Jump to content

Posted Image

PCS & Stuart M. Grant - Cichlid Preservation Fund - Details here

Most Liked Content

#364240 In My Back Yard

Posted by Terry on 29 November 2017 - 12:05 PM

I found these 2 tortoises laying eggs in my back yard on Monday they were about 20 meters apart, there was another nest about 40 meters away but the bandicoots had already got at them. I covered both nests with wire crates for protection. The hatchlings will be able to get through the wire.Attached File  26112017a.jpg   290.67KB   13 downloadsAttached File  26112017b.JPG   160.18KB   13 downloadsAttached File  26112017c.JPG   223.87KB   12 downloadsAttached File  26112017d.JPG   310.23KB   12 downloads

#363404 A Visit To Morley 17/09/2017

Posted by Fox on 19 September 2017 - 01:55 PM

After seeing a lot of dead/dying/hybrid or deformed fish around my close vicinity LFS, Morley has become a firm favorite and a regular drop by on my break. (Aquotix & Vebas are the other 2 ;) but a little further away)


Paul always has some cool stuff in and is always helpful.
I dropped by on Sunday after some kayak action down the swan, I had a couple of Hoplarchus psittacus on hold and as I found out while I was there.... at a BARGAIN price... How could I resist.
I've never kept this species before but have always been intrigued.
Anyways, I quickly dropped my kayak at home and grabbed my camera and jumped on the bike and rode over to Morley.... When I got there I released in the rush I had forgotten my speedlght :( So I only got a couple of pics.
Next break I'll try for more.
Whilst I was there I overheard Paul talking to a new customer about filtration and remembered why I hate "supermarket" shops so much..
The right info and shows passion about the job he was doing.
Thanks Paul for the Hoplarchus psittacus & the other species Ive grabbed lately, Much appreciated.

Attached File  Yak.jpg   51.53KB   16 downloads













#350352 I May Be Unwell

Posted by chrishaigh82 on 09 March 2016 - 11:45 PM

I've kept fish before however never africans.  I may have caught the bug.


When I've kept fish at home I have never really had a lot of time to enjoy them due to work and "life".  This time around I've put a tank in my office (chiropractic/health clinic in canning vale), where I spend most of my time and I can enjoy them the most.  We did this when going through a full refit after going through the change of ownership and the thing I've been surprised at is how much our staff have taken on the fish as their pets and how much our patients love them all.  


I'll attach some pictures of the install of the main display tank with predominantly peacocks, the guys from Aquotix did an amazing job and Mattia keeps them all happy for us ever since.  


I'm amazed at how quickly they are all growing.









when first put in
















I also have a tropheus tank who will be joined soon by some new comers from germany very soon










#358671 One Of Those Days . . . . .

Posted by humbug on 15 January 2017 - 10:20 PM

Someone posted on one of the Facebook groups today about having one of those bad days that leaves you questioning why you keep fish. I know how he feels.  I’ve had a lot of those days lately. Too many other distractions in my life making it a struggle to find time to care for the fish properly, let alone to have time to sit back and enjoy them. A couple of equipment failures leading to the loss of important fish. A couple of experiences with hobbyists and industry that have left me wondering why the hell I bother . . . . . .


But then you have one of those good days, and it reaffirms why you keep plodding on. I’ve had one of those days today.

I’ve kept a lot of species over the years, but there are a couple which are particularly close to my heart. Lichnochromis acuticeps is one of those. If really pushed, I’d probably admit this is the species dearest to me.


Four years ago, they were a fish that I’d admired from photographs but never thought likely I’d keep. At that point, they had only been bred successfully a handful of times in this country. But in March 2013, some juvis became available and I grabbed 10. My “Holy Grail” then became to breed them myself.

A couple of disasters early on, and I lost half of the ten. I ended up with only two females from the remaining fish. Not a great start. They eventually bred in early 2015, and I kept the fry from that first brood. The adults have bred on a couple of occasions since, and gradually we have been getting juvis out so others can enjoy what I consider to be the ultimate Malawi hap.


So I’d reached my “Holy Grail”. But you know what I find even more rewarding than breeding a species for the first time? I get a HUGE buzz out of raising home-bred fish, watching them mature, and then breeding the next generation from them.


