I have been wondering, would it be possible to make an 8’x4’x’5 tank that can be put up and taken down as needed, where you would have a base, four removable corner posts, more removable posts as needed to support the walls, and a top connector. Use either water pressure or expanders to hold the walls against the seals, and only one wall would need to be clear. For even more extreme have the base be in multiple sections so it can fit in the back of a car.

I ask because many of my friends and myself are mermaids/mermen and we don't always have the funds to buy a massive 1000 gallon tank and the trailer to move it. The tanks allow us to set up and entertain kids in dry environments, like a building or a fair. I know water has the pressure to keep a car door from opening when a car goes into a lake, and I would imagine having water push against a wall will make a fairly good seal, and the bottom could be lip connector based. I don't think it has to be 100% leak tight as it might only be set up for a few hours and something like a tarp could be placed under the tank to collect the water and pump it back into the tank.

How insane is this idea?


Most temporay tanks are not rigid because of the increased weight and trouble to transport. Flexible colapsible tanks are commonly used for rangeland firefighting. You are probably not going to find any at your desired dimensions but you might get close. They wont have a clear window either. For this you will probably want to use a clear vinyl bonded to the fabric with an appropriate adhesive and lots of overlap. Even if you built one from scratch this would be a much easier way to go than a dissembleable rigid construction.

Constructing a rigid tank from plywood in 2x6 timbers would not be too difficult. The timbers would be mounted in the horizontal direction to counter the hoop stress of the filled tank. As far as the standard construction goes there looks to be lots of DIY support on fish tank forums.

Large diy windowed fish tank

Making the tank disassembleable will definitely make things more difficult. The weight of each panel will be considerable; definitely a two-man lift. The corners will need lots of large bolts. Setup time might not be as quick as you are thinking without some careful design and an impact wrench. You will want to paint the plywood even if the use will be tempotary. You will have to get creative with the design to make it seal; this will be the most difficult part. While pumping it back in might be an option; it may leak faster than you can pump it back in ;-) Dont underestimate the difficulty of designing seals and containing water.

A better budget approach may be to get a low cost trailer from harborfreight or other and building a "permanent" tank on that fully sealed. You would use the trailer to transport the bulky tank 100% empty. Then use lots of jacks to hold the weight of the tank before you fill it. Then get creative with some decorations to cover up the trailer beneath.

  • $\begingroup$ I would also have to buy a new car as mine does not have a trailer hitch. $\endgroup$ – traisjames Apr 21 '17 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ They sell retrofit hitches that can be installed on most any car. You will be weight limited but the tank wont weigh too much as far as trailers go. It wont get very good gas mileage either but should work fine for occasional use. m.northerntool.com/products/… $\endgroup$ – ericnutsch Apr 21 '17 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ Check out the storage used for the larger pellet stoves - perhaps you could enhance that type of structure, add waterproofing etc They have a cube type frame and hang a bag from it... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Apr 21 '17 at 10:36

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