Picture of Gumball Machine MK II
2013-06-02 12.00.38.jpg
My previous Instructable, a gumball machine fish tank, came out nicely, but had a few problems. One was the need for it to be on  a stand, and another was how unstable I felt the bowl was on the base. I reworked my design and it feels much more solid now.

You will need:
Gumball machine: I prefer round, glass globes, but it's up to you.
1/4" thick glass, cut to size, with polished edges
Aquarium sealant. Regular caulk may contain chemicals harmful to fish! Don't use it.
Betta light
Small tank filter
Plant (optional)
Colored glass marbles (optional)
Assorted threaded rods and nuts
Foam (for noise dampening
Extension cord
Rubber grommets (assorted sizes)
Rust-proofing paint
Felt pads
A fish

Jigsaw (or a lot of patience with the hacksaw)
Assorted screwdrivers
Razor blade (for trimming dried sealant)
Assorted wrenches
Masking tape

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Step 1: Disassemble and Clean

Picture of Disassemble and Clean
Simple enough; take the whole machine apart and clean it. 

Step 2: Paint inside of lid

Picture of Paint inside of lid
One of my mistakes on the first iteration was not painting the inside of the steel lid with a rust-proof paint from the start. This resulted in water splashing and rusting the bare metal, then dripping down and poisoning the fish. I painted the inside of the lid and the retaining ring with rust-o-leum white rustproof paint after all the drilling and cutting.

Step 3: Seal the bowl

Picture of Seal the bowl
The ~6-liter bowl has a 5 inch diameter hole at either end. Last time I sealed it with a single 5" glass disc on the outside of the bottom. I was never happy with this, as I worried that the silicone could one day crack and the bottom would fall off. It also elevated the bowl another 1/4" above the base, giving it a look that I felt was awkward. I remedied this by having a 1/4" thick by 5" diameter glass disc cut, and then sliced down the middle, giving me two half-circles. I could then lower these INSIDE the bowl, and seal them together on the inside.
Bowtie411 year ago

I like everything except having the 3pc bottom.Just scares me for some reason.I got to thinking that if you got one of those carbide/diamond coated tools specifically made for cutting glass,in say 1/4 dia(I got some from both HF and "Big Orange"),you could make 2 little grooves at the top 180 deg apart,and slide in a 1pc bottom sideways.

kerikins1 year ago
Interesting...this visual scares me. Even though I know it is not going to crank and spit out a fish it creeps me out. Let me explain...I once saw an art exibit of sorts. The theme was basically a thoughtful exhibit of,'what would you do...' The one that freaked me out was a pedestal with a blender and 2 goldfish inside. The creepy part was that it was plugged in. Totally hit my inner OMG meter. I wanted to grab the blender pitcher and run away with it. Mission accomplished, it definitely affected me and made me think! I know there were hundreds of people who wouldn't think twice about hitting the,'puree' button. This was 25 years ago, and it still pops in my mind...Another interesting thought, my reoccurring anxiety dreams that have similar themes a few times a year are always me coming across a terrarium or aquarium that has been neglected. Almost out of water, little fish mouths blurbing at the surface for food and water, or terrariums with little reptiles under heat lamps with no water or food all ematiated...I am always trying to save them as fast as I can...sorry, Once I got started I got on a! Any therapists out there? Hahahaha!
It looks great, and I'm really glad you pointed out that normal silicone is poisonous, but this should still really be reserved for a shrimp/snail tank. The curves in the glass of such a small tank can really mess with the fish's lateral line. I wonder if there are larger, straight sided machines people could use instead?
Some gumball machines are square. I guess we should look for one of those if we want to try this out. Thanks for the tip.
aloew (author)  sway1 year ago
I'd just be wary of machines like this one, as the corners and bottom are nearly impossible to properly seal. That was the first one I tried, and it failed horribly.
sway aloew1 year ago
sorry pic didnt upload. I was thinking of a machine like this one
sway aloew1 year ago
I was thinking somthing like this.
sway1 year ago
What a great idea. really like it.
caarntedd1 year ago
It would be cool if you put in a coin and turned the handle, and a toy fish similar to those inside came out of the shute.
THAT would be amazing! :)
Yeah. I was going to do something similar with my machine, but it would have been in poor taste considering the amount of firearm related violence and the current debate on gun control in the U.S. Check out the end of my "Bullet Shell Valve Caps" Instructable and see what I'm using my machine for at the moment.
mroddy1 year ago
Love this! I'm gonna start looking for a candy machine!!
Absolutely love this.
ynze1 year ago
Like it! You're being thorough with this gumball aquarium, I just had a look at Mk I.