Today I stood in the fishroom in front of the tank containing the youngsters from my first Lichno brood. They are now 22 months of age. To my surprise and delight, I stood and watched a pair spawning for the very first time. The little male looks gorgeous in his newly acquired colours. The little female is plump and a picture of health. In the tank I spied another couple of girls which look ready to spawn as well. My heart sang.

Yep – as I said to this guy on Facebook earlier today, if this was all easy, and you never had those bad days, then days like today wouldn’t feel half as sweet. :)

#344843 10 X 2 X 2 Frontosa Tank Journal

Posted by kassysimon on 23 September 2015 - 07:58 PM

Hi all.


So I got a little bored and saw all of these great journals and thought I’d get in on it too.

I had a 10x2x2 with two FX5’s running a high tech planted tank with CO2, auto dosing liquid fertilisers, auto water change and top up with PH, heating and lighting controlled via a Profilux aquarium computer.


I designed an area in the house a built to house this tank and time came to finally complete the project which meant building cabinets around the tank which sat on a metal stand in the living room so it was rather unsightly.


The tank looked like this  in its prime.


Attached File  After 3 (Large).jpg   71.14KB   62 downloads


Attached File  ind 4 (Large).jpg   101.08KB   53 downloads


Attached File  ind 5 (Large).jpg   114.86KB   53 downloads


Attached File  ind 6 (Large).jpg   124.64KB   50 downloads


Before stripping it down and selling off the plants, fish and gravel it looked like this.


Attached File  IMG_7843 (Large).JPG   90.32KB   55 downloads


I’ve been designing the cabinets and consulting with the cabinet maker for a few months and finally got all my requirements dialed in. The plan was for the final result to look something like this.


Attached File  1.jpg   9.84KB   51 downloads


Attached File  3.jpg   8.06KB   47 downloads


The cabinets are built from Nema Board. A polymer waterproof (amongst many other things) product that can be worked like mdf. I chose this to be used in the carcasses only and then an HMRMDF for the doors and scribes.


I originally decided upon a sump as filtration but the return pump noise was of great concern seeing as the tank is in the living room so I opted to run the FX5’s again. I had Nick (aka Riggers) drill the required holes for me (which came out perfect) which I’m still using for the auto water change, auto top off and emergency overflow. 


A quick render of the sump.


Attached File  2.jpg   16.82KB   47 downloads


I moved the fish a wished to keep into a holding tank and the build began the build.


This was the area all cleaned out.


Attached File  IMG_7951 (Large).JPG   76.12KB   51 downloads


Attached File  IMG_7999 (Large).JPG   76.16KB   49 downloads


First the bottom cabs went in.


Attached File  IMG_8002 (Large).JPG   77.53KB   48 downloads


Then the full heights and over heads.


Attached File  IMG_8004 (Large).JPG   91.32KB   47 downloads



And then the carcasses were done...


Attached File  IMG_8005 (Large).JPG   92.69KB   46 downloads


Attached File  IMG_8011 (Large).JPG   80.64KB   46 downloads



Next came the doors and vuala!


A few little touch-ups and leveling off.....


Attached File  IMG_8022 (Large).JPG   63.47KB   46 downloads




Plumbing in the auto water change, top off and overflow came next. Room was left in the piping to allow me to integrate replacing water at water change time with conditioned water. But since I can ultimately change as much or as little water as I like at as many or few  intervals I decided to leave it for now as mains pressure water has served me well in the past so far.



Here is the sump installed.


Attached File  IMG_8037 (Large).JPG   80.73KB   50 downloads


But as mentioned the FX5's were used instead.


The plumbing for ATO and AWC with and emergency overflow.


Attached File  IMG_8069 (Large).JPG   46.21KB   54 downloads



I ran two 300w Jager heaters in the last setup and will be doing the same again, mostly for redundancy as water changes will be small but often. I ran them in-line to keep the tank looking clean. The FX5’s run into the heater manifold and then directly into the tank.


The two FX5’s plumbing was next which was just simply running pipes into the cabinets and making room for the two inline heaters.

I’ll be using Gin Gin river sand from Wangara Soils aint Soils as a substrate with granite and possibly schist stone as decorations and hiding places.


A trip to Wangara this weekend will see me well stocked and ready to start scaping the tank.


With that said ill post another update once scaping is complete.



