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Old 09/22/2005, 10:22 PM   #1
scchase
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My 480g plywood tank is nearing completion lots of pics.

I started building this tank back in June and have spent a lot of time doing research and gathering supplies.
I assembled the frame in Early August and spent the rest of the month coating the insde with first fiberglass resin then 2 part epoxy paint. I was able to get the glass into it finally last week and have been waiting for the silicon to dry till today when I decided to finally put some water into it. So far so good only filled it halfway though because half my tank support is incorperated into the stand, pictures should explain why.

The dimensions are about 88 1/2 x 43x 1/2 x 30
The plywood is 3/4
The glass is 1/2 tempered glass.
This is my first attempt at building a tank as well.


Here is the front of the stand completed untill I decide how I will finish it. The tank will actually be framed in by the walls around it allowing me to use less playwood on the tank itself



This is the back of the stand in the fishroom. The underside is built with 2x6s spaced every 6 inches then on a header for access to the underside of the tank for sump storage that will easily support the tank.



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Old 09/22/2005, 10:30 PM   #2
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Here is the tank before any of the sealants were added.


This next image is the tank with the fiberglass shell completed I did 2 layers on the bottom and double layered the bottom edge.

Here is the tank with 3 coats of epoxy applied I let it sit for 2 weeks at this point to insure that everything dried well.

This is the glass being installed I put 700 pounds of sand on it to set it will as well as myself it took 5 full tubes of silicone to do the first caulk on it.



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Old 09/22/2005, 10:34 PM   #3
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Here it is with the glass installed while I was waiting for the silicone to cure all the way through. I decided to add my first animals to the tank though.

I finally started to fill the tank tonight on 9/22/05. I only filled it halfway for right now and will let it sit hopefully a week. If no leaks are found after that I will move it downstairs to its new home and get started with the real fun.



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Old 09/22/2005, 11:28 PM   #4
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Cool, what are your plans for it???


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Old 09/23/2005, 06:39 AM   #5
Large Polyp Dave
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wow i've always read about people planning huge plywood tanks (mostly broke teenagers!) but I've never seen one being built.

it looks like it'll be great! good work

From your experience building that tank, do you think a large 3 sided viewable plywood tank could be safely built? with wood on all the corners/edges? (the bottom panel and one side panel would be plywood)


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Old 09/23/2005, 07:22 AM   #6
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Well I plan on putting a lot of SPS into it they have outgrown my current 150g tank and need more room to get bigger. I plan on adding somewere around 400 pounds of live rock which will leave plenty of room for all my corals.
Lighting will consist of 4 400wt 20k XMs and 2 250wt 10k XMs and possible some VHOs not completly sure about them yet.
The overflow will be a acrylic weir that runs the back of the tank and is drained by a 2 1/2 inch drain feeding into a MRC MR-3R.

I will be running at least 1 sequence Barraquda on a OM 4way CL as well as some Tunze style pumps still decideing if I want to get the Tunzes or use Seios. I have some Seios now that I am very happy with. I might also add another CL depending on the flow.
I will be constructing 4 remote sand beds 6'x 2'x 8" that will have 5 " of sand each stacked on top of each other in the fishroom area. These will be lined with pond liner and terminate into a growout tank about the same size minus the sand lit my 175 wt MHs.
The sump will also be built by me and lined with pond liner and will probably be in the shape of an L sitting under the tank with one half dedicated to a refugium.
Calcium will be supplied by a Calcium reactor and Nielsen Reactor connected to my RO unit.

Large Polyp Dave I would be weary of a tank like that may not be enough support though with the proper support above the tank it could work out. A LFS in my area has a tank that is built into the corner of a wall with 3 panes of glass on the fronts.

Also as of this morning the tank just a little over half full has no leaks so all is well at this point now just have to wait. This will be torture.


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Old 09/23/2005, 07:28 AM   #7
Large Polyp Dave
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is that puppy in your avatar the same dog inside the tank?

if that is, he's grown quite a bit =)


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Old 09/23/2005, 07:55 AM   #8
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Nope they are different dogs.


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Old 09/23/2005, 08:41 AM   #9
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How wide and thick is the piece of plywood where the top of the glass panel will sit? From one of the pictures, it looks like it's bowed out already. And are you putting any bracing across the top?


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Old 09/23/2005, 08:49 AM   #10
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It is 3/4 inches the bow in the picture is from the natural bow of the wood before I added the glass. At half full there is about 1/8 inch of deflection. I will be adding a cross brace from the back to the front. Originally it would of had a brace like the back panel but due to a miscalcultaion that could not be fixed I will have to have a cross brace instead. Just as a note my 150 g tank has more deflection then this fully filled and is in excess of 20 years old.


