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Thread: Building an aquarium the hard way

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    Default Building an aquarium the hard way

    This thread is going to be a bit different than most of the others I've seen here. For one, it's going to be a bit more wordy. But there's no other way to "capture the experience". Here goes part one:

    I first considered acquiring an aquarium shortly after we finished building our house, but there were just too many obstacles. The first obstacle was water quality. The local water was flat out dirty. I occasionally found snails in the primary sediment filter I had installed. It was also extremely hard with a high concentration of tannins. It was necessary to install water softening equipment just to make the water suitable for bathing and washing clothes.

    Unfortunately, fish cannot live in softened water, nor would any of the fish I might be interested in be able to tolerate the high levels of mineral content if left untreated.

    The second problem had to do with aquarium maintenance. Since nitrates eventually build up in the closed environment of an aquarium, it is necessary to perform water changes. Typically, 25% of the water needs to be replaced weekly, though this figure can vary based on a number of variables. With my old 30 and 55 gallon tanks, this was not much of an issue. In the case of the latter, it meant three 5 gallon buckets of water had to be removed, then replaced. That worked out to three trips to the toilet to dump the old water, and three more trips carrying fresh water from the bathtub to the aquarium. That was perfectly manageable.

    The problem I faced now was that I wanted a larger aquarium. If I was to do an aquarium again, I wanted a minimum of 125 gallons so that I could create a more natural environment and stock it with more than a few fish. That would mean more bucket trips than I was willing to make, especially since the replacement water would have to come from outside the house because our house water is softened. That also implies the local water must be suitable, which it was not.

    Given those obstacles, I gave up on the idea of having an aquarium.

    Then something changed. Earlier last year (2020), the quality of the local water supply improved dramatically. Sediment levels improved, dissolved mineral content was reduced by two-thirds and there was a corresponding decrease in tannins.

    I subsequently met another foreigner living in town who kept several aquariums. He used town water directly from the tap (the water here is not chlorinated) without any filtration or treatment at all and his fish were clearly healthy.

    That got me thinking about an aquarium again. It seemed water quality would no longer be an issue, but I would still have to deal with the weekly water changes.

    I started to do some research and came across a siphon designed specifically to ease the problem of regular water changes. Unfortunately, since it required attachment to a sink faucet to function, it could only be used to remove water. The softened water from the nearest sink could not be used to replace the old water. Still, at least half the problem was solvable.

    After some more thought I realized I could run a water line up from under the house directly to the aquarium. It would require drilling a hole through our concrete and tile floor, but it would make refilling the aquarium mostly painless. Water changing problem solved.
    I was now on a mission.

    On our last trip to the capital city (some time ago) we visited the fish market. An absolutely fabulous place. I simply could not believe the variety and the quality of the aquatic life available. Not just fish, but aquatic plants, numerous species of fresh water shrimp, aquariums, accessories, etc. I assumed if I was going to have an aquarium I would have to obtain everything necessary there.

    That was yet another obstacle. A one-way trip to the capital is over 4 hours from our residence. For me personally, that means a minimum of an overnight stay. I simply canít/wonít spend 9 hours on the road on any given day. It would also require multiple trips. At least one trip to arrange for a custom aquarium to be built, another to verify its integrity before shipping, and a third trip to obtain fish and plants once the aquarium was set up and ready.

    Thatís a lot of time and money aside from the cost of the aquarium itself and associated shipping. So at this point I still was not committed.

    Then I found out about another tropical fish market in another town, just 3 hours north of us. It was reportedly almost as large as the market in the capital, and it included a vendor who would build, ship and install a custom aquarium for a very reasonable price. The 3-hour drive was also something I could manage without an overnight stay.

    Things were looking up.

    About a week after I discovered this market, my wife and I made the trip up there to see what it was like. After all Iíd heard, it was a bit disappointing. They didnít have any of the fish I was interested in. It was a weekday, and we later learned that the market is busiest on weekends because selling fish, etc. is a part-time job for most of the vendors there. In any case, what I was really interested in was obtaining a custom-built aquarium. What I wanted was a large L-shaped aquarium to wrap around a corner.

