1450 US gallons in 2 tanks DIY


Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
Here a tube from my 2 Malawi tanks 1450 Us gallon total DIY project.
Later is shall post more pictures from the start to the end of the build.




Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
part 1 build 1
2300 liters (600 U.S. gallons)

In October 2011 I started with the construction of the 2 aquariums, they are made of plywood and liquid pond liner.
Also all filter parts are self-made, in the same way as the aquarium.
The total capacity of the system is 5500 liters (1450 U.S. gallons).
The entire aquarium system is heated by a central heating exchanger.
All lights are equipped with LED lights.
In the filter portions will also be a buffer, given that it is used to preheat the water.
The weekly water change is done entirely by the coupling of the aquarium system to the reservoir of the toilet.
Auarium water is then used to flush toilets, fresh water is then refilled with tank system.

The filter portions will consist of a wet biologist, 2 dry filters, two sand filters, and a heat exchanger

The substructure for the aquariums consist Ytong blocks.

Between the fist layer of wood and the second one ,are reinforcement bars.

All wood joints are glued with waterproof PU glue and screwed.
All walls are double, and between the layers of wood isolated.

I will paint the front of the aquarium later on.
The sides and back i finish of with laminate(just the normal one for the floor)

for all filter sections and parts i use also the pond liner.
The lid of the wet biologist is finished with laminate.

The filter sections are of a lesser quality wood.
The wet part of the biologist is about as wide as the aquarium.
This portion of the filter is also walkable.

The lids of the aquarium are also double, for the lighting I use LED strips.

My youtube cannel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEIxtjPlpdRSVEhG5cgxvqg?view_as=public


Superstar Fish
Jun 2, 2010
Yelm, WA
Wow!! That must have cost as much as our house on 5 acres. Your set up is very impressive. You don't say what part of the country you live in - hope its not earth quake prone - I am starting to worry about that eventuality.


Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
Wow!! That must have cost as much as our house on 5 acres. Your set up is very impressive. You don't say what part of the country you live in - hope its not earth quake prone - I am starting to worry about that eventuality.
The costs were not bad.
I build my tanks held at a number of forums, I then also posted the materials I used, and the cost of everything.
I believe the first aquarium + filter parts have cost 1100 euros.

I live in the Netherlands, as a rule we do not suffer from earthquakes.

My youtube cannel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEIxtjPlpdRSVEhG5cgxvqg?view_as=public


Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
Cape Cod
Those are just awesome looking. They look like chunks taken right out of the lakes. Normally you don't see plants with malawis - is it because the tanks are so big that they work, or something special you do (or just careful selection)?


Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
Those are just awesome looking. They look like chunks taken right out of the lakes. Normally you don't see plants with malawis - is it because the tanks are so big that they work, or something special you do (or just careful selection)?
Not many plants are generally in lake malawi, you have a number of small marsh / overflow areas where plants are.
The plants are more because my girlfriend find this nice ..............

The plants do fairly, it remains a somewhat difficult combination, especially the quite considerable water flow.
The fish leave the plants alone.

My youtube cannel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEIxtjPlpdRSVEhG5cgxvqg?view_as=public[/QUOTE]


Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
I recieved several emails in which people asked how I made the rock wall.
Making this kind of back walls and decorations is very simple, and it is also not to creativity or something, it goes much more to the process and the system to work.
I will list how I did it, and include a list of materials and tools.
On some pictures from the previous report I have some overhangs created by the existing back, this is only done on a few points, normally I dont do it like this, first,it's a lot harder to do, and also more expensive.
Even with the modifications of the 360cm aquarium I'm talking about large part of the walls, and the
overhangs made as described below.

Initially I cut a plate to the desired length and width (this is the maximum size of therear) ........ it should fit later.
The base plate is also just styrofoam, then I cut another plate in the size of the firstplate, then I sign it off in a pattern which I later want.

The next step is to cut out the marked parts, if you've cut out everything you can cut in the relatively
small pieces a design application and / or they are thicker so that they protrude more later, for
thicken a separate part, you can cut out the first part covers a different styrofoam plate.
The individual pieces you dont make smaller than the dimensions that you received after cutting, you
go only straight edges a little crooked crop
The cropping pattern is very easy ............ you can potentially never do much wrong ............... it does
not have to be fluent, this will come later.
For cutting out the pattern in the individual parts I use ... and this is important for those
degradable hobby knives, this can extend all the way so that you get a knife from 8 to 10 cm.
I am using a hobby knife in the ordinary size and one that is much narrower.

