Question Making Tank: Sides On Bottom, Or Bottom Inside Sides?

bitseriously

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I'm making a water bath tank out of a wretched scratched and chipped old 15 gallon (my wife found it for my on neighbourhood BSTF, grabbed it not realizing it was already homemade, and crudely done at that).
I'm cutting the sides and ends down to about 6-8" height, so we're not talking about any significant stresses on the glass here.
But on the how-to vids I've watched I've seen some makers place the sides and ends around the bottom, and others build on top of the bottom.
Which is correct, or does it matter for this low-level application?
Thought: if the built tank is going to rest on a flat surface, like a table, there's no harm in putting the bottom inside the sides, but if it's going to go on a stand that only supports the very outer edge of the tank base, then you'd need to build up from the bottom (ie sides on bottom) so the bottom doesn't fall out. Make sense? In other words, as long as the bottom pane is supported, and not just the bottom edges of the sides, it doesn't matter. Agree/disagree?
Thanks!
 

nikm128

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Yes you're right that it depends on the surface it'll be on, neither way is "right" so just do it based on what you'll put it on
 

mattgirl

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If I were doing it I would put the sides on the bottom instead of having the bottom inside the sides. I just visualize a stronger tank that way. It probably won't make any difference either way but you did ask
 
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bitseriously

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If I were doing it I would put the sides on the bottom instead of having the bottom inside the sides. I just visualize a stronger tank that way. It probably won't make any difference either way but you did ask
Yes. Yes I did.
Wouldn't have asked if I didn't want input.
 

jjohnwm

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If you put the bottom inside the sides, it is critical that the sides all be perfectly vertical. Failing to do so might weaken the vertical seams where two sides meet and/or might cause a side to project further down than the bottom, which would cause all kinds of stress.

Building the sides on top of the bottom would allow the full width of the glass to be engaged in the seam without ever needing to worry about any of those problems.

The biggest deciding factor will be how the tank is currently assembled. Whichever way they did it, you'll have to follow suit the same way. Otherwise, the length of the front/back/side pieces will be slightly off, and it's very difficult to cut a piece of glass...especially a piece of old glass...properly if all you want to remove is a quarter inch or so.
 
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bitseriously

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If you put the bottom inside the sides, it is critical that the sides all be perfectly vertical. Failing to do so might weaken the vertical seams where two sides meet and/or might cause a side to project further down than the bottom, which would cause all kinds of stress.

Building the sides on top of the bottom would allow the full width of the glass to be engaged in the seam without ever needing to worry about any of those problems.

The biggest deciding factor will be how the tank is currently assembled. Whichever way they did it, you'll have to follow suit the same way. Otherwise, the length of the front/back/side pieces will be slightly off, and it's very difficult to cut a piece of glass...especially a piece of old glass...properly if all you want to remove is a quarter inch or so.
That's a good analysis, thank you! Based on how the tank looked when I got it, I have little faith that the builder knew what they were about. I was surprised that it actually held water, but the heights of the different side/end panels were off by almost 1/8" in places. The bottom pane is quite chipped up on the corners, and I think the builder put the sides on the bottom to avoid having leaks from those corner chips/gaps. So I guess that's what I'll do as well.
 
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