    I did find a vendor who sold aquariums, and he said he could build one according to my design. Upon further discussion, he said the aquarium would have to be built onsite (at our house) and would require 8 laborers to assist.

    I balked at the number of laborers. I could not imagine why it would take so many. The builder said the weight of the aquarium and the stand would require that many people. When I examined his stands, I noticed they were massively overbuilt. He was constructing large stands, similar to the one I would need, out of 2x1ľx⅛ metal tubing, with cross-bracing every 12Ē. I also noticed the stands stood on 4 feet, one at each corner, instead of having the frame sit flat on the floor.

    I said to him that I didnít think all that steel was necessary, and that I didnít want my stand to sit on feet. I wanted the weight spread evenly across the entire lower portion of the frame. I suggested he could use 1x1Ē metal tubing instead of the much larger tubing he was using and still get away with less cross-bracing.

    I was concerned both by the weight of the stand as well as the excess use of steel tubing and the additional welding that would be required. I donít think he agreed with me, but he agreed to provide an estimate of the cost for both options once I provided more details on the build.
    During this conversation, he mentioned he would be building the aquarium out of 12mm glass, another reason for the weight. I had my doubts about the necessity for glass that thick, but I was not certain. I would have to do more research.

    In the meantime, he agreed to provide cost estimates once I provided him with detailed drawings and dimensions. Though disappointed by the relative lack of options regarding fish species, I considered the trip a success.

    That turned out to be a false conclusion.

    After sending the details for the aquarium and not receiving a response, we tried calling the builder. He did not answer. After several unsuccessful attempts to contact him, we realized he did not want the job. This is a typical Asian response when they either realize they canít do what they said they could do, or they have taken offense by something that was said.

    In this case, I suspect the latter, since I questioned the necessity of using so much steel for the stand (and so many laborers). In any case, I now had to re-evaluate my options.

    Initially, I was so disappointed and frustrated I decided to forgo an aquarium. Over time, I just became pissed-off that some arrogant a** was preventing me from doing something I wanted done. I decided Iíd build the aquarium myself, even though I had no experience doing so.

    The first thing I had to do was find out whether the glass required was available locally. I recalled a glass and aluminum shop we had visited once years ago. We paid them a visit and asked whether they could provide glass of the necessary thickness. They said they could. Obstacle number one overcome (so I thought).

    The next thing I had to find out was whether we could find a competent welder to weld the steel frame that would be needed to support the aquarium. We found one (so I thought) who was willing to do the work as directed. This last point is crucial. Most local craftsmen will balk at any instruction that dictates they change the way they are used to doing things. I ran into this problem on numerous occasions while building our house. The aquarium builder who ďagreedĒ to build my aquarium was simply another example of this.

    From experience, Iíve learned the local craftsmen (for lack of a better term) are careless and imprecise in their work. Since the steel frame would have to be perfectly square and level to support a glass aquarium weighing in at approximately one metric ton, I decided to acquire and cut the steel tubing myself. Of course, this meant purchasing a steel-cutting chop saw that I would probably never use again, but so be it.

    I purchased the chop saw and the steel. I cut every piece of steel within one millimeter of precision and hired a welder (reputed to have 20 years of experience) to come to our house where the steel frame could be laid out on a perfectly flat tile surface, and where there was plenty of room to workóunlike his shop.

    As we began working I used a square to make sure the frame was being welded squarely. Everything was going well and I became careless at the end. When the frame was complete, I realized the welder had welded the last section out of square by more than a centimeter.
    Without going into unnecessary detail, it was impossible to correct the situation without cutting through several steel tubes and re-welding, which would likely have only made things worse.

    Overall, the frame was structurally OK. The most important aspect was a level surface top and bottom and that had been accomplished. The lack of horizontal squareness in the end section was more a cosmetic issue than one of structural integrity.

    I paid the welderís fee, albeit very disappointed and frustrated that the outcome might have been perfect except for carelessness on the part of the welder, and a lapse of oversight on my part for not verifying each and every measurement near the end.

