Gumball Machine Fish Tank

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Introduction: Gumball Machine Fish Tank

About: Hi, I'm Jen! In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, and cake decorator. I have a genuine love and appreciation for all things creative and handmade.

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
-goldfish!

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Cut and Grind Glass

Using a sharpie marker trace around the bottom part of the glass bowl (of your gumball machine) onto your glass.

Using a quality glass cutter score the glass along the traced line. If you don't have breaking pliers you can try to break the glass with your hands but I highly recommend the breaking pliers for breaking glass. It is easy to cut yourself otherwise.

Once you have a rough circle cut you will need to smooth the edges of the glass. A glass grinder is the fastest and easiest way to do this, however, you could use a file. Either way, make sure all the edges are smooth and not sharp anywhere. You don't want your significant other slicing their fingers when it comes time to clean the tank!

Once the glass circle is cut and edges are smoothed lay it on the bottom edge of the glass bowl to make sure your cutting was accurate. Make adjustments if necessary. The last thing you want is to seal the pieces together and then it doesn't fit on the gumball machine base!

***Wearing safety glasses is always a good idea when dealing with glass. Small glass shards are often times flying around, especially when using a grinder.

Step 3: Seal Glass

Once your glass circle is cut you will need to seal it onto the glass bowl.

Using aquarium sealant lay a thick bead along the bottom edge of the glass bowl. Carefully line up glass circle on top of the sealant and press firmly to get a good seal. Clean off excess sealant with a paper towel. Let dry according to sealant package.

Step 4: Finish Fish Tank

Add decorative rock and aquarium plants to the bowl. Fill with water and add goldfish!

Give to your loved one for Valentine's Day!

**Please note - a goldfish will eventually outgrow a fish bowl and will need a larger home to stay healthy. However, I was assured by the store I purchased the goldfish from that it will be safe and healthy for about six months (maybe longer) before needing to be moved. This was based on the size of goldfish purchased and the bowl. Make sure the tank is properly cleaned at least once a week.

Valentine's Day Challenge

Participated in the
Valentine's Day Challenge

1 Person Made This Project!

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49 Comments

0
Pattymouth
Pattymouth

10 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
Dstan79
Dstan79

Question 2 months ago on Step 3

How dose they fish breathe? I never made one by when I was little I had the real gum ball fish tank and it came with a bubbler. I guess you can drill a hole on top or side of cover. Cute for one fish.

0
Matthew Yang
Matthew Yang

3 months ago

I pretty sure that fish tank is not a good idea because it's way too small for a fish to be happy....I have a small fish tank for my fish that's slightly larger than your gumball machine tank...I'm even planning to change my fish tank with a 10-gallon tank soon.

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DIYPetKeeper18
DIYPetKeeper18

4 years ago

please don't put fish in this! Goldfish need a minimum tank size of 20-40 gallons depending on the breed you have (look it up) and bettas need a minimum tank size of 2.5 gallons. And how does air get in??? If you want to put something in this, put some fake decor in it or better yet, gumballs! That's what the dang thing was made for! Not fish!!!

0
ferngoblin87
ferngoblin87

Reply 5 months ago

yes i said the same thing! except I believe bettas need a 5.3-40 gallon. but i do agree

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TwrtleFish
TwrtleFish

Reply 1 year ago

agreed

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ferngoblin87
ferngoblin87

5 months ago

please don't do this, the fish get stressed and they don't have enough space too, even if they are small and pet stores recommend it, don't trust the pet stores, it is very cool but instead of fish I would recommend a moss ball because they can live in small spaces, they need filtration and a heater too, please do not do this fish need proper care and love they are like any other pet, they have emotions. try a moss ball in this instead.

0
awesomness2002
awesomness2002

8 years ago

High five this is great. Does it work for betas as well?

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0
Saved_By_Bugs2057
Saved_By_Bugs2057

Reply 11 months ago

Japanese Fighting Fish would work well in this type of tank. The come up to breathe, so do not need a filter, would just have to make sure they had access to clean air with this type of tank.

0
Average aquarist
Average aquarist

Reply 1 year ago

do not use this for bettas! They need at least five gallons of water and a heater to survive! Research before you buy!

0
stellamerteuil

I really like this idea, but I worry it's too small for a goldfish. I'd recommend a betta.

0
Average aquarist
Average aquarist

Reply 1 year ago

betas need more water than you might think.... at least 5 gallons

0
vinsslaurie
vinsslaurie

10 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
Average aquarist
Average aquarist

Reply 1 year ago

I'm fairly certain any aquatic creature requires filtered water.......

0
grannyjones
grannyjones

10 years ago on Introduction

A wonderful setting for a single betta.
They live very well in small bowls--just don't put TWO in the same container!

0
Average aquarist
Average aquarist

Reply 1 year ago

betas need at least five gallons if water. They do not like small aquariums

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SydR1
SydR1

6 years ago

I may sound dumb with this question cause there obvious air flow... Lol so I'll apologize in the beginning! (It's late after a few margaritas ?).. Anyways, I have owned many Betta fish growing up, all living in fish bowls.. With this type of bubble gum tank/environment, where does the fresh air circulation come from? Was there a step I over looked?

Thinking this idea would be great for my boyfriends kids!!

Appreciate any insight into doing something cool like this.. His first Betta died right away and I want to cheer him up with a cool unique idea.

Thanks guys ?

0
Average aquarist
Average aquarist

Reply 1 year ago

sorry this is 4 years too late but bettas need at least a five gallon tank to survive, this is really not a good idea at all, partially because of airflow, but also because of size

0
raytho23
raytho23

2 years ago

I want to try this but my friend says it’s a bad idea. I see where she is coming from with it is a small space and it’s just not a good environment. But I don’t see how it is a problem because many people keep their fish in fish bowls and I don’t see how it is any different, the fish bowls are actually made for fish and this is the same concept. The chemicals in the plastics could be harmful to the fish, was another point of hers but I was thinking you could just replace the actual ‘bowl’ part of the gum ball machine with and actual fish bowl this way it would be literally the same thing as many people have but with the gum ball machine stand. Also if you were worried about size 1 just don’t get a fish that shouldn’t be in a small tank in the first place. Yes, fish will live a happier life if in a larger tank but most don’t. They wouldn’t make a fish bowl a concept if it was a terrible idea, and 2 if the fish outgrew the tank or was clearly unhappy with no place to move, just relocate it. With the proper filtration system, bubbler, and good enough sized bowl, I don’t think this is a problem, it sounds like a very cool and fun project to do and would also look good!