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RE: NFC: Re: Darter tanks and stuff

Jim, I'm also in the process of building a large tank.  I have a piece of 
glass already, acquired for free, that measures 5' X 32" tall, and 5/8" 
thick. I was planning to make the tank 2' wide.  I was thinking about using 
formica inside.  Is this feasable in your opinion?  I know a few guys who 
have used it, but their tanks are only like a year old now.  I don't think 
they have had any problems with it so far.   Is it possible to use acrylic 
to line the plywood and still use the glass for the front panel? Thanks, 
>From: Jim Colburn
>Subject: NFC: Re: Darter tanks and stuff
>Date: Saturday, May 22, 1999 20:30

>    Having built a number of large tanks for aquaculture, I can give you 
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 
>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 
>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 
>corner in his basement!  He couldn't bear to part with a large catfish.  No
leaks so far.
>Jim Colburn