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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-29-2015, 06:54 PM
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Post 360 Gallon Plywood Build

I'm just getting started with my first plywood build, 6'Lx2'Dx4'T. My schedule's pretty open for the winter so I can't wait to get into this build! I spent the past month or so researching and mapping out the project. I finally got to break out the power tools this week Woodwork is going smoothly so far, I have about 8 hours labor into it.
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Old 10-29-2015, 07:26 PM
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Here's what I have so far. I'd love to hear some input from some of the plywood veterans on here
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Not a plywood pro but your build looks great so far. My biggest worry would be sealing/waterproofing the plywood. Keep us posted.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

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Originally Posted by morphman View Post
Not a plywood pro but your build looks great so far. My biggest worry would be sealing/waterproofing the plywood. Keep us posted.
It's really pretty easy to seal wood. Drylok or epoxies do a wonderful job of this and will last a very long time (especially a good zoo grade epoxy).

As to the OP. Looking great so far. I think you got a pretty sturdy base going for sure, which is a must for this kind of gargantuan build lol.

Last edited by Rushthezeppelin; 10-29-2015 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Very cool, i've been contemplating building a large plywood but i'm not sure i've got it in me haha. It looks like you've got a great start, good luck with the build, i'll be following along!
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Thanks guys I ordered three gallons of Polygem 1319 at the beginning of the week. I did a bunch of reading on here and on some aquarium forums and this seemed to be the best reviewed product for the job. Just wish it wasn't so damn expensive
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Damn I'm jealous... I would love to be building something like that right now.

I finished my build like 4 months ago and I'm going through withdrawals lol

What are you planning on putting in there?
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Lol I feel ya man. I'm looking at doing a conversion of display case into a snake paludarium (mostly land) and I'm trying to think of the best way to do my pond, especially considering there will be a water level drain and a bottom drain it in. I'm going to have it hooked up to a sump with a bunch of pothos growing in it for filtration. Right now I'm pretty sure some polygem is my best bet for making damn sure my drains (as well as the return for the waterfall) are all 100% bombproof sealed to the wood bottom this will have. I'm just stuck on what I can sculpt my waterfall, stream and pond out of that would work with epoxy on top. Can you epoxy great stuff?
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Snake paludarium sounds awesome... When I was a kid my friends father built a wooden set up that he filled with potting soil and regular houseplants... He built it over a fish tank with a small opening that was right over the water. The tank was filled with goldfish feeders and the box had (probably too many) brown snakes and garters. The snakes would jump in the water and chase then grab fish anytime they were hungry; then climb back up in the box...

All they had to do is keep the fish tank stocked with feeders. Closest thing to a self sustaining ecosystem I've seen and that was a long time ago. Looked ghetto but It was amazing to watch.

I would do drylock and GS... I love the way that looks when you use like 4 different tints. Definitely doing that for my next build.
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

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Damn I'm jealous... I would love to be building something like that right now.

I finished my build like 4 months ago and I'm going through withdrawals lol

What are you planning on putting in there?
It all depends on how much money I'm willing to spend on frogs after draining my bank account to build and plant this haha.

I'd love to do a large group of Pumilio, maybe Bastis, but that's only if I can afford it.
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Sounds awesome... The good thing is that it will be awhile before you can put frogs in there so you'll have time to get more cash to spend lol

My only advice is take your time and get everything exactly the way you want it. Enjoy every moment because once you're done... You will be sad and want to build more lol

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Originally Posted by jonjoyce346 View Post
It all depends on how much money I'm willing to spend on frogs after draining my bank account to build and plant this haha.

I'd love to do a large group of Pumilio, maybe Bastis, but that's only if I can afford it.
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

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Snake paludarium sounds awesome... When I was a kid my friends father built a wooden set up that he filled with potting soil and regular houseplants... He built it over a fish tank with a small opening that was right over the water. The tank was filled with goldfish feeders and the box had (probably too many) brown snakes and garters. The snakes would jump in the water and chase then grab fish anytime they were hungry; then climb back up in the box...

All they had to do is keep the fish tank stocked with feeders. Closest thing to a self sustaining ecosystem I've seen and that was a long time ago. Looked ghetto but It was amazing to watch.