#330360 Fish Are Enjoying Halloween :)

Posted by Michael the fish fanatic on 31 October 2014 - 04:04 PM


#324273 Any Treasure Hunters Out There...

Posted by Westie on 12 August 2014 - 01:44 PM

I found a $2 coin at a local park on Sunday while going for a walk. Went to IGA and purchased a packet of biscuits with the find. Was pretty stoked

#314878 Rant!

Posted by TheTexasCichlidMasacre on 07 May 2014 - 11:12 AM

Are you here to learn and share? if you are i Applaud you...


are you here to share a wealth of experience that you have gained? then thankyou


are you here to learn and then demoralise newbies once you think you know enough to be considered experienced? then i condemn you!


this is a place where people should not be afraid to post or ask for advice and if you are sick of answering the questions why are you here?


i for one will never stop helping new people....


i am proud of the knowledge i have gained from this place... but i dont confuse pride with arrogance ! but i know some do... 


if you need to take your meds before you answer questions then that might be better then slamming newbies :)

#304404 Massive Cherry Shrimp In Sw Rivers

Posted by Mr_docfish on 07 January 2014 - 08:58 PM





#363115 Fish Room Shed Build

Posted by KurtFreitag on 29 August 2017 - 03:09 PM

New member here so id like to firstly say Hi.
I'm currently converting my shed into a fish room as my house simply doesn't have the space.
Spent the last two weeks on and off around work and 4 kids and this is the progress so far.
Still got the power to be terminated, plastering/painting, air con to be installed and flooring to be sealed and then I can move in the racks approximate tank count 31 not including the planned 6x 6ft tanks.
Going to be a busy month.
Attached File  20170824_201907.jpg   163.47KB   22 downloads
Attached File  20170828_170815.jpg   72.47KB   20 downloads
Attached File  20170828_170857.jpg   94.46KB   20 downloads

#358897 February Meeting - P.c.s. Auction

Posted by humbug on 22 January 2017 - 09:04 AM

 . . . . and a BIG thank you from me to Andrew at Labyrinth, and Poncho, Mattia and Aquotix in WA (plus anyone else behind the scenes!), for making this folly possible. I'm sending fish from Adelaide to Perth . . . via Sydney :rolleyes:   Andrew has put himself out to house them for a week at the shop en route.  They fly to Perth on Wednesday, and then have to be handled and housed by the guys at Aquotix until the auction.  The logistics of this is insane!!!!  Thank you all so much for making this possible.  Hopefully it raises something for the Stuart Grant fund, and helps to get some of these rarer fish established in the west.

Please, please, please, dig deep for a good cause, and show support for these guys who do so much to keep your Society going.  I'm betting a lot of you take the Society, and its tireless workers, for granted.  You don't know how lucky you are to live in a state with an active group such as this!!!!

#359391 Snaps From Work

Posted by keleherr on 08 February 2017 - 03:01 PM

Couple on snaps from a new gig in the NT

Attached Files

#356104 Discus Display Pics

Posted by hollis on 21 October 2016 - 12:02 PM

got off a few half decent phone pics the other night , just wanted to share









#354419 Fish Of The Month - Ctenochromis Horei

Posted by Stormfyre on 03 August 2016 - 11:02 AM

As the Fish of the Month for September, there will 2 lots of bags of 8 x of Ctenochromis horei available at the PCS Meeting for auction. These are special lots to raise money for Stuart Grant Fund for Cichlid Preservation and have kindly been donated by one of our PCS Members - Joel (Extend). Joel has also written this months FotM profile - 



Ctenochromis horei

Ctenochromis horei is a medium to large cichlid from Lake Tanganyika and some of the lower reaches of the rivers that feed Tanginyika.  According to Pierre Brichard, C. horei was classed as Haplochromis horei in 1888 and later reviewed by P. H Greenwood in 1979 to become Ctenochromis horei.



According to Ad Konings in back to nature guide to Tanginyikan cichlids, C. horei males reach 18-20cm and females 12-15cm.  



OrderPerciformes FamilyCichlidae



C. hoeri are found throughout the lake and are also encountered in the rivers that feed into and out of Lake Tanginyika; river such as Lukuga River, Ruzizi River and Nua River.  C. horei are most often found lurking around vegetated habitats in shallow water between 1-2m but will also venture out to the open sand and around rocky areas close to their preferred aquatic plant hangouts.



