Build your own salt water aquarium: Have you not yet decided whether to build or buy a saltwater aquarium? For most people, buying a ready-made aquarium is undoubtedly the easier option. But if you are handy and enjoy working with tools and construction, you may be thinking of building your own aquarium. This chapter will give you DIY instructions on how to build a 55-gallon glass aquarium to house your marine animals. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether to build or buy a saltwater aquarium. If you feel more comfortable with a purchased aquarium, treat yourself to one!
Building an aquarium from scratch is challenging and not for beginners unless you have a lot of patience and are willing to ask for help. With the help of the materials list, step-by-step instructions and advice provided here, you can build your own glass aquarium. Whether you build or buy a saltwater aquarium, you’re sure to find the setup fun and rewarding. But the satisfaction of having built your own special aquarium is twofold.
Before you begin, you need to know something about working with glass. The aquarium you will build is 14 inches high with one-inch thick glass panels. If you want to build a larger saltwater aquarium, you will need to learn how to calculate the correct glass thickness for the size of the aquarium. If you haven’t decided whether to build or buy a saltwater aquarium, think about how confident you are with glass.
Whether you are building or buying a saltwater aquarium, the first thing you should do is make a plan or sketch for the saltwater aquarium you want. Make sure all of your measurements are correct so that the aquarium will fit together properly. This aquarium is built with the two end panels inside the back and front panels.
The front, back and side panels are placed on top of the aquarium base. If you don’t know how to cut glass, you can ask the professionals to do it for you. If you are building or buying a saltwater aquarium, you need to understand how to join the glass together as this has a lot to do with the stability of the aquarium.
Whether you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium, you will likely use a lighted cover. When you make your plans, you need to plan for the cover. You should never put solid glass on the top of the aquarium, as this will reduce gas exchange at the surface. If this happens, your aquarium will not get enough aeration and the health of the aquarium will suffer.
So what materials do you need to build a saltwater aquarium? Whether you are building or buying a saltwater aquarium, you will need to purchase all the necessary materials needed for a good marine setup. To build a 55-gallon aquarium, you will need the following:
- 1 glass plate for the bottom of the tank
- 1 front, 1 back and 2 end pieces of glass.
- Single sided razor blades.
- Non-toxic, 100% silicone sealant. (All-Glass Brand 100% Silicone Sealant).
- Roll of paper towels.
- Washable felt-tip pen.
- Roll of adhesive tape.
- Sandpaper or silicon carbide sandpaper.
Whether you decide to build or buy a saltwater aquarium, you should choose the largest one that will fit in your home. If your tank is larger than 30 gallons, you may want to install a support brace in the center of the tank. To do this, cut a six-inch-wide piece of glass to fit the outer edges of the front and back panels. Use silicone to position it in place.
Next, prepare the glass panels. Use sandpaper or silicon carbide sandpaper to smooth the edges of the glass. Clean the joints and edges of the glass panels to inch inward with acetone. Prepare the tape by cutting 16 strips of tape, each 5 inches long. Place them nearby ready to use. Always be careful when handling glass. This applies to both building and buying a saltwater aquarium.
Place the pieces on the floor or table in the correct order for assembly. If necessary, mark them with words or arrows to help you keep track. Place the bottom plate on a flat, scratch-resistant surface. Attach 8 strips of tape to the bottom of the glass (sticky side up). Whether you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium, be careful not to scratch the glass.
Now install the front piece of glass. Then fold the 2 lower pieces of adhesive tape upwards and stick them to the glass. Now you can install the first side piece by folding the 2 bottom pieces of tape upward and taping them to the front glass. Attach the side piece to the front glass piece with 2 strips of tape.
Next, install the other side piece and the back piece. Once the tank is built, use silicone to seal the eight joints inside the tank. Use a small amount of silicone and run your thumb over it to smooth it out. Let the tank sit for 24 hours to allow the silicone to cure. It doesn’t matter if you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium – the important thing is that it doesn’t leak!
After the rest period, you can fill the tank with fresh water. Let it stand for 12 to 24 hours. Why? You are testing your aquarium for leaks! A test period of 24 hours is better, because then you can be more sure that your tank is indeed watertight. This is important whether you are building or buying a saltwater aquarium.
Once you are sure that your tank is suitable for your underwater environment, you can start planning the fish, invertebrates and plants that will go into your tank. It doesn’t really matter if you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium. Most people will probably prefer the convenience of going to a store and selecting a perfectly assembled aquarium, but for those who like a challenge, building your own tank can be very satisfying. Once you have everything set up, you will feel doubly proud! Have fun with your new aquarium!