    As I began to inspect the finished frame trying to understand exactly where things went wrong, I noticed that many of the welds did not look as clean as I expected. I did some research on the Internet to see how arc welds should look when properly done, and sure enough, many of the welds on the frame were sub-optimal.

    After viewing a few welding videos on Youtube, I realized I could have done a better job welding myself after a few hours of practice with an arc welder. Of course, I would have had to purchase the arc welder, yet another expense for a tool that would in all likelihood never be used again.

    And this illustrates the single most frustrating thing for me about living in a third world Asian country. The craftsmen (thereís that word again) are almost universally ignorant of their craft. In truth, they are semi-skilled at best. Typically, they have received no formal training whatsoever and have learned from someone else, who also had no formal training. It is rare to find a craftsman who is actually skilled at his craft.

    Unfortunately, they all believe they are skilled simply on the basis of how long they have been performing their specific craft. Take our welder, with a professed 20 years of experience. The fact is, he never learned how to do a proper weld. That he had been welding improperly for 20 years simply never entered into his mind. And so it is with practically every local craftsman I have ever encountered, which is quite a few given our house-building experience.

    I could provide dozens of examples of this but it would make this (already long) report needlessly long. Let me just say that you canít even get your tires filled properly here. No matter where you go, they will inevitably over-inflate your tires.

    In any case, I decided to forge ahead with my plan to build an aquarium. The frame was structurally sound. There would be problems skinning it with cabinetry, but it was usable.

    Initially, I planned on using the services of a local cabinet maker. This person was one of the rare local craftsman that was reasonably skilled in his craft. He was responsible for constructing our built-in-wall bedroom closets. Nothing fancy, but functional and without any major faults. I was hoping he would be able to create a cabinet wrapper around our out-of-square frame.

    We called and made an appointment for him to come and assess the situation. I showed him the frame and explained that all I wanted was a simple cabinet with 3 openings and doors. No shelves, no drawers.

    He said he could do the job and explained that he would frame out the steel frame with wood by screwing boards across the frame which would then allow him to attach door hinges and latches, etc. more easily.

    I asked him if he could use construction adhesive instead of screws, seeing as how the latter would require pilot holes being drilled into the steel frame. Drilling holes in steel tubing has a substantial impact on its structural integrity. Given that this cabinet would be supporting approximately a metric ton of weight, I did not want to risk compromising the frame.

    The cabinet maker said he was open to the idea but requested that I purchase the construction adhesive. This was a red flag, indicating he had never used construction adhesive before. In any case, he wanted to think it over before producing a quote for doing the work.
    That was fine by me. Given the red flag just noted, I was now considering doing the job myself.

    After several days of thought, I decided it would be better if I did it, even though it would likely cost me more money in the end. I would save labor costs, but Iíd have to acquire a lot of tools that would likely never be used again; a router, router bits, saw blades; not to mention locating and acquiring the necessary materials, which is always a non-trivial task here.

    I decided to build the cabinet from furniture grade plywood and use wooden molding to cover the exposed edges. One of the two local housing supply outlets had the necessary wood and the special stain that would be required for water-proofing. I had to go to a second house supply outlet for the type of construction adhesive I would need.

    It was the same for the clamps I would need. I found some at one outlet and others at the second outlet. I had to order the router, router bits, drill bits, and saw blades from the capital via an online marketplace. I also had to order some more clamps that were not available through either of the local home supply outlets.

    Building the cabinet was a real PITA. I did manage to get everything square, but there was a lot of wasted wood. This was partly because I wanted to avoid seams, and partly due to mistakes on my part making measurements to compensate for the out-of-square frame.
    When it came to finishing the exposed edges of plywood I realized there was one corner that could not be fitted because the molding was warped and it was not possible to put a clamp on that corner to hold it while the wood glue set. Since the base was Ĺ ď plywood it was also not possible for me to nail it down.

    I decided to skin the plywood with veneer. There would still be exposed edges, but they would be so thin as to not be noticeable. Had I decided on doing this originally, I could have saved some money buying standard grade plywood instead of furniture grade.