Ctenochromis horei are omnivores and will eat plant matter, small fish and invertebrates.  In the aquarium they thrive on New Life Spectrum cichlid formula as a staple diet, baby guppies as treat but don’t seem to take much of an interest in frozen brine shrimp.  They eat lots and females that have just come off holding fry, should be fattened up before they are allowed to spawn again.



C. horei should be provided with a large tank, minimum 4x2x2ft (6x2x2 if other species of Tanginyikan cichlids are to be kept in the same tank) for a colony of 4 or 5 fish.  Fine, sandy substrate like playground sand, mixed with a small amount coral or aragonite sand (to buffer the water quality) is perfect. 

Water conditions for C. horei are similar to keeping most Tanginyikan cichlids i.e. pH 8.5-8.7 or higher say 9.0, 24-26 degrees celcius and a kH of 10-15 are ideal for these fish to thrive.

Being an aggressive fish by nature provide adequate rock work and caves for the females and non-dominant males.  If you can grow Vallisneria sp in the Tanginyikan tank, plant this and it not only makes a more natural habitat is provides extra cover and food for the fish.



A conspecific aggressionist, meaning that you can keep C. horei with other species of Tanginyikan cichlids, as the males are only aggressive towards other males all the time and females at breeding time.  This being said, keep one male to 3 or 4 females; any other non-dominant male is harassed to the point of death or serious injury.  C. horei have been kept in a 6x2x2.5 along with Cyprichromis sp, Julidochromis sp and Synodontis sp, with the only harm being done to the other C.horei



Maternal mouth brooder.  Males construct a bower in the sand (size depends on each individual male) or clear a place among aquatic plants to spawn.  There is a display, which consists of the male’s colour becoming brighter and short bursts of shaking in front of the female before getting down to business.



Ctenochromis horei is not a hugely popular aquarium fish due to its size and conspecific aggression. However the ease of care and breeding should ensure that those with little to moderate experience in cichlids should be able to keep and breed these fish with ease provided adequate cover and supervision is given.  Males, when fully coloured up are among the most striking fish in the lake; with their black face mask, bright yellow lower jaw, red and green spotted 10 bar flanks and bleeding heart spot under the pectoral fins, they really are a sight to behold.


The other fish that is a close relative is lobochilotes labiatus. A similar looking fish, with rather distended lips.


horei%201.jpg horei%202.jpg


Joel (Extend) took these two awesome pictures below himself of his livestock. Don't forget he has donated some of these great fish for you to bid on at the September Meeting. Learn about the fish and then own the fish. Funds raised go Cichlid Preservation.





#351937 Finally Bred Wild Blue Zaire Frontosa

Posted by Pchmb on 09 May 2016 - 06:03 PM

Hi all,


My name is Paul and I am a Biology Teacher that has been keeping fish on and off for the past 20 years. At the age of 14, I bought my first 4 foot tank. Over the next few years I breed Axolotls, Oscars and Guppies. I had large cattle troughs with Koi, Gambesia and Guppies. Moving up to Perth for university, I shared a house with 3 guys, who all studied aquaculture at Fremantle Maritime Tafe. Our house was full of tanks and I remember Anglefish, Oscars, and Convicts all being bred. You could also find Yabbies in our bathtub.


Last year I spent a bit of money keeping a 600L community Discus tank. Eventually I bred a beautiful pair, but was unsuccessful at raising the fry. My favourite fish in the tank were the Red Torpedo Barbs.


This year I decided to try my luck with Frontosa and it just happened that Rob's Aquarium were selling David's Wild Caught 6 Bar Frontosa (Moba, Kipilli- Zaire Blue...). I originally set up 3, five foot fish tanks with sump which was around 950L all up. The pump I used, 15000L/hr I discovered was just too much flow for my Frontosa. There was also too much movement, light and noise for them where I had this set up, so I moved them into my garage. The Frontosa now can be found in a 750L, 6 foot tank with all blacked out sides. This was a good move, with one of my Fronts spawning, however no success with the fry, with the mother soon consuming them. I have been monitoring and adjusting the water chemistry, and the advice from David was to have the kH at 7 and gH at 22. My levels are still a bit lower then this.


