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NFC: Re: Darter tanks and stuff

>I'm thinking something about 5' long by 6" wide. The tank would be about
>1' high, but would only have about 6-8" of water. With a strong
>powerhead/sponge filter combo at one end, or maybe even a canister
>filter, I might be able to create some good current/ripples.
>My questions are, does anybody see anything potentialy wrong with such a
	Having built a number of large tanks for aquaculture, I can give you some
advice.  For starters, I'd use 1/2" acrylic as a minimum for the front.  A
piece of glass that size is very awkward to work with.  Very awkward.  As
in, "OOPS!".
	Also, rather than sealing the plywood with (expensive) epoxy, consider
building the box and applying a face lamination of thin (cheap) acrylic.
For the size tank you are talking about, $20-30 should cover it.  
	I use this order of operations: cut plywood to size; assemble box with
glue and screws, finish the outside; cut a piece of thin acrylic to size of
bottom less 1/4" (if the inside measurement of the bottom is 5' x 1', I cut
the acrylic to 4'11 3/4" by 11 3/4"); contact cement the acrylic in place
so there is a 1/8" space all around the bottom; do the same for the back
and ends; cut the front to fit with the same 1/8" gap at bottom and ends
(but the top should run all the way to the top); seal the front in place
following the procedure everyone writes about; seal interior joints.  
	I use a sealer called "GOOP" for all sealing operations.  By actual tests,
I have found it to be aquarium safe and long lasting.  With acrylic, I
usually scuff the area to be joined with 400 grit emery cloth (but the
times I've forgotten have worked out fine).  I double seal each joint-apply
the sealer so it goes 1/4" on each side of the edge and let it dry, then go
back and do it again 3/8" wide.
	Don't forget to tie the top together-for a tank the size you are talking
about, I would use two ties across the top-dividing the top into thirds.
	In 1992, I built a huge tank for a friend-2' x 3' x 20'-it runs around a
corner in his basement!  He couldn't bear to part with a large catfish.  No
leaks so far.     
Jim Colburn