How to Build a Fish Tank

To house and display your pet fish, you will need a fish tank. Fish tanks, depending on the size and fittings can be very expensive to buy readymade; however, building your own fish tank can significantly reduce the cost of owning one.


  • Five glass panels
  • Non-toxic silicone sealant
  • Silicon carbide sandpaper or Emory cloth
  • Acetone


  • Paper towels
  • Duct tape
  • Washable felt-tipped marker
  • Thermometer


  1. Determine the size of the fish tank; make a drawing of the design including its dimensions. Depending on the dimensions of the chosen design, select the appropriate thickness of the glass panels. Very thick glass will be far more expensive than thinner glass, but the tank may crack easily if the glass is too thin.
  2. Order the five glass panels needed based on your measurements. A panel will be used for the base of the tank, two equally sized panels will be used for the front and back and another two equal panels will be used for the left and right sides.
  3. Cut the panels to size and smooth the edges with sandpaper or Emory cloth. Ensure the panel edges are smooth and flat since this is the point at which they will be joined. Wipe the edges with a paper towel damped with acetone once they’ve been completely smoothed and are flat.
  4. Label the five panels accordingly using the washable felt-tipped marker; ensure you also label which side of the individual panels will face the inside and outside of the fish tank.
  5. Determine the face of the base panel and lay it face down. Line the length of the base panel where the front panel will be attached with sealant, then affix both panels together. Secure the connection with duct tape.
  6. Run a line of sealant down the other sides of the base panel, attaching the relevant sides as you go along. Make sure that the panels are secured with duct tape.
  7. Once installation of each panel is completed, run a bead of sealant on the inside of the fish tank where all the corners meet.
  8. Allow the sealant to cure for approximately 24 hours or until completely dry. After this period has elapsed, slowly fill the tank with water. Observe the water-filled tank for another 24 hours for signs of weakness or water leakage.
  9. Repair leaks that do occur with the sealant.
  10. After the tank has been completed, add gravel, an air pump, and other decorations. After the decorations have been added, and the tank looks like a suitable home for your pet fish, add water and let it stand for a few hours until its temperature matches the room temperature. Use a thermometer to check the temperature, then add the pet fish if it is suitable.
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