    In any case, I did finally arrive at a satisfactory end result. I still have to add doors, which will be made of colored acrylic panels attached via magnets, but my focus now is on getting the aquarium itself built now that I have a suitable stand.

    Stay tuned for part deux.

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Where is this?
    At my age, everything is irritating.

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Where is this?
    I prefer keeping my personal information private. It's a habit I don't want to break. Where I live, saying the wrong thing can land you in jail, or simply "disappeared".

    Personally, I think everyone should protect their privacy with respect to the Internet. Once that information is out there, there's no way of putting the genie back in the bottle. It's public and there's no telling who might find it to their benefit at your expense. Just because someone "friends" you on social media doesn't mean they're your friend.

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Here are some photos of the aquarium stand in progress:

    Frame.jpgCabinet.jpg

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    What follows is a recounting of my experience building an aquarium, part deux, as promised. Part one focused on building the stand to hold it. What follows is a description of what it took to build the aquarium itself.

    Having built the stand, the next step was to provide glass measurements and get a quote from the glass shop for the glass I would need. If you recall from my earlier report, I found a local outlet that could provide the necessary glass.

    Initially, all was well. At some point in the discussion regarding edging I was informed that the final dimensions might be off by 1-3 mm. At first I didnít understand the problem. I thought, just add whatever extra needed to be added to compensate for whatever the edging machine removed, right?

    They explained to me that the edging was done manually. I was more than surprised to hear this, as their source was the largest manufacturer of glass in the country. Given the volume of glass they produced and sold, it was inconceivable to me that the entire process wasnít automated. Certainly their machines should be able to cut and edge glass with less than 1 mm variance? I mean, I cut steel tubing by hand myself within that tolerance.

    In any case, I told them as long as every cut is the same, itís not a problem. I could compensate. They told me that the final dimensions for each piece of glass might be off by a different amount. One piece might be 1 mm short, another might be 3 mm short. I saw no way to construct an aquarium under those circumstances.

    Iím guessing they were hand cutting the glass locally then sending it to their central plant in the capital for edging. The only reason I can think why they might be doing this instead of simply ordering the glass from their central office is that they wouldnít get credit for the sale. Either that, or the central office was hand cutting the glass.

    Maybe there was an issue with altering a system designed to produce large volumes of glass at a specified size and itís too much trouble for them to change the process for small jobs. I donít know. Whatever the issue was, I had to find an alternative.

    I located another local glass dealer and inquired whether or not he could produce the glass I wanted. He said, ďno problem, we order from the factory and they cut it with no more than 1 mm varianceĒ. He illustrated this by showing me two large glass doors in his office and measuring them in my presence.

    So all I had to do was provide the measurements, get a quote, and place the order.

    Having placed the order, I was told shipping would take 1-2 weeks. The glass arrived 5 days later. I wasnít prepared to take the glass. Large sheets of heavy glass require some support/protection/storage/special handling. I asked them to hold the glass for one day to let me prepare. The seller didnít want to do it due to the risk of the glass being damagedóthe same reason I didnít want to take possession of it unprepared.

    The next step was to measure all the pieces of glass to be sure they were all cut to specification and check for cracks, scratches, deformities before delivery to our house. Two pieces had cracked corners, a third piece was 3 mm short and 4 mm too narrow.

    The seller agreed to return the problem pieces for replacement without complaint. That at least was a positive. He informed me it would take 6 days to get replacements.

    Three weeks later the seller arrived at our house with the replacement glass. This was without any notification of the delay. I actually made an inquiry after waiting two weeks without receiving any word from the seller. The seller informed me at that time that there was a shipping delay and told me he would call me back.
    I never received a call until he was actually on his way to my house to make the delivery himself, almost one week later.

    At least the replacement glass was cut to size and without any visible defects. Finally, I could begin to assemble my aquarium, 2 months later than I thought would be the case.

    There are many warnings to would-be hobbyist aquarium builders published on the Internet. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation. I did my research with due diligence and was reasonably confident I could pull it off. It didnít take long for reality to set in. I think Iíve probably made just about every mistake you can make when building an aquarium. To be fair to myself, the mistakes werenít mine alone.

