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Stevil

DIY 700L 9" tank

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Hi guys,

I've been doing a pretty substantial reno at home and I'm nearing the end.  While renovating I left a niche in the entry hall to take a new tank.  I even put drainage and a water point in ready for my dream tank. Its my first big tank after playing with a couple of 2 foot tanks for the last 5 years.  My tanks are heavily planted, lightly filtered which has worked out OK for me and the new one will be the same.

Dimensions will be roughly 2700L x 600H x 450D and it will be a planted freshwater tank.   I would have liked it deeper, but those were the dimensions  I had to work with when doing the corridor.  My plan is to plant it heavily and have a couple of gigantic schools of small body fish, ie tetras, raspora and pygmy cories with maybe a couple of mid-size feature fish gouramis or similar.

I used to work for a big commercial glazing company and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get wholesale on the glass and I'm familiar with the materials, techniques and tools so I'm thinking about giving this a go myself.  I've rebuilt a couple of small tanks before with success and no leaks.

I'm a while off starting but keen to start reading and planning.  There are lots of online information but lots of it is american.  I'm looking for Australian content regarding glass thickness calculations and silicone types/brands. Or threads / build journals for big tanks like this.

Can anyone point me to some Aussie resources for this build?

 

 

 

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Nice , I've used Selleys Glass Silicone

  • Forms a durable, waterproof seal
  • UV and weather resistant
  • Excellent adhesion to glass
  • 25 year guarantee against cracking, crumbling or drying out

Selleys Glass Silicone is an acetic, acid-curing 100% silicone, which has excellent adhesion to glass and has been especially formulated for glazing and aquarium construction.

This aquarium safe formula locks out water and forms a durable seal that does not shrink when drying.

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This is a reliable aquarium glass calculator - https://www.easycalculation.com/measurement/aquarium-glass-thickness-calculator.php

600mm water depth is very common so your build will be straightforward. Use structural glazing grade silicone. Dow 999A or GE 1200 (SCS1201) or equivalent specification - look up their data sheets. Keep less than 50% modulus (flexibility).

If you want additional assistance, please Private Message me for my contact details as I have built a few large tanks of 120cm & 200cm water depth and can discuss/recommend higher grade glass or silicone specifications but what you are doing is very straightforward.

Will you be using a solar light tube for controllable natural sunlight? Don't underestimate the heat and humidity buildup if this is a nook/enclosed space.

Sounds like a great project.

 

Winston 

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Awesome great stuff.  Appreciate the info.

I’m assuming the calculator is for 4-edge support ie that the top is framed or eurobraced?

I’m thinking 12mm low-iron front and 12mm float base, rear and sides.  Is 12mm enough bite for the silicone on the base too?  I may get the base toughened.

the cabinet will be steel framed with HMR joinery.

Unfortunately I didn’t think of a solar tube, what a great idea.  I did however rough in cabling from the cabinet to the ceiling so that I can hang a cable-hung LED.  

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Yes, 4 edge support. Eurobrace is the easiest but go at least 50mm wide if you don't want cross beam/braces, however cross braces are much stronger so at least one is recommended. One option is to use a higher wall height (keeping water level the same) and not have any top lid covers to provide better light penetration which places your cross braces above or level with the hanging lights so no shadows occur. I have not seen your nook so don't know if that's viable.

If you have eurobraces and standard wall (lower) height, you can still have no covers and totally lip all 4 sides to reduce fish escapes but do factor in canister or HOB filter access. You may need a cut out or use a wider brace but drilled on that side, or perhaps no end wall brace and hope fish don't jump out. Another option if using canister filtration is to drill 2 holes through the base, stainess mesh and double taps. This gives a very neat looking tank provided you use an inline heater or your canister can accomodate a heater. If you want auto water change, add another bottom hole and an external standpipe (hidden) to set the tanks water level. It's nice to have a dedicated tap & drain. Similar if you want to drain tank to sump hidden.

If heat/humidity does become a problem then your hood may need more air flow. An extractor fan in the ceiling space will solve that. If using an enclosed sump underneath that gets heat/humidity, use the extractor fan with duct up to the ceiling. Sucking air out of enclosed spaces is more efficient than blowing air in. You may not have a heat/humidity issue but even with HMR, I would be cautious.

12mm is plenty of edge bite. You don't need toughened glass but do cover protect the end edges if you do. Ooops just realised you were going to toughen the base only.

 

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No hood planned, will use lights suspended on wires.

Eurobrace is good so I can put screens on top if needed, but probably will leave open.

I’m wondering whether I can use corner matten filters and power heads rather than external filtration.

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I ran an 80L tank for years with no filter at all.  So it's definitely possible to do this - but it comes down to stocking levels and water changes.  My tank was lightly stocked and also planted.  It had been set up for years before the filter broke (and I didn't replace it), so the existing gravel was full of the necessary bacteria.  I did a weekly 25% water change, and all was good.

Your tank is huge though, and a new tank.  It's not clear on planned stocking levels, although probably also lightly stocked.  How much on-going maintenance are you prepared to do?  With proper filtration, it is much easier to maintain, which on a tank that size is an important consideration.

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Yeah I do very little maintenance at the moment and also run little or no filtration on my little tanks.  Filter just used for polishing and water movement with no bio media.  Plants and gravel do plenty for me.

I am hoping that with a bigger tank there is more buffer for problems too.  I really don’t plan to be doing much more than feed them and scrape the glass and top up.   I will probably put in a weir/overflow pipe to make top ups/water changes easier too.

light stocking planned, mostly small bodied fish.

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You can incorporate an internal side drop filter (wet-dry or submerged) from glass since you are making a custom tank. Or if you implement constant drip (auto water change) around 1% tank volume daily you won't need any filtration at all if planted and lightly stocked. You will get heat stratification without water movement though.

Matten corner filter is fine or to disguise the visual appearance, you can bury the sponge under substrate to make an undergravel equivalent.

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So after spotting a 8' tank on gumtree complete with stand that was within 50mm of my desired dimension, I jumped onto it and bought it.  Pretty new tank.  So I'm parking this project for the time being.  It came with all the equipment for a big tank, some of which I'll use and some I will swap/sell.

The tank I bough has rough-arrissed edges and corner frames and clear-float glass in the front, so it's not exactly what I wanted but it is the perfect size, so I will use it for a few years to see how I enjoy having a big tank. 

My dream tank was polished edges and low-iron on the front with frameless sides, predrilled for overflows.  If I get the one I bought to a state that I like and still enjoy it in a year or two I will resurrect the DIY plans and swap them over.

 

thanks everyone for your advice.  I will start a new thread about how I set up the new tank.  It'll be fully planted and possibly dirted.

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It's relatively easy to pull the worst face off and replace it with saphire glass if that's how you want to go. Can bevel all the existing edges while you are there.

I personally prefer the green tint of normal float glass because that's the aquarium glass I grew up looking through when I was a boy. 

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