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Celcuis

Will this work?

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Hi all  

so I have decided to MAYBE build a 50gallon 200liter ply wood tank with a single viewing pannel sometime  in late 2018... And stock it with 4-5 discus and I've got few questions regarding that so... I will also be following the King of DIY (joey)s guide on building the tank 

what thickness plywood would I need?

what would be the easiest and cheapest way to make  a 3D background?

what would be the cheapest way to light this tank I want it to be able to grow some low light plants ie moss, fern... What about those 10w floodlights?

will a huge sponge corner filter with a sufficient flow rate pump work?

Is there anything that I mentioned that won't work?

i get excited on the thought of this build so I'm probbly gonna make it happen but who knows...

thanks :)

Also I'm only building the tank if I can't find a second hand tank around the same size in good condition.

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Is there a reason you want to use plywood rather than glass?  That small size glass is going to be pretty inexpensive anyway.  And the whole tanks go for pretty cheap.

Cheapest lighting would be something like a 4 foot fluoro fitting, or even a couple small clip on lamps.  Which 10w floodlights are you talking about?

Better to go with a good canister filter than a sponge filter.

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9mm or preferably 12mm ply will make an easier build then thinner as its thick enough to be able to screw into the ends.  This thickness will also not need any external support to keep it from bowing, but I would still use a eurobrace on the top to avoid this just in case. Don't bother with marine ply as it will be coated with epoxy (my preference) or pond liner anyway.

The price of a 50 gal in ply will work out to cost more to make then the same in glass.  Ply, viewing glass, glue, s/s screws, epoxy (or pond liner), paint or stain for the outside, tools if you haven't got them ......  All adds up.  When you get over the 100 gal sized tanks then ply will work out cheaper because of the thickness of the glass needed for a glass tank.  But its a great project!

3D background.  Make out of polystyrene, a polystyrene insulation sheet from the hardware store is what I used.  Cut one piece to the size of the rear of the tank and use the rest to cut out humps, bumps, rock shapes - whatever you want.  Hold it all together with toothpicks to work out the general design you want then glue (I just used a hot glue gun).  Carve out the poly (a small sureform & 40g sand paper works well) to create the final look then use sand paper to smooth off to a water worn look if required. This process is messy and poly beads / dust will be all over the place! Coat with grout.  Use different shades of grout for highlights and shadows if you want to get artistic.  Once hardened the grout will change the PH of the water so either soak it for a month or coat with epoxy.

Those 10w flood lights should be fine for your chosen plants - maybe even a bit strong?  Ira look here to see what Celcuis is referring to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU_y6OK2qK0

I think a corner mattenfilter should work so long as it is large enough, but by design it will take up some of the room in the tank.

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9mm or preferably 12mm ply will make an easier build then thinner as its thick enough to be able to screw into the ends.  This thickness will also not need any external support to keep it from bowing, but I would still use a eurobrace on the top to avoid this just in case. Don't bother with marine ply as it will be coated with epoxy (my preference) or pond liner anyway.

The price of a 50 gal in ply will work out to cost more to make then the same in glass.  Ply, viewing glass, glue, s/s screws, epoxy (or pond liner), paint or stain for the outside, tools if you haven't got them ......  All adds up.  When you get over the 100 gal sized tanks then ply will work out cheaper because of the thickness of the glass needed for a glass tank.  But its a great project!

3D background.  Make out of polystyrene, a polystyrene insulation sheet from the hardware store is what I used.  Cut one piece to the size of the rear of the tank and use the rest to cut out humps, bumps, rock shapes - whatever you want.  Hold it all together with toothpicks to work out the general design you want then glue (I just used a hot glue gun).  Carve out the poly (a small sureform & 40g sand paper works well) to create the final look then use sand paper to smooth off to a water worn look if required. This process is messy and poly beads / dust will be all over the place! Coat with grout.  Use different shades of grout for highlights and shadows if you want to get artistic.  Once hardened the grout will change the PH of the water so either soak it for a month or coat with epoxy.

Those 10w flood lights should be fine for your chosen plants - maybe even a bit strong?  Ira look here to see what Celcuis is referring to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU_y6OK2qK0

I think a corner mattenfilter should work so long as it is large enough, but by design it will take up some of the room in the tank.

