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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to create a large viv and trying to decide the best and most cost effective method for the tank. I want something front opening so it's either an exo terra or build my own. The larger exo terras are expensive and would still require some minor mods, but I'd be off the ground running much quicker. A custom setup would be great, if I can pull it off, but I'm not sure of costs. What would be an average cost to build your own tank, roughly 36Lx18Wx24H or maybe 36H? I just want info on the tank alone, no background/falsebottom/hood/stand. Roughly what could I expect to pay for the glass, silicone, and sliding glass door stuff? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not interested in the cost for a background or false bottom. Only for the tank itself. Trying to decide if it's worth the effort to build my own or just by an exo terra. I already know what's involved with building a viv out of an aquarium, just not building the actual tank.
 

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I'm not interested in the cost for a background or false bottom. Only for the tank itself. Trying to decide if it's worth the effort to build my own or just by an exo terra. I already know what's involved with building a viv out of an aquarium, just not building the actual tank.
arnt the big exo terras around $150 - $200?

if so would make my own, and get glass and or plexi-glass
 

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Hopefully Doug (pumilio) can estimate your glass needs. For bg and false bottom your looking at a minimum bill of $50 at the hardware store. The bigger the more money lol.
Sorry, I work with dual pane insulated and get all my single pane as scrap so I really can't say what a retail outlet would charge. All my vivs were free, as scrap glass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
arnt the big exo terras around $150 - $200?

if so would make my own, and get glass and or plexi-glass
Much more than that. The one I'd really like is their largest (36Lx18Wx36H)and it's on sale for 25% at Petsmart or a measly $299. The next size down (36Lx18Wx24H) is $289. I've not found them cheaper than this. I'm thinking I'll have a go at making one, but I have no clue of the cost of glass. Plus I'm fearful of not putting it together strong enough.
 

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A tank that big is going to take thicker glass, which is not cheap. Last summer I built a tank half the size you want, and it cost me $60.00 in glass, and silicone! You will need glass twice as thick as I used, for a tank that size.

On the up side, you will have a tank that it completely custom built for what you want. It is also a lot of fun building tanks to!!:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
FIT BMX, so what thickness would you recommend? An online aquarium calculator recommended 1/2inch but since I'm not going to be filling it with water I'm imagine I could get away with 1/4 inch or 3/4 inch. Even at twice the cost of yours I'm still under half the cost of an exo at that size. How difficult would you say it was to put together? I've read several guides, but they make it look like a piece of cake. I know there must be pitfalls or everyone would be making their own.
 

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1/4" Would work good and 3/8" would be great! You could go thinner if you built a steel frame, the frame would take all the stress off the joints.

Building a tank is not to hard, it's even better if you have help. You will need a very very sturdy table, with a nice flat top!
Here is a used tank that is fairly close to you. It's really big, but you could modify it!:) AUCT Arboreal Lizard Vivarium - Vivarium Forums

Here is the tank I made.
 

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There's no such thing as to big!!:eek::D
You could always chop it for the plexy glass.:)

One more thing on making a tank. Make some jigs to hold your glass in place, and use lots and lots of tape!:)
 

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1/4" Would work good and 3/8" would be great! You could go thinner if you built a steel frame, the frame would take all the stress off the joints.

Building a tank is not to hard, it's even better if you have help. You will need a very very sturdy table, with a nice flat top!
Here is a used tank that is fairly close to you. It's really big, but you could modify it!:) AUCT Arboreal Lizard Vivarium - Vivarium Forums

Here is the tank I made.
I would agree with that. 1/4 inch if you are careful. Here is a nice build link. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63870-building-glass-vivarium.html
 

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The key to making your own is the silicone work make sure you practice on some scrap glass to get the hang of it, the key is an even bead and more is not always better and it looks bad as well. You can always go with a plywood box style with a glass front or glass front and sides. That style makes drilling holes easier and strength isn't an issue then, they can also be made to match furniture.

Len
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The key to making your own is the silicone work make sure you practice on some scrap glass to get the hang of it, the key is an even bead and more is not always better and it looks bad as well. You can always go with a plywood box style with a glass front or glass front and sides. That style makes drilling holes easier and strength isn't an issue then, they can also be made to match furniture.

Len
A few years ago I was working on a plywood version. I ended up scrapping the wood when I got rid of my other tanks. I'd not gotten very far, but was stuck in trying to figure out the best way to secure the front glass to the wood. Now, I'm thinking the glass will make for a nice setup and less likely for leaks or long term degradation.

Here is as far as I got.




And here was my concept. I'm still thinking of something similar. Basically dividing the tank in the middle with a rock ledge and create two distinct habitats. Waterfalls and more rocky on one side and more terrestrial on the other.
 

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I would frame the glass and then hinge the whole thing to open, you could also put the glass on slides like they do in european designs.

Len
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
you can price out the glass at glass cages. they sell cut panes and also sell starfire if you are looking to go really high end.
Thanks, this gives me at least an idea of what to expect. Their prices are decent, but I just missed a delivery truck to my area. Shipping would eat the difference in cost. It looks like prices can vary significantly between glass shops so after Christmas, when I plan to start, I'll be calling around my area for prices.
 

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I'm considering building a similar sized tank (36"X30"18"). In my case, I'm planning to set it up as a paludarium so I'm definitely going to have to go the custom route. I'll let you know the price estimate that I get from my local glass shop.

I purchased the glass for my old 300g plywood paludarium from Glasscages. That build used large pieces of 1/2" glass so Glasscages ended up being quite cost effective for that. For a tank the size of yours I think 1/4" glass will be fine and it's probably going to be cheaper to go to your local hardware store for that.

I had ordered some 1/4" glass from Glasscages to build a 32 X 20 X 13 sump tank. Here's the quote they had given me:

1 piece 32" X 20" $ 18.00
2 pieces 32" X 13" $27.00
2 pieces 19.5" X 13" $ 18.00

I know the dimensions are different but you can extrapolate based on the approximate price/sq foot to get a sense of the costs.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Deeb. I'll keep that in mind. Can't wait to actually start building it. It's been too long without frogs in the house. My littlest kid doesn't even remember me having them.
 

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if you want to build your own its good to get the know someone at a glass shop. it may cost you a bit more than at a big store but you can ask for them to drill for all your drains and vents, and have then ease the edges on the doors.
 
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