DIY Plexiglas Aquarium
Plexiglass is an excellent material for various kinds of products, as it can be cut, polished, sawed, drilled, glued. Domestic craftsmen use it for all kinds of handicrafts, and independent production of aquariums using this material is not such a rarity.
Before starting the assembly of such a "can", you need to calculate the thickness of the plexiglass using the calculator. The fact is that this artificial material is more plastic than ordinary quartz glass, and can be strongly arched under the pressure of water. That is why the longer the aquarium, the thicker its walls should be.For example, with a length of over 80 cm, experts recommend using Plexiglas with a thickness of at least 10 mm. If there is such an opportunity, then it is better to purchase special (aviation) acrylic glass.
Consider several options for self-manufacturing aquariums.
This is perhaps the most common design, where the main element is a metal frame. It can be made by soldering or welding. However, as a material for the frame, some craftsmen use durable plastic.
The main thing is that the "skeleton" of the future aquarium should be of the correct form with equal sides (as a rule, such a design is made in the shape of a parallelepiped).
After that, it is necessary to remove burrs, other defects and roughness, and then degrease the inner and outer sides of the edges of the "skeleton".
Separately, you need to stay at cutting plexiglass. This operation is performed, as a rule, with the help of a circular saw with a thin mill. If this is not possible, the sheet can be cut manually on a flat surface using a special cutter.
This is a rather time-consuming operation, since it is necessary to carry out the cutter at a marked place many times until the parts are completely separated.It is impossible to break a notched acrylic glass: as a rule, this leads to the appearance of cracks. Cutting points must be leveled and sanded.
Plexiglass sheets cut to the appropriate size should also be degreased at the edges with turpentine or white spirit.
Using a special silicone adhesive sealant, first the bottom is glued to the frame, and then the side walls. Each sheet should be strongly pressed against the metal ribs to completely remove the air. Corners (wall joints) are also processed with silicone.
2 hours after the end of the gluing, excess sealant must be cut off and removed. You must be very careful and careful not to leave scratches on the glass itself.
After 3-4 days the finished "can" can be checked for leaks.
Frameless (glued) design
In this case, you should definitely use sheets of acrylic glass with a thickness of at least 10 mm. Cutting the sides of the future aquarium is made similarly to the first option.
- For gluing prepared sheets of plexiglass use a special composition: chloroform with acrylic chips dissolved in it.
- Some masters use dichloroethane instead of chloroform. In this case, gluing must be carried out in a well-ventilated area, since this substance is very toxic.
- Others use such an adhesive three-component composition as acryloxide. Sometimes it can be purchased at specialized medical equipment stores.
First, the front glass is glued to the bottom sheet in such a way that the two sheets make an angle of 90 °. The mechanism is as follows:
- along the edges of the junction of the sheets, thin steel wire sections are laid (its thickness is not more than 0.5 mm),
- establish a vertical wall, and then with a syringe or pipette with a solution spill joint.
The operation is repeated after 15 minutes. After that, the wires are pulled out, and the wall under its weight rests tightly on the bottom.
For temporary fixation of the vertical surface, it is necessary to use a system of spacers to prevent the front panel from collapsing. After drying, the first seam (after about 2-3 hours) proceed to the installation of the side walls. The back wall is glued last.
So that during operation the vertical walls of the aquarium do not bend, stiffeners are installed. They are strips of glass 4-5 cm wide and with a length that should be slightly less than the length of the wall itself. These strips are glued with aquarium silicone inside at the base of the "jar".Then you should carefully examine all the seams, remove the dried excess glue and dry the finished structure for 2-3 days.
There is another version of frameless assembly, when in prepared Plexiglas sheets to a depth of 1/3 of their thickness, a special cutter cuts grooves and protrusions. In the grooves is applied adhesive composition, and all parts of the structure are firmly connected to each other. This method requires accurate markup and, most importantly, the presence of a milling machine.
There are also very unusual homemade plexiglass construction.
A small aquarium (up to 50 liters) is made of three components: the bottom and two vertical U-shaped parts, and the upper crossbar of the letter “P” is strongly elongated. Of course, in order to achieve such a shape, it is required to bend a sheet of acrylic glass.
It is better to do this in specialized production, but some craftsmen have learned to bend material at home.
- Use nichrome wire stretched under a sheet of organic glass (approximately 5 mm below the surface).
- Its two ends are connected via a transformer to the electrical network.
