HarleyMan's Big Marine project

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  • #1
D's Big Tank project

Ok here is the project that I am going to be looking at fullfilling over the next coming year. It will take that amount of time or longer due to the size of the project as well as the costs involved .

The tank I want to build is going to be 144" Long x 30" Wide x 36" Deep (12ft x 2½ft x 3ft) - that's about 675 US gallons when empty. Since I'd rather not have the tank drilled, I'm thinking of using tempered glass. Should I decide otherwise, I'll switch to plate glass. Until I speak to a glass supplier, I'm also not sure on the thickness either; unless someone here can tell me ;D

The stand/base will be built from cinder blocks (breeze blocks for us Brits ) and 4x4's and plywood.

The filtration will consist of 2 undertank wet & dry self made sumps. They'll basicly be two 48" x 12" x 12" glass tanks with modifications. Since I'd like to avoid having the show tank being drilled, I'd like to find a way to bring the water from it to the sumps and back - any suggestions on this will be greatly appreciated Otherwise, I'll look at using 6 x HAGEN FLUVAL 405 CANISTER FILTER's or whatever is equivalent out there at the time I've decided

The tank's occupant's will consist some fish, inverts and live rock.

I still also have more researching to do but have already got the materials for the stand; just waiting to get the room cleared out

Well, that's the project. Any questions, suggestions or advice you may have are always welcome.

Best regards,
D
 
Cody
  • #2
WOW sounds expensive and fun...I bett that will be an amazing tank
 
COBettaCouple
  • #3
whoa.. that'll be a great tank!
 
Peterpiper
  • #4
Found this link that may help you with the glass thickness

That's a loooonnnnngggg tank! Did'nt know you could get glass in 14' lengths.
You need to take care when handling the long lengths so thay don't snap in half.. I would look at having the hole drilled for this size tank, as the flow rate required for this volume of water is huge. Best of luck with your tank.. Gee I'm glad your doing the water changes..
 
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  • #5
Found this link that may help you with the glass thickness

That's a loooonnnnngggg tank! Did'nt know you could get glass in 14' lengths.

As far as I know getting 12ft lengths of glass is possible ... I know it was when I was living in England years ago. I would assume here in the US it is also possible too - I'll find out soon enough .

Yeah, I intend to be really careful so they don't snap; thankfully there will only be 3 pieces at that length

If I do end up having holes drilled in it, they'll be done at the back of the tank instead of the bottom.

And x for the glass thickness link.

Regards,
D
 
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  • #6
From that article, I was able to download a program that tells me I'd need 25mm thick glass. I might go for 30mm. All of that and the length of the glass will be confirmed when I chat with some glass suppliers.

Regards,
D
 
Peterpiper
  • #7
From that article, I was able to download a program that tells me I'd need 25mm thick glass. I might go for 30mm. All of that and the length of the glass will be confirmed when I chat with some glass suppliers.

Regards,
D

Can you make the front glass from iron free glass, as iron free does not have that green tinge, it costs more but if you are going to 30mm you may start to see the green in the glass
 
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  • #8
Well I've come across a website (by fluke) that does have a glass called "Starfire Glass" and from the looks of it, the green in the glass won't be seen.

So if I'm to avoid the green, I may have to purchase the tank already made - unless a glass supply company can sell it to me.

Also, if I have to buy one, I might look at getting an acrylic one. The same company also offers a scratch resistant tank as an upgrade.

The site by the way is:
https://www.artaquatics.com

Regards,
D
 
rwood
  • #9
I don't know if it actually is starfire glass that I'm thinking about but it sounds very familiar. But anyway - if it is starfire then it would be worth getting; apparently it's supposed to amplify the light and make the tank much brighter and the glass much clearer.
 
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  • #10
Wow, I have so much knowledge to catch up on it's unbelievable Looks like I may go the acrylic route for the tank - which, by the way, will be a reef setup with carefully selected fish.

Since I don't want a BBT, I'll be putting an even layer of 1" of Live Sand.

Some areas of research I'll have to engage in include filtration, sumps, refugiums as well as lighting.

Any recomendations on research will be of great help. x

Regards,
D :;co
 
Coryd55
  • #11
You have'nt posted in a while. Any new news or are you still researching? Keep us updated man. Good luck with it. I hope you follow through on the plan.
 
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  • #12
Mainly still researching filtration - particularly refugiums, type of tank (I'd still like it to be glass) and how to get it, lighting and then save up the money for it all. This big tank won't even be started until Feb or March 2008. I've already got the wife's blessing to have it, so at least that hurdle is done with >

In the meantime, and as part of her conditions for letting me have such a tank, I'm setting up a 55 gallon Freshwater with the possibility of another 55 gallon being given to me (for free) in about a week - heaven knows what I'll do with that I'm also trying to find a couple of types of moss which so far I can't find anywhere. Plus, I'm working on getting about 3 or 4 more 10 gallon tanks for my Bettas, which is more of a priority at the moment.

