Picture of Gumball Machine Fish Tank
What says 'I love you' better than the gift of a pet goldfish? I know it's not a fuzzy little kitten or a tiny soft puppy but it is a lot easier to take care of. Be unique on Valentine's Day and make a special fish tank that will be remembered for a lifetime.

This old dusty gumball machine I found in the basement needed revival and turned out to be a fantastic home for our new little fish!

You will need the following items to make this fish tank:

-gumball machine
-sheet of glass
-glass cutter
-breaking pliers
-sharpie marker
-glass grinder (or a file)
-safety goggles
-aquarium sealant
-decorative rocks
-aquarium plant

Step 1: Disassemble Gumball Machine

Picture of Disassemble Gumball Machine
Remove all inner workings of gumball machine (or what's left of it). All you need to have is the base, bowl and top cap.
Pattymouth3 years ago
I think this is adorable. I've owned lots of fish that have lived long lives in small bowls. If you're worried about size, move him to a bigger bowl when he gets bigger. I don't mean to be insensitive - really - but it's not like you're keeping a brain surgeon locked in a closet. It's a goldfish. If he has any 'thoughts' at all, they will probably be that he's happy to be away from the nasty tank and tapping, gawking kids at WalMart and in his own cozy apartment.
couldnt agree more.
GeorgeO3 made it!9 months ago

This is the tank I made. 4 Minnows and a bata. They seem to enjoy it.

kenyer11 months ago

I love this idea. I have a gum ball machine catching dust in the garage that I might turn in a seamonkey-tank like this.

High five this is great. Does it work for betas as well?
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You can buy a fish tank gumball machine at Gumball Machine Warehouse in the pet food machines section. It cuts out the time needed to create the machine since you can buy it suited for a gilled companion. There are also holes in the top so you can feed in an air pump if that is needed.


It's an older posting, but still...PLEASE don't give live animals as gifts or put a goldfish in something so small and stagnant, unfiltered water.

I think this would be a cute idea to grow gel beads for the kids or make a terrarium with some cool air plants.

Iselilja2 years ago
This is amazing! I bought the exact same gumball machine to convert it into a fish tank and once the fish outgrows the tank I'll be using it as a terrarium :) thank you!!!
jtmck262 years ago
How tall is this gumball machine
amonj022 years ago
What would happen if you pulled the thing that lets the gimbals come out?
wold630 (author)  amonj022 years ago
I guess it would be time for sushi!

Kidding, really. It's all sealed on the bottom.
Gosh, this is cute! I would love to have a Beta fish in one of these :)
My boyfriend has made something like this, by converting a gum ball machine into a small tank. There are ways to add a filtration system to it that you can't see it from the outside.

And fyi, you need 1 gallon of water per inch of fish in your tank.
Love this ible! If you don't like it then don't make it.

I really like this idea, but I worry it's too small for a goldfish. I'd recommend a betta.
Even for a betta, this is small. It can be done, but they will be much happier and healthier in at least 2.5 gallons. I have mine in a 5 gallon now and his color changed completely and he is so much healthier in a bigger tank.
grannyjones3 years ago
A wonderful setting for a single betta.
They live very well in small bowls--just don't put TWO in the same container!
I might have to do this. I have the same machine, but the mechanism is jammed with some shards of metal I can't pull loose. Mines on a four foot iron stand.
Pattymouth3 years ago
Well, world630, your amazing instructable has proven quite enlightening! Personally, I love it, but i guess you now need to get busy and make something bigger for us to argue about:


Keep the 'ibles coming!
thevoid3 years ago
Insert quarter recive sushi!
Nasubi773 years ago
I have to chime in on the "THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA" camp because goldfish need sooo much more room than this, but that is only a fraction of the issue.

Any tank or container should be cycled before you add fish and after it is cycled, you have to keep checking the water for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates to make sure they are all within the correct parameters. The smaller the tank, the harder it is to keep within these parameters, ESPECIALLY with goldies since they are so messy.

And comets do not average 6 inches...more like 12" or more.

Please people, do your research BEFORE you ever get your first fish. It is not as easy as putting them in a bowl with some water. These are not disposable pets.
Just a comment to the recomendation of the fishstore "expert," most fishstore employees are simply that....employees. They generally don't know much about what they are doing, and what they do know is hearsay that is also false. Trust the fish ENTHUSIASTS.....don't put a fish in this bowl.
Very cute project, but I hope that anyone thinking of using it for fish will research how to properly care for them.  One goldfish should have a 20 gallon tank and 10 more gallons per buddy (and goldfish are social animals).

More info:  Animal Welfare Act 2006, hotodothings.com, aquariumguys.
So, seriously, a 30 gallon tank for 2 goldfish? I'm speechless.
I was surprised too! But the more I've read, the more I think we should reevaluate the common view of goldfish care (and suggest people research more themselves before buying them). 

If you want to see something really crazy, check out these trained goldfish!  They do remember some things after all...
oldboy20033 years ago
This. Is. Awesome. If you do this with one of those full size machines where the gum balls spiral down, I will worship you(and so will all those people complaining about the size of the tank).
Of course, anyone like me who can't keep fish alive in proper tanks shouldn't attempt this, but it has given me an idea for a cool terrarium. (I have the exact same gumball machine)
vinsslaurie3 years ago
Nice concept, I've always liked original aquarium/vivarium ideas, especially when it involves recycling.

Having worked with fish and exotic animals for two years now, I will support everyone who's told you this aquarium is unfit for a goldfish though. Switch your fish for a betta fish instead, they don't require filtered water and can manage to live in a smaller area than a goldfish.
a1t2h9y13 years ago
I think this is a cute way to give fish as a present, but not as a permanent home for the fish.
todell13 years ago
this is a very bad idea, for fish. there is no means of a filter, and it cannot be more than 10 litres in volume. completely inadequate for goldfish. it may work for shrimp
ashbegash3 years ago
This is such a great idea!! Oh, and I like your fish! :)
Biggsy3 years ago
I love this , welldone

A special Biggsy high five for you