- The wire heats up, and the part of the sheet protruding beyond the edge of a flat table begins to bend under its weight.
Helping with hands is not necessary, as the glass may break. Having bent a sheet of the established size 2 times, we receive the P-shaped form. It remains only to glue together 2 such parts and the bottom in the ways indicated above.
The mini-aquarium of the wavy form originally looks when its basis is bent 2 times. Two "comb", turned down, are both points of support of such a "can", and the front and back parts are absolutely flat.
Smooth bending can be obtained if a metal pipe of the appropriate diameter is used as a heating element. It is placed under a sheet of glass and heated on both sides with soldering lamps. Before proceeding to the manufacture of an exclusive aquarium, experts recommend practicing on any unnecessary trim acrylic material.
A plexiglass aquarium can be made by almost any home craftsman, and such a fish house will last for several years if treated with care. And when acrylic glass becomes completely muddy and old, you can make a new home for your floating pets.
How to bend the plexiglass for the aquarium, look at the video:
Glass Aquarium DIY
If you decide to acquire fish or change the aquarium, you will definitely need tips on how to make an aquarium out of available tools.
Doing an Aquarium with Your Own Hands - General Rules
There are 2 ways of assembling a rectangular aquarium: all faces rest on the bottom or are fastened around it. The last option is appropriate for tanks with a volume of more than 50 liters. Select the thickness of the glass in accordance with the dimensions of the future capacity. This table will help in this:
For this purpose, you need to choose silicate (normal) glass. Glass can be windowed (polished) or glass (mirror). Window material often has a surface with bumps and waves, less durable, but less expensive. The window surface is made with calibrating polishing, which makes the product very durable and of high quality. Pay attention to the type of glass: M1 (highest) to M8 (the lowest). The better the marking, the less foreign elements in the form of bubbles will be in the walls of the aquarium. You can use the display case / used glass.
Cut in such a way that the front walls correspond to the dimensions of the container itself. The bottom is required to reduce in both parameters on the two thicknesses of the selected glass, throw a few mm on glue. The end part is equal in height to the front elements, equal in width to the bottom.
DIY Plexiglas Aquarium: Progress
- In order to make a beautiful aquarium with your own hands, the size of 400x300x240 mm, you need 2 front glasses of 300x400 mm, the canvas is 390x230 mm for the bottom, the ends have dimensions of 300x230. The cover will be 380x220 mm, its holders - 2 glass 180x30 mm. If the capacity is impressive, stiffening ribs will be required (at least ¾ of the longest side). They are attached to the top of the facial canvases, which will prevent them from bending outwards.
- After cutting, chamfer sandpaper. Remember that it is impossible to process those sides on which sealant will be applied. Otherwise, the elements simply do not stick together.
- Before you are silicone glue, glass and masking tape. Masking tape to glue the glass along the contour of how glue will be applied. This approach will allow not to get glue dirty all around. A distance equal to the thickness of the glass plus a couple of millimeters recedes from the edge. We get:
- The bottom is glued on 4 sides.
- Walk along the ends with a lint-free cloth with acetone or alcohol. After that, apply 2 drops of glue on each side of the bottom and on the vertical part of the ends. After 2 hours, cut off a drop, leaving 1-2 mm - this will be the thickness of the binder between the panes. This simplifies the gluing of the walls. They should not be in contact with each other.
- As a working area, choose a solid, flat surface: carpet, sofa do not fit. Glue the front wall to the bottom. To make it easier to fix, use a jar of water.
- Then glue the end part at an angle of 90 degrees, this will help the masking tape.
- Now you need to do the second end, the last in line will be the rear window.
- All excess glue is removed with a cloth with vinegar.
- Walk with adhesive tape around the perimeter of the upper part of the structure, this makes it possible to fasten the seams qualitatively.
- After a few hours it is recommended to walk through all the compounds with silicone. This is a mandatory procedure for overall containers, if you are doing a small aquarium with your own hands, this is not necessary.
- Allow the glue and silicone to cure for 12, preferably 24 hours.
- When the whole structure is dry, remove the adhesive tape, clean the seams with a blade. Attach stiffeners and holders if necessary.
- It is time to check. Fill the aquarium to the top to check the seams for integrity. Attach the paper to them, it will immediately show the punctures, if any. If the seam is not perfect, pour out the water, drain the seam and correct the flaw with silicone and a needle.
- Rinse the aquarium and run your pets into it.