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Yup those are the lights that I'm referring to.

i found out that building a plywood tank would cost almost as much as you pay for a new glass tank but I will still have a look at the marine ply you mentioned I'm trying to keep the costs down as much as I can on the tank and equipment... I looked at some of the tanks on trademe and they look all scratched up and repaired of cracks I'm not confident in a second hand tank as I don't want it too bust in half. I still want to go with the corner matten filter. Is their a place that you guys might know that sells glass in Hamilton?

thanks for the  info guys :) 

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Ah, those ones.  I got the impression from some other threads that those were pretty poor color rendering and not a good spectrum for plants.  But haven't looked too closely into it and there is a metric buttload of various ones.

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53 minutes ago, Celcuis said:

Yup those are the lights that I'm referring to.

i found out that building a plywood tank would cost almost as much as you pay for a new glass tank but I will still have a look at the marine ply you mentioned I'm trying to keep the costs down as much as I can on the tank and equipment...

No to the marine ply - you don't need it.  Standard untreated ply will do just as well if coated in epoxy etc after you made the tank so long as its not the very cheap stuff that is fill of voids.  Marine ply is a lot more expensive and would still need coating.

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I think two of those led flood lights will be suffice for java fern and other low light plants on driftwood I don't plan on making it into a full on planted tank, the substrate will be a thin layer of sand aswell. If they look bad once installed I'll replace them with different lighting since the LEDs only cost about 10 bucks each + shipping.

i see the waterproofing of the plywood to be the most expensive part is it?

looked around on the web and  fiound this https://www.cemix.co.nz/products/waterproofing-products/pond-trough-waterproofer  the price isn't listed but is there a cheaper one that you guys know of?

thanks 

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I have read in forums that a lot of people use pond waterproofer and haven't heard of anything bad about it. But personally I went with https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/ados-all-purpose-resin-625ml-pale-amber/p/370939 because pond liner only coats the surface of the wood, epoxy penetrates a bit deeper into it especially if the wood is heated before applying the first coat.  I figured it would protect the ply if scratched so no chance of water soaking into the wood underneath.  The epoxy can be coloured.  I lined the ply with fibreglass cloth for added protection but I had some laying around and if 3 or more coats of epoxy is used the cloth wouldn't be needed for a 50 gal.  

Tips for working with epoxy:  Only mix small amounts as 1/2 a cup full can heat up fast.  Use a plastic sqeegie to spread it & don't work it too much otherwise it goes cloudy. Heating the wood for the first coat (hot air gun) means the epoxy gets sucked into the pores of the wood as the wood cools.  It is safe to use but most importantly wear gloves and don't scratch your head - its impossible to remove from your hair! O.o

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Thanks Shilo your recommendation looks good how many "625ml pales" of the resin do u think i would need? And also for the front pannel so the rectangle with the smaller rectangle hole will the side of the rectangle hole need to be one whole piece (frame) or can they be separate? if that makes sense I might go out this weekend and have a look at metirals and see if the miter10 guys could cut the wood for me...

btw I want a plywood tank as i want to have 3D wall on 2 sides and the matter filter in the corner of them but if I could find a tank in good condition I'll take it but I'll have to paint the two sides...

thanks really appericiate your help 

 

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One 625ml pack should do the tank & probably the background.  You only need to do the inside of the tank if the outside is painted with an enamel paint.

Materials required for tank:

Ply, pva glue, stainless screws, epoxy, epoxy colouring (if required), putty to fill in screw heads, paint, silicon, glass for viewing panel.

Tools:

Circular saw, jig saw, drill / screw driver, sand paper, plastic sqeegie, router (optional), paint brush.

Materials for 3d background:

Polystyrene, toothpicks, grout, epoxy to seal, silicon to glue to tank.

Tools:

Fine saw, sharp craft knife, glue gun, small sureform, sand paper, paint brush for dapping on grout, paint brush for epoxy coating. 

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Unfortunately Shilo I have realized stuff and made a change of plans...

so I realized that building everything is going to cost a lot more that buying a tank so I'm going to buy 

the Aquaone AR80 165Liter with filter and lighting and with cabinet for $600 I will still be making a 3D background but I'm going to make the tank into a full on low tech planted tank with a pair of discus will this work so..can I keep a nice pair of discus in a 165liter planted? I am asking this cause I've never kept a pair in a planted tank or anything more than 80Liter breeding tanks.

i will also keep my current 60Liter tank set up without plants and inhabitants just incase they make fry :) 

sorry for wasting your time with all the DIY questions I'll keep you update on what I'm gonna do 

thanks, but sorry again :) 

 

 

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