I would do drylock and GS... I love the way that looks when you use like 4 different tints. Definitely doing that for my next build.
Man I hate to break it to you (and nobody knew this back then), but those goldfish were killing the garters : / They contain thiaminase....nasty enzyme that blocks the uptake of B2 by the snakes and other animals that might eat them.

Still though I'm basically doing that except I want a zoo quality pond and I will be doing bioactive with the land side.

Do you think drylock would seal to the PVC drains well enough?
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Haha, I feel you Cam, I've got a really good opportunity to work on this for the next couple months, won't have to rush anything. I'm in construction and it's seasonal, incredibly busy from the beginning of april until the end of september, then I get a chance to heal my body So viv building can be my main focus for the off season.
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Bummer... Def never heard that, too bad it was so easy to maintain. He got the idea because he wanted to go on vacation lol

What are you feeding then, different kind of fish?

Honestly not sure about the drain but if there is a doubt then use this:

Pond Shield Epoxy by Pond Armor | Pond Liners

Its expensive but I've read many great things. I bought some for a build that I never ended up doing. A lot of the plywood fish tank guys use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushthezeppelin View Post
Man I hate to break it to you (and nobody knew this back then), but those goldfish were killing the garters : / They contain thiaminase....nasty enzyme that blocks the uptake of B2 by the snakes and other animals that might eat them.

Still though I'm basically doing that except I want a zoo quality pond and I will be doing bioactive with the land side.

Do you think drylock would seal to the PVC drains well enough?
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Old 10-29-2015, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

I mostly stick to clean pure tilapia filets F/T when doing fish. They also eat earthworms and I've got two of mine on unscented pinks so far. I do plan to do a guppy breeding operation eventually hooked up to an indoor aquaponics setup so I can let them have plenty of safe, parasite free, thiaminase free fish for them to chase in the pond I'm going to do.
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

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Originally Posted by jonjoyce346 View Post
Haha, I feel you Cam, I've got a really good opportunity to work on this for the next couple months, won't have to rush anything. I'm in construction and it's seasonal, incredibly busy from the beginning of april until the end of september, then I get a chance to heal my body So viv building can be my main focus for the off season.
This is looking like it will be an awesome build! Definitely subscribing.

I'm with you on that seasonal thing too, my busy season just ended and so I started a tank as well

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Old 10-30-2015, 10:03 PM
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Put in a solid day's work today. Whole lotta measurements, cuts, and screws, my back's killing me from all the wierd drill angles

I put in a tilted floor because I want to dam off most of the bottom. I'm doing a water section on the left third of the tank. I did some calculating and at 6" deep, I would have about 375 lbs of water with a typical false bottom. With 2/3 of the bottom blocked off, I can cut that down to about 15 gallons, ~125 lbs. I gave it plenty of support so I'll be able to put whatever I want on it and the water should run off into the pond. Tomorrow, I'll get a board in place to block off that front alley, from there I'll be almost ready to epoxy.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Are you going to make it so that you will be able to look into the water from the front?
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by cam1941 View Post
Snake paludarium sounds awesome... When I was a kid my friends father built a wooden set up that he filled with potting soil and regular houseplants... He built it over a fish tank with a small opening that was right over the water. The tank was filled with goldfish feeders and the box had (probably too many) brown snakes and garters. The snakes would jump in the water and chase then grab fish anytime they were hungry; then climb back up in the box...



All they had to do is keep the fish tank stocked with feeders. Closest thing to a self sustaining ecosystem I've seen and that was a long time ago. Looked ghetto but It was amazing to watch.



I would do drylock and GS... I love the way that looks when you use like 4 different tints. Definitely doing that for my next build.

Dude that sounds so awesome!


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Old 10-30-2015, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Yeah man it was... I could stare at it for hours. I'm pretty sure that's how I ended up with my fish tank then viv addiction lol
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:04 PM
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Are you going to make it so that you will be able to look into the water from the front?
Not for this build man, I know I'm gonna regret it but I'm already experimenting too much with this build haha. I've never worked with glass like that and I guess I was intimidated by the task, didn't want to botch it on such a big project. If I'm still into plywood after this build, I think I'll want to do a paludarium with a good front view into the water section.
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Old 10-31-2015, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Too bad but I hear you... Definitely don't want to over complicate something if it can come back to haunt you later. You can avoid visible standing water altogether if you like and just add a drain to remove the runoff.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you handle the sliding doors especially. I really want to do one of these, because you have so much control over the finished product.

