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Discussion Starter #1
I have an old wooden entertainment center that I plan on turning into a tank. The hole that was for the TV is about 26" x 28" x 15" which puts it at about 47 gallons I believe. I was going to encase the whole thing so I can have a tank there that was waterproof.

I was planning on using plexiglass, though looking through all the builds here and at vivariumforum I didn't really see anyone using it. Is there a reason it isn't used much? or is it just because it's easier for people to buy a pre-built glass tank?

The plexiglass will be on all 6 sides with a door on the front side. I was planning on using a clear hinge for the door to open with. How thick should the plexiglass be? on the side, top and bottom I was planning on probably the 1/8" since it will be right against the wood. Front and back I was thinking thicker would definitely be a good idea.


I'm still trying to work out how I want to do everything after that. This will be my first tank, though I will be taking my time as I have other things going on anyways.

I've seen some systems built with fans for circulation, though I don't believe they all have been. It appears it is primarily for the plants/condensation? The same with lighting, the type of lights are because of the plants? I wasn't noticing any heat lamps or anything, so I'm guessing these are putting off enough heat for the tank or how is the temperature regulated? I couldn't see much beyond the thermometer when I was looking at all the builds.


I still have a lot of reading to do I know. Thank you for anyone that is able to help.
 

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Plexiglass is rarely used because it warps when exposed to humidity and heat.
And that makes for frog jerky in the living room. Plexiglass also scratches very easily.
 

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If your looking to go that way go with cast acrylic it will be more expensive but the clarity and quality in much better and doesn't warp like plexiglass. Also once the acrylic is chemically welded it should not warp.
 

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If your looking to go that way go with cast acrylic it will be more expensive but the clarity and quality in much better and doesn't warp like plexiglass. Also once the acrylic is chemically welded it should not warp.
He is talking about doing a swinging door, though. That's going to warp. It won't be chemically welded to anything. Cast or not, it's still going to warp. Acrylic and Plexiglass are different brand names of essentially the same product. Now Lexan, that is a different product, and it doesn't warp. But it's going to be 4 or 5 times the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He is talking about doing a swinging door, though. That's going to warp. It won't be chemically welded to anything. Cast or not, it's still going to warp. Acrylic and Plexiglass are different brand names of essentially the same product. Now Lexan, that is a different product, and it doesn't warp. But it's going to be 4 or 5 times the price.
Would there be a better method to doing a door? Initially I was thinking of doing one I slide into a groove that goes around the 2 sides and bottom of the door. This would mean it has something on 3 sides to prevent warping. Would this or something else be a better option?

Regarding Lexan, you say this doesn't warp, do is scratch in a similar manner to plexiglass? or is it more durable on that front as well?

Finally, what about going with like glass for the front face and door, and then plexiglass/lexan for the 4 sides and back? Would I be able to seal them together so it wouldn't leak? If so, it seems that may be a good alternative if I can mix the medias to get some of the different properties where they are more beneficial? Just exploring some ideas from what you all are saying, and thank you for your guys' feedback.
 

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Actually Lexan is what I was thinking in my head but typed cast acrylic.....Good clarification Doug.
 

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I disagree with the statement on acyrlic. I have 11 tanks on my rack that is NOT warping made by AZDR and have lasted 2-3 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I disagree with the statement on acyrlic. I have 11 tanks on my rack that is NOT warping made by AZDR and have lasted 2-3 years.
Are they made of the plexiglass/acrylic or of the Lexan (Polycarbonate)? Also, how thick are the walls? Did they use the same thickness for all sides? How big are these tanks? (wondering as something smaller is less likely to bend then a longer sheet, so just trying to keep everything in order.) Thank you

edit: would love to see a picture of one of the acrylic tanks of yours as well. Thanks again :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is there a reason you don't want to use glass? It would make life much easier for you.

Regards
Marcus
A very good question for you to ask :) I was thinking it'd be easier to work with putting it together and all that, easier to change aspects during design. It is lighter then glass. I believe it is cheaper then glass, though I haven't looked in a while. And, I don't know what else.
 

