How to Build a Water Tight Acrylic Tank

Written by naomi bolton Google
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How to Build a Water Tight Acrylic Tank
Acrylic aquariums don't crack or break easily, but may show scratches quickly. (Aquarium image by crossgolfing from

Acrylic fish tanks are not as heavy as glass tanks of the same size and withstand shock better. Acrylic fish tanks tend not to crack or break easily during handling. An acrylic aquarium is aesthetically pleasing and the average hobbyist can construct these tanks. It does not require much equipment to build an acrylic aquarium and the resulting tank will certainly be worth the effort. Be aware, though, that acrylic scratches easier than glass, so you need to take care when handling the acrylic panes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Base pane of 0.31-inch thick acrylic, 36 by 12 inches
  • Front pane of 0.31-inch thick acrylic, 36 by 14 inches
  • Back pane of 0.31-inch thick acrylic, 36- by 14 inches
  • Two side panes of 0.31-inch thick acrylic, 12 by 14 inches
  • Acrylic solvent
  • 20cc syringe with 18-gauge needle
  • Four strips of sandpaper, 150 grit
  • Clean cloth
  • Five soft towels
  • Work bench
  • Masking tape

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  1. 1

    Remove the protective film attached to each of the acrylic panes.

  2. 2

    Sand down the edges of each pane of acrylic with a thin strip of sandpaper.

  3. 3

    Wipe down each piece with a clean cloth and lay them on the towels.

  4. 4

    Fill a 20cc syringe with acrylic solvent.

  5. 5

    Lay the base pane on a flat work bench. Position this pane against the wall and stand the back pane vertically on top of it.

  6. 6

    Tilt the back piece slightly backward and apply a continuous stream of acrylic solvent along the entire joint area.

  7. 7

    Lower the vertical pane onto the solvent and position