DIY Acrylic Tank

Joined
9 Sep 2014
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33
I'm wanting to have a go at making a tank myself, and if anyone could run it over with me and have a look at what I'm thinking and spot any problems it would be appreciated.
What I'm thinking:
Length x width x height (mm)
1000 x 100 x 200
Should hold around 10l as I plan to fill it 1/2 up to have some emersed growth aswell.
This is kinda inspired by those 'Mini complete Tanks' just a lot lot longer and hopefully able to handle livestock (Shrimp, snails, micro crabs i'm thinking)
So I was planning on ordering acrylic cut to size from one of the many websites. I was going to order 3mm acrylic in the following sizes:

Base: 1000 x 100
Front and Back panels: 1000 x 197
Side panels: 197 x 94
Lid : 1000 x 100

Once these arrive I will use Acrylic Liquid Adhesive on the edges of the panels, and hold them in place using corner clamps while they bond.
Then once the 4 panels have bonded put acrylic bonder on the base panel along the edges and place the panels on top. Let it dry and sand down any excess bonder.
Im thinking I may be have a problem with the tank bowing but thats the only issue I think I might run into. Any thoughts or advice?

Cheers
 

papa_c

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22 Jan 2013
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Only comment is to research acrylic properties. I have some 3mm sheet and it is very flexible.

I think 1000mm lengths will need to be much thicker to prevent bowing.
 
Joined
9 Sep 2014
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Fragile, more expensive seems generally harder to work with. I wanna play around with this tank a fair bit in terms of modifying/drilling it and acrylic seemed suitable given the low volume but i've never made a tank out of it as you can probably tell lol
 

ian_m

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3mm is way way too thin. You will be looking at 6mm at least, maybe even 8mm acrylic. Make sure it is cell cast acrylic and you use the correct glue/solvent for cast acrylic.

There are plenty of aquarium acrylic thickness calculators on the web and all agree at least 6mm. Might be able to use less if braced.
 

zozo

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16 Apr 2015
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The Acrylic edges need to be machine routed to smooth out the saw marks. Else the glued edges will not look nice. Over a lenght in 1000mm it would be nearly impossible to do this correctly straight with manual tools such as a scraper. Since the solvent to glue acrylic is as thin as water, any 0.10mm gap in the seam obviously will likely be leaking. Than you would need to use a glue that fills up the gaps and that will look simular to or even worse as using silicone.

To get a correct strong acrylic bond with solvent it needs some weight to press it together, usualy done with clamps. You would need to DIY a construction as a mold to hold it 90° straight and in place over the intire lenght while clamps are on during the curing time.

Personaly imho.. :)
All and all together, cutting casted acrylic to size, machine route it, diy the mold, the solvent, tools etc. it will be a pretty expensive project in relation to the dimensions compared to glass. Not sure for UK prices, in my country Opti White glass is about 20% more expensive as regular blank floated. Even making it opti white glass would be cheaper in my quick calculation.

Making it from glass is a pretty simple straight foreward job. Its cut to size and you only need some waterproof sandpaper to unsharpen the edges. Than you need to work clean and fast enough within the skinning time from the silicone essambling it. :) Whit glass you can allow a mistake and start over in worst case scenario, with acrylic it is 1 chance with no error margine.
 
Joined
9 Sep 2014
Messages
33
Thank You everyone, all been useful and realise I've definitely not thought it through as much as I thought. Ill give it another look with these things in mind, cheers
 

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