    There are 3 ways you can build an aquarium. The traditional method is to silicone the sides of the aquarium to the top of the bottom pane of glass. This is done by running silicone along the edges of the side panes, then placing them on the bottom glass, joining the sides together in a sequential manner.

    The second method is referred to as the ďfloating bottomĒ method. Instead of attaching the sides to the top surface of the bottom pane of glass, they are attached to the edges of the bottom pane, with the bottom ďfloatingĒ between the panes just above a supporting surface. With this method the lower edges of the vertical panes of glass serve as a supporting frame.

    Either the traditional or the floating method is fairly straightforward when building small aquariums. When building larger aquariums, like the one I am building, a different technique is required.

    The larger the aquarium, the thicker and heavier the glass panels. Since the strength of the bond between the glass panels is provided by silicone, there must be adequate silicone between the joints to hold the glass. On large aquariums, it is impossible to do this using the traditional method, as the weight of the glass will squeeze out most of the silicone where the edges of vertical panes of glass join the bottom pane of glass.

    Although it is possible to build a larger aquarium with a floating bottom, ensuring the right amount of silicone exists between all the horizontal and vertical joints is still not easily accomplished. Also, the bottom would require additional support given the volume of water that would be pressing down on it.

    So, I used a third method, placing the vertical panes on top of the bottom pane of glass while incorporating spacers between all the glass seams, ensuring the proper amount of silicone necessary to establish a strong bond. This method requires injecting silicone into the seams, instead of simply applying a bead of silicone to each edge of glass and joining them, so there is a bit more skill required to get it right. And that skill was not present in the beginning.

    Generally, an aquarium is assembled in a single go. This is because silicone begins to ďskin overĒ after about 5 minutes. Once that happens, the fresh silicone will no longer adhere to the silicone that is already curing. This is not an issue in regards to holding the glass panes together so much as it is an issue with respect to forming a seal that is leakproof. So, my plan was to assemble the aquarium in one go.

    That plan changed as soon as I placed the first corner clamp, holding the front pane and one side pane in place. For some reason, the front pane wanted to separate from the bottom, though the expectation is that gravity will hold it place. I now believe it was a slight misplacement of one or more spacers along the edge of the bottom pane of glass. In any case, it was clear I was going to have to use a bar clamp to keep everything in place. Unfortunately, doing so meant I could not install the rear pane of glass, as the bar clamp was now in the way. That meant that I would have to construct the aquarium in sections, contrary to my original plan.

    This would have been impossible using the traditional method of aquarium assembly, since a single bead of silicone is used to create a single seam that provides both strength and a seal against water leaks. Fortunately for me, the spacer method can be adapted so that two separate seams of silicone can be applied, the first from outside the aquarium providing the strong bonding seam, and a second applied inside the aquarium over the top of the bonding seam providing a water proof seal. While the water proofing seam must still be done in a single stroke, the bonding seam can be done sequentially, as was now necessary.

    It didnít take long for things to go sideways, did it?

    Initially, I did not tape around the bottom panel so as to be able to see how well the silicone was flowing into and filling the seams. All was well. The front pane and the left side panel were siliconed into place. Now I just had to wait 24 hours for the silicone to cure before continuing.

    The only downside was that I now had silicone smeared all along the bottom edge of the front pane of glass, the main viewing pane. I didnít think this was a major issue, since every single article/forum discussion I read on the topic of building an aquarium stated that you simply scrape off excess silicone using a razor. That is not the case.

    Iím not sure what silicone all those hobbyists on the Internet are using, but Iím certain it wasnít the ASI aquarium sealant I was using. It was easy enough to scrape off most of the silicone, but the silicone leaves a thin cloudy film behind that no amount of scraping will remove.

    A little more Internet research produced the advice to use either mineral spirits, alcohol, or acetone to remove the film, depending on the source. None of those options had the slightest effect on the remaining silicone. Gotta love all the ďexpertsĒ posting their wisdom on the Internet.

    I remembered I had purchased some silicone remover some time ago, for some reason I no longer recall. I poked around in my storage space and sure enough found a can of it. It was almost empty, though I donít recall ever actually using any of it.