I am also keeping a community of Tropheus Debosi and Red Moliro, Leleupi, Synodontis Petricola, Black Calvus, Haplochromis of some type and some chocolate Plecos. Another community tank contains Electric Yellow Labs, Lithobates and Pseudotropheus Williamsi. Another tank contains Auloncara Stuartgranti Blue Neons and Albino C Moorii which are looking really healthy. Oh and I have another 5 foot tank full of Black Snakeskin Guppies that I bred from a single pair imported last year.


My goal this year is to convert the sunroom of my old asbestos house into a Fish Room and take all the tanks out from my garage. Obviously I have to figure out how best to insulate the room. I currently have around 20 tanks and would love to hook them all into one or two sump systems to reduce the energy consumption and make the water changing process more automated. Lots to figure out but kind of cool to research others systems.


I'm really excited to finally join the Perth Cichlid Community after reading so many of posts over all these years!

Attached Files

#351263 Updated Cichlid List

Posted by Aquotix Aquariums on 13 April 2016 - 04:08 PM

Hello everyone,


We have lots of new and rare species in stock, some are left from our German import, others from local and Eastern states breeders.

Come in for a look, here a "small" list of the exciting fish we have currently in stock.


Astatotilapia Nubila RARE worth breeding

Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi Maulana "Lemon Jake"

Aulonocara Steveni 'Blue Neon

Aulonocara Stuartgranti Hongi Island

Aulonocara Stuartgranti Galileya Reef

Aulonocara Maulana "bicolour"

Aulonocara Maylandi

Aulonocara Rostratum RARE worth breeding

Callochromis Macrops Red Ndole RARE

Chilotilapia Rohadesii

Copadichromis Kandango

Cyatopharynx Furcifer Orange Cap Sibwesa RARE

Cynotilapia Afra Cobue

Cyphotilapia Frontosa Mpimbwe WILD CAUGHT

Cyprochromis Jumbo Tricolor

Cyprochromis Kiriza Black RARE worth breeding

Cyprochromis Jumbo Kitumba

Dimidiochormis Strigatus

Haplochromis Thereuterion (SUPER RARE!) worth breeding

Hemitaeniochromis Spilopterus Yellow (SUPER RARE!) worth breeding

Julidochromis Transcriptus KISSI ISLAND

Julidochromis Regani Kipili WC

Julidochromis Ornatus Yellow Zaire RARE

Labidochromis Nkhali

Lamprologus Ocellatus GOLD

Lethrinops Longipinnis

Lethrinops Red Capi Itungi Port (nice ones!) worth breeding

Melanochormis Chipokae

Melanochormis Johanjohnsonae

Metriaclima Zebra Sp. Long Pelvic

Metriaclima Pulpican

Naevochromis Chrysogaster

Neolamprologus Buesheri Kachese "Blue" RARE

Neolamprologus Caudopunctatus Orange fins

Neolamprologus Cylindricus

Neolamprologus Hecqui

Neolamprologus Leleupi Yellow

Neolamprologus Tetracanthus

Nimbochromis Polistigma

Otopharynx Lithobates Z.R.

Otopharynx sp Sani Spot

Paracyprichromis Nigripinnis

Placidochromis Phoenochilus Tanzania

Placidochromis MDOKA "White Lips" RARE worth breeding

Placidochromis Milomo VC10

Protomelas Spinolotus Tanzania

Protomelas Taeniolatus Namalenje Island (rare, super RED!) worth breeding

Pseudotropheus Aceii Msuli

Pseudotropheus Aceii Ngara

Pseudotropheus Perspicax

Pseudotropheus Saulosi

Pseudotropheus Williamsi Blue Lips

Spathodus Erythrodon Kabezi Wild Caught

Steatocranus Casuarius

Stigmatochromis Pleurospilus

Synodontys Petricola

Synodontys Ocellifer

Synodontys Multipunctatus Wild Caught

Synodontys Ilebrevis

Tropheus Annectens kekese

Tropheus Duboisi

Tropheus Duboisi STARDUST

Tropheus Kiriza

Tropheus Moliro "Super Red" worth breeding

Tropheus Red Rainbow


Paratilapia Polleni

Parachromis Freidrichenstalii

Nicaraguensis (Parrot Cichlid)

Topaz cichlid

Vjeja Blue Zonatus

Vjeja Synspillum

Mesonauta Insignis (Festivum)

Cuban cichlid RARE

Sajica "T-Bar cichlid"

Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis Bimaculatus)




Celebes Rainbow

Madagascar Rainbow


and much much more..... :)

#341025 Welcome Aquarium Gallery Perth

Posted by Aquarium Gallery on 29 June 2015 - 02:58 PM

Hi Rovik,


Thanks for the welcome and your help with getting us on board, we are happy to join this fish community and look forward to meeting people in store. i have posted some updated pics of the store


















#324291 Well...... I'm Engaged.

