You've got to start with an idea. In my minds eye I see a waterfall starting at one end with a large, deep pool underneath it. From there a stream lined with rocks and plants works its way to the other end. A water return system pipes the water back to the origin.
The waterfall originates from a rock cliff that actually extends above the rim of the tank on the left side and pours down a series of rock plates into the lower tank portion.
Even though each side will be one piece, I've calculated the volumes as if it were two seperate tanks (it's easier that way for a math-challenged person like myself).
The cross-section shown above is influenced by a couple things. First - it makes efficient use of a 3'X6' sheet of acrylic (the size easiest for me to buy). I can get both sides from one sheet. The notch at the left end serves a couple purposes. It lets me use a prefab cabinet for a leg and it's structural - not such a large flat area to stand against water pressure. The longer notch on the right end gives room for another pair of cabinet "legs" and perhaps a couple shelves.
The rivertank project is temporarily stalled due to lack of funds (this is going to be an expensive tank!) and uncertancy about the final shape. I have been completing the list of materials and giving serious thought to what type of lighting I'll employ. I'm currently leaning towards light hoods hung from the ceiling to an adjustable distance over the top of the tank. This would allow plants to grow over the top edges and let viewers look down into the aquarium.
I'm thinking that the tank would be a lot better if it were 8 feet long instead of 6. This would add another 10 gallons of water to the upper tank and give more options when aquascaping by extending the 'river' portion of the tank. I sure wish I knew where I'm going to put this monster if I ever get it done.
I'm considering making the tank 18" deep (back towards the wall, not tall) instead of 12". This would increase the water volume by 50% in both the upper and lower tanks and once again give more options when laying out the 'river' portion of the tank. The pre-fab cabinets I plan to use for legs would easily hold this increased size.
I've also considered bending both ends of the tank 45 degrees outward (with the bend at each end of the lower tank) to make a sort of 'pit-group' shaped aquarium. This would let it sit in a corner but would add to the cost because of the odd shape of the bottom plate. However, this *might* let me get away with using thinner acrylic - the bends would be structural, reducing the size of the flat plate areas.
Comments anyone? More to come...
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