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Re: Acrylic

> I am about to build a custom aquarium 48"L x 36"W x 18"H out of Acrylic and
> I need some advice from DIYers.  I've not worked w/ acrylic before and
> would like some tips in terms of the appropriate plastic thickness.  I was
> thinking of using 1/2" is that too much?  Too little?  Is there an acrylic
> water volume calculation formula that will tell me the safe thickness to use?

I'd use 1/2" as a minimum. Commercial companies tend to build very thin and
use structural bracing on the tops. This, after a few years, bows out and
splinters. Looks like crap and you spent all this money. Some bow as soon as
you put water in them. It's also hell to get into the tank since they have
small openings for all the bracing. A tank this size will cost some money
but it always pays to do it right. If you don't plan on using any bracing at
all you will want to go up in thickness perhaps to 5/8 or 3/4.

> Would a center brace be necessary?  I checked out Mel Gross' old post and
> I'd like to avoid this headache if at all possibe.  Are there any
> aquarium-safe acrylic glues?

I am unaware of non aquarium safe glues for acrylic. The regular old
capillary glue does fine. You will need clamps to squeeze the panels
together. You get what you pay for here. Go cheap and you can have a bowed
tank that doesn't last. A center brace may save you some money on the
thickness needed but will detract from the looks.
We build a 60 gallon cube out of 1/2 inch. The 25 out of 3/8th. There is no
bracing and it looks much nicer....especially on a cube. Cost more but it is
what I would want for my tank rather than the cheapest thing out there. We
are going to set the 25 soon for a planted display tank. There are places to
cut corners and thickness is not one of them IMO.
If your trying to do it cheap and don't care as much about the looks, a wood
tank is quite doable and all you need is a single glass face. I've seen some
quite nice 48x48 x 20inch tall tanks (200 gallon tanks)that had nice wooden
frames etc. There are plans for building this on the web and other sources.
One I saw many years ago when I worked at a LFS was a 4ftx4ft tank with a
terrarium in the middle and powerheads (aquaology- anyone remember those?)
so it was like a square donut so your fish could swim in a circle against a
current. Quite neat.
> Has anyone found a DIY Acrylic Aquarium site?

Try acrylic/plastics places, they will build and/or help you.
Tom Barr