with a lot more bottom space but a 20 gallon long and 30 gallon long tank are limited to 35" long. I realize the depth adds a lot of space but I want a longer tank, especially for where it sits. So I've decided to make my own tank from scratch. I've done the research, watched the videos, and am confident I can make the tank. I'm hoping someone who has experience building their own tank sees this and can verify I'm on the right path. So here's my goal:

40"W x 12"D x 12"H
This gives me just under 25 gallons.

Some of my biggest concerns I'm hoping someone can help me with are as follows:
1. I've run the calculations for glass width, and using a safety factor of 3.8, the calculator gives me the width of .1969". So I would use a 1/4" width glass? Should I spring the extra money and use a 3/8" glass just for the added strength/caution?
2. Do I put the side glass panes ON TOP of the bottom pane or TO THE SIDES (sandwiching the bottom) of the bottom pane?
3. What else might I be missing? I know to calculate measurements between glass panes and width. I know to get low-iron glass if I can find/afford it. I know to let the silocone cure for 2 days then test it for another few filled before using it with fish. Any other considerations would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!
 

LowConductivity

1/4" (.250) is more than adequate.

With the price of covid glass, I'd be sticking with the 1/4"

I've built all of mine, with the sides sitting on top (48x24x30 is as large as I've built).

Silicone is always a big question. GE type 1 is dirt cheap and everywhere, and works well on smaller tanks IMO. I've switched to GE SCS1200, and Momentive RTV 108 (maybe 103) as its a little bit better with the larger tanks.

Only other consideration would be using small rubber spacers between the panels (something maybe 1/16" thick) to avoid glass on glass contact
 

manamanaak

1/4" (.250) is more than adequate.

With the price of covid glass, I'd be sticking with the 1/4"

I've built all of mine, with the sides sitting on top (48x24x30 is as large as I've built).

Silicone is always a big question. GE type 1 is dirt cheap and everywhere, and works well on smaller tanks IMO. I've switched to GE SCS1200, and Momentive RTV 108 (maybe 103) as its a little bit better with the larger tanks.

Only other consideration would be using small rubber spacers between the panels (something maybe 1/16" thick) to avoid glass on glass contact
Thanks LowConductivity. Regarding spacers, are you saying to set the tank up 100% using the spacers then "inject" the silicone instead of laying silicone and setting up the glass? Do you know of any YT videos or online tutorials using this method?
 

LowConductivity

Thanks LowConductivity. Regarding spacers, are you saying to set the tank up 100% using the spacers then "inject" the silicone instead of laying silicone and setting up the glass? Do you know of any YT videos or online tutorials using this method?
Correct. Spacers and tape to hold the glass in place while you "inject" the initial bead of silicone to hold the panels together.... The silicone "gap" that the spacers create between the panels provides some measure of protection should the tank manage to "bow" from a less than adequately supported stand. Glass on glass is tough, lots of rigidity. A glass/silicone/glass sandwich keeps the hard parts away from each other.
 

ruud

Maybe I missed it; is the objective a rimless tank? In which case I would definitely recommend thicker glass of around 0.32 inch. I once had a tank with exact similar dimensions with 0.24 inch glass and the glass in the length was bent a tiny bit; but enough to lower the water level.

Another downside of the tank was the 12 inch wide; I really had trouble creating a nice aquascape based on a wood structure. A width of 14-16 inch is so much easier, given the length of 40 inch.

Final remark on optic white glass. I own 2 ADA tanks with optic white glass and 6 custom-build with normal glass. The difference between the two is noticeable....when the tanks are empty and side-by-side. However, when it is scapes, the quality of the glass is completely camouflaged. If I had to choose (even if this is not relevant) between optic glass and thicker glass, it would no doubt be the latter.

Good luck!
 

Disturbed.)

+1 on the 1/4" glass and scs1200. The length of the tank requiring thicker glass debate never ends but you'll be fine as a 12 tall tank really only needs to be half of the glass you plan on using. You could add a single brace in the center or euro brace for piece of mind but you don't need it.
As for silicone. I've used Momentive, scs1200, GE I "all owned by same parent company" and ASI. I will only build with SCS now. GE I isn't strong enough for a build IMO and it etches glass so removing it for a rebuild IE redoing a sump you never really get it to go away. Not to mention it doesn't stay clear. It yellows or stains from meds very easily. I would still use ASI to reseal but if buying in bulk SCS is just as cheap so why have even more silicone laying around? Momentive is harder to work with but on a smaller tank like yours as long as you work fast you'll get great results.
As far as gapping. Trying to source out leave in spacers that will work on 1/4 glass will be tough. You could use sewing straight pins between the bottom and front and back panes so the weight of the glass doesn't squeeze your gap too tight. Then pull them before you tool the inside seal and outside of tank but just making sure to use way more silicone then you think you need and not pressing down hard will probably be less stressful on your first build. Keep plenty of precut pieces of electrical tape handy and a ton of lint free rags and acetone within arms reach lol
Good luck with the build
 

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