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I work with glass for a living as a glazier for the last 20 years. I used to build aquarium filtration equipment on the side out of Acrylic. Acrylic runs 3 to 5 times the price of glass. Lexan runs 4 to 5 times the price of acrylic. Afraid I can't answer you about if Lexan scratches easily as I have not worked with lexan.
For your consideration. Build your box out of acrylic, including a solid sheet where your door should go. With me so far? So the box is totally sealed with no way to get anything in or out. Now, you cut out an opening with a jigsaw, or better yet, a router and I guide fence assy. This opening is, of course where your door will be. But you cut it out so that there is a solid lip of at least an inch or two all the way around. This gives you the chemically bonded edges that Azurel mentioned, and yes, that will increase strength and should eliminate the viv itself from warping.
Now put a sliding glass door on tracks as the door warping will be your weakest point. Here is a thread where Kaity shows how to do the type of door I'm talking about and where to get the tracks. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63870-building-glass-vivarium.html
 

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Discussion Starter #13
But you cut it out so that there is a solid lip of at least an inch or two all the way around.
Is this picture from Kaity what you are talking about here for the lip? And you'd have it go on all 4 sides?


This gives you the chemically bonded edges that Azurel mentioned, and yes, that will increase strength and should eliminate the viv itself from warping.
I'm kind of confused as to what you mean by chemically bonded edges. What is doing that?

Also, I imagine it should work just as well to cut the hole for the door our before putting it all up and together? Or am I missing something as to why that wouldn't be as good of a method to doing it.

Thank you
 

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I think he meant to say:
Cut a square out of the sheet u are going to use as the front panel.
And in that square build the door sliding panels.

Basicaly u are going to make a box out of Plexi/Lexan sheets...
As for the sliding rails for your door: think about the euro viv's for a simple but solid contstruction. (as in that picture u posted yourself..)

Chemically Bonded edges: this means the edges of the Acrylic/lexan sheets are just 'welded' with cement or KIT as we call the stuff we use in Holland.
(i'm Dutch so don't know the name for 'kit' in American-English..)
Kit is the main stuf used to construct aquariums etc etc...
 

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Is this picture from Kaity what you are talking about here for the lip? And you'd have it go on all 4 sides?




I'm kind of confused as to what you mean by chemically bonded edges. What is doing that?

Also, I imagine it should work just as well to cut the hole for the door our before putting it all up and together? Or am I missing something as to why that wouldn't be as good of a method to doing it.

Thank you
There is a product called Weldon that comes in differant grades that you can select from based on the situation. It is a liquid that is applied to the edges where the Lexan/acrylic meet. It basically melts the 2 panels together and once it is cured they are bonded together. Once cured it is inert and is harmless.
 

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why not build 5 sides with acrylic and and the front with glass? i see no reason to be faithful to one or the other;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
why not build 5 sides with acrylic and and the front with glass? i see no reason to be faithful to one or the other;)
From all I'm seeing so far, it seems like this may be a very good option. Having the glass on the front would give a nice clean surface that won't mar and also have the durability.

Are the euro viv's just a viv that has the sliding front doors? I search the boards for euro viv and it seems like that was the common link from what I could see.

As for ventilation, do I want screen at least somewhere to allow ventilation? or is this not needed? I don't feel I've seen it on all the setups, but some include it. So what makes up the decision to include it or not? If you do include screen, I imagine they are using metal screening. Are the holes small enough that the fruit flies can't get out?
 

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my tanks are all closed with no ventalation at all (except any tiny gaps), but the humidity here is usually in the low single digits, and i don't want to mist constantly. if this isn't an issue for you, i would say that ventilation can only make plants and animals healthier and happier.
 

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my tanks are all closed with no ventalation at all (except any tiny gaps), but the humidity here is usually in the low single digits, and i don't want to mist constantly. if this isn't an issue for you, i would say that ventilation can only make plants and animals healthier and happier.
ok, so it mostly depends on where the person lives and their normal weather basically? I don't get any extremes really. It can rain a fair bit, but our humidity isn't really that high and we don't get that hot. So, I'd probably be better off without the screen/ventilation? Some kind of fan inside the tank would probably be helpful from what I have read then to keep the air circulating for the plants and all?
 
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