Posted by Cam85 on 12 August 2014 - 03:47 PM

Hey guys and girls,


Been going out with my girlfriend for just over 6 years and thought it was time to pop the question. She said YES!!! Im so totally happy right now.


cheers for reading


#359410 Auction Roundup

Posted by Chris Perth on 08 February 2017 - 09:10 PM

Auction Roundup


The PCS Auction on 7th Feb 17 was well attended with aprox 75 attendees (No I didn’t do a head count – this is purely my guesstimate)


Here are some stats for those who like them. A total of 147 lots went under the hammer from an original list of 151. Here is a break up of Lots by number and percentage of total.




 Lots                               %

Snails                                                                                                                                                                                2                                 1.36


Books/Mags                                                                                                                                                                      2                                 1.36

Catfish                                                                                                                                                                            27                                 18.37


Cichlids                                                                                                                                                                           38                                  26.53


Non Cichlid  Fish #                                                                                                                                                         12                                     7.48


Total Fish*                                                                                                                                                                      50                                    34.01


Shrimp                                                                                                                                                                           17                                    11.56


Plants                                                                                                                                                                            41                                     27.89


Other**                                                                                                                                                                          8                                         5.44


Total                                                                                                                                                                            147                                       100


* Sub-total of all fish – not part of overall total.

# comprised of all Guppies and 1 pr of Rainbows.

** All items not categorised as above.



Really great to see the number of donations made to raise money for the Stuart Grant Fund, 32 in total making up almost 22% of the Lots. bigjohnnofish and chen were the next largest contributors of Lots comprising quality fish and plants which were eagerly bid on by those in attendance.



Name                                 Lots                               %

Donations                         32                                 21.77

bigjohnnofish                     27                                 18.37


 chen                                 27                                  18.37


sjconsen                           10                                   6.80


stormfyre                          10                                   6.80


bostave                             9                                     6.12


Terry                                  9                                     6.12


Mr Green                           8                                     5.44


bonnyboi                           4                                     2.72


Mr White                           4                                      2.72


horseman                         3                                      2.04


Sue                                   2                                     1.36


Dicky7                              1                                      0.68


poncho                             1                                     0.68


Totals                             147                                     100



The most expensive individual fish of the night were two lge male Peppermints 13cm which went for $70 and $80 respectively.


The most expensive lot was $300 for 10 x Tropheus brichardi "Canary cheek" 3-4cm i.e. $30 per fish which was not an unreasonable price – all the best to the purchaser and hopefully a lot more will come on the market next year?


Guppies - Apart from 2 bags of feeder guppies – the quality stock averaged over $8 a fish with the highest being $10 per fish for a bag of 4 x Poecilia reticulata "blue grass" 3-5cm MFFF


Shrimp were again popular and apart from ‘ninjas’ all got good prices with a bag of 5 ‘Neocaridina Dennerli sp. baby Sulawesi shrimp 2cm’ going for $80 or $16.00 per shrimp.


Cichlid Breakup of the 38 Lots of Cichlids

 Cichlids                  Lots          %   

Tanganyikan              8           21.1

 Malawi                    22          57.9  

Victoris                       1           2.6  

Central American       7         18.4        

Total                         38          100


Plants – there were 41 Lots which averaged almost $25 per Lot but the stars of the show were two Lots of Crinium Calamistratum which fetched $70 and $80 respectively though there were 14 lots that were snapped up for under $20 each.


I post this for the people that were not able to get there – if Admin is not happy with this type of post please delete.


Edited to align tables and include Cichlid and plant data.

#346149 Acrylic 101

Posted by BigSkip on 26 October 2015 - 11:14 AM

Hey guys, i have a few spare minutes at work so im going to start up a series to help teach everyone about the use of acrylics and how to get the best out of them (to the best of my knowledge). My aim for this series of threads is to help make high quality acrylic work acessible and acheivable with common and reasonably cheap tooling.


