Build your own float tank
Floating is amazing and it is not that expensive to have a floating tank at home. This page will help you to build your own tank and enjoy all of the benefits of floating at home.
Building a tank yourself is not too expensive but it is somewhat difficult, because it involves many different problems that need to be solved.
Before starting to build your own floating tank consider why you want to do it yourself and if you really want to spend your time and money.
Until very recently the cheapest floating tank cost more than 7000 USD. However now you can buy a Zen float tent for around 1850 USD. I am not trying to promote it, nor I know if it is a good float tank, but I want you to know that cheap options do exist.
However if you think you can build a better tank or you want to have something custom and special this page will help you with the essentials for building a good tank.
To build a usable floating tank you must think about multiple topics.
In my opinion this is the easiest problem to solve. In order to have complete darkness inside the tank you simply have to turn off all light sources inside of the tank and don’t let any light in from outside. Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to paint the insides of the tank black. You can have any color walls you want including white, because if there are no light sources it will still be pitch black inside.
To avoid light inside just use fully opaque material for your tank frame, cover all tank holes (ventilation, water) and you should be enjoying complete darkness inside.
Depending on how ambitious you are you can go with different options:
- no light emitting devices inside
- have a few LED lights
- have full blown star sky imitation with hundreds of LED lights
Obviously not having any lights inside is the easiest and cheapest choice. Since the lights inside a float are not needed it is probably the optimal solution.
This problem is much harder because sound travels well across materials. There is no simple way to remove noise completely, however there is a systematic way to remedy this problem.
- Remove or shut down all noise sources during your float
- Add sound insulation to the tank and to the room
- Use earplugs
When building a tank you should choose a good location for it. Basements usually are more quiet than other rooms in the house so for dealing with noises they are better. Adding sound insulation can be expensive so the easiest way is to just place the tank in the most quiet place you know and using ear plugs. This approach is usually good enough.
However, many people add some form of cheap insulation to the tank foundation and walls since it also improves heat insulation.
If you don’t clean your tank and don’t monitor water quality it will go bad and interesting things will start growing on tank walls and in the water.
To avoid this issue you will have to clean the tank and the water regularly. Usually running filters before and after the float is a good idea. Also cleaning the tank walls once a week is probably the minimum that you should do.
As a DIY enthusiast you need to carefully evaluate how ambitious you want to go with water quality, because advanced water cleaning solutions can easily cost multiple thousands.
Luckily there are plenty of good and affordable filters in the market. Swimming pool, marine fish tank and regular water filters can work for your floating tank. After filtering the water you have to kill the bacteria and viruses that live there. To do that you will have to use some additional water treatment options.
Most common options:
- Chlorine or Bromine
- Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
- UV Lights
Single treatment solution is NOT enough, you must combine multiple solutions.
If you don’t use multiple cleaning solutions some bacteria, virus or other living thing will start multiplying in the water.
The cheapest and easiest way is to go with a water filter, hydrogen peroxide and UV. This is what most people use, because it’s pretty low risk, low maintenance and comparatively cheap.
It is also a good idea to monitor water ph level. It should be somewhere between 6.5 to 7.5.
You will be surprised how annoying salt water is. If the temperature in your tank drops it will start crystallizing, if your filter pump is not used for long enough it will also crystallize there and clog the pump and filters.
To have a good time in the tank you want to make sure that the water is warm and remains warm during your float. Water should be around skin temperature 34C to 35C.
To be honest there are multiple ways to heat up the water in the tank. If you are not planning to float for multiple hours you don’t even need to heat the water during your floating session because water cools pretty slowly.
However most professional tanks do have constant temperature monitoring and heating while you float, they also heat the air that is coming in.
There are many off the shelf options for heating water – waterbed heaters, pool heaters, fish tank heaters, regular water heaters.
Most of the time DIY float builders use waterbed heaters because they are cheap, silent and have a thermostat built in.
This is somewhat obvious but if you make your tank too air tight you will suffocate so please add air circulation into your tank. Using small silent computer ventilators works fine. You could also pre-heat the air but that is not mandatory.
This problem is solved by using magnesium sulfate heptahydrate also known as Epsom salt. People use both medical grade and industrial grade salt. However to be safe you should use only medical grade Epsom salt. The industrial grade salt can have some very nasty impurities and byproducts so it’s slightly risky.
I have also heard that people successfully float in regular table salt. Since the science is still unclear if Epsom salt is mandatory, regular salt is a very cheap alternative that might actually do the trick.
You will have to use a salinity meter to measure how much salt you have in the water. The specific gravity of your water and salt mix should be somewhere between 1.25 to 1.285.
In practice 20 to 26 cm of water will be fine, you can adjust that level based on your needs.
Water vapor will start condensing on the top of your tank and start dripping on your face when you are trying to meditate. There are two common ways to deal with that: heating the top of your tank or having a sloped roof design.
Most DIY tanks go with the sloped roof option because it’s cheaper and easier to do.
Be very careful with your electrical equipment. Don’t do stupid things and electrocute yourself. Ground all your equipment, also use a GDCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter). It is also smart to turn off or even unplug all of your electrical equipment while floating to reduce noise and also for security reasons.
BUILDING THE TANK
Now that we have looked at the main issues that need to be solved by your floating tank lets look at how to actually build it.
You can make your tank from many different materials. Most common DIY tanks are made from plywood with some inner lining, usually EPDM pond liner.
Plywood is easy to assemble and its pretty good at heat insulation and EPDM liner is really cheap and easy to get and is completely unaffected by the salts.
A common tank design looks something like this:
One more options is buying a large plastic water tank. Just cut it in half and you have a tank. No lining needed just build the outer frame and opening mechanism.
WORK IN PROGRESS…