PVC aquarium cover
Having purchased an oval aquarium of 1500x500x600 by an unknown company, it turned out that the standard covers for it are not suitable, and besides, in the factory covers there is a place for two lamps, and this is not enough for successful cultivation of plants.
Without hesitation, I decided to make a cover for the aquarium with my own hands. Having studied the Internet information on materials from which you can make a cover, I found two types of material that are most suitable for manufacturing. In the first place is high-impact polystyrene, and alternative, foamed PVC (more suitable for the manufacture of covers for small aquariums). These plastics can be purchased at firms selling materials for advertising.
Since I did not manage to get high-impact polystyrene in the nearest company, I had to restrict myself to 4 mm thick foamed PVC. highest density. In addition, they purchased glue for PVC, Cosmofen CA12 50 ml.
Sheet PVC is very easy to cut with a construction knife, however it should be noted that the blade of the knife should be thicker, otherwise when cutting with a thin blade on the edge of the sheet there will be a small wave, which in turn will need to be processed with emery paper.
Starting to manufacture the cover on the aquarium, cut into strips of PVC plastic.
The lid was made without any drawings, and in the manufacture was guided only by a sketch. And since I wanted to get a comfortable cover and with the original design, the manufacturing process became more complicated and took a little longer.
The base was glued in a couple of hours. It is necessary to glue on flat surface, because even a strip of PVC 90mm wide bends along the axis up to 10 mm.
After the base was glued, proceeded to manufacture the cover itself. To get the correct radius, put plastic on the aquarium and from the bottom outlined the cut line with a marker.
Both parts were useful to me, pasted only a strip 40 mm wide.
On the perimeter, I glued a bezel of two PVC strips with a width of 15 mm.
In the places of fastening furniture canopies glued for rigidity aluminum corner 20x40.
Having calculated the places for the lamps, pasted between the ribs. Plastic corners 40x40 will be glued to these stiffeners, which can be purchased in the construction market (used for stickers on slopes)
Cut out feeding places.
For reliability, the external and internal corners of the lid are plastered over with a 10x10 PVC corner
Then the same corners 10x10 glued under the lamps, and the corners 40x40 between the lamps. They will serve as reflectors.
After that, he proceeded to pasting with a mirror self-adhesive film. The self-adhesive imitating mirror turned out to be very tough and had to be glued in strips.
After external pasting with a film, fasten furniture awnings. But before you drill holes for sheds, I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with how they work. Because if you install them in the center (as I did), then the lid will not open and you will have to adjust a strip of plastic.
After the cover is fully assembled and glued, proceed to the installation of electrical parts. In my case, for each lamp I decided to use a separate starter and for each pair of lamps a separate time relay.
The cover for an aquarium made by hand is ready. As it turned out, it turned out tough and very convenient when opening and closing. Three lamps that are installed in the cover at the time of opening can be turned off with the toggle switches, the fourth lamp which is mounted in the base will illuminate when cleaning the aquarium.
It remains only to attach the moonlight and work on the design.
Why is it needed?
Aquarium covers perform a number of functions, thanks to which it is possible to keep the aquarium in perfect condition. They allow:
- Reduce the rate and volume of evaporation of water. Without a lid, the volume of water will fluctuate greatly and the concentration of substances in the aquarium will become unstable. As a result, this will lead to poor state of health of the inhabitants and plants.
- Protect the container from dust, dirt or any foreign objects that may be dangerous to the inhabitants of the aquarium. Sources of pollution are already enough: food remains, fish waste, dead plant particles.
- Use them as a practical element of the overall design of the aquarium. Lamps, which are necessary for the life of both plants and fish, are attached to the lid first. Sometimes other devices are fixed on it, for example, an aerator or a filter.
- Prevent fish from jumping out of the tank. Alas, many species of aquarium fish have an unpleasant tendency to high jump, resulting in the death of fish.
- Maintain optimum temperature in the tank.
Obviously, if you intend to arrange for your pets the most convenient and pleasant conditions in the aquarium, you will have to take care of the lid.
Before you learn how to make a cover for the aquarium, you should understand the designs that are sold in pet stores. Standard aquariums, which are on the shelves, often equipped with a finished cover. They all differ in price and quality characteristics.
- Price segment. The cost of factory design varies widely. It will depend on the manufacturer, on additional elements, on the illumination equipment, on the material. In other words, any aquarist can afford a ready-made cover just by carefully studying the options.
