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Save Hundreds - Make Your Own Acrylic Aquarium

Acrylic Aquarium

Our friends over at Free RC Simulators know a thing or two about DIY projects. Especially when it comes to self-made acrylic aquarium builds. Today, they want to share this valuable knowledge with the rest of us.

If you're a serious fish owner, you know just how expensive owning them can be. Especially when it comes to purchasing a tank for a home aquarium. Even with discounts, a decent 10 + gallon, acrylic tank can cost you well over the $200 mark even at your local pet store or Walmart. However, this process doesn't have to be so costly. One of the many ways to lower your entry costs is to build the acrylic aquarium yourself.


  • 1/4 ‘ thick 10”x17” acrylic sheet
  • Two 8.75”x8” Acrylic Pieces
  • Two 15.25”x8” Acrylic Pieces
  • Thin #4 Acrylic Cement and Needle Applicator
  • Electrical Tape
  • Bright Light
  • 7.75”x1.75” Acrylic Piece as Brace for 1/8” Tank

Step 1 - Cutting

Take your 1/4" acrylic sheet measuring 10"x17" and cut it with a table saw. Your saw will most likely need acrylic blades. Cut your sheet to 8" high.

Step 2 - Scoring

Following this step, score with a utility knife and ruler to make your 4 side pieces. You can use the edge of your work bench to complete the break.

Step 3 - Smoothing

Next, you'll need to smooth your edges. You only need to smooth the edges that you plan on sealing with cement. Clamp down your blade at 90 degrees. Carefully scrape the edges until they're smooth. Don't forget to also sand the edges with 400 grit sandpaper. Be careful not to round your edges.

QUICK NOTE: If you need to break any pieces, use a score and clamp.

Step 4 - Assemblage

Now, take your completed pieces and assemble them together. Tape the four sides together. Inspect the sides for any gaps. Elastic tape from top to bottom will evenly distribute pressure.

Step 5 - Cement

Apply cement evenly on the inside edges of each side. Gently test the tops of each side to ensure the cement is even and has sealed the bottom. Apply the cement to the outside edges in a similar fashion.

Step 6 - Light Check

Double check your work using a bright light along the bottom of the tank. If any light shines through, apply additional cement to this spot. The cement takes roughly 5 to 15 minutes to dry. If the cement has done its job, your bottom edges should seal together completely. Larger tanks may need a full 24 to 48 hours to dry.

Step 7 - Cement #2

Flip your tank over on its side to cement the corners. Much like the bottom edges, apply an even layer of cement to your corners. Start on the inside of the corners, and then apply cement to the outside corners. Apply even pressure to the opposite sides using your hands and a wooden board. Make sure you hold the sides for a minimum of 5 minutes.

Step 8 - Secure Brace

Finally, cement the center brace over the top. Let your tank dry for a solid 24 hours. You should have a completely water-tight acrylic aquarium.


WAIT! Your tank still needs a coral-friendly LED light