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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone. I first wanted to thank all of you for your help in answering questions and pointing me in certain directions. I am working on my first tank and this will take me a while due to my current time in school for veterinary medicine.

In this thread, I hope to provide my process in the build and would love any criticism anyone has or things I should think about. I am also going to try to provide my sources for the different steps I go so that anyone looking through this in the future can have other areas to read for more information. I do not know what frogs I will be getting at this point, but will decide that at a later date before I begin doing all the terrain and plants. Ok, let us begin.

I will upload my images to this album in case someone wants to be able to see them all in one spot. First build - Imgur

My stand and the enclosure the glass tank will be built in this old entertainment center I've had laying around:


Overall plan:
My plan is to built a tank in the large right cube. It's dimensions are roughly 28" W x 26" H x 15" D putting it at just shy of 50 gallons. I will be using glass for the sides with a false bottom made out of egg crate and weed guard. The bottom glass panel will be drilled for a valve for drainage. I will have easy access to the drain through the bottom cabinet. For the lighting I will be building my own setup using 2 - 2' T5 HO bulbs with TEKII reflectors. To allow the light to shine in I will be cutting a rectangle out of top of the entertainment center. The top will also have a slot cut in the wood in the front to allow the door to slide up for me to open it. This will allow me to have one pain in the front and I'll be able to easily view everything. The top will also have 2 small holes cut in the glass and wood top for 2 internal fans. A hole will be cut for a double headed nozzle from mist king. And finally 2 larger circles will be cut out with screen covering it. I'll keep the wooden circles so I can place them back over the screen or take it out to allow some ventilation if needed. For soil I'll probably use ABG mix for this first time around.


Circulation:
My initial plan was based on the DIY guide on glass tropics.
A thread on here with multiple pages of responses on the topic.

My fan setup will have 2 things tied into it. First 2 - 40mm fans for internal circulation and second 2 - 140mm fans to cool the lights (one will blow air in across the lights and the other will blow the air out). I got a 4 fan controller to change their speeds if need be. Here are 4 pictures of the parts and setup:



The first picture shows some of the parts. You will notice the two bolts are hollow to allow the wires to go through the glass. I drilled them using a drill press. The trick to doing it is to start with a small drill bit and then slowly get larger. The top part with all the threads was only .15 and can be used for the threaded part for 7 fan setups (reading glass tropics shows where it's used). I used a dremel to round the fans down so they'd fit inside the elbow, smooth the reduce, and smooth the elbow which you can see before and after in the 2nd image.
The 3rd image shows things plugged in. I got a molex to wall adapter to power the fan controller. This allowed me to not have to cut any wires really, though it is more expensive. To feed the wires through the bolt you need to remove the end 3-pin female plug from the wires. Here are two links to help with doing that:
You can buy a tool that they mention, but I made my own using a paper clip. I straightened one end out and then ground it down using the dremel so that it was super flat. This allows you to remove the plugs more easily. Since they were off I braided the wires to keep things more tidy. I have extension wires and will probably take them apart to braid as well. Finally, the fan controller had extra wires coming off what you see in the 3rd image that you could plug into a motherboard for monitoring purposes. I took those ends off as well and took the excess wires off, removing nearly half that was there, to keep things clean looking. The 4th image shows a close up of the fans. They can turn in any direction. They do not currently have any screen on them. I am planning to put screen on at this point, but considering the option of not. Oh, inside the elbow I needed some washers between the cap and the bolt, I used 4 pennies each which I drilled to make washers (can't beat 1 cent washers:)).

Parts list with links to what I ordered online:


Well, I think that is all for now. My next update for the build will be the lighting. I will be getting the 4' TEKII reflector which I'll cut in half and make into 2 - 2' reflectors for half the price. Any questions or suggestions I'd love to hear from everyone. I think it'll be about $60 for the light setup if I remember correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Adam -

It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time as I've had the entertainment center for a while with no TV. Since it isn't worth selling I wanted to use it for this. It was a more expensive piece of furniture when my parents bought it way back when. It was built very sturdy. I say this for when you go to purchase one for this use, make sure it is strong enough to support the weight. Also, one thing to think about is the cost of doing it. For mine the glass will be about $150 from what I have found thus far. The tank is more expensive then buying one pre-made of the same size. That said, everything else I am trying to make cost efficient and I'm looking forward to the look when it is done. I hope this helps.
 

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Adam -

It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time as I've had the entertainment center for a while with no TV. Since it isn't worth selling I wanted to use it for this. It was a more expensive piece of furniture when my parents bought it way back when. It was built very sturdy. I say this for when you go to purchase one for this use, make sure it is strong enough to support the weight. Also, one thing to think about is the cost of doing it. For mine the glass will be about $150 from what I have found thus far. The tank is more expensive then buying one pre-made of the same size. That said, everything else I am trying to make cost efficient and I'm looking forward to the look when it is done. I hope this helps.
Yeah i plan on making mine from scratch too. Not a premade tank i figured the glass would range about there. I will be keeping my eyes open for deals on craigslist for a sturdy entertainment stand and glass.
For my substrate i think i will be going for clay. I would like to get some Oophaga species.
What is going in the left cabinet?

Thanks for your advice and i cant wait to see how yours turns out :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah i plan on making mine from scratch too. Not a premade tank i figured the glass would range about there. I will be keeping my eyes open for deals on craigslist for a sturdy entertainment stand and glass.
Sounds like a plan. I know a lot of them are made out of press board, I'd stay away from those and get one from thicker plywood. It's stronger and will also be much more resistant to any moisture.

For my substrate i think i will be going for clay. I would like to get some Oophaga species.
I really like the idea of the clay for the substrate, but at this point since this is my first tank I'm thinking of going with the other since it's easier. Though, when I get to that point maybe I'll change my mind :p

What is going in the left cabinet?
Right now it just has the four books I've purchased regarding the frogs ;P I may use it for storing reference books on different animals as I have a fair bit. Though, it may end up for something else, so at this point it isn't determined. The upper left is the appropriate size for the main part of my sound system for my computer/tv, so it may house that if the whole setup ends up in my living room. I'd need to add some more tiny fans there to blow the heat out to keep that cooled too. So, that stuff is still up in the air.
 

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Right now it just has the four books I've purchased regarding the frogs ;P I may use it for storing reference books on different animals as I have a fair bit. Though, it may end up for something else, so at this point it isn't determined. The upper left is the appropriate size for the main part of my sound system for my computer/tv, so it may house that if the whole setup ends up in my living room. I'd need to add some more tiny fans there to blow the heat out to keep that cooled too. So, that stuff is still up in the air.
Store your fruit flys in there :D
 

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Sounds like a great idea! My only concern is maybe waterproofing the wood? Because it won't be constantly submerged, I don't think epoxy is necessary, but I think that a few coats of polyurethane might be a good idea. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like a great idea! My only concern is maybe waterproofing the wood? Because it won't be constantly submerged, I don't think epoxy is necessary, but I think that a few coats of polyurethane might be a good idea. ;)
There won't actually be direct contact with the wood. I'll be using glass on all 6 sides, I guess I should have specified that. The entertainment center is basically just being re-purposed as a a fancier stand with more on the side ;P
 
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