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Not for this build man, I know I'm gonna regret it but I'm already experimenting too much with this build haha. I've never worked with glass like that and I guess I was intimidated by the task, didn't want to botch it on such a big project. If I'm still into plywood after this build, I think I'll want to do a paludarium with a good front view into the water section.
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Old 10-31-2015, 05:23 PM
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Just finished up with the carpentry, I made a little gutter in the front so all the water will flow into a pond on the left.
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

I'm headed back to the north woods in Maine today, gonna have to put the project on hold until Friday, when I return. I'll be meeting up with Todd from lightyourreptiles.com in Gardiner on my way home. We've been discussing the build and I can't wait to see what he's got in store for me for lighting! My favorite option he described to me would consist of a 24" 8 bulb fixture left over from a zoo project, supplemented with four jungle dawn led spotlights. The spotlights would be oriented in a way to mimic the the sun's path across the sky. The first to come on would be at a steep angle on one side to replicate a sunrise, then the next one over, then the flourescent fixture, then the rest of the spotlights. As the day turns to evening, the "morning" side of the lights will shut off, then just one spotlight angled to mimic the evening sun. I've never seen this done, but this build is full of experiments for me and I can't wait to try it out!
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:45 PM
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Interesting idea. I've always thought about having a large herp room with a stupidly powerful/large 6500k LED spot on an arched track in the room.
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:41 PM
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That'd be insane if you could pull that off, never seen anything like that. How big of a track are you thinking of?
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Old 11-07-2015, 02:51 PM
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Just got home from Maine last night, had an awesome trip! There was some beautiful wood along side the mountain streams up there and I got a little greedy I'll post some pics of the harvest when I'm free later today.

On my way home, I stopped by Todd Goode's place to pick up lights for the build. It was awesome to get to talk with him, he runs a great business (lightyoureeptiles.com), check out the site if you haven't already. I'm super excited about what he had for me.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:58 PM
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Wow that's some serious business lighting >.>
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Hi Jon-
Thanks for stopping by.
It was great talking to you.

For readers, Jon also showed me his truck bed FULL of awesome driftwood and roots he collected in the Maine woods,

He has come up with some really awesome gnarly driftwood branches and logs.

I suspect this set up is going to be a real show stopper!

Can't wait to see the progress.



fyi-
those are the new Jungle DawnŽ 40 w spots w/ 6.5K , 93+ CRI and Internal Fan.

In North America:
Jungle | DawnŽ |40 |Watt | MEGA | Plant | Grow |Spotlight

and Arcadia is selling them through-out Europe.
Here's a cool video:
Jungle Dawn 40W Spot LED : Arcadia Reptile

These spots are the result of 3 years work.

Thank you.

Cheers
Todd



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Just got home from Maine last night, had an awesome trip! There was some beautiful wood along side the mountain streams up there and I got a little greedy I'll post some pics of the harvest when I'm free later today.

On my way home, I stopped by Todd Goode's place to pick up lights for the build. It was awesome to get to talk with him, he runs a great business (lightyoureeptiles.com), check out the site if you haven't already. I'm super excited about what he had for me.
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Old 11-08-2015, 10:32 PM
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Put in a full day's work today, all carpentry. There's been a whole lot more woodwork than I had anticipated but it's been really fun putting this thing together. I thought I'd be on to epoxy by now but I want to completely finish the structure first so the epoxy won't go through any unnecessary vibrations/jolts.

No pics today My phone and my computer are both giving me trouble with uploading. I'm not exactly tech savvy, lol.

I've been wanting to show off the wood I found last week, one piece must've weighed over 150 pounds! It was a tree whose base was eroded away by a stream, it had fallen halfway over but it was still alive, so not much rot. I cut it at the lowest point I could and took what I absolutely need of it, about ten feet It was about a half mile into the mountainous, thick woods from my truck and I don't even want to talk about the process of getting it to my truck, lol. Anyone have a massive autoclave?