Then grab a hobby burner or something else with an open flame, than you go verrry gently over the Styrofoam pieces you have cut.
There were irregular is in structure or not very smooth transitions than they will
disappear when you just go with the burner over it (you really need to keep the burner on a
reasonable distance from the workpiece otherwise it can be too fast or it will get on fire)
The operation with the burner you do to the surface (side view) but also on the sides, this is an
important act to do, at the moment you work on the sides of the workpiece with the burner
you will see that the material pulls back / shrinks.
Eventually you keep a slightly lower part than you initially have cut (the circumference of the
work piece)
If you do all this and you have all the pieces trimmed and a structure created paste
all pieces to the base plate, this happens with regular aquarium silicone, the pieces will easily
back to the original place match, for they are all significantly decreased.

If the sealant between the base plate and the individual parts is sufficiently cured, you bring tile adhesive on.
The first layer should be quite thick to apply the tile adhesive should be at least as thick that you still can use a
brush, by then subsequent layers, the tile adhesive slightly thinner.

I always do tile adhesive 3 layers, more layers is not necessary and it will not make it stronger.
When i do the last layer of tile adhesive I add pigment, so the final color, I add the pigment to the adhesive
I think this has advantages compared to the later paints and pigments or add to the epoxy, if you add
pigment to the tile adhesive the result will not completely smooth opaque color, this is
because the tile adhesive is not uniformly thick and the pieces where the glue was more liquid
will have a slightly different color effect.
Finally bring the epoxy in 1 or 2 layers, more layers is unnecessary .... it will not make it stronger.
After everything is dry you can see the whole of the aquarium wall slabs, in some cases it may be easier to do this before you make the epoxy layer, in itself it is easier if you make the epoxy
when the workpiece is flat, this especially if there are came in some cracks which are hard to reach.



Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
Summary construction aquarium 2 part 1

I started building my 360 cm (141 inch) aquarium. This aquarium i make, just like my previous project, from multiplex and liquid pond liner. I liked working with these products with my 2200 liter Malawi aquarium. I want to link both aquariums to each other through the filtering. I got reasonable extra capacity with my Malawi aquarium, but do want to make a new filter part with that. Also for the heating i would like to link the aquariums to eachother. And also my current heating system has extra capacity.
Besides all this i want to make a solarcollector for the whole system.
I started building the substructure of the aquarium, i think it is easy to make and doesn't cost too much.
I have build aquarium stands before, but when i was working this afternoon on the one i'm making now, i got the feeling that i made it wrong the other times or to difficult. Used too much wood than while it wasn't nesecary.
I plan to finish the whole with laminate. And i think i will also do that with the already existing aquarium, because i want both aquariums to have the same look.
The existing aquarium i painted, looks ok, but i don't want to paint for weeks anymore, lol. I don't know yet what i will use to create a background.

Today i bought the wood for the aquarium and some underlayment for the construction. I connected the parts together and glued some
parts, including the underlayment. I still have to do some work at the construction, but i'm satisfied with the progress.
Getting stuff always takes a lot of time, so i hope the next few days i can work and take it easy.
I do have to buy some material to finish it, but i saw at a retail shop some laminate that i liked and can use for that and this week its for
sale too!

The costs so far are:
110 euro (145 USD) for the bars + screws
240 euro (316 USD) for all the wood of the aquarium + plate material for the substructure, glue and screws
I bought everything at a retail shop where i also could use some coupons for 20% off.

I'm mostly busy with the front, the whole is quite long this is especially a difficulty at the top of the frame.


Small Fish
Mar 29, 2013
I'm almost ready to work of the substructure. I bought laminate for that and was looking how i want it to look when it is finished.
I think the best way to do it is as in the picture.

I don't know yet how i want to make the filter cause there are several options.
On the pictures you can see an example of how i could make it.
The filter excists of a relatively small before filter and a room for the pump, than the water will be spraid into the dry filter. The whole dry

filter is filled with bio balls and substrate.
I could of course also choose for a somewhat more confessional preparation with for example a large wet biologist.
Feel free to give your opinion ...

Glueing the laminate takes quite long. I am depending on the numbers of clamps I have.