- Dimensions. Of course, not always the lids sold in the store correspond exactly to the size of the aquarium. In this case, the best option is to purchase an aquarium with a lid. But no one has canceled the opportunity to make a cover to order. True, it will cost more.
- Color solution. Most often, the covers on the shelves are made of plastic. Usually they are made in restrained colors - gray, black, light brown. There are also transparent models. If you do not like the colors, it is easy to fix, using self-adhesive film.
- Quality. Properly selected cover will last a really long time. Largely because the finished designs are always made from a single piece of material. No seams, and therefore no leaks. The backlight built into the design, in most cases, changes in the event of a breakdown.
- Backlight. The number of bulbs in the aquarium cover is usually one or two. For some aquariums, lighting is selected in four lamps. Installing additional lighting, of course, is possible, but sometimes it can greatly spoil the appearance of the cover.
Materials for creativity
You can make a homemade cover for the aquarium from a variety of materials.They have their strengths and weaknesses, but one fact is indisputable: all materials are easy to find in ordinary building stores.
On the forums aquarium there are completely different schemes of manufacture. What do homemade covers prefer to do? The most commonly resorted to use: plastic, laminate, foamed PVC, plexiglass and plywood.
It has already been mentioned above that it is from it that the bulk of the caps are made, which can be found on the shelves of pet shops. Aquarists skillfully design covers of its various types, from materials for advertising structures to wall panels. It is important to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the material, if you opt for it.
To the pluses you can enter a small price and ease of processing. In addition, plastic covers can be made for aquariums of various shapes and any size, and with a careful and high-quality approach to work, they look quite aesthetically pleasing, without spoiling the appearance of the aquarium and not too inferior to the factory counterparts. The surface of the material allows you to glue the lid with a self-adhesive film and change the design of the aquarium whenever you want.
The weak side of the plastic cover is the presence of seams. Plastic panels are glued with a special adhesive or superglue, but the sealant, alas, does not take them. Over time, the seams still begin to pass moisture.
Covers of laminated chipboard or laminate rarely prefer to use for aquariums.
Its main advantage is ease of assembly. True, provided that the pieces are already fitted to the size of the aquarium. Assembling a ready-made "designer", pasted over the cover with edging tape, is not difficult.
The disadvantages of such a cover more than the plastic. The most important of them is weight. The material itself is quite heavy, and if the volumes of the aquarium are large (say, 150-200 liters), you can imagine how weighty the lid will be. After all, you regularly have to remove it and put it back during cleaning and cleaning the aquarium. In the worst case, you can not hold the design and damage the container.
In the manufacture of such a cover using metal fittings. Obviously, the risk of rust is very high. To design served for a long time, the metal elements will have to change and lubricate, and it is also unnecessary trouble.
The important point is the quality of the material. If you choose a low-grade one, the cap will last very, very briefly. Even if you install excellent ventilation. And on the aesthetic side: changing the color of the cover is no longer possible. Of course, you can try to glue the laminate with a film, but such an experiment clearly does not improve the appearance of the aquarium.
PVC is today one of the most popular materials for the manufacture of covers.
According to many aquarists, he has enough advantages. Foamed PVC is light, but it is quite strong and tough. He is not afraid of water, and it is easy to handle. The parts are glued with a special adhesive, which is sold in many building materials stores.
In addition, PVC sheets are white and easy to paint, as well as to finish with various materials, including film. With a great desire to really find colored PVC.
On the downside, opponents of PVC include relative fragility, fading, and the question of the toxicity of this material.
This material, unlike ordinary glass, is lighter, and the plexiglass cover will not be troublesome during cleaning. Plexiglas product is transparent, which means it will not be an extra stain in the interior. But it is quite difficult to handle, therefore, it is rarely used to use it.
Not the best option to cover the aquarium. Plywood is very quickly exposed to moisture. From which it follows that as a result the lid of plywood will crack and become unusable. So is it worth the effort and time to make it?
Of what material to design the cover for your home water kingdom, you decide. Whether it is PVC, plexiglass sheets or several wall panels, it is worthwhile to start making an aquarium cover only when you are firmly confident in your abilities and capabilities.
The manufacture of this design requires not only accuracy and diligence, but also the presence of certain skills. Ignorance of the rules for working with materials and, as a result, improperly assembled cover can cause significant harm to the inhabitants of the aquarium. The desire to save can result in a source of greater costs. Therefore, if there are doubts or fears that the appearance of the product will spoil the interior and harm the pets, it is better to go to the pet store and purchase a ready-made cover.