On top of all that, the missus has started thinking about adding a room on to the house.

Amongst all that, my normal (if it can be called that) life has to fit in there somewhere;

Yes I will follow it through, it will just take time.
 
Rbacchiega
  • #13
you could look at a FX5 canister filter (it's a suped up fluval) its sufficient for about 400 gallons, so that and maybe 3 405s. I'd imagine that'd be sufficient
 
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  • #14
Nice suggestion there Rbacchiega.

If I did go with them, I'd probably get two of the FX5's and not bother with the 405's. The I'd place each one at each end of the tank.
 
Rbacchiega
  • #15
yeah, they sound to me like they're excellent filters. A friend of mine uses one on his 220 gallon salt. I'm thinking about saving up and getting one for the 240 discus tank. The more filtration and water movement the better in my mind.
 
paswed
  • #16
I can not wait t o see picutres of this I just built my stand and now I wish I could build something like this
 
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  • #17
LOL, I can't wait to post pictures of it when it's done. I actually found an interesting read about building a tank from plywood. That would certainly be less costly I think.

Now I just have to remember what varnish I can use to seal the plywood with - is it polyurethane varnish? I know it's not Marine varnish as that is toxic to fish.

I'd get either ½" or ¾" thick plywood, seal them with the varnish, put them together, seal the joints with aquarium sealant, put the glass on the front and seal it with aquarium sealant. Hmm

Thoughts?
 
Trpimp147
  • #18
try this site out I bought a rock from him vary cool guy. this is his tank he built him self and he has texas holey rock great for any type of fish really really good for cichlids.
 
Trpimp147
  • #20
I wouldnt see why not it will hold a lot of coral rock in them smaller holes and fish live in them alot
 
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  • #21
Well I've a wee bit of an update on the Big Marine project for you all.

1/ My brother in law, who is a supervisor for a construction company, is taking me up to his jobsite this weekend, to pick out some excess lumber that I can use towards both the Big Marine project and my Betta Apartments project (yes I have that one swirling around too; ).

2/ I'm also being given a 55 gallon tank by a really nice guy that I hope to pick up the same day; depending on how much lumber I have in the back of the pickup ;D. Aside from needing a really, really good cleaning - an issue with a youngster pouring some potpourrI liquid in it, I'll have to replace the center brace as it got broken but I have no problems with that as it is a free gift.

Now, I have some choices about the Big Marine tank. I can do one of three things with the 55g:

A/ Use the front, back and bottom glass pieces from the tank as the front of the Big tank. If it isn't tempered glass, I could also use 1 side, cut two strips and silicone them over the seals thereby giving me almost a complete window instead of three (hope that made sense). Then I can continue my idea of building the rest of the Big Marine tank with 2x4's, plywood or maybe MDF, drylock etc.

B/ Use only the front and back glass pieces and shrinking the Big Marine tank down to an 8ft long tank instead of a 12ft long tank as well building the remainder of the tank as option A.

C/ Fix it up and then setting up for another freshwater tank and scrapping the Big Marine project until much futher down the line where I could either purchase an outside building or build one. This is due to space limitations currently.

These are the choices I have and figured I'd throw them up on here and get some opinions from people if you were you in my shoes.

 
paswed
  • #22
I am glad you got your 55 gallon tank and for free way to go. I would sleep on it and then make a choice but if it was me I would start with the 55 gallon slatwater then move up that is what I did. I am in the same boat with you when it comes to room .so had to wait till the kids got some of their stuff out and then hurry up and claim it for my new tank and stand that you help me build, picked up pictures today and will be uploading them sometime this weekend as I am packing up kids to go to grandma house now.
 
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  • #23
You mean that MagpieTear helped you build I just gave the encouragement ;D Oh and I am sure looking forward to seeing the pictures

I'd actually fix the 55 gallon up as another freshwater tank instead of a saltwater one - maybe a cichlid tank - until I have the funds and space for the Big Marine; but a part of me would like to start putting the Big Marine tank together as it's been such a long time since I had saltwater fish;

If I'm going to do a Saltwater tank I'd be much happier (and so will the wife) if it were the Big Marine instead of a 55g. ;D
 
pistorta
  • #24
I use the FX5 canister filter on a freshwater planted aquarium and have no complaints. Once pressure is applied, pump output is drastically reduced from their advertised flow rate, however, you can't beat the filter's volume capability for the amount of power it uses.

With regard to glass, it only allows approximately 80% (sounds hard to believe, I know) of light to penetrate compared to acrylic which is in the high 90th percentile. Extreme caution will have to be exercised when drilling (nearly impossible on tempered glass). I diamond bit (pricey) will have to be used and is only good for 1-2 holes.

I don't blame you for going with glass. A project that size in acrylic, my guess, would cost ~$4000.

Best of luck.
 
Coryd55
  • #25
Go for the gold dude lol. Make the 12 ft. =). I just don't udnerstand how using parts of the 55 will make a 12ft long tank ?
 
