Introduction: DIY Full Aquarium
Third Prize in the
Age of Aquariums Contest
This project is about how I did an aquarium by myself including the stand, the tank, the filter and the illumination. The things I used were mainly plywood for the furniture. For the tank some glass, silicone glue and aluminum angle. For the filter I used some PVC accessories such as connectors, valves and caps. For the lights I used MDF and one RGB Led strip with controller.
And mainly a lot of work and time but it’s more satisfying to see the aquarium made by you than just buying all the components and connecting wires and pipes. And other big advantage is that you can make all the components just to fit your tastes.
The first thing you need to know is the aquarium size you want, you can afford and you can fit in your room. Mine is 75cm X 35cm x 45cm (length x width x height) resulting approximately 120 liters minus gravel, rocks and other decorative stuffs.
Step 1: The Stand
I made a computer design of the stand to be sure it is going to support the approximately 150Kg that will be on it and to be sure all things will fit in it. I made it 5cm bigger than the tank because I felt a little unsure it reached the edge in case of a blow or trip.
Then cut all the 15mm plywood parts of it and start the assembly.
I left one side of the stand without brackets for fitting the filter and the “wet” things and the other one with three sections. First one for the things you should have on hand such as food. A second one for all the electric stuff and the last one for keeping all the cleaning things you will need.
I put a girder in the front and another one on the back to support the table and prevent it from sagging.
Step 2: The Tank. 1 of 3. the Design
For the tank there are many calculators that says you the thickness of the glass you need depending on its size. I used this one that is very easy to set: http://www.theaquatools.com/building-your-aquariu...
I leave it as default with a 2.5 safety factor and the result was that I needed a 6mm thickness glass. It also says you the exact dimension the glasses need to be because the ones on the sides need to be twice the thickness shorter to fit inside the front and rear glasses.
Step 3: The Tank. 2 of 3. Glue
One you have your glasses you need to polish the edges to remove all imperfections. It’s important that they are not beveled because it will decrease the contact area for the silicone glue.
Tape all the borders at 1cm from the edge so you can leave a space for sealing the corners and then remove all the silicone excess. Be sure to remove the tape when it is still very fresh because later will be a mess (happened to me in one side).
Put the silicone on the edge of a glass and place it on the face of the other one. First gluing them to the base and then with the one that goes next to it. (there are few pics of this step because its very complicated to stick all together and leave a hand to take the camera) Ask for help.
Then put more tape in the corners until it is dry, the silicone fabricants says that it’s enough with 24hrs but I preferred to wait on day more, just in case. Make sure your silicone is not antifungal because can hurt the fishes.
Step 4: The Tank. 3 of 3. Aluminum Angle
Cut the aluminum angle just in one of its sides forming a V for bending the angle around the corner and stick it with more silicone glue so the endings of the angle match in the middle of the rear side. This angle will not allow the water pressure to separate the glasses. Some only put the angle on the top and bottom border but I prefer to cover all the borders because I think that it makes a better appearance covering the silicone so you can only see the angle and not the silicone. Then you can fill your tank finally with water and prove if it has any leak. Luckily mine had no one.
Step 5: The Filter
For the filter I used a 6’’ X 80cm PVC tube with two connections, one in the bottom for the entry of the dirty water and the output in the top where the 1000L/H pump was connected. I used this configuration to maintain in the bottom part the dirt and when the water is rising, it raises cleaner. In the bottom part I used a fixed cap and in the top a threaded cap so you can uncover it for making the maintenance and cleaning it.
For the connections I used ½’’ PVC piping and in each one I put a threaded connector between two valves so the water from the filter and the water from the tank cannot leak when disassembled.
As the filtering media, I used in the bottom part little pieces of PVC corrugated hose for improving the form the water raises and for retaining the bigger dirt pieces, then I used volcanic gravel for the biological filtration. Then I put cushion filler for the mechanical filtration and finally ceramic beads for more biological filtration and for prevent the cushion filler reaches the pump. I used some spacers for prevent the mixture of the filtering media.
Then for the water inlet in the tank I made a lot of drills in a 5 cm section of a PVC tube to prevent it from absorbing a distracted fish to the filter. For the outlet y made some drills in all the tube section that covers all the width of the tank . The input is on the bottom part of the tank and the outlet on the surface to improve the water current and prevent stagnation.
Step 6: The Lighting
For the lighting I used MDF for making the cover. It is supported on the side glasses and can not fall into the water, you can slide the cover from front to back to letting you feed the fishes. I painted it with many thick layers to protect the MDF from the humidity. I used black in the exterior and white in the interior for reflecting more light to the tank.
The led strip can be cut every 3 LEDs so I divided the number of LEDs into the sections that fit into the cover. Then I soldered the terminals and then I isolate them with more silicone.
Step 7: Thank You
Then I connected everything and watched how the fishes swam… thinking in a new stuff to make them.
Only to encourage you, this is the first tank that I have. Before this, I had no idea how to take care of a fish.
Thanks for looking : )
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