Will post pics as soon as my devices will let me.
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:40 AM
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Check it out!
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:49 AM
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I ended up taking more than I want to store, if anyone in New England is interested in any pieces shoot me a pm. I'm kinda too busy to deal with shipping and logistics at the moment.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:17 AM
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Here's where I'm at after today's work. I'm making a "spring" at the top of that structure on the right. It'll run off into a stream that'll empty into a pond on the left. The spring structure took me about six hours today, the bottom of the spring is accessible from underneath so I can install a bulkhead to feed in water from a sump.

I've been reinforcing the crap out of it I could climb up in there and stomp on every square inch of the viv floor.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:12 PM
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I built a housing for the 24" T5 fixture today.

I'm in the process of getting supplies for an air circulation system, which will be built into the hood. I found a product that's used to circulate air in boat bilges. It's inline like a duct fan, but it's made to withstand moisture and it's compatible with 3" pvc. For only 30$ I couldn't help but order one

Here is what I hope to get done in the next couple weeks:
-cut in a plywood ceiling
-drill holes for circulation lines
-move the viv into my house
-epoxy and fiberglass
-build a sump
-start buildin a stream using pvc pipe bent and shaped with a heat gun
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:26 PM
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We're inside!!! I had a couple of my stronger friends over today to help move the viv from the shed into my house.
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:44 PM
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I finally finished up with the carpentry last night. I made up some ff proof light mounts with 4" pvc drain pipe, pvc board, and silicone.

After the silicone cured, I hooked up all of the lights and fired them up. It was awesome to finally get to see the full effect of the lighting!

Here are a few pics In the one with the lights on, it's actually not dark at all in the room, the camera had adjusted to the brightness of the viv, making the room look dark.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:35 PM
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I've finally started with epoxy and fiberglass! I fiberglassed most of the seams and joints today.

This is my first time working with these materials and it's proving to be even less fun than I had anticipated, lol. I'm working with some weird angles and small spaces in the upper right section and it's pretty difficult to get the fiberglass done nicely. I'm trying to keep the mess under control but it's tough because the more time I spend keeping things neat, the less time I have to work with the epoxy before it thickens.

I learned the hard way that epoxy will seep through tiny spaces between the plywood sections, I didn't think I had anything more than a 16th inch gap but quite a bit of epoxy made it through and trickled into a puddle on the drop cloth I'm working over It goes right through the drop cloth too, lol.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Just finished fiberglassing all of the joints and seams. I had a rough start working with the epoxy, my first batch failed to cure on me. I must've undermixed it or got the ratio slightly off. After a brief display of profanity, I took out the acetone and about 20 rags to clean it all off. Luckily the batch was only about a cup, but I spent about 3 hours to undo 2 hours of work... I'm not proud of it, but I'm a trial and error learner, always have been Won't be making that mistake again.

Despite the mishaps, I'm very confident that it won't leak.

I've gotta say I'm glad the epoxy won't be visible when I'm done, lol. I got the hang of it after a couple hours of practice, but the first successful application wasn't exactly pretty.

I want to put down one more quick coat tomorrow, just where it looks thin. After that I can get to work on the water feature!
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Old 11-20-2015, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

Fitted together some ductwork just to make sure everything would fit the way I had envisioned it. I've got an inline fan in the middle that will draw from one side of the tank and feed to the other. I still have to put feed and return lines in the tank, but I was going to do that later in the project. Maybe try to disguise them as vines with silicone and coco fiber or just cover them with GS. I want to build a waterfall and a stream before putting anything in the way.

I had an idea to regulate airflow and kind of control a ratio of circulation to ventilation. Once I have the viv up and running, I'll be able to remove pieces of ductwork, cut slots or drill holes in them and put them back in place. I will do it in a way that the air exchange through the slots/holes will blow across the light fixture for cooling.

My thought is that I can start with small slots/holes, test them and gradually increase size until I find the ratio I'm looking for. The larger the holes, the greater the ventilation, the smaller the holes, the greater the circulation.

Any thoughts on this?
Does anyone have any advice on a good ratio of air circulation to ventilation?

Thanks,
Jon
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Old 11-21-2015, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: 360 Gallon Plywood Build

looking good so far
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