    I applied some according to the instructions and tried rubbing the film off. Still no success. I tried using a razor again and to my pleasant surprise the razor was able to remove most of the remaining film. It took multiple applications, a mildly abrasive scrubbing pad, and a lot of elbow grease, but I was finally able to remove the last remnants of silicone.
    I have no idea why using silicone remover was never mentioned among the more than half dozen suggestions I came across, but thatís the Internet for you.

    The only thing I can think of is that all the hobbyists are using silicone that differs in itís ability to adhere to glass. Every recommendation for silicone I came across typically recommended general purpose, pure silicone. The key point being that the silicone cannot contain any additives that might leach into the aquarium. Apparently, most varieties do contain substances to resist mildew, etc.

    Now the ASI aquarium sealant I used is pure silicone. I donít know how silicone is produced, but apparently there are substantial differences in its properties. ASI advertises its product as having greater tensile strength, greater tear resistance, and greater flexibility than run-of-the-mill silicone. They produce a spec sheet with a list of all relevant technical details. I have no reason to doubt their claims. To my knowledge, they are the only manufacturer to publish the technical specifications for their product.

    On a side note, I did come across a video tour of a large custom aquarium factory in the U.S. illustrating how they built aquariums. The commentator mentioned during the tour that the silicone they use differs from what hobbyists are using. I suspect this is true, and I suspect the ASI product is similarly of a different standard.

    Whatever the truth of the matter, I can say unequivocally that removing aquarium silicone is extremely difficult and very labor intensive.

    From that point on I applied painterís tape around every seam so as to avoid excess silicone getting on the glass. The downside to this was that I could not see how well the silicone was filling the seams. Given my initial experience, this didnít seem to be a problem. The silicone seemed to flow into the seams without any issue.

    I proceeded with assembling in stages, adding the rear pane and one side pane. Since the aquarium is an L-shape, two remaining panes remained. I was attempting to assemble the final two panes when I realized something was wrong. I couldnít get the glass to line up properly. I could not see what the problem was, but for some reason the only way I could get the glass panes to align well enough to attach them left me with almost half a centimeter of the bottom exposed at the end of the ďLĒ. Also, one corner on the rear pane of glass protruded about 3mm above the adjoining side.

    Initially, I attributed the problem to an accumulation of the small errors made in cutting the glass to the correct size. Still, something just didnít seem right. I decided to check the pane of glass that was giving me trouble for squareness. To my surprise and dismay, I discovered none of the corners were square. The glass would have to be returned and replaced. I really could not believe it.

    I suppose it should have occurred to me to check for squareness, given the fact that there was some difficulty getting the glass cut to the correct dimensions in the first place. The fact is, I simply could not understand how a company that produces glass on a massive scale for everything from office windows to solar panels couldnít make a square cut on glass for an aquarium.

    Thankfully, it took less than 2 weeks to obtain the replacement glass. Once obtained, we finished assembly, though I still had some trouble getting the seams to line up properly. Again, I assumed it was simply the fact that several of the pieces of glass were off dimension by more than 1mm and it was the accumulated effect of this minor error that was affecting the final pieces that needed to be fit together. Rather than continuing to fight it, I just accepted the fact that perfection is always a goal, never an accomplishment. Assembly completed, I continued on to the next step.

    Once the bonding seam of silicone had time to cure, I applied the water-proofing seam to the inside of the aquarium. Upon removing the painterís tape I noticed that some of the seams were not completely filled. Initial inspection suggested that although imperfect, all the seams should be structurally acceptable.
    It had been a long day, so I waited until the following day to give a final, more thorough inspection.

    To my dismay, my final inspection revealed that most of the waterproofing seam was less than ideal. More importantly, I also found two bonding seams where there was almost no silicone in a small section of each seam. I donít know why the silicone didnít flow into the exposed areas as expected, but the flaws in the bonding seams were fatal. The aquarium would have to be totally disassembled and reassembled.

    To be honest, given all the niggling little issues I had with initial construction, it was almost with relief that I realized the build wasnít just less than ideal, but fatally flawed. It gave me an opportunity to correct all the little things as well as the fatal flaws.