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Old 09/23/2005, 11:49 AM   #11
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How much were all the materials? Do you know how many gallon your tank is? Why not run a brace all the way around the tank like eurobraced glass tanks so that there is no shadow from the cross brace.

Great looking tank. I think I am going the route when I get a house in a few years.


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Old 09/23/2005, 02:05 PM   #12
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looks very nice will be watching the progress.


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Old 09/23/2005, 02:52 PM   #13
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I dont quite understand how the bracing works in that tank. it that just screwed together without any bracing in the back? wont it just pop at the seems when it is full? Maybe i'm missing something in the pictures but it looks a bit unsafe to me. other then that i love the idea and the size. my question is, with plywood, are you limited to 8' in length or could you put say 2 or 4' more of plywood and have a seem in the middle of the tank?

Thanks

Chris


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Old 09/23/2005, 03:04 PM   #14
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I have a seam in my L tank. I just covered the seam with a piece of 3/4" plywood that overlapped it 5" on either side of the seam and buttered it with liquid nails and screwed it down.

I will seal it up with fiberglass then epoxy paint.

If you want to question the strength of this design, Saturday we moved the tank outside so I could start fiberglassing and we lifted the tank by it's ends and layed it on it's back on my truck to move it and it didn't flex at all. I swear you could hold up a two story house with this thing!

I have pics of us moving it I need to post.

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Old 09/23/2005, 03:08 PM   #15
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Ok if oyu look on my stand you will see 2x4s coming up on both sides and the back. The tank will be butted up against these 2x4s providing much more support then any sort of Eurobracing could supply. They are Hurricane tied into the stand and as such it would litteraly take something akin to a hurricane to make those 2x4s move and as a result the walls of the tank as well. In addition the back and front will both have a earobrace now that I figured out how to do one on the front with my glass misshap. The back already has one on it its 3 inches wide and painted blue like the rest of the tank and tied into the tank with fiberglass. Trust me guys this tank will not bow short of using some sort of jack to make it bow on purpose.


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Old 09/23/2005, 03:16 PM   #16
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The back of mine has a eurobrace and the front is tied to the back with stainless steel rods every 16".

I doubt mine will bow at all. I was going to do the whole thing eurobraced but, due to space constraints, my tank is too narrow to do that. I would not have allowed enough space for light to get in the tank or put large pieces of liverock.

I think your design is dead on. I have built several plywood tanks and they have all worked for a decade save one that I used the lowe's brand epoxy on and it leaked after 5 years.

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Old 09/23/2005, 06:22 PM   #17
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When I purchased epoxy from a boat shop to make a tank they said you could probably use cardboard due to the strength of the epoxy/fiberglass. After finishing my small tank (approx 30 gal), I believe it.

I definitely understand not getting the glass measurements perfect. I don't know why I thought fiberglass glued on a corner would lead to a perfectly straight line on the bottom. Needless to say my glass was pretty tight on the edges. Wish I went about 1/4" short both dimensions.

What type of glass did you use?

Matt


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Old 09/23/2005, 06:51 PM   #18
scchase
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The glass is tempered its what was reccomned by all the glass shops. I shoulda went anealled though my 150 is and its near indestructable


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Old 09/24/2005, 09:35 AM   #19
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What type of expoxy did you use and how much did it take?


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Old 09/24/2005, 09:39 AM   #20
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I used the Aquatic Ecosystems epoxy and it only took a gallon to do 3 coats and I still had some left over even .


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Old 09/24/2005, 06:59 PM   #21
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Today I finished adding the bracing though I have 1 piece that still needs to be coated in epoxy before filling with saltwater. Then I filled it up. With the braces the total deflection at the middle of the tank is less then 1/8" as a comparison my 150 g 20 year old all glass aquarium has nearly 5/8" deflection at the middle.

Here is a pic of it full now it will have to sit in the garage for the rest of the week and not leak then go downstairs after a couple minor adjustments.




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Old 09/24/2005, 07:28 PM   #22
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Looks good. How much does it weight, excluding the water I mean?


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Old 09/24/2005, 07:35 PM   #23
scchase
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Without water it is light maybe 180-200 pounds I can move it by myself around the garage and flip it on its back if needed so it cant be that bad at all.


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Old 09/24/2005, 07:39 PM   #24
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coooooool

I think I will try making a plywood tank as a vivarium. Leaves lots of room for error because it won't be holding water...could be good practice for later on.

But your tank is incredible, do you mind me asking how much all of it cost?


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Old 09/24/2005, 07:52 PM   #25
scchase
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Plywood 100
Epoxy 100
Glass 275
Fiberglass 175
Screws 15
Silicone 30
Liquid Nails 10
That is approximate.


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