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Tips for Building an Aquarium

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Fishing and Boating

Tips for Building an Aquarium

Building your own aquarium from scratch can be a time consuming project that you should not expect to be able to complete overnight. However, despite all of the work that must go into a project of this scale, you and your family can come together in this incredibly fun and educational experience. From constructing the cabinet which your aquarium will rest upon to building the glass or plastic enclosure itself, every step of the process will present you with unique challenges and countless options.  Nevertheless, if you have the desire to ultimately have a wonderfully beautiful fish tank in your home, then building your own aquarium is a great way to achieve that goal.

The absolute first step to building any aquarium is to figure out how large you want it to be. This is totally dependent on personal preference, how skilled you are at maintaining an aquarium and how much money you are willing to spend on materials and supplies. For beginners, smaller is usually better although too small leads to problems with care and maintenance down the road. However, if you are not sure that having an aquarium in your home is for you then you may want to stay away from larger tanks. People who have had several aquariums in the past but simply outgrew them will want to have a large tank with plenty of space for all of the items they have amassed over the years.

After deciding on how large or small you want your tank to be, it will be time for one of the most important decisions during the course of your construction efforts. Do you want to build your tank from glass or acrylic? Each substance has its own pros and cons and everything should be taken into consideration before you begin construction. Glass, a quality material, must be thicker for larger tanks and can weigh significantly more meaning you will have to either build or buy a more supportive stand or cabinet or resort to sticking the tank in the wall or on top of some surface built into your home.  Alternatively, acrylic is far lighter in weight and does not need such a thick piece for a larger, heavier tank. However, acrylic scratches far more easily than glass, meaning that you may have to go through several trials and errors before you are able to produce a piece that you find suitable for your home built tank.

Once all of the basics have been decided upon, it will be time to finally construct your tank. It is a good idea to make sure that you have a place to put your tank before you begin construction, as you really do not want to leave such a fragile piece of equipment outside or in your garage for longer than you have to. If necessary, buy or build your own aquarium cabinet before you even purchase the supplies necessary for construction of the tank itself. Also, it is a good idea if you decide to use glass as your build material to have a professional cut all of the glass pieces before you even buy the sheets of glass. While this will cost more, glass is expensive anyway and the last thing you need is to accidentally break a pane while cutting it yourself.