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Old 07-08-2020, 06:58 PM
minorhero's Avatar
minorhero minorhero is offline
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Default 4 Foot Vivarium Build From The Ground Up

Hello folks,

For 2 years now I have been planning a 120 gallon aquarium. At first I was living in a townhouse that had no room for it. The Wife agreed that once we moved I could finally have the aquarium I really wanted.

Well after I discovered the world of vivariums I decided I rather have a 120 gallon vivarium then a 120 gallon aquarium. This brings me to current.

The plan for this build is to make the vivarium out of plywood and coat it with pond shield on the inside and paint on the outside. The vivarium dimenssions will be 2 feet wide and 4 feet long. It will be approximately 2 feet tall but I haven't settled for certain on this and may go slightly higher. The front will have sliding glass doors and one of the short sides will have a fixed glass window. The stand will have a frame made from poplar and skinned in plywood. The stand will be painted and the top will be made from poured concrete.

The end goal of all this will be a vivarium and stand that are themselves attractive since this will be going right in the middle of my living room. My house was renovated at some point before I bought it so that it is one of those open concept jobs. The living room is open to the kitchen, dining room, etc. So this vivarium will be visible in most of the common areas of my house.

Back when this was still an aquarium stand I designed the stand to be built from 2x4s. My original design for the stand looked like this:

For the door I was going to make a completely removable panel, that way I would have full access to the sump located below the tank.

I actually made most of this stand before ultimately abandoning it.

At the time I was making the entire thing in the single car garage of my rented townhouse. The only tools I had was a circular saw and a drill. The level of precision I was able to achieve with the circular saw and builders grade 2x4s was pretty sad. I just couldn't bring myself to actually finish the piece and use it. So instead it got turned into shop furniture in the garage of my new house.

When I had a day off a couple of weeks ago I picked up my lumber at a local hardwood seller. I originally wanted 8/4 poplar but they had a deal going for 4/4 shorts at 2 dollars a board foot. For my area that is a pretty good deal and I was going to need to cut any boards I bought to get them into my SUV so it was an easy decision. It did mean I needed to laminate my wood together to achieve the desired thickness but that's all part of the fun ;P

Over the past couple of days I ripped the boards to width, glued up the boards to form thicker pieces and cut them to length. Today I assembled the frame using pocket holes.

Since I went 3 dimensional with this build I decided I had enough to start my journal.

Here is the frame of the stand complete:

And here it is with the plywood sides added on:

I will also add a piece of plywood over part of the back (just there for added support against racking). I also will need to add some support in the inside corners so I can put down a sheet of plywood to act as a shelf and have it be supported.

Then I need to figure out the doors which unlike the aquarium original, will exist and be normal cabinet doors. I will take the 'cheap' way out and instead of floating panels will just use plywood with a purely decorative frame glued on. This will all be painted so I doubt it will matter much.

And... that's where I'm at! Hopefully folks will enjoy the show.

Last edited by minorhero; 07-08-2020 at 07:41 PM.
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