First, a bit of background, I am a first class fitter and Machinist currently employed to manufacture experimental equipment used in reasearch and education. Alot of which involves some fairly high end acrylic fabrication work.


So What is Acrylic?


'Acrylic' is a collective term used to discribe a group of glass like thermo-plastic resins made by polymerizing ester of acrylic or methacrylic acid.Usually polymethyl-methacrylate.


Acrylic as it is commonly sold is a a cast or extruded product composed of Acylic Polymer, sometimes with additives (colours, uv-stabilisers etc). A polymer put simply is a plastic, getting its name frome the molecular structure displayed by plastics, Long chains of molecules joined and interlocked together.


In the manufacture process there are two main ways of acheving the desired profile for products, Extrusion and Casting. Extruded Acrylic products are cheaper due to much faster production methods but arent quite as strong as the cast material, but its reasonably close.


Why use Acrylic?



  • Weight - Acrylic is much lighter than glass, making it easier to move large tanks made from acrylic (most of the weight of a full tank is the water, substrate etc. So only comes into play when tank is empty)
  • Impact resistance - Although a very sharp blow will crack acrylic, its impact resistance is in the order of 10 times that of glass.
  • Shape - Acrylic is easily moulded in custom shapes with out the use of extremely high tempretures.
  • Strength - Acrylic tanks require thinner materials to hold the same water weight, so thinner acrylic is needed then if glass were used.
  • Refractive index - The refraction of light through acrylic materials is very close to that of water, so less viewing distortion will happen when viewing the tank from an angle.
  • Clarity - Acrylic is clearer than glass so gives a better veiw of the true colours of the inhabitants, although some acrylic yellow slightly with age, if cared for well this shouldnt happen for many many years.



  • Cost - Acrylic is more expensive than Glass, This is due to it being a petrolium based product, as aposed to glass which is silicate (sand) based.
  • Rigidity - Acrylic is more flexible than glass so needs more support under the tank and bracing at the top to prevent bowing and joint failure.
  • Scratchability - Acrylic is scratched much more easily than glass, although scratch repair in acrylic is significantly easier and requires less specialty equipment


What tools are needed for Acrylic work?


Basic Tank construction can be performed with a circular saw, a hand drill, a router, a good straight edge and a sander. In the posts to following you may see me using some much larger and more expensive peices of equipment, this is to acheive the best possible result, as some of the equipment will be used for scientific reasearch, for a hobbyist hand held powertools can work fine.


How is Acrylic sold?


Acrylic is usualy sold in Sheets and in lengths of Tube.


Sheet sizes are usually 1220mm X 2440mm, in thicknesses of 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, 5mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and upto 300mm (that would be a hell of a tank to need 300mm... hell of a budget too)




Tube is sold in length of 1M or 2M, in lots of diffrent sizes. It is dimension based on the external diameter and wall thickness, Wallthickness being the width of 1 side of the tube. Diameters can be from 3mm upto 2M.




How do i Size Acrylic?


There are alot of calculators online for working out the thickness of acrylic required. probably the easiest to use is the GRAF tank builder; http://www.garf.org/tank/buildtank.asp.

All of these Calculators assume the use of solvent cements with imperfect joins, so if you use the stronger more expensive glues you can get away with thinner acrylic, but at your own risk.


How do i join Acrylic?


The use of acrylic dictates the use of specialist glues, though some expoxies may adhere to acrylic, its no very well and will be pretty ugly. Silicone is a definate no-go as it will just peel straight off. Below are 3 of the Adhesives i commonly use in my acrylic fabrication work.



Here is a quick run down and pros and cons of each;


Weld-on 3 (Back Right):

A Dichloromethane based solvent cement. It has a medium Joint Strength. This is less of a glue and more of a Chemical welding agent. It works by chemically melting the acrylic and then eveaporateing away, leaveing the join to reharden as a solid joint. Adhesion time can be slowed by the addition of small amounts of Acetone.


Pros: Cheap.

Easy (with the right technique, will post a thread on that soon).

Sets within minutes, full bond strength in 24-48 hours (depending on joint width)

Cons: Messy if not carefull.

Only a medium joint strength.

Very little working time after application.