Trpimp147
  • #26
front and back and bottem are 48 inch each. 48x3=144/12=12ft. I would say go for the big one just make the front all glass and the rest plywood with a concreat base.
 
Coryd55
  • #27
I just got an idea. I don't know if its been thought of already or not biut it eliminates having to get a really long piece of glass. Ok so get some decent sized glass pieces (30-50 inches.) Add it up and see how many you need to make twelve feet. Get the pieces. Line them up and silicone them together to make one giant piece of glass with little segments. Then take a piece of trim (Like for cheap counter edges/sides) and glue it where the seems are for aesthetic reasons. Just an idea might work, might not.
 
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  • #28
Cory, have a look again at option A
 
Coryd55
  • #29
Oh. lol my bad.
 
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  • #30
No worries
 
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  • #31
Project Update

Went with my brother-in-law to his jobsite and picked out a good bit of scrap lumber consisting of some 2x4's, plywood ranging from ¼" to 1¾" thick and some 1x6's. All were different lengths/widths. Filled up the back of my pickup truck and even got a nail through my shoe for my efforts Left it on there over the Christmas period until Tuesday, then made an area under the carport to store it - that took me all afternoon.

I'm going to use some of it to build a stand for the 30 gallon that I have as I'll be able to get some more in the future. Nice to have a brother-in-law when one is not working.

A couple of posts back, I mentioned the idea of using MDF instead of plywood and today I'm heading up to Lowes to compare prices. If it's too much more expensive, I'll stick to plywood.

That's all for now.
 
MagpieTear
  • #32
Lemme know if you have any questions about MDF, that's what we use primarily at work. I will say up front, it does NOT like to be in damp/wet conditions. Swells up and loses all it's strength.
 
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  • #33
Lemme know if you have any questions about MDF, that's what we use primarily at work. I will say up front, it does NOT like to be in damp/wet conditions. Swells up and loses all it's strength.

Understood, that was my main concern.

What if I covered the MDF with 4 coats of drylock, then put the tank together, sealing all joints and corners with sealant and putting the glass on last (again using sealant). Thoughts?
 
Trpimp147
  • #34
sounds about right to me...
 
MagpieTear
  • #35
Uhhhh, I dunno about the MDF now that I re-read your post and did a google on plywood tanks. Especially one the size you're talking about. Plywood is sheets of veneer glued together, if it starts delaminating, you'll have some warning and time to react. With the MDF (which is little more than compacted wood fiber and dust and a binder. Not glue. Binder)you'll have little to no warning before a failure.

MDF has little deflection strength when dry, it's appeal to manufacturers is it resistance to compression and it's workability. Making a tank requires deflection resistance to hold back the pressure and weight of the water. Tensile and fatuige resistance are of little concern in tank making, again plywood would beat out MDF in both. And sealing it could be problematic. It soaks up paint like a sponge, and takes many coats to get a smooth, uniform surface. I'm not familiar with drylock, but it would have to be nonporous at the molecular level for me to have any hope of using it for holding water.

However, it would make a good substrate to ply being used for stiffening ribs and braces if you could keep it dry. I have no confidence in it in any damp or wet application. Inert phenolics would be a much better choice, but then you run into the price issues you had with the glass construction.
 
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  • #36
Thanks for setting me straight. I knew you be more clued up on MDF than I am.

So for the record, the MDF concept is now officially thrown out the window. ;D
 
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  • #37
Another small update

Two setbacks.

Firstly, I've got to get a job before I can get stuck in with this project, which is not that easy to do at the moment.

Secondly, the wife has had a change of heart and wants to have all other items on the 'honey-do' list completed before I begin work on it. The change of heart came about due to losing 4 Angelfish from the 55 gallon Freshwater tank in the space of 7 days and she is a bit wary of that happening in the saltwater tank given the prices for those occupants. Can't say I blame her on that.

So while I'll keep on planning, researching and learning, the actual progress is at a standstill. Not dead, just in limbo. Once things look brighter I'll bring this thread back to life.
 
Trpimp147
  • #38
dont get discuraged about fish dieing.. I do but I don't want to, it happens no matter how long and how good you are with fish. things will work out in the end. i'd say get on excel and make a budget and see what you can put aside a week or month to start saving to build this monster.
 
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  • #39
Thanks for the words of encouragement.

It will get built and the missus knows that. That was one of the reasons I went with my brother-in-law to his jobsite. I'm also keeping a lookout on my local Craigslist for free lumber. Where there's a will there's a way. ;D The most expensive part of the tank, excluding the filtration system, will be the Starfire glass and that'll be something I'll be budgeting for.
 
Trpimp147
  • #40
i'd say if you live in my area there is a few dumpster you can take full 2x4 and 2x6 some times or at least half of them at 8' lenths no lie some places waste products to get the job done faster. I used to take a lot of it for building tree forts as a kid. only thing I couldnt find was copper hahaha
 

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