wooden aquarium

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Project by CaptainAhab posted 06-30-2011 05:59 PM 4244 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As I am constantly saying, epoxy is the most underused carpenters tool.

This tank is 220 gallons, approx. 48” x 36” x 38”h. The vertical strip filter canister was fiberglassed, everything else is just epoxy on wood with filleted corners.

I saved a spot for a pic of the thing clear full of water and fish. This is a 2” water test!

-- Dave

17 comments so far

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

470 posts in 2344 days

#1 posted 06-30-2011 06:12 PM

Looks awesome! I’m a fish guy and a wood guy as well. I have a 180 gallon , a 55 gallon, and a few smaller tanks. What kinda fish will you be keeping in there?
What kind of wood did you use and what finish did you put on it?

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View DocWithManyHats's profile


61 posts in 1700 days

#2 posted 06-30-2011 06:43 PM

I’m also a fish guy. Currently only have a 125 gallon (which for nyc is huge) south american tropical FW tank, but have kept a huge variety in the past. I’ve followed a few blogs about people building their own impressive tanks, but have always shyed away from the idea (the thought of that much water pouring out into my home beacuse of an oversight on my part scares the c* out of me)

How thick is the glass? I’m looking forward to seeing pics of the tank filled and stocked. What type of fish are you planning on?

View SnowFrog's profile


102 posts in 1639 days

#3 posted 06-30-2011 06:54 PM

I think this is awesome! It never crossed my mind to build my own. I would also be so scared that so much water could end up all over the house. Cause with that much water it would actually spread everywhere.

How did you make sure the thingj is absolutely water tight and will remain that way?

Not only awesome but gutsy ;-)

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

View CaptainAhab's profile


214 posts in 1890 days

#4 posted 06-30-2011 07:12 PM

It is plywood, red oak and lots of epoxy.
Been out of the fish hobby for a few yrs, but have kept and bred most. This will get filled with the big nasty cichlids from central America.
Can’t say I am fearless here! It’s half full and going to let it set for awhile before continuing. The glass is 3/8”. There are on-line calculators for that.
Filled weight will be over a ton! Tank empty weighs around 250 with nearly that much in rocks and stump. Wife says it was built to airdrop!
Just as a point of reference, I can get in with all that deco stuff in it and have PLENTY of room to move around.

-- Dave

View Dustin's profile


390 posts in 2543 days

#5 posted 06-30-2011 07:14 PM

I love epoxy

View DaddyZ's profile


2474 posts in 2133 days

#6 posted 06-30-2011 08:15 PM

Deffinately a gutsy move !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 1902 days

#7 posted 06-30-2011 08:23 PM

Wow !! thats nice,looking forward to see some fish in it :)

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View DocWithManyHats's profile


61 posts in 1700 days

#8 posted 06-30-2011 09:48 PM

3/8 seems rather thin to me for a tank of that height. Which on line calculators did you use? For reference, I plugged your dimensions in to one and got 1/2” recommended from here:

I don’t mean to second guess what you’ve done, you’re obviously talented and the tank looks great. I just want to make sure it stays looking great.

View CaptainAhab's profile


214 posts in 1890 days

#9 posted 06-30-2011 11:23 PM

I used this;

but you have to take into account that this is not a glass cornered build. My panes are 15×24 at a depth of 27” fully supported on all 4 sides. I talked with the auther of the above link and he agreed that 9mm is plenty.

-- Dave

View terrilynne's profile


833 posts in 1986 days

#10 posted 07-01-2011 05:17 AM

Very nice! This will bring hours of meditation watching the fish!

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View Ken90712's profile


16047 posts in 2281 days

#11 posted 07-01-2011 11:12 AM

Great post! Not only a great project, buy the information was very interesting. You really have me thinking now!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View CaptainAhab's profile


214 posts in 1890 days

#12 posted 07-01-2011 03:08 PM

Anyone interested in more of the aquarium hobby side of the build, here is my post on monsterfishkeepers;

-- Dave

View DocWithManyHats's profile


61 posts in 1700 days

#13 posted 07-01-2011 06:31 PM

Thanks for the link. I really like the filter design and how you planned ahead if you wanted to make it wet/dry in the future or have it filter from the top to protect any fry. I also like your substrate, pretty ingenious way to prevent the cichlids from rearranging everything. It is definitely becoming a great show tank. I bookmarked the link and look forward to updates.

View RichSoby's profile


24 posts in 1639 days

#14 posted 07-03-2011 12:50 AM

That’s incredible!
One question though. do you have to let the epoxy “out gas” before setting it up to put fish in?
Meaning does the epoxy become innert after curing so there are no chemicals leeching into the water?

View CaptainAhab's profile


214 posts in 1890 days

#15 posted 07-04-2011 02:04 AM

Epoxy is 100% solids, there are no thinners or carriers. And it is inert once cured.

-- Dave

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