Requires extremely carefull edge preperation


Acrifix 192 (front and center):

A single part UV polymerising cement. Provides a medium bond strength. can be used to fill gaps and on slightly uneven edges. It is an acrylic monomer suspension with a uv activated cataylist


Pros: Fills Gaps

very attractive and highly transparent bonds

apply straight from the tube, no applicator needed

Edge prep can be a little rough

Cons: Price, Aproximately $15 a tube

Requires a bright UV light source to set

Takes 2-3 hours to set even with high power uv source, Full hardness in 2-3 days.

Can be very mesy if not very carefully.


Acrifix 190: (rear left)

a two part polymerizing adhesive. very high bond strength. provides near invisible joins and is the highest strength acrylic adheisive i know of.

Pros: Very strong

Can fill large gaps (accounting for shrickage)

very clear joins if mixed properly

Cons: Very expensive, $76 dollars for 1KG of the adhesive (aprox 1.1 litre) and $20 for the catalyst which is required.

Can be very hard to get hold of (my last order through work had to be special ordered from germany and took 8 weeks)

Takes 24 hours to set, 1 week for full hardness.

Smells very strong, definetely needs good ventilation when using it.

Special edge prep required for best joins.


How do i cut Acrylic?


While at work i actually use industial tablesaws and machine tools, not something avaliable to the average fish keeper. although good results can be acheived using the following method;


  1. Leaving the protective layer on, Using a circular saw and a guide rail (a straightish peice of wood will do) Cut all your peices slightly oversize (5mm or so) as the saw will heat up and 'gall' the surface, leaving a rough opaque white finish) Spray the saw blade with a thin oilbased lubricant as much as possible (WD40 works great) if you are game you can spray water on it to help keep it cool, but with electric powertools its not the best idea.
  2. using a flush trim bit in your router, align your straight edge with the final size of the panel and run the router along the edge is a smooth and consistent fashion. BigSkip tip: If you wrap a small amount of masking tape around the bearing on the flush trim bit you will cut ever so slightly off the final size, remove the tape and take the very light pass to finish, this will minimise heat build up and should provide a better edge
  3. repeat for all sides.
  4. DO NOT POLISH EDGES TO BE GLUED. this will cause 'crazing' (a spider web of micro crack across the surface, severly compromises the strength of the material)
  5. Remove a small amount of the protective coating to alow gluing, leaving as much as possible until the tank is complete TEAR THE COATING WITH A STRAIGHT EDGE, DO NOT USE A KNIFE TO SCORE IT. this will score the acrylic and cause headaches later.

How do i Drill Acrylic?


Although Acrylic can be drilled with unmodified drill bits, it can grab and pull the drill in, cauing alot of damage it the material, and can also chip where the drill is exiting. The Ideal way to combat this is to use a drill with a special point. The point angle on Most drill bits you buy is 118 degrees, for acrylic the ideal angle is 60 degrees (think of it as a much sharped point on the end) Also the rake angle need to be reduced to 0 degrees or very close, Exactly the same as is done with Brass. Reducing the Rake angle is more important than the point angle. a 118 degree point with 0 rake will still provide good results. See the below diagram for what this all means and the video on how to easily reduce the rake angle. Another major thing to keep in mind is it all has to be kept very cold, keep spraying water mixed with a small amount of detergent and run the drill fairly slow. this will both lubricate and cool the material to prevent galling of the hole.






How do i Finish the edges?


finishing acylic edges can be done in several ways, my preferred way and they method i believe provides the best results is to sand them upto 1500 grit, them use some micro mesh pads upto 12000 grit and finish with a light buffing.


Another common method is Flame Polishing. This requires care and a hot blow torch (the yellow one, blue isnt hot enough) or an oxy acetylene torch. its as simple as passing the flame quickly along the edge. This melts all the tiny micro cracks that cause the opaque look back into one smooth surface, but be carefull it is very easy to burn the acrylic and turn it brown. Also, any roughness in the surface will remain, saw marks will still be visible, just shiny.





Thanks all.
In the next post (when i can find time to make some photos etc) i will go more into the use of the 3 diffrent glues i discribed and show the processes of building a basic box from acrylic.


ADMINS: Am i able to link to suppliers of acrylic and adhesives that are not forum sponsers?


Edit 2: Damn it.... cant even spell edit right