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Thread: Aquarium to Vivarium Mod Project

  1. #1
    swords's Avatar
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    Aquarium to Vivarium Mod Project

    Aquarium to Vivarium Modification Project

    Before: 37 gallon cube aquarium (20 L x 18" W x 24" H)


    After: Sliding front European style vivarium


    Building a custom stand from the ground up

    You need:

    2x 24” x 48” Melamine boards cut in half to give you four 24” x 24” pieces (called “Size 1“)

    1x 24” x 48” Melamine board cut into two 21” x 24” pieces (called “Size 2“)

    4x L brackets

    2x 3 ” door hinges

    Power Drill (best $30 ever spent)

    1 ” & 5/8” screws

    4” Hole Saw (optional)

    1) I plan to have a misting system hidden in this base that will service all my various plant setups. So I will start by drilling a power access hole in a Size 1 board which will be the back wall.




    2) Using your 5/8” screws attach an L bracket to the top and bottom of the 24” edge of both “size 2”. I have inset mine from the top and bottom edges by about 1”.



    3) Attach the two Size 2 boards with L brackets to the Size 1 board with the hole. Now you have a U.




    4) Take another Size 1 board and set it ontop, get the edges flush (the front edge should stick out a bit over the shorter side boards). Attach with 1 ” screws.





    5) Now flip the structure over and repeat the previous step on the other side. Finish by tipping the structure on it's back wall.



    6) With the base on it’s back so the opening is facing up, place your last Size 1 piece over the space and secure the hinges to the side using 5/8” screws.



    7) Place your stand in the upright position and put your tank on it. Viola!




    Next:

    Prepping the standard aquarium for sliding front glass modification...

    You'll Need:

    Heat gun

    sturdy knife

    very sharp knife like a box cutter



    1) Using a heat gun set on High run it back and forth against the edge of the tank to heat it up evenly then pick one corner to concentrate the heat on and leave it there until the plastic gets a glossy soft wax look.





    2) Using your sharp knife on the softened plastic make a cut in the glossy soft plastic.



    3) With the heavy duty knife stick it between the rail and the glass and lift up all along the rail. You'll hear the silicone popping as it gives, don't be alarmed, the glass isn't breaking.





    4) Once you've loosened the rail get your fingers under it and tear it off.



    5) You'll have to remove each rail the same way. To the aquarium peoples credit, they are some sturdy structures! lol



    6) If you just want an all glass/no rails tank then i suppose you're done, it really looks very nice without them.


    7) Now you run the heat gun up and down the siliconed edge of the glass and using your heavy duty knife scrape and work at it until you get in between the front pane and the side pane, once you get the blade in it is very easy to seperate. But getting the blade in is not easy! Do not use a folding knife for this step.



    8) After cutting both sides of the front pane lift it and bend it over the bottom and the silicone should come right off, if not use your box cutter to slice right through it.



    Next time:

    Installing the new glass panes & sliding glass door track...

  2. #2
    Jayson16's Avatar
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    Wow lookin great swords! Cant wait to see it finished with everything inside. What do you plan to have in there btw?

  3. #3
    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    damn man!! You are resourceful and patient enough to do all that. I just end up going for the more expensive ready to buy sort of things. lol!

  4. #4
    jimmy uphwiz's Avatar
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    i'm watching , plaese, dont make me wait too long LOL , this is great stuff, thanks for the close up look.
    I'm redoing my doors as soon as i see how you do yours, I need a better sliding feature, cant see in as well as i would like

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I've always wanted a European style vivarium with the sliding/removable front glass and nobody in the US seems to make them unless you wanna PAY. There's the Exo Terra overpriced tiny vivariums with the hinged doors but I want sliding glass and more room. It's pretty fun doing these modifications and DIY stuff too. The stand only took me two episodes of Premium Blend stand up comedy so that was only an hour and I did it slow cos i was taking pics. It took the longest to figure out how to pull the rims off the tank! The heat gun is essential to loosening the rails and softening the silicone but only just slightly. Silicone is very heat resistant - they even make oven gloves out of silicone now. But the heat gun goes to 1000*F so after running it on the glass seam a while it will loosen the silicone but only to an almost imperceptible degree! Make sure you use a sturdy knife. A "sturdy" steak knife collapsed on me so I used one of my collectible daggers who withstood the pressure on the tip no problem. A sturdy non-folding boot knife would work fine.

    For now this tank will just be home to mosses and creeping plants, maybe a waterfall and some misting system experimentation. It will also act as temporary home for my Anole as I want to redo her 56 gallon cube vivarium with a sliding front. In spring it will get more interesting miniature specimens planted naturally on branches climbing the walls, etc. I'm converting all my plant setups to the naturalistic planted style. I've done the greenhouse terrariums with plants in pots or mounted on cork I want to do something different and more artistic for a while.


    Next:

    Sliding Door Track

    You need:

    Glass for bottom brace and top one if you want a top one.

    L shaped plastic Profile (part #1933 you must order min of 12 ft sections in white, brown or black)
    http://www.outwatercatalogs.com/lg_d...master/page/57


    E shaped sliding glass track kit. You get both top and bottom sections you don't order seperately (part #180 is for 1/8" thick sliding glass panes. You must order min of 12 ft sections in white, brown or black)
    http://www.outwatercatalogs.com/lg_d...master/page/27


    1) After you get the front pane off get a fresh new razor blade and start scraping where the pane was attached and get all the silicone off. Once it's off use rubbing alcohol or some other solvent to clean it as well as possible.


    2) Lay the tank on it's back and glue the front braces on top and bottom of the opening. I used a 6" piece at the bottom so I can do a false bottom or some other sort of water feature. After the silicone dries stand the tank up (as shown) and add a thick runner of silicone inside the bottom brace, smooth it into the corners with your finger.



    Glue the sliding glass E track to the top of an L track so it can be affixed to the glass brace




    4) Here the top and bottom sliding glass E tracks have been installed. I have placed extra pieces of L Profile over the left and right hand edges so the glass can slide into a little "garage" and not stick off the end of the tank. Here you can see the packing tape I'm using to hold it in place as it cures.




    We've got a blizzard howling through tonight and supposedly all day tomorrow so I probably won't be able to get to Ace and have the two glass panes cut for the sliding door and a thick piece of plexi for the lid (so it can be drilled for mister nozzles and ventilation). But that's all I need to do and the tank portion of the build will be done. After that it's onto the lighting canopy.

  6. #6
    jimmy uphwiz's Avatar
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    can you get the l profile at the same place as the e track .
    lookin good swords thanks

    ---------- Post added at 09:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:19 PM ----------

    can you do a close up of the corners where the e track meets the side maybe from a slight inside the tank angle?

  7. #7
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Exciting! Nice pics too. Somehow I expected pictures of your apartment to have lots of things on the wall - maybe colored paint...
    What's up with the hole in the stand? Will you have a false bottom to the terrarium that you'll plumb through?
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  8. #8
    Your one and only pest! Ant's Avatar
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    Cool, are you going to attempt any cp in there? I think D. adelae might do well in there.

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