View Full Version : Building an Aquarium

02-19-2010, 06:09 PM
We have a table in our computer/tv room that we had a tosakin bowl on. We couldnt find anything commercially made to fit on it like we wanted so we decided to make our own aquarium. Im going to post pix of it under construction without much commentary.... how much commentary does gluing five pieces of glass together need? :D: I did it on the glass kitchen table for easy cleanup but it really wasnt as messy as I thought it would be.. :)

02-19-2010, 06:10 PM
And the finished product:

02-19-2010, 06:18 PM
that;s it? no braces supports or anything?

02-19-2010, 06:25 PM
that;s it? no braces supports or anything?

so the only thing holding everything together is glue :confused:


02-19-2010, 06:30 PM
and what kind of glue BTW?

02-19-2010, 06:57 PM
Aquarium Silicone was used, and yes that's it.

The tape was just to get a straight smooth edge so it doesn't look like a 4 year old glued it. (suggested by Icthius)

At 15 gallons and being rather shallow by design, (Bruce MADE me say this) it's small enough not to need bracing.

02-19-2010, 07:07 PM
Did you have a glass custom cut or it came from some old aquarium?
Looks nice. Thanks for sharing.

02-19-2010, 07:42 PM
What about the sharp corners of the glass.

02-19-2010, 08:34 PM
Lisbon Storm and Screen is a door and window shop not far from our house. I just went there and ordered the glass in .250", in the sizes I needed and asked them to sand the edges. The seven pieces of glass (two for the top) came to $55. Ten bucks for a tube of All Glass (brand) 'aquarium' silicone and that was it. So for $65 we have a custom aquarium.

02-19-2010, 10:58 PM
Thank you for the project "tutorial". :clap:

It is nice to be able to view "top view" fish from the sides too.:yes:

There is a bit more to it than what I showed..... mostly in the planning and measuring to get it right before starting to glue. You also couldnt make a large aquarium without some sort of bracing.
We enjoy our tosakin alot but being in the bowl we could never watch them. We are planning to get more tosakin than our 4 and breed them. I don't know of anyone that actively breeds them. We think it would be fun. :)

02-20-2010, 04:10 PM
Rudy There is no need for any bracing in the corners. The silicone is quite capable of holding it together. I built my 175gal 26 years ago and it's still going and coming into another life as a wild discus tank

02-20-2010, 09:57 PM
I know on my 55 gallon there is a center strap molded in the top cover ,straping the front glass to the back,( i guess to prevent bulging when it is full) Is this strap necessary on any tank larger than the one you built? Are there limits to the size you can go for Rimless tanks? You did a great job on yours,gotta ask thou, does the silicone go between the glass on the corners or is it just filling in the corner?

02-20-2010, 10:13 PM
The manufacturers have used thinner glass for years now, regardless of tank size..because of this they've had to add the center brace....before the thinner glass it wasn't needed....cheap buggers.

Any size tank can be rimless is the glass is sized right

03-06-2010, 03:11 PM
I just have to ask (being that we had a 29 gallon fail due to a misaligned stand) what techno equipment is that below this 15 gallons of liquid disaster? :eek1:

Very cool, and thanks for taking the time with pictures and posting.

Many years ago, back in our college days (WSU) there was a couple starting a fish business in their basement. They got all this glass from a building (and old gas station I believe) being torn down. Never did get to see their set up. I wish I could remember their name, because who knows, perhaps they post on koiphen now days. ;)

03-06-2010, 04:54 PM
Back a few years......1972-mid summer......I lived in Shreveport LA. I heard about a glass repair shop going out of business. I stopped and talked with the owner. He had stacks of raw uncut sheets and barrels of end cuts. I bought the whole works for $100.00. At the time I was driving a '70 fire engine red Chevy Caprice Estate wagon.

I loaded it four times with as much glass as it would hold without the tires blowing. Got it all home and began cutting and gluing. I built a fishroom in a week. All sorts of sizes and depths. I, too, found that I could build just about anything but was stopped only by the thickness of the glass and the height.

One afternoon, I built a 4' tower, 12" square. After it cured out for a day I filled it on the carport. It stood there for about 4 hours and then split the seams and collapsed. The same tank built as 12" tall and 4' long would last forever.

If you're messin' with glass get an edger or you'll cut your hands to ribbons. Cutting the glass is pretty easy and you don't need much but a straight edge to do it. Hand held glass cutting tools are avaialble at the hardware and most big box stores. Clean the glass with alcohol before you apply the sealer. GE 100% silicone seal works well. Walmart has 100% silicone sealer in a caulking tube for about $4.00. That will make a lot of tanks!

I have repaired large glass aquariums that were about to be thrown into the dumpster. The frames are removeable and the broken side or bottom can be removed with thin piano wire or even an exacto knife. Once the broken section is removed clean all of the old silicone off and then a little alcohol wipe.

Back in the mid-nineties I owned Superior Tropicals. I had 850 glass tanks. Now and then we had to make a repair and it was generally cheaper than replacing the tank.

Used glass from store fronts will work. They're just a little more brittle so be careful. 1/4" plate will build a 55gal. Just cut a 3-4" cross plate and mount it inside the front and back of the tank-in the middle. Brace the front and back while you allow the silicone to seal. Oceanic tanks-now All-Glass-have glass braces. I have six of them.

03-06-2010, 06:38 PM
That came out nicely. I have wondered if it was just aquarium silicone that I had seen used. Cutting the glass is pretty easy. Glass pliars help. I have a glass grinder. I used it to custom some aquarium tops. I used to make tiffany lamps and windows. Your project does look pretty straightforward.

03-22-2010, 12:22 AM
Your aquarium is beautiful. It looks much like the tank I made for my betta. It has held up very well. I love the idea of taping prior to the silicone bead. I wish I had done that to make my glue job look nicer.