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Re: Building a tank

Jon H. wrote:
"Lucky for me one of my tank building friends just got a whole lot of
10mm tempered glass (plus other stuff) for a good price and said he would
build a tank for me for free ...."
"So anyway what should I get built.  Im thinking along the lines of a 4ft
tank because this is fairly easy to light.  "

Nice friend.... I trust that he knows how to cut tempered glass safely...

According to information in the book "The Living Aquarium" by Peter Hunnam,
if you have access to ONLY 10 mm glass, you might have to adjust your dreams
downward. The thickness of a glass panel required for an aquarium increases
with both the depth of the panel and the length of the panel. While the
graph given in the book makes it rather difficult to be exact, you can
extrapolate a relatively safe range of sizes which could be built using 10
mm glass. If you don't have access to the book, the information from the
graph is archived on the KRIB in the hardware section.

In the graph and the accompanying article, the requirements for building a
tank are covered in a nice amount of detail. Tempered glass is NOT
recommended due to the high internal stress it is under (that's what causes
it to shatter when it breaks). It is also recommended that slightly thicker
glass be used for the bottom panel of a tank - i.e. if the sides are made
from 10 mm glass, you should use 12 mm glass for the base. Unless your
friend also has access to some 12 mm glass (to use for the base), I'd
recommend that you limit your expectations. Using a combination of 10 mm and
12 mm glass, the deepest/widest that you could safely use a 48" long panel
would be approximately 22" (20" would be even better, allowing for a margin
of safety). If you cannot get 12 mm glass for the base, it would probably be
better to keep both the height and width of a 48" long panel to under 18".

You _could_ ask him to make 2 tanks, with each being almost a cube (24"
long, 20" wide, 20" high), and place then side by side under your preferred
48" long lights. If he is limited to only using 10 mm glass, this would be
much safer and if he is careful, the two tanks could look very nice and give
you a lot of leeway with what you could house in each one.

I have no idea if the extra strength of tempered glass would make any
difference to how wide or high you could go on a long tank - but I can
readily imagine the mess that would be created if you exceed the ability of
the glass to resist breakage when full of water (ever see what 90 gallons of
water can do to a hardwood floor?)

Good luck.

James Purchase