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
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 ½” door hinges
Power Drill (best $30 ever spent)
1 ½” & 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 ½” 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!
Prepping the standard aquarium for sliding front glass modification...
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.
Installing the new glass panes & sliding glass door track...