How to Build a Fish Tank Coffee Table

Written by nat fondell
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How to Build a Fish Tank Coffee Table
A fish tank can make a great coffee table. (fish tank image by Tammy Mobley from

A fish tank coffee table makes a great centrepiece for any living room, works as an excellent conversation piece, and is a practical and fun way to integrate a love of animals and fish with your home. Coffee table fish tanks are a great solution for those in small living spaces who may not have space for both a coffee table and a large fish tank, and can make their space look more organised by combining these two items.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Large fish tank
  • Large sheet of Plexiglas
  • Utility knife
  • Wooden yard stick
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Sandpaper
  • Power saw

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  1. 1

    Empty and clean a large fish tank. Remove the original lid and measure the dimensions of the top of the fish tank using the measuring tape. Take the measurements for a piece of Plexiglas that will fit directly into the grooves that the old lid fit into.

  2. 2

    Transfer the measurements onto the piece of Plexiglas by making marks with the utility knife. Cut grooves into the Plexiglas in the dimensions of the lid by running the utility knife along the edge of a yardstick which is placed on the Plexiglas along the marks of the original measurements.

  3. 3

    Break the Plexiglas along the grooves by striking it along the grooved area while holding both sides in place. This can be done with an assistant, or by holding it over the edge of a table. For a more exact cutting job, a saw can be used, or the utility knife can be used to cut it multiple times on both sides of the surface until it breaks easily.

  4. 4

    Sand the edges of the Plexiglas so that they look attractive, then position the surface on top of the fish tank. Do any required cutting or sanding to make the Plexiglas portion fit into the fish tank.

  5. 5

    Locate any areas on the Plexiglas which will need holes cut for filters, filter power cords, etc. Mark these areas with the utility knife and drill them out using a large drill bit or cut them out using a power saw.

Tips and warnings

  • Try to mount any lights or filters on the inside of the tank so that they do not reach the surface of the tank.
  • Air holes can be cut into the top of the sides of the tank, if desired.
  • Holes in the top surface of the coffee table can be dangerous if beverages drip through them into the fish tank, so be careful of this danger when entertaining.

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