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DeepBlueSea
08/31/2017, 11:55 AM
So, I'm a DIY'r at heart. Something about building something yourself is quite satisfying. Currently building a 73 L x 26 D x 38 H stand which I'm hoping to get the first coat of paint on this weekend.

Anyway, I don't currently have an aquarium to put on this stand. Figure i'd build the stand and then think about what I actually want to put on top of it.

Definitely want to go with something that's at least 24" in depth and width... The question, do I go 4, 5, or 6 feet long. (120, 150, or 180)

I've contacted a custom glass bath and shower door company who deals in high end bathrooms. Received a quote on a 1/2" thick 60x24x24 (non-tempered) starphire front and side panels, with 3/8"eurobrace strips, machine cut, polished/beveled edges that is about $1250 cheaper than a custom tank quote I've received from a reputable builder.

To be honest... I'm not sure I'm willing to risk the catastrophe of a poor build over saving only $1250, but the challenge... oh the challenge.

I mean, a few pieces of glass, some 90 degree braces, some large clamps, spacers, marine grade silicone injected method... This seems like a plausible build for someone like me.

Thoughts on your experience in building tanks????

neilp2006
08/31/2017, 12:16 PM
Pay the extra for piece of mind, and build the sump, or ato, or frag tank for the experience. Work up to a bigger tank once the principles are there.

Just my 2 cents


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JTL
08/31/2017, 12:37 PM
I have built a couple of them. It is not difficult but you do need to be very organized becomes you don't have much time to work with the adhesive. Notice I said adhesive not silicone. What you want to use is something called Momentive RTV the RTV 108 is clear and the RTV 106 is black, I believe I have this right. You will not find this at Lowes or HD but it is readily available online. This is what the pros use to build aquariums. It smells like silicone but has some very impressive adhesive qualities. The tricky part is that it skims over in about 5 minutes and if that happens you will not get a good seam. Get your glass laid out and clean it with acetone. Tape all of the edges that are going to receive a panel in order to keep your seams neat. After you have all of the panels in place and clamped pull the tape and smoother the corner seams with your finger. This stuff makes a mess and you need to work fast. It is a two person job, one to apply the RTV and another to help hold the panels in place until you get them clamped. If you mess up you will need to cut apart the bad panel and clean it back to virgin glass. Don't think for a minute that you can apply a new coat of RTV to and old one. When you clamp the glass go easy on the pressure, you want just enough RTV (about 1mm) to create a bond but don't squeeze it all out. You will be able to see the RTV looking very smooth and bubble free if you are doing it correctly. The first one I did was a mess so I took it apart and did it again and it turned out great.

DeepBlueSea
08/31/2017, 01:29 PM
I have built a couple of them. It is not difficult but you do need to be very organized becomes you don't have much time to work with the adhesive. Notice I said adhesive not silicone. What you want to use is something called Momentive RTV the RTV 108 is clear and the RTV 106 is black, I believe I have this right. You will not find this at Lowes or HD but it is readily available online. This is what the pros use to build aquariums. It smells like silicone but has some very impressive adhesive qualities. The tricky part is that it skims over in about 5 minutes and if that happens you will not get a good seam. Get your glass laid out and clean it with acetone. Tape all of the edges that are going to receive a panel in order to keep your seams neat. After you have all of the panels in place and clamped pull the tape and smoother the corner seams with your finger. This stuff makes a mess and you need to work fast. It is a two person job, one to apply the RTV and another to help hold the panels in place until you get them clamped. If you mess up you will need to cut apart the bad panel and clean it back to virgin glass. Don't think for a minute that you can apply a new coat of RTV to and old one. When you clamp the glass go easy on the pressure, you want just enough RTV (about 1mm) to create a bond but don't squeeze it all out. You will be able to see the RTV looking very smooth and bubble free if you are doing it correctly. The first one I did was a mess so I took it apart and did it again and it turned out great.

Have been researching the silicone... definitely wasn't going to use GE Silicone from HD.. Thanks a million in the name of another product to research.

I was also starting to think, I'd build a custom ATO container first for practice.

Still not sure, I'm willing to risk it with this volume of water, but who knows.

Thanks for the feedback.

JTL
08/31/2017, 01:33 PM
Building an ATO first is an excellent idea and will likely save you a lot of aggravation. I believe you will find RTV to be the adhesive/silicone that tank builders use. Good luck.