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View Full Version : Am I capable of building a small acrylic tank?


BrettDS
07/21/2015, 09:36 AM
I've been trying to find a place for a small refugium inside my stand. Unfortunately I took up most of my extra space with a large reservoir for an auto water change. Pretty much the only place I have left now is about 4.5" between the front of the sump and the front of the stand. I started looking at HOB refugiums and they actually would be a pretty good fit for the space I have, but they also tend to be rather expensive. Additionally, if I made one, I could make it taller and slightly longer than an out of box HOB refugium and get a bit of extra water in there.

I've never built anything out of acrylic before, but I've done a lot of other projects and I feel like this might be a pretty good starter acrylic project for me.

I'm looking at trying to make something that's about 16" long, 4.5" wide, and 17" tall. If I go ahead with it, how thick would the acrylic need to be? Would I need any cross braces for the 16" length?

Thanks for any thoughts:)

ericarenee
07/21/2015, 01:32 PM
This can be done and would work thou not a idea size I could see some nice Caulerpa Growing in there to feed the fish. or even chato ..

But Rather you are Capable .. i WOULD Think so but that would be dependent your skill set
I would use the thicker solvent if you are new to Acrylic bonding. It takes much longer to dry but will fill any Voids in your cuts...

if for chato. I Would plumb the water inlet on say the left end at the bottom Water outlet left top .. Might help keeping it circulated.. maybe even a small baffle with notches or holes at that end to protect the chato from getting out the outlet pipe or clogging it. Kinda like Jelly fish tank

BrettDS
07/21/2015, 03:39 PM
Yeah, it's kind of a weird size, but it's about the only spot I have left for anything. I'm thinking I'll do a bit of live sand rock rubble in there to try to keep a good pod population.

skeeter_ca
07/21/2015, 03:58 PM
I would use 3/8" on the front and back(to prevent bowing) and 1/4" for everything else. I too agree with using the thick cement. It doesn't make for the perfect looking tank but it does make it a lot easier.

skeeter

JammyBirch
07/21/2015, 06:34 PM
I would use 3/8" on the front and back(to prevent bowing) and 1/4" for everything else. I too agree with using the thick cement. It doesn't make for the perfect looking tank but it does make it a lot easier.

skeeter

+1 You can do it.

3/8" acrylic for sure...the tools you will need to help you...

90 vise clamps, small ones. Use these to hold the box so you can glue it.
Glue is...
- Weld-On 4 - it's thin put it on the seams and let it set up
- Weld-On 16 - it's the thick stuff, use this like silicone let it set up
Cutting is best with a router, but i used a chop saw with an aluminum cutting blade = more teeth. You can sand the edges if you want i didn't.

pisanoal
07/21/2015, 08:25 PM
You can sand the edges if you want i didn't.

I would not sand the edges unless you have a way to keep them perfectly square while doing so. They tend to round even with light sanding, talking from experience here.


Your project is very doable. I built a couple small tanks out of acrylic. If you don't want to spend extra time, the thicker (weld-on 16) is the way to go. But if you have a router, the thinner stuff will make a stronger, better looking seam, as long as you do it right. By that I mean square edges with very smooth cuts. Also, look up methods for seam gluing. You will want to minimize voids in your seam.

Also, all you really need is a couple of squares, a long straight edge that you can clamp down for a router guide, a decent router and straight router bit, a ruler, electrical tape to hold your stuff together while you glue (no need for square clamps), and weld-on 3 or 4 and 16.

You can use a table saw for rough cuts then router the edges you will be gluing. I would recommend stacking your like sized pieces so they come out exactly the same.

There is plenty of good info out there if you search a bit.

KingTriton1
07/22/2015, 08:09 AM
http://www.tapplastics.com/product/supplies_tools/plastic_tools_supplies/saw_blade/363

Watch the video

Having them cut it for you may be the better/cheaper option

BrettDS
07/22/2015, 08:38 AM
Thanks for the ideas, guys. I started to get cold feet again last night and looked again at the hob refugiums, but none of them would be as tall as I have space for and given that I have a very limited amount of space as it is, I'm think I'm better off making something custom.

Since this will be put in next to the sump, what do you think of just gluing it directly to the sump instead of a fourth side? I've attached a picture below. It would go in front of the sump, from the left edge up to where the float valve is, and from the bottom to the top... I was thinking of making it an inch or so higher than the existing sump, so I could cut a hole in the side for an overflow, but if I attached it directly to the sump I'd probably make it the same height and just cut a hole in the top of the wall of the sump for the overflow.

Also, where can I get the acrylic from? Originally I was thinking Home Depot, but they don't seem to have anything thicker than 1/4 inch.

Thanks again:)http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/22/6b4883aafcf5e400d2868cf07626ba9b.jpg

ericarenee
07/22/2015, 08:55 AM
Thanks for the ideas, guys. I started to get cold feet again last night and looked again at the hob refugiums, but none of them would be as tall as I have space for and given that I have a very limited amount of space as it is, I'm think I'm better off making something custom.

Since this will be put in next to the sump, what do you think of just gluing it directly to the sump instead of a fourth side? I've attached a picture below. It would go in front of the sump, from the left edge up to where the float valve is, and from the bottom to the top... I was thinking of making it an inch or so higher than the existing sump, so I could cut a hole in the side for an overflow, but if I attached it directly to the sump I'd probably make it the same height and just cut a hole in the top of the wall of the sump for the overflow.

Also, where can I get the acrylic from? Originally I was thinking Home Depot, but they don't seem to have anything thicker than 1/4 inch.

Thanks again:)http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/22/6b4883aafcf5e400d2868cf07626ba9b.jpg


Do a search for local plastic/rubber sales places.. Sometimes Glass places stock Acrylic as well.... You might also make the back Black so when you have it lit it will keep from putting light into the sump on the skimmer....