Introduction: "Moonshine" Aquarium

This Ible' doesn't really involve moonshine or any alcohol at all. It all started this Holiday season when I brought home a gallon jug of Apple Cider, after a while we had finished it off and I neglected to throw away the bottle and I now know why. So I was looking at it, (and of course blowing into it for the whistle,) thats when I set it down and the thought hit me, "wow what a great aquarium!" So after that I did some research and it turns out most people use a pickle jar but the shape I think is just terrible, it has no form at all. Now there are some obvious problems with a "moonshine" shaped jug, first, the small opening, this makes it a pain to put things into it and nearly impossible to remove things, the way I figure it when the time comes when things overgrow in it I might as well break the top of and move it to the main tank which brings me to the second problem. Filtration, If you have the money you could try to go as far as rig up a canister filter but I have a 40 gallon tank set up growing a reef so I simply have it siphon off from the tank and there is a return line that flows it into the sump under the main tank which contains all the filters. The easiest third problem is the light. I will elaborate more on these as we go through the steps.


The reason I am entering this into the ShopBot challenge is because I would love to have a CNC machine and be able to cut acrylic into custom aquariums and custom LED Fixtures to make more ibles' and share designs with others and give kits as gifts to friends.

Step 1: Materials

1. One Gallon Jug
2. Glass Drill Bits (Bosch 4 piece set)
3. Drill (or drill press preferably)
4. Modelling Clay
5. Water Bottle
6. 10 watt compact flourescent bulb.
7. Clamp on light.
8. 1/4" OD tubing (Opaque stiff kind)
9. 3/8" OD Tubing the clear flexible kind, (make sure the Inside Diameter is more than the ID of the 1/4" tubing)
10. 1/4" plastic press in valve
11. 100% pure silicone glue clear or colored.  (only pure silicone it is non toxic and won't leach chemicals into the water)
12. Aquarium Sand

Step 2: Jug Prep.

For this step you will need the bottle, clay, drill, glass bits, and water bottle.  The first thing to do is to rinse it out thoroughly do not use soap as it will leave residue just use hot water and rinse it good. You will then want to find where you want your holes, is what I did was mark one about and inch below where the top starts to curve from the walls then the other offset about a half inch then half inch below the first so its diagonal to the first. You want to take the modelling clay and form a circle around the holes so you make a "dish" around the holes to put water in. You will want to start with the 1/4 inch bit and drill on the HIGHER hole, but first get the water bottle and poke a very small hole in the cap then fill the dish with water, I found it easiest to use a drill press for this you want the speed set around 2000 to 2500 RPM and apply very light pressure to start your hole in the bottle use the water bottle and continuously spray water onto the bit to keep it cool, don't use too much though you dont want to soak your work area. Take a break every 30 seconds or so and flush the water in the dish then continue, use VERY light pressure and keep going don't slow the drill any this is the key to cutting the glass without breaking it, set a high, constant drill speed with light pressure on the bit. You will get some shattering on the back of the hole but it is harldy noticeable. Then repeat this step with the 5/16 bit in the LOWER hole.

Step 3: Plumbing

You now want to cut your tubing to the proper length for your set up, then take the 1/4" tube and put glue on it all the way around it near the end then push it through the hole until the glue contacts the bottle then try to hold it in place with something unitl it dries, also do the same thing with the 3/8 tubing, this one will fit loosely in the hole be sure to glue it good.On my setup I have a 6 inch piece of tubing running into my main tank in an overflow box then the valve is attached to the end of the tubing and the other end of the valve attaches to the tube running to the bottle. The clear tubing then runs down into the sump of the main tank to be circulated through the whole system.

Step 4: Light

For the light I used a Compact Fluorescent Bulb for a fish tank I got it at Walmart but the better choice for saltwater would be a dual fluorescent bulb with 6500k color and actinic 465nm I think you can get them at petco, petsmart, or some aquarium stores. Also get a clamp on light like show or something similar. So set up the light you need to remove the clamp, unless you are using the clamp to secure it, then put the bulb in and set the bulb into the mouth of the bottle so the light hood rests on the mouth, you may have to cut or glue the hood to the handle so it will either sit level with the handle sticking through if your gluing it then wait till the last step to glue it you'll see why, dont go crazy with the glue because you will need to remove it for maintenance on the tank or to replace the bulb.

Step 5: Setup

First position it where you want it then run the fill tube to the main tank and secure then run the drain to the sump but don't secure it yet you will want to cover the top then suck on the drain tube to start the siphon process, once started you can then secure the drain tube. Now just wait for it to fill. Once its full shut the valve on the top then use a funnel or other device to add sand to the bottle about a half inch to and inch or more depending on what you want, more will contribute to the health of the bottle, but not too much to take away from a lot of the space in the "tank." Once the sand is in turn the valve back open to circulate water and your pretty much done with the setup.

Step 6: Decoration

Ok this step might seem weird because the only thing in my tank now is sand but it will later hold either a big anemone or a bunch of nice coral frags. There will also be some live rock to add to it the best kind to use is what is often sold as "refugium reble" it is just small pieces of live rock this amount of rock won't affect the main system but it will help keep the bottle healthier on its own plus it will stock copepods and rotifers for coral food and it can help replenish the main system supply of copepods as it gives them a semi safe place to grow then they get sucked up and taken to the main tank by the drain tube on the bottle.

Step 7: The Valve and Other Stuff.

The reason for the valve is if you put coral in the tank or even a very small fish like a goby or blenny you can shut off the flow to feed the fish and or corals, also when feeding the main tank the pump is turned off and the bottle would continue to drain into the sump possibly overflowing it if the pump is accidentally left off. As for cleaning the tank a nano magnetic scrubber would work best just drop it in and stick it to the side like in a normal tank. 

This is not really part of the Ible but if you would like to use a seperate filter and make it a stand alone tank you could do that but you would then need a pump to return water to the tank pumping it through the filter first, a canister type filter would work best.

Also you could make it a simple gold fish or betta bowl just add water, substrate, and fish and your done! The only thing is water changes would be pretty awkward.


Also as a safety if using off of a main tank turn the pump off and look where the level of water is in the main tank then secure the siphon tube just a tiny bit below that line so if the power fails the main tank will siphon into the bottle then sump, and the siphon will break instead of sucking the entire main tank into your sump causing overflow and major damage to your home.

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