    I was able to disassemble the glass panels without too much trouble. The real difficulty lay in removing all the silicone from the glass. I took me over an hour to clean one of the smallest panes. I went through more than 100 disposable latex gloves (protection from the naptha used in the silicone remover), several dozen razor blades, a roll of paper towels, and numerous scrubbing pads over a period of 3 days before the entire job was complete.

    Ripe with experience, I was ready to reassemble everything, confident I could avoid the mistakes made in the first go-round.
    This time assembly went smoothly until the very end. Once again I was having trouble getting the final panes of glass to align properly. Again, I couldnít see what the problem was. And again it turned out to be an issue of squareness, or rather the lack of it.

    I still donít know how I managed to complete assembly the first time, because this time it was even more apparent something wasnít right than the first time. The replacement pane was perfectly square, so it had to be one of the other two remaining panes. And so it was.

    You may ask why I didnít check all of the remaining panes of glass for squareness once I discovered the problem the first time around. The answer is simple. The piece that was out-of-square was a piece I had already bound to the rear pane before attempting to assemble the final two pieces, one of which was the piece I just replaced. I did in fact check the second piece for squareness and found no problem.

    Unfortunately, it was this third piece, which had already been siliconed into place the first time I had problems with alignment. Since it was already fixed in place during the previous assembly, there was no way to properly check for squareness had it occurred to me to do so.
    Unbelievable, yes? Back to the seller for replacement.

    At this point I can safely tell you the seller was tiring of us. I think he was an honest man who honestly couldnít believe how badly the glass had been cut himself. In any case, he returned the glass for replacement. Once the replacement glass was received, I was able to finally complete the aquarium.

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Final assembly and leak testing:

    Unfinished.jpgLeak_testing_B.jpg

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    D'Bunk, I'm really starting to like you. You've got BALLS doing your own tank. Not only that, you did an "L" shape

    You've been keeping my interest in here lately and love the threads from you. Still curious to see how your current group do over time ... but whether I agree or not, I'm loving the nonstandard threads.

    My worry with doing my own tank is that it would be fine for 1 to 5 years... then bust at the drop of a silent fart 40ft away and flood the house. Once I get done with a number of projects (more than normal load of projects), I'm building one in my detached garage and will fill it, then keep it in there for at least a year. Probably will fill with either fish during that time or peacock bass to grow and "accidentally drop into neighborhood pond". I really want to do at least a 10ft long tank, 24" tall, 16" wide.

    Alright, I need to stop writing and go back to read parts of your post a skimmed through too quick.
    -Elliot

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    @pastry a.k.a elliot

    Thanks for the kind words. Really, I'm just happy someone is actually reading my comments. In the current copy and paste era of "expertise" and group think (otherwise known as tribalism), I'm typically "canceled" regardless of logic, reasoning, and critical thinking based on facts and actual experience.

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    Registered Member farebox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Been following your thread and like pastry also interested in what you got to say. I would like to make a stab that maybe you reside in the Philippines??? Keep it coming.

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    Homesteader pastry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    I'm typically cancelled because I'll ignore logic and have the typical learning process of, "Let me see if I can take a short cut... crap, that was a disaster... let me do that 3 more times to make sure it really was a bad idea..." (maybe that actually isn't "typical"... except for me)
    -Elliot

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Quote Originally Posted by pastry View Post
    I'm typically cancelled because I'll ignore logic and have the typical learning process of, "Let me see if I can take a short cut... crap, that was a disaster... let me do that 3 more times to make sure it really was a bad idea..." (maybe that actually isn't "typical"... except for me)
    I can relate to taking shortcuts. Patience is one quality I don't possess. The lack of patience has bitten me more than once. On the other hand, sometimes trying something different pays off. To paraphrase someone: if you don't make any mistakes, you're not learning anything.

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    Default Re: Building an aquarium the hard way

    Quote Originally Posted by d'bunk View Post
    ... If you don't make any mistakes, you're not learning anything.
    yes!
    -Elliot

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