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It's done for the most part. **UPDATED**

27240 Views 157 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  wax32
Web page has been updated too. It's done with the exception of the two pieces holding the door closed. Those are being laser cut tomorrow.

I'm thinking I can do away with the piece on the inside of the door. I will still have a small piece about 3-4" long on the opposite side of the hinges to act as a door stop so it doesn't swing through to the inside though. I'm also going to try out using rare earth magnets to keep it closed, I think that would be pretty nice and work very well. Like I said on the web page, the gap around the door is roughly .012" so sealing it seems like a waste of acrylic to me as the holes in the mesh are 3 times as big and those are only 0.8mm! :shock: let me know what you think.

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yes the thickness will play a role in the above mentioned problems or in helping negating them. thinner will distort faster.

there are many charts of suggested thickness for aquariums based on volume of water intented to hold, they can be found online if you look for them. For vivs. we use 1/4 until we get to 2 dimesions larger than 24" then 3/8" for added strength.

the closeness to the heat source will be another factor, yes, a regular flurescent or compact flourescent ballast situated an few inches above as is standard will not cause problems from the heat emitted, but if you place a huge ceramic heat emitter in very close proximity you will likely have probs. as with everything else in life it is neccesary to exercise common sence here, cast or extruded, if you heat it enough it will melt or burn.
Paul dropped off the prototype to us today and all I can say is WOW! What an awesome looking terrarium!!!! We have several acrylic terrariums from three different manufacturers and this one is by far the best looking one.

We installed the background today and once the silicon dries we'll get it built and get the good ol' durability test going. We'll post pictures once it is built so everyone can see it and post updates after that on how it is holding up.

As for extruded vs cast.... The ones we have purchased before have all been extruded acrylic. No major problem with one manufacturer's door and the other seems to be fixed after we did some major reworking of the tanks (had some major warping issues with them initially). We've never gotten tanks from Mark but everyone that I know of that has them has absolutely nothing but good things to say about Mark and his tanks.

Anyway, if anyone wants to see the tank built and in person then come on out on the 14th of November to the MDG meeting at our place.......
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Glad you liked it! I can't wait to see how it looks when it's all setup. Have you decided what's going in it yet?

I am going to work on a version 2 this week (maybe tomorrow if I get all my other orders filled) and will put in the idea everyone had for the top vent as well as a few other things we talked about. I'll post some pictures of it when it's done with some closeups of the changes.

Kyle, want to come take pictures of it for me? LOL :lol:

If it will get me a discount... :)

I will say the tank is very nice. If it works as well as it seems it will you should be very busy...
what is going in the tank...

I think we decided tonight to put a pair of Brazilian Yellowheads in there.

After Paul dropped the cage off Saturday, we put a cocos panel background in the tank. In the past, when I have installed one in an acrylic tank, it has taken anywhere from 1 - 3 weeks for the silicone to cure properly. Imagine my surprise when I discover it was cured the next morning.

For some additional feedback and further durability testing we took the tank to Indy with us on Sunday. The design was well received, and on Saturday and Sunday the most common concerns are with:
1. The door - not much room for expansion - will it warp?
2. The vents - dress them up a bit - Paul is already working on that.
3. The colored acrylic - will there be enough light, and is there any benefit of the colored acrylic.

1. The door: The tolerance on this door is very small. The gap between the door and the frame is so small, you can’t even get the thickness of your fingernail into the gap.

2. Vents: Issues are being addressed

3. Colored Acrylic:

a. Yes, there is enough light in the cage – the black does not affect the light levels.
b. Is there a benefit? Yes!!! Each time I have built an acrylic tank with clear sides, the frogs spend the next week or two rubbing their nose against the sides of the tank. This time, they didn’t. They crawled up the sides of the tank and started rubbing their noses on the top of the tank.

We will post some pics later tonight, but overall this cage will be a winner. The door is still a concern, but most other issues have already been addressed or will be addressed.
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It might not look as cool, but if the sides were white instead of black, that would help lighting efficiency.
I have been thinking about the door issue. I hope it doesn't fit any tighter, but since all acrylic does absorb SOME water, it will be close. My thoughts for addressing this would be to make the gap slightly larger, maybe about 1/32" or even 1/16". This can be done easily and will not effect the (yet unannounced) price. :)

I am picking up the lasered parts for the top vent issue tonight after work. It is actually for another idea I have that includes a vent, but follows the exact same idea. So I will get that together tonight and post some pictures.

I'm glad it is being met with a positive response so far. Let us know how the door does, that is the last hurdle as far as I can tell.
Dancing frogs said:
It might not look as cool, but if the sides were white instead of black, that would help lighting efficiency.
I can make the sides any color you want (Sarah actually suggested white as well). I can get white, black, yellow, green, red, blue, clear, etc, etc. If you have deep pockets I can get custom colors made as well! LOL
Like I said, the black doesn't take away from the brightness of the tank. It does add a lot more debth to the tanks, which is nice.
I agree with what melissa is saying. I used to paint all my glass tanks black on 3 sides. It is very dramatic! I also found the animals come out more when the sides are painted.

I have been trying to find the colored acrylic locally. Any ideas where i can look?
Plastic distributors. There is a Laird or GE Polymershapes in just about every major city. Look in the yellow pages under plastics. Or you can order on the web from

Here are the pics we promised. I thought the black sides wasn't a very good idea but it gives the terrarium depth and looks really good. I don't think lighting is an issue. Let us know what you guys think.

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Awesome. How do you think those latches will hold up with opening/closing daily? Tank looks great.
WOW, the black does add depth... Looks great.
The latches are very similar to other tanks we have had up and running for 6 or 7 months. No problem. They secure the door nicely and makes it easy to open one handed.......
Wow, that looks great! I need to build one for myself :) LOL I have to agree that the black looks very nice, I think that is going to be a popular color.

Yeah, I didn't like the black at first either but now that I see it set up it's pretty cool.
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