Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium - Dendroboard
Dendroboard

Go Back   Dendroboard > Vivariums > Parts & Construction
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read Advertise

Support Our Sponsors
No Threads to Display.

facebook

Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By minorhero

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2020, 03:54 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 9
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

Hello everyone, I’m going to build my own Vivarium and was wondering on thickness of acrylic to use. It will be 48”H x 30”W x 24”D any suggestions?
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2020, 04:36 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Berkeley CA
Posts: 807
Thanks: 4
Thanked 125 Times in 116 Posts
Default Re: Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

Greetings,

For the larger (in area) walls of the viv, you should use no less than 1/4" acrylic. The smaller faces could be 1/8" thickness.

Be warned: Acrylic is more flexible than glass and it absorbs water so there can be issues with warping. Attaching acrylic to itself is very easy (acrylic glues dry fast and strong) but attaching it to other material (or other materials to it), like glass or silicone is more difficult.

I would suggest an alternative: Plywood and glass. You can waterproof plywood just as cheaply as you can buy acrylic. And you don't need a transparent bottom or back to your viv anyway. The top and front can be made of glass. Glass will not warp from moisture, is more resistant to heat stress near the lights, and can be cleaned more effectively than acrylic (which is also easier to scratch).

Mixed material vivs are harder to build (the easiest is either all acrylic or all glass). All-glass is the most expensive route but is probably the best material for a viv (weight concerns aside). I have made both types of large ( >25,000 cubic inches) vivs. My current viv is acrylic, wood and glass (since an all-glass viv that was 5'x5'x3' would have been prohibitively heavy).

Last edited by kimcmich; 02-22-2020 at 05:22 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2020, 07:38 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 527
Thanks: 0
Thanked 72 Times in 71 Posts
Default Re: Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

Quote:
I would suggest an alternative: Plywood and glass.
Me too.

Acrylic sucks for viv use. I literally have NO USE for it, in a viv. Sooner or later, usually sooner, it always disappoints me by bowing, cracking, or fogging up. I have learned my lesson and quit using it.

In contrast, I've built about a half-dozen plywood vivs of +/- the size you're gunning for. It's a great hull material:
  • It features easy workability, low price, and light weight. And there's quite a few ways to waterproof it.
  • It's also easy to put your basic box up on rails or legs, so you can install a bulkhead in the floor and drain it.
  • Due to the easy workability you can cut a wide rectangular hole in the front for passive air intake (keeps the glass doors from fogging). I adhere screen on the inside and cover the outside of the hole with a vent cover like this https://www.homedepot.com/p/16-in-x-...4217/300108807.
  • You can put a similar vent cover over a hole on the rear of the roof, where hot humid air can depart the viv, and bring in cooler drier air from the lower front vent.

Anyway - good luck!
Reply With Quote
 
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:29 AM
AOA AOA is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Alaska
Posts: 172
Thanks: 28
Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
Default Re: Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

I too have had issues with acrylic tops bowing and other various nuances of the material. There are pros and cons I guess. I am just about to start a build out of acrylic. it just came today! I went with 3/8 inch sheets because it was about all I could get a hold of up here in AK. Seems plenty thick thats for sure. My viv will be 60"L x 35"H x 18"W : about 158 gal

I almost went with plywood. there are really good arguments for using it. I decided on acrylic for its looks. This will be a display tank in my lab. To each their own I guess.

Keep us posted, and good luck with the build.

JD

Last edited by AOA; 02-24-2020 at 03:32 AM. Reason: 1
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 02-24-2020, 04:24 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Dallas(Mckinney)
Posts: 49
Thanks: 7
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

Acrylic will need to be braced along the top. Acrylic is a pain iv done turtle toppers and stuff like that with it.

While easy to connect peaces using acrylic cement which melts the pieces together just cutting acrylic is a pain. You can score and snap it which takes forever and risks snapping a piece wrong or use a jigsaw with a metal blade. Still have to cut supper slow or the amount of heat will remelt the piece together.

Acrylic is expensive so id honestly suggest making a glass tank instead. It will be cheaper and easier. You can just get a glass company to cut the glass to the size you need.

If you do stick with Acrylic is say try 1/4 in to 1/2in pieces. I also wouldn't keep anything on top to minimize bowing.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:49 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

On buying custom cut glass: is there somewhere online that does it or do people use local shops?

what is a reasonable price? I was quoted 140 for an 18x18x24 with 1/4" glass. for that, I would rather just but the exo terra and save myself the time and trouble.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2020, 11:15 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 130
Thanks: 6
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: Help on thickness of acrylic for Vivarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooskerdoo View Post
On buying custom cut glass: is there somewhere online that does it or do people use local shops?

what is a reasonable price? I was quoted 140 for an 18x18x24 with 1/4" glass. for that, I would rather just but the exo terra and save myself the time and trouble.
140 sounds pretty good. I looked into buying custom cut glass for aquariums in the past. I recently looked into some online options for vivarium. The cheapest glass seller online is glasscages.com. It's shipping that is the real killer when buying glass though. Local companies have a significant edge due the shipping issue. When I was looking into aquairums I found that I couldn't save any money buying my own glass and making an aquarium compared to what I could buy an aquarium for. The same would likely be true for vivariums but no one makes vivariums in the USA outside of the big companies like Exo Terra.

I recently bought a Frog Cube kit and a 20 High aquarium. I am drilling holes for ventilation and mistking etc. So its a bit of work, but its by far the cheapest option out there.
Encyclia likes this.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:37 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.