Building a Large Home Aquarium
Add Beauty to Your Home
Large aquariums filled with beautiful tropical fish, like the ones often found in fine restaurants, make beautiful showpieces in homes as well. The only problem is that many homeowners are spending their money a bit more carefully these days, and with good reason. Prefabricated aquariums can be very costly and many are difficult to set up. Building an aquarium is easier than most people think, and less expensive than a pre-built one purchased in a pet supply store..
Glass, acrylic, or plexi-glass are the main materials used in construction of an aquarium. Step one is determining which type of material is going to be used before beginning the project. Glass is a nice choice for small to medium tanks, but only use plate glass and not tempered. Tempered glass tends to shatter more easily if bumped or cracked. For large tanks, acrylic or plexi-glass is the better choice.
Choosing a Stand
The larger the aquarium, the larger and more sturdy the stand will have to be to support the weight of the water when the tank is full. Measure the dimensions of the stand so in order to get the right amount of material for the bottom and sides of the aquarium. Many places that sell this material will also cut it in the specified dimensions. No matter who cuts the material all of the pieces need to be cut straight and all edges sanded smooth.
Construction of the aquarium is ready to begin when all of the materials are cut and sanded smooth. If the tank is of considerable size braces may need to be attached to the longer sides of the tank. To attach the sides and seal the tank a silicone or solvent seaming will need to be used. The type of material used for the tank will determine which type of sealant to use. Silicone will be used in reference to this article.
Place the bottom tank on the completed stand and place duct tape, sticky side up, every few inches along the bottom piece. Next, align the front piece with the bottom and seam it with silicone, leave any excess until dry before cleaning it from the tank. This allows for a sturdier seal.
Smooth the silicone into the edges and along the sides with a finger or thumb. Once the silicone is in place, fold the duct tape up onto the front piece. This is easier to accomplish with someone holding the front panel until one of the side panels can be put in place using the same method. Follow this pattern until the bottom and all sides are firmly in place.
Once the aquarium is standing it will need to be checked for stability. If bracing is required, this is when it should be done, along with the application of any extra silicone to ensure a proper seal. Silicone needs to set up and dry at least twenty four hours, the longer the silicone is allowed to dry out before use, the better the seal.
Once the aquarium has been built and had time to cure, it can be slowly filled with water, checking for any leaks or noted problems. After the tank is filled and no leaks have been detected the next step is to apply the pump and filter, making sure is it sufficient enough to maintain the size of the tank.
The final steps will involve a bit of creativity, choosing the rocks and accessories suitable for the type of fish that will be residing in this nice new home aquarium, and last, but not least, choosing the fish to be displayed and enjoying the rewards of a job well done.