Never want to haul those buckets again? Love large, predatory fish but hate/fear the amount of maintenance needed? This is probably your best bet. Drip systems are excellent for water quality, and you can't beat the price or the efficiency that they offer.
Setting up a drip system is as simple as buying an adapter for your sink, hooking up a filter system (and an auto-doser or additional filtration, if you have chloramines in your water), and setting up an overflow for the waste water. Once they are set up they constantly change the water in your tank, ensuring that it is stable and crystal-clean. Here are a few resources to get you started:
Primary resources for setting up a Drip system (overflow or drill)
Danger Chicken's Automatic Water Change System: http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=152445
This thread is for an timer-operated DIY automatic water changer. This system is more complex, and more expensive, than what you would get with a more basic drip system. In my opinion, a system like this would have to be watched a lot more closely, and the sudden changes of water still hold the same shock value as regular water changes. It does, however, give a good price list and it is a feasible (albeit overcomplicated, in my opinion) alternative to the more popular and stable traditional drip system.
Chomper's Howto DIY Plumbing without angering your wife/landlord: http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55152
This is a fairly detailed guide on how to run plumbing without devaluing your home (wife and landlord friendly). I haven't ever gotten into this style of plumbing, as I simply use coaxial-cable brackets to wall-mount the thin hoses, but it is a good read.
Simple Chloramine filter: http://www.thefilterguys.biz/chloramine_filters.htm
This is more expensive in the long run than setting up an auto-doser, and in my opinion it would be more of a headache. It is worth looking in to, but I personally wouldn't recommend it.
ok so I'm new here. I've got several tanks currently and have repaired several throughout the years. I came to this site based off of researching a plywood aquarium because what I want for dimensions i cant purchase. that being said i also have a wonderful wife whom i love dearly that wants it to be a beautiful feature(cant blame her but I only have so many tools). I'm curious if anyone has repurposed a China hutch or large curio cabinet into an aquarium?
Now that your done laughing at the new guy... if a guy were to so the glass right (front first and then sides for support and plywood back) why wouldnt it work?
I understand that cleaning it will be a pain due to height however that's not a real concern for me. My concern is can it be done? If not why not?
Stubby, I replied to this same post in the plywood tank discussion.
But I didn't tell you why it wouldn't work, because it could.
It's just a can of worms buddy. You'll be sorry in the end.
Yet, because I foolishly can't ignore an interesting engineering problem, I could help you with the structure.
In plan view, you have an aquarium where the front does not span across. There are MANY ways to address this major structural issue, including steel framing hidden inside the wood framing. (It is far from the only issue.)
The main front glass appears ~ 2'-6" wide & ~4' tall & If that is one piece it will be 1" thick weighing over 130 lbs. Go price that single glass panel and you may just sell that cabinet and buy a custom built aquarium of practical proportions.
It all gets much worse from there. You are FAR better off building a real aquarium/stand structure from scratch, and garnishing it with fancy woodwork.
Ultimately, it will be a big PITA to keep fish alive in & impossible to service without Waldoes.
BTW FOLKS . . . The above pontifications are only my strong opinions, based on some readily assumed parameters but scant hard data. (When asking such questions, rough dimensions and internal photos would help.)
There is "always" another way, depending on what you are willing to sacrifice.
For instance, the front glass may be MUCH thinner and just reinforced by internal fin-work, Internal reinforcement bulkheads, openwork trusses, or combination methods. Such things might be concealed from view (mostly) by the woodwork.
In engineering the biggest decision is often labor vs material. You may often trade one for another. It's done all the time.