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Old 08-02-2012, 12:36 AM   #11 
bahamut285
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Originally Posted by Pixielator View Post
Oh sorry. Basically I'm making a bunch of 1/2 gallon acrylic betta tanks. I just want something that will hold the acrylic together for a very long time and will be able to withstand the weight of the water.
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Originally Posted by prodrumernate View Post
i would think ince ur making half gallon tanks.u really wouldnt need to use both.i think its more for large tanks..i dont know ur budget.since u know it can be used.i would buy the weld-on 4 and make like a test tank.if it holds then keep using it.i was going to use my 100% silicon and acrylic panels to make an aquarium later in the future.but now im not sure silicon adheres to acrylic.

I would agree with prodrumernate. Make one tank, put it in the sink and fill it with water after it sets and leave it for a good few days (a week maybe) to make sure it doesn't leak or explode.

Also "gluing together some plexiglass/acrylic sheets" is not as easy as it sounds, there is some physics behind it. I believe it has to be a certain thickness depending on the HEIGHT of the tank.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:14 PM   #12 
goldfishyman
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I would agree with prodrumernate. Make one tank, put it in the sink and fill it with water after it sets and leave it for a good few days (a week maybe) to make sure it doesn't leak or explode.

Also "gluing together some plexiglass/acrylic sheets" is not as easy as it sounds, there is some physics behind it. I believe it has to be a certain thickness depending on the HEIGHT of the tank.

Thickness is not really an issue with acrylic. It is not glass it will not explode or crack. What you will have is bowing if the length is too long. This is easily fixed by adding cross braces on top section to add strength. This is done to some glass aquariums that use thinner glass to prevent bowing, cheaper production tanks. As a rule of thumb 12" high can be made with " acrylic; up to 18" with 3/8" and up to 24" with ". The original poster wants to do half gallon tanks so its not even an issue.

You want to weld the two pieces of acrylic using the acrylic glue, Choloroform or Methylene chloride. You put the glue in a syringe and you run it along the seem of the two pieces. Capillary action will suck the solvent between the two pieces. You might want to smooth down the edges with some sand paper but do not over do it or you can create uneven surface or round the edges which will make for weak joints. You cannot move the 2 pieces of acrylic at all at this point. It takes about 12 hrs to set.
Use 5 ml syringes with 18 gauge needles. These should be bought separately because the syringes usually come with 22 gauge needles. It is recommended to use glass syringes.

So check and see if any of the solvents your about to buy has methylene chloride if it does you should be ok. The stuff is very thin and should be able to wick between the two pieces.

If I was gonna build something that small though I would probably go with glass as it would most likely be the cheapest route. Also you could use a heat gun on low and slowly bend the acrylic into a box shape reducing the number of seems you will have. So just top bottom and then the one side seem. If your really creative you could make it out of a single piece of acrylic using the right cuts and heat.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:25 PM   #13 
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Thickness is not really an issue with acrylic. It is not glass it will not explode or crack. What you will have is bowing if the length is too long. This is easily fixed by adding cross braces on top section to add strength. This is done to some glass aquariums that use thinner glass to prevent bowing, cheaper production tanks. As a rule of thumb 12" high can be made with " acrylic; up to 18" with 3/8" and up to 24" with ". The original poster wants to do half gallon tanks so its not even an issue.

You want to weld the two pieces of acrylic using the acrylic glue, Choloroform or Methylene chloride. You put the glue in a syringe and you run it along the seem of the two pieces. Capillary action will suck the solvent between the two pieces. You might want to smooth down the edges with some sand paper but do not over do it or you can create uneven surface or round the edges which will make for weak joints. You cannot move the 2 pieces of acrylic at all at this point. It takes about 12 hrs to set.
Use 5 ml syringes with 18 gauge needles. These should be bought separately because the syringes usually come with 22 gauge needles. It is recommended to use glass syringes.

So check and see if any of the solvents your about to buy has methylene chloride if it does you should be ok. The stuff is very thin and should be able to wick between the two pieces.

If I was gonna build something that small though I would probably go with glass as it would most likely be the cheapest route. Also you could use a heat gun on low and slowly bend the acrylic into a box shape reducing the number of seems you will have. So just top bottom and then the one side seem. If your really creative you could make it out of a single piece of acrylic using the right cuts and heat.

I'd like to use glass, but I don't know how I'd cut it. Also I'm making 432 of these tanks, so wouldn't it be cheaper to use acrylic? And the heat method sounds cool, but it also sounds like it would be easy to make mistakes that can't be fixxed.
Thanks for your detailed reply.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:03 PM   #14 
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Do you have an Ace hardware or glass company around. They could cut the glass to your dimensions. For your size of tank I'm sure you could get it done cheaply at Ace. They cut picture frame glass to any dimension. For the amount of water your gonna hold it does not have to be thick glass.

Glass cutting is easy but takes a bit of time to build confidence and to get the right "touch". Most people are scared they will end up with a hand full of broken glass and the stitches to go along with it. It doesn't happen that way but you could wear gloves till you get over the fear. Basically you use a glass cutter, a straight edge and run it down the glass in one smooth stroke with even pressure. Then you put one section of glass over a table edge and press down on the other side. I find that pulling the two pieces apart while applying a quick downward pressure gives me the best results. Never try and go over the score you made twice.

After you get the piece cut, you need to use a sharpening stone and go over the edge of the glass a few times to remove its sharpness or you will get cut during handling and assembly.

I was looking at the prices of acrylic and your looking at 40 to 60 dollars for 24"x24" depending on thickness. Then you still have to get the stuff cut. If you know how to do it right you can do it yourself but you can melt edges with too much speed and the wrong cutting tool. Some places charge you for the cutting.

The only reason I would ever go acrylic is because I'm building something huge and do not want to deal with the weight of the tank. Acrylic is too easy to scratch. The fumes of the solvent will not only melt your acrylic but will take a few brain cells with it lol. 12 hrs per seam means your gonna have to build one of these per week or set up an entire assembly line to do multiple tanks per week. You want to only weld one seem every 12 hrs because any movement will damage the joint and you will probably have leaks.

Weigh your options out. If your going to make hundreds of these you need to think whether your going to be able to filter these or do the massive water changes every few days. A betta barracks might be a better option and in this case yes you should have it done in acrylic. Also it might be cheaper and easier to just sketch out some designs and have a company build a betta barracks for you.

BTW if I was going to build my own tanks for bettas. I would make it so only 1 side of the tank was clear the other sides would be frosted. I notice that my bettas blow out their fins flaring all day at their reflection in the sides of my tanks.

Last edited by goldfishyman; 08-02-2012 at 02:09 PM.
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