Since I needed one last viv to complete my rack and someone wanted to see a euro-style construction journal , I wasnít planning to do it euro style but I had most all the materials I needed to make one so I did.
First off are the tools I neded :
glass drills & drill
wetstone ( sharpening stone )
lots of razor blades
frame spineroller tool
weld on glue
Iím sure I forgot something ?
First you have to decide how big its going to be and the size of glass you will need . This
one is 7Ē x 24 1/2Ē x 17 1/2Ē so the bottom will be 17 1/2" x 7" you need to know the
bottom size so you can figure the side sizes ,because the placement of the glass and
thickness of the glass will make a difference. ( I used two thicknesses of glass 1/4 &
3/16 because thats what I had around , but for less confusion Iíll use one thickness in my
explanations 1/4Ē ) . When measuring the sides you have to take the glass thickness in
consideration when measuring , because of the glass placement see diagram below .
The measurements need to be 1/2Ē smaller than the actual size to compesate for the glass
so to make it 24 1/2Ē x 17 1/2 ď the sides need to be cut 24Ē x 17Ē .
I cut some of my glass to size because I had some left over from other projects . Itís not
too difficult once you get the hang of it . If you donít want to cut your own just skip down
. The main thing is getting the cuts square and measured right . Start by measuring and
re- measuring , mark it off using a square to make sure the cut is streight , I used a
yard stick as a guide and clamped it securly to the glass , here you HAVE to take the
glass cutter in to consideration in your measurments , the thickness of the
edge to the cutting blade must be subtracted from the measurements or the glass will
come out too big . With firm pressure run the glass cutter down the edge of your streight edge
trying to do it in ONE cut , if you miss a spot and try to go back and re-score it and itís
not in the same line it sometimes does not break streight .
When you get it scored , unclamp it and turn the glass over and with the ball end of the
cutter gently tap ( were not trying to seperate the cut at this time ) the glass along the
score mark . Then turn the piece of glass over and place the score line on the edge of
the work bench ( itís probobly best to be wearing some leather gloves at this time just in
case ) and gently push down on the non supported edge of glass . If it was scored enough
it should break along your cut . If your using thicker glass like 1/4Ē when breaking it
along the line you might have to tilt the glass up an eigth inch or so and gently bring it
down to the work bench surface to get it to seporate . Once you get all the glass cut to
size you want to dull the edges of the glass with the wetstone to kill the sharp edges so
you donít get cut at a later date moving it . A few passes over all the edges should do it
taking care at the corners so they donít chip . I used a 1000 grit stone because thats what I
To figure the top size you need to know the size of your vent . To make the vent there is
already a good thread on this .
http://www.dendroboard.com/phpBB2/viewt ... light=vent
Mine usually end up being around 2 1/4Ē deep , so cut your top piece of glass less the
size of your vent
Now , if you want mister nozzles itís the time to drill your hole . Measure were you want
it . You can use a drill press or hand drill . You donít really need a cutting jig . Ive used
both ways and cut over 50 holes and only broke one piece of glass and that was because I
was being lazy . Support your piece of glass on a FLAT surface . And you need to keep
the glass cool while you are drilling . For using a hand drill I made a support piece to keep the drill from
ďwandering ď . To keep it cool and lubricated I made a dam out of
4Ēpvc pipe . The support piece is just a piece of wood cut to fit inside the dam and drilled
so the glass hole saw just fits and dosenít walk side to side .
I put a small bead of silicone on the pvc guide place it over the place were you want your
hole , then place the support piece in it and fill it half way with water . Holding the dam
with one hand firmly because when you start to drill it will want to move untill the
hole gets started in the glass , with even pressure hold the drill as streight and square as possible
slowly with even light pressure cut the hole stopping when you feel it go all the way
through . You will feel it and hear a difference in the sound . Easy .
Now before gluing clean the glass surfaces and edges with acetone .
Now comes the messy part so get the gloves ready . Start with the bottom , get the duct
tape and depending on size put a couple strips of tape on each side and the back so the
sticky side is up
Then do the back .
Get the silicone ready , its nice to have an extra tube ready so you donít have to stop in
the middle to cut open a new tube .
Run a nice even bead of silicone on the back edge and side of the bottom piece and along
the side of the back piece , then starting with the back , set the back pice of glass in the
bead of silicone and pull up your tape to hold it in place .Hereís where it gets tricky if
your doing it by yourself , set the side in place in your bead of silicone and tape it in
place . Now you have three sides in place it will stand on itís own .
Now I run another
bead of silicone along each edge that you just glued , I just use my finger to push it in a
little and put a radius on the corner edge ( It helps a little if you wet your finger a little to
keep the silicone from sticking to your fingers . You are wearing your gloves now ? ) Do the same for all glued corner edges.
Do the other side , top and vent in the same way .
I put my drains in the front of my rack tanks , So now you can measure , cut ( and drill
if necessary ) your front botttom piece of glass to fit in between the sides , and make
your bottom vent , which is narrower than the top . Measure the depth of the glass so the
vent is flush with the outer edge of th front glass . Now glue and tape it in .
Oops , I forgot to mention earlier if you want your drain in the bottom you should drill it when you are cutting the bottom glass before you glue it together .
I use stainless mesh for my vents , as its stiffer than the nylon no se-em mesh it takes
more care to fit in the frameing . Note that if you are making long vents 2 or more feet ,
when putting the mesh in the frameing the tension of putting the ss screen will pull the
frameing in in the centers so your vent will look like itís smileing and frowning at you ,
so you will have to use a little more silicone when glueing it in .
Now you can let it dry for a day and work on other things . Like the door the lower front
piece , hinge , handles , vent , ect .
I also put a piece of glass across the bottom to catch any excess water from misting that might get through the vent to keep it from dripping out .
Once its dry you can take your razor blades and cut off the excess silicone .
This is the first time Iíve used these type of hinges so Iíll have to see wheather I like
them or not . On my other vivs itís nice to be able to remove the door sometimes when
you have to do some work in side . These canít be removed once glued in place .
basicly measuring and cutting everything to size nothing fancy .
I glue the door together with the hinges before I installed it on the tank , so make sure the edges are square and in line before the silicone drys . I also waited till I had the background in and almost done before glueing the door assembly on to prevent breakage .
I use a piece of 1/4Ēx1/4Ē acrylic for the door handle
The fan vent housing is just plexi glass measured and cut to size to fit the top vent ,
glued togather with Weld on glue . Drlii a holesaw hole the size of your fan in the top , champher the
edges for fan blade clearance and drill and screw the fan on . I use 50 mm. 12 Volt
And silicone it on
The latch is just a piece of plexiglass cut and fixed with a stainless steel screw and washers to
get the right adjustment on the door
I choose to have my vent overlap my door glass because of the way I build my latches .
if you wanted you could build it to have the door seal on the vent if you wanted to , just
adjust the top glass size when measuring the top glass .
Now the rest is basicly stuf that has been covered a million times before . False bottom , egg crate , craft screen , fiberglass screen , great stuff , ect. ect .
I cut a "V" in the bottom of me false bottom stands so water will flow through them and not stagnate in them over time .
just fitting the door hinge
Heres were it gets a little different , I wanted a sloping background and only had one
can of great stuff , and since it was Christmas day and I had nowere to get more . I glued
a piece of plexi glass to the insides in the orientation I wanted my background , this way
I didn't have to build up my background with many layers of greatstuff . and added a flap just in case they decided to do some digging they can't get behind the background .
Then glued my driftwood on
Then coated it with a thin layer of great stuff
Since I now dont have alot of bottom space for plants , while the greatstuff is wet I
pushed into it a couple cocoa fiber pots for a couple plants .
Once dry coat your greatstuff with silicone and smash your choice of background material into it .
I used a mix of coco fiber , peat and crushed leaves on this one . The little pieces of leaves give it a neat effect .
I glued a few pieces of wood to the sides to optimize space for the frogs to crawl around
on since they use it alot in my other one
Now I glue the door on
and last I glued some thin coco fibermat to one side to give something for thr vineing plants roots to grab into .
All it needs now is substrate and some plants .
And , oh yea some of these .
You better do a good job bucco ! I got to raise my kids in here .
I dont think I forgot too much .
Not bad for parts and materials I had around the basement and the$20. bucks I had to put out for glass and window frame parts !
Its not hard to do , I spent less time building this viv than it took me to write this journal !!!! literally .