Polystyrene Tank

Jack Daniels

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jun 10, 2017
19
4
8
This is what my concrete slab/brick walls/fibre glassed tanks turned out to be.


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So fibre glass does work quite nicely - but of course we all knew that - nothing new here.

I want to build a steel frame above each tank to hold 3 tiers of aquarium . Each of the blue tanks is 2000mm long x 1000mm wide by 1000mm deep. 2000 ltrs. I need more tank space for more species, so as mentioned a steel frame above the blue tanks. The issue is the tanks on the bottom (the blue tanks) are only built from burnt bricks and I just dont know how much weight they can bare. Hence the lighter I can make the aquarium's the better it is. Hence Polystyrene tanks.

Guess the only way to know for sure is to try it.
 
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FJB

Redtail Catfish
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Dec 15, 2017
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I have nothing to contribute here (absolutely no personal experience), but just wanted to say that I am in awe at the tremendous effort and accomplishment the constructions shown represent. And having tiers of tanks on top (hopefully light materials) will just send that into stratospheric awe. Congratulations and thank you for a very enlightening perspective of what can be done even in very challenging circumstances!
 
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Jack Daniels

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jun 10, 2017
19
4
8
I have nothing to contribute here (absolutely no personal experience), but just wanted to say that I am in awe at the tremendous effort and accomplishment the constructions shown represent. And having tiers of tanks on top (hopefully light materials) will just send that into stratospheric awe. Congratulations and thank you for a very enlightening perspective of what can be done even in very challenging circumstances!
Thank you for your kind words FJB. It sure has been a challenge. Yet I feel like what I have done so far is the easy bit, with the real challenges about to begin. I have to design the steel stands so that they fit into my powder coating oven - steel over water = rust city, unless the steel is well protected. I dont want galvanising as I dont know if water dripping off the Galvanising into the ground tanks would poison the fish or not and I cant take chances. So I decided to powder coat everything steel. There is no powder coating here so I bought a powder coating plant - its built in 2 x 40ft containers. You know you are seriously addicted to your cause when you buy a powder coating plant to powder coat your aquarium stands ! Still, what else was I to do? As mentioned there is no powder coating anywhere near me. I also plan to use a lot of IBC's as grow out tanks. I did an experiment on 1 IBC frame and had it professionally powder coated to see if it would work OK. It did.

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Based on the success of that (I thought it looked quite nice and cleaned up the rusty old steel IBC frame nicely) I ploughed ahead and bought a powder coating plant. I thought it would be a good idea to build the powder coating spray booth and oven into 40ft containers for mobility.

I know it sounds a bit extreme to buy a powder coating plant for some IBC frames and aquarium stands but I plan on lots of both and the cost of trying to get powder coating done at the powder place closet to me was OTT in transport cost because it is so far away (3500 klms away). It just made sense financially to buy my own plant. Plus now that I can powder coat I have decided to wall my property with Gabions. I am going to build my own Gabions and powder coat them. Then I realised that I can build gabions to make a harbour out the front of the plot and powder coat those gabions as well since the bottom sections will be submerged. Its amazing how many things you realise you can powder coat when you have the plant to do it !
 
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Jack Daniels

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jun 10, 2017
19
4
8
After the purchase of the 40ft HC containers I had them shipped to the powder coat equipment company and had a spray booth built into one and an oven built into the other one.

Well, Covid happened along the way. There were closedowns and lockdowns and International borders closed then opened then closed. It was a nightmare logistically as I had to get these containers through 3 countries to get to me. Finally got them to the farm in Lusaka - they will be set up there for testing etc before making the final trip up North.

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Loaded with lots of goodies from South Africa. Lots of polystyrene shipping boxes and if you look at the top left you can see ends of big sheets of polystyrene for my polystyrene tank experiments.


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and lots of fibre glassing supplies. When fibre glassing one uses a LOT of rollers/brushes/buckets etc. All of the fibre glassing supplies are for glassing the polystyrene tanks once they are formed and joined into the final shape/dimensions. DSC_1332.JPG

The inside of the powder coating spray booth. Again, there are long sheets of polystyrene sheets I will use for making tanks (if it works !!). I used the sheets as a liner up against the side of the freezer panels that the spray booth is lined with so that the cargo in the spray booth would not scuff and damage the chromadek freezer panels. The blue pipe on the floor are for a new water pipe line from the lake up the new tanks I am going to build.

All of this to powder coat steel frames that will sit on top of the tanks on the ground ! To be fair I plan on powder coating several hundred IBC steel frames as well as the IBC's are ideal for grow out tanks.
 

fishdance

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Jan 30, 2007
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Sarnissia has a Facebook page and website - https://www.sarnissa.stir.ac.uk/

Brick (like concrete) has tremendous compression strength so it will support extrenely heavy loads. I use one house brick under each steel rack leg to keep steel feet out of water due to the occasional wet floor. Well over a tonne weight per single brick.

You mentioned you will be importing glass from China for tank fronts? I self imported 60mm thick custom glass pre-covid and found the quality excellent and glass prices amazing. So do consider going all glass. 6mm thick is borderline sufficient for 50cm deep tanks but 10mm glass is better and much easier to glue. For 2m long glass tanks, I would use a split base (2 pieces) to accommodate flex. I used to make glass tanks commercially and have made most of my own (quite a few).

I have tried powder coating for rust prevention but didn't find it suitable and now use commercial grade protective coating (2 part epoxy paint). Applications include marine environments, petroleum and harsh liquid chemical storage tanks. Very hard wearing. As you have already invested heavily in powder coating, equipment, I'm sure you might find a way to make it work.

I was thinking about your use of steel rod within polystyrene and suspect the polystyrene would easily compress so stiffening would not be achieved unless you fiberglass the rod on exterior. But play around until you find a solution.
 

Jack Daniels

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jun 10, 2017
19
4
8
The problem with my burnt bricks is that they are locally made. Quality leaves much to be desired. I just cant trust them. So will come up with something to put the steel tank stands on.

Just for fun yesterday i phoned the biggest local supplier of glass in this country. $165 USD per sqm for 12mm float. $140 USD for 8mm. I'll be importing glass for sure. Local issues particular to my circumstances dictate ways of doing things that wouldnt be so in the western world. I will give the foam a go first and fall back to ply if i have too. All glass is 3rd prize. Lots of local reasons why thats not PC to discuss.

Powder coat can be pretty tuff stuff. Its all in the prep. I will be using epoxy based powders. Primarily the powder coating need is for IBC frames. To get them done down South then truck them in is around $150 USD each. Not happening so will do it myself. Over hundreds the plant will be amortised soon enough vs paying to get them done outside. I have been using IBC's for a long time and in a constant wet environment the frames rust out in 5 or 6 years.

Looking at 3mm bamboo plywood sheets to help stiffen up the layup. will see.
 
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