Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

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Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

Postby BigB » June 27th, 2001, 1:11 am

Bigger is always better with Saltwater, so I'm ready to ditch my 125 for a HUGE 400+ gallon aquaruim..

Here's the catch - I want to build it myself..

How thick should the acrylic be, and how difficult is it?

My thinking is - I order all the acrylic pre cut to specific specs, and glue it together.. How hard can it be?

I just priced it out, and a 500 gallon GLASS tank is like $3500 and ACRYLIC is about $7000.

I can buy a lot of plexiglass for that.

Can you guys help? I really want a shark tank, and don't want to dish out $10,000 for it..

Thanks in advance..

[ July 04, 2001: Message edited by: BigB ]

[ July 04, 2001: Message edited by: BigB ]
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Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

Postby Lunchbucket » June 27th, 2001, 1:24 pm

i remember someone saying something about using 2 part epoxy w/ bigger tanks...i am not sure.

i would love to to something like that but i just don't trust myself w/ that much water in a plastic box i glued w/ a little tube of glue.

don't know if you will save that much but you might.

hope someone else helps.
later
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Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

Postby Bingo » June 27th, 2001, 4:44 pm

400 gallons on floor:
New carpet & padding
New subfloor,
New cieling on the floor below.
new plaster on the bottom of the walls
New anything that happened to be sitting on the floor that day.

Is it worth the savings to build it yourself if there are any chances of it failing?

Disclaimer: I have no Idea about your DIY abilities. You may be a building contractor, or an engineer and have the knowledge/technology/tools to do a Perfect job. you could succeed with flying colors.

check outthis 4000 gal tank.
JMO


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Postby DeathWish302 » June 27th, 2001, 5:44 pm

Ummm... Bad idea, unless you know the pressure constraints of the acrylic. The pressure can be found in any column of water from the top to bottom from integration, but why risk it. Experienced tank manufacturing companies spend countless hours calculating, and guess what... THEY FAIL TOO!!! The real world acts like mathematical models, but all the variables can never be played out in the initial equation. Hence the infamous bridge video clip i'm sure you've seen in high winds swaying like a jump rope. At least with a tank bought through a manufacturer your guaranteed satisfaction and if it breaks your reimbursed for damages.

If your still in the DIY spirit, try a small "bonsai" tank first and see what it does after a month: does it leak, does the front bow, or is there other mods you could have done.

Yes, Mr. 4000 did construct a tank, but note he spent many hours planning and then many more hours fixing mistakes.

Good luck with your project if you decide to continue.

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Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

Postby BigB » June 27th, 2001, 7:57 pm

I'm glad you're all not just saying "GO FOR IT"

However... I've got a buddy that is totally inspired by the 4000 gallon tank too..

The part that sucks is it took 6 months for the concrete to cure..

So - Here I am again... 100% serious about doing this.

I talked to a local builder, and he said I would be best off using WOOD - I couldn't believe it.. He said just seal it with POOL epoxy, and its good to go...

Here is my problem... 5,000 POUNDS OF WATER

The local pet shop said he can get me a glass one for about $3,000 - I may do that, but I'm still in the DIY mode, so we'll see.

PS.. I am not an engineer, contractor, or have any tools or anything, I just believe if I put my mind to it, it will be done..

I just need to get some help on this - I've seen home made ones before, HUGE ONES - way bigger than what I'm talking about, but I don't want a seam to break, or any leaks, so We'll see.. [img]images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

Please help me with this. Thanks.
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Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

Postby DeathWish302 » June 27th, 2001, 11:19 pm

Welcome to the DIY ranks. If i were to perform such a task, i would first look at GARF. "I KNOW, I KNOW.... but they do have a section on how to make a wood tank. In this article they stated to use plywood, epoxy paint of some brand (named several), acylic for the front and acrylic sheets on the back and bottom so that the rock woulnd't scratch through the paint. If your thinking wood, i can help some through advice from my father who is a gen. contractor. Find a local builder in town and ask some advice on selection of sizes of wood. You do know that a sheet of 1" acrylic is somewhere in the $250 range, epoxy paint is $60 a gal for each part, and i imagine enough wood to support that force exerted outward at the bottom will take quite a toll. Just plan it thoroughly out if you decide to go through with it and be patient.

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Postby BigB » June 28th, 2001, 4:28 am

What's GARF... I'm always up to read..
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Postby David Grigor » June 28th, 2001, 11:55 am

What deminsions will this 400 be ?
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Postby BigB » June 28th, 2001, 2:41 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pez:
<STRONG>www.garf.org - good lucking finding *anything* ;-)
</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That site is SOOO Disorganized - man - I know what you mean..

I bet if I spent 8 hours there, I might find something... Too bad I don't have the time for that!!

[ June 29, 2001: Message edited by: BigB ]
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Postby BigB » June 29th, 2001, 12:32 am

Honestly, I haven't even got that far..

The final dimensions will be based on how its built - I'd like it to be about 8 feet wide - the rest doesn't matter..
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Postby pez » June 29th, 2001, 12:47 am

www.garf.org - good lucking finding *anything* ;-)

[ June 28, 2001: Message edited by: pez ]
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Postby BigB » June 29th, 2001, 4:54 am

As for the wood idea - its gonna be a shark tank - no reef, so a black background would be fine..

So - reality check - can it be done with wood?
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Postby myreef » June 29th, 2001, 10:31 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BigB:
<STRONG>Honestly, I haven't even got that far..

The final dimensions will be based on how its built - I'd like it to be about 8 feet wide - the rest doesn't matter..</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Then later you wrote...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BigB:
<STRONG>As for the wood idea - its gonna be a shark tank..</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not trying to rain on your parade, but size does matter. I did some calculation and to have a 400 gallon tank that is 8' wide would roughly have the following dimensions...32x96x30. Not trying to start a flame or arguement, but if you are truly going to keep shark(s), then you will need to consider the entire size of the tank, not just total gallons or one dimension. I have no desire to keep a shark, although I think they are fascinating animals, but I would think a tank along the lines of 1000 gallons would be better for multiple small sharks, since they will grow like a weed. A friend of mine had a leopard shark once in a 75 gallon tank. He bought it when it was about 9 inches long. Needless to say, it grew about 3 inches in 1-2 months. I would think it would outgrow a 400 gallon tank quickly.

After all, this is just my 2 cents....take it for what you will. Good luck with whatever you do decide.

[ June 29, 2001: Message edited by: myreef ]
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Postby BigB » June 29th, 2001, 2:19 pm

Looks like I'm on my own. You all seem to criticize and be negative rather than lend a helping hand.
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Postby Jon_Hewett_85 » June 29th, 2001, 3:07 pm

I don't thing Myreef was criticizing you at all. He was simply suggesting that you build the tank to match what you want to keep. Hence since you want to keep sharks...you need a bigger tank.
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Postby David Grigor » June 29th, 2001, 6:33 pm

I have been planning a plywood tank ( 350g ) 96L X 30W X 30H and will be using 3/4" marine grade plywood and 1/2" tempered glass for the front.

Unfortunately there isn't any exact step by step instructions on the net for this project.

My resources were:
http://members.home.net/wmastop/bigtank/Startb~1.htm
http://www.garf.org/140.gallon.html

There is a chapter in Simplified Reef Keeping by Robert M. Metelsky that gives a bit more specifics.

[ June 29, 2001: Message edited by: David Grigor ]
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Building a HUGE 600+ Gallon Aquarium

Postby cgbexec » June 30th, 2001, 12:23 pm

BigB,

One point that was made is valid, you should build the tank to fit the shark you plan on keeping. There are many shark species of all different sizes. What type of sharks were you planning on keeping? I once built a tank that I was planning on placing sharks in but I ended up just planting turtle grass and keeping conchs and such in it. It was a 4'X 4'X 12". I wish I still had it. If the sharks adult size were say 3ft. then you have to plan for that shark to be able to turn around with room to spare. I would think 6-8ft. long minimum and depth front to back 36-48" minimum and 30" high minimum even for the smaller species. Wood or concrete is your only option as Acrylic or glass will be too expensive. You could buy one of those cheaper than you could build. If your thinking wood garf does have a couple of good articles. Go to the site map, don't try to navigate the main page or you'll be lost forever . From the site map scroll down to the DIY section and you'll see the articles. If you're thinking concrete then E-mail Mr. 4000, I'm sure he could give you a couple of tips. Hope this helps.

Chris

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Postby MarkS » July 2nd, 2001, 3:35 am

Take a look at this: http://seahorseranch.members.easyspace.com/

It is a 180 gallon seahorse tank that I am going to build. I have never done anything like this before, but it can be done.

Yes, you could build a tank in the size you want in wood.

In my design I am gluing every joint and also using 4" screws every 4 inches. The inside will be coated with several coats of epoxy AND fiberglass cloth. The front glass is sandwiched between two 3/4" thick plywood sheets. The glass is 1/2" and sits in a 1/2" plywood frame. The bottom of the tank is a double laminate of 3/4" plywood that will be glued and screwed together.

This tank will last longer than me.

HTH,
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Postby BigB » July 2nd, 2001, 4:42 pm

Hey Thanks guys.. I appreciate your help..

I am going to do this project no matter what.. I work at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and leopard sharks are native to San Diego.. There were 1000's of them swimming and breeding in La Jolla - it was all over the news..

As for the size issue - 400 to 500 gallons is plenty for what I'm going to do.. When it gets too big, I can bring it to the Birch Aquarium.. I have a friend that (Although I think its cruel) has a 18" leopard shark in a 125 gallon aquarium.. The water is clean, but the shark cant swim around much...

The babies I'm buying are 6 1/2 inches long - it will take them about 2-3 years to get too big..

Again - I checked out the seahorse ranch! looks like a plan!!

The actual dimentions of the tank (Just measured) are NINE FEET WIDE x 3 FEET DEEP x ????? TALL (Floor to ceiling is available..

The 400+ was a general statement that was made based on assuming that my 125 is there now, about 3 or 4 times bigger..

I like the Marine Grade plywood idea.. I'm gonna head in that direction..

Anyone know what 9' x 3' (2'10") x 3' (Exterior Dimentions) would be in gallons?? I found "7.481 gallons per cubic foot" on a web page, so I guess it will be more like...

SIX HUNDRED GALLONS (+/- 605.961)

(I was close)
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Postby myreef » July 2nd, 2001, 5:06 pm

Good luck! You can calculate size of the tank using LxWxH/231. So you are right on with your calculations...if you go 2'10" then it drops it 30 gallons.
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