How to Build a DIY Acrylic Tank for Sale? If you are thinking about building an aquarium at home, we have some good news for you. You can make your own custom-made tank and sell it in a pet shop or online marketplaces. It’s easy to do—you just need the right materials and skills!
1. What is an acrylic aquarium
An acrylic glass fish tank is made of transparent polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA/ Plexiglas) that is clear, shatterproof and lightweight. An acrylic glass fish tank looks like a normal aquarium but with a difference: The base of its body is flat while the top of the body has rounded edges. These tanks can be either square-shaped or rectangular-shaped.
Generally, a standard aquarium is made of glass and has a flat bottom body. Experts believe that acrylic aquariums are better than glass tanks as the former do not break if they fall accidentally. These tanks can withstand physical mishandling and won’t crack or shatter easily. An expert way to build an acrylic tank for sale is necessary because only skilled craftsmen in this business could make high-quality acrylic tanks with precision cuts and various designs on its interior walls and floor. A tank with imperfections in workmanship will leave customers unsatisfied with the product or service you delivered to them.
2. The benefits of an acrylic aquarium
Acrylic glass fish tanks are easy to clean. These tanks do not absorb water and dirt easily so they can be cleaned using soap and running water. You can even apply vinegar to kill unwanted bacteria in the aquarium tank but only a small amount should be used since too much of it could cause a chemical reaction or damage the material.
3. How to build an acrylic aquarium for sale?
There are two important things you have to know before building an acrylic tank: your budget and what design you want on the interior surface of your fish tank (solid, frosted, or etched). Here are the steps in making your own custom-made acrylic aquarium:
a.) First, determine the size of your acrylic tank—it should be bigger than your budget. For instance, if you plan to spend $100 for the tank, it should be at least 30 gallons in volume or more. The volume of an acrylic aquarium is calculated by multiplying length x width x height (in inches). In order to determine the size of your custom-made acrylic fish tank, do a simple calculation and divide it into small parts that would form the bottom and top boundaries of your acrylic box/reservoir.
b.) Get the materials needed like plastic fasteners, screws, standoffs, washers, bolts and nuts. You need also sandpaper, ruler and pencils to make markings on your acrylic glass sheet; and a drill machine with bits to drill holes on its surface as well as a pneumatic saw to cut the pieces of acrylic into the right dimensions. You will also need silicone sealant, masking tape, acetone, and PVC cement. If you plan to make an etched tank or put engraved markings on its walls, then you need a vinyl cutter that is used in making electrical boxes and other home improvement materials.
c.) Before cutting your chosen acrylic sheet into smaller pieces for the fish tank interiors (top, bottom, sides and back), clean its surface with acetone and allow it to dry before using silicone sealant to stick the pieces together. Mask off each edge of these acrylic sheets so that no solvent can reach them or accidentally scratch the material while drilling holes on any of its side parts like top, bottom or sides. Sand the entire surface of the acrylic sheet with 120-grit sandpaper to remove its molds and dust particles.
d.) Decide first where you want to put your tank—in a corner or right in front of your TV set. Know beforehand if you have enough space for it before cutting any part of your acrylic glass sheet. Make markings on the walls and floor of your custom-made fish tank using a ruler and pencil so that when you cut it into pieces, each piece is almost identical in size and shape to one another. Use masking tape to fix them each at their respective position. Drill holes on these marked positions (with brass standoffs) so as not to damage the material while drilling in this weak material.
e.) Use a pneumatic saw to cut your acrylic sheet into smaller pieces including the floor, back, bottom and sides of the fish tank. Sand again its surface but this time with 180-grit sandpaper so that it is smoother and ready for etching or making engraved markings on its side walls. When you finished cutting all parts of the aquarium (including top), now is the time to assemble them together using plastic fasteners, screws and nuts. Use PVC cement to glue another piece of vinyl laminated wood on your custom-made acrylic aquarium as a cover for it (this will add beauty to your tank).
4. Materials needed to make an acrylic tank
Twenty pieces of 1/8″ acrylic sheet (any color) with size of 12″ x 24″ x 1/8″; twelve pieces of wood lamination with size 10″x 14″ x 3/16″; acrylic solvent; masking tape, sandpaper and pneumatic saw machine.
5. Cost and budgeting for the project
A 30-gallon custom-made acrylic aquarium can cost approximately $86 if you buy a pre-cut piece of 1/8″ thick glass from your local pet store or other supplier like Home Depot or Lowe’s. But before buying, make sure that it is made in the United States from high quality cast acrylic material to ensure its durability over time. You can save money by getting discounted items such as used parts for sale or other refurbished materials.
For this project, you only need to buy the tools for building acrylic aquariums and these can cost about $40 depending on where you will get them like from Amazon or eBay. The rest of the needed materials are readily available at your local hardware stores but if in case they do not have it, just order online so that you can build your own larger custom-made fish tank.
6. Tools you will need for this project
• Pneumatic saw machine
• Sandpaper (any grit) with an extra one for polishing purposes (you may also use any manual hacksaw to cut acrylic sheets into smaller pieces). A grinding wheel is optional but a good investment if you would want to polish its both side of your acrylic glass sheets.
• E-tape for marking measurements & temporary fasteners (better than masking tape)
• Rulers, pencils and drill machine or a hand drill with different sized bits
7. Things to know about custom-made acrylic tanks before making one:
Color does not show scratches as easily as glass aquariums so if you happen to have an all white room covered in white carpet, choose this color for your tank especially if you keep any black sand substrate on the bottom of its tank floor. If you want to make it more colorful with marine life inside like corals, fish and coralline algae, definitely choose blue or red colored top and main body parts of the tank for a more attractive contrast.
A DIY custom-made acrylic aquarium can cost less than $100 to build and that is one of the main advantages of it other than that you made it yourself so its size, shape and design are up for your own imagination. It is easier to work with than glass or fiberglass aquariums especially when bending the walls as there is no need for any special tools to bend them in a desired angle like using large clamps with screws that might damage your tank once bent too much during the process.
It does not scratch easily compared to normal glass tanks used for saltwater fish keeping hobby but make sure to handle it carefully if you live with kids at home who will definitely want to play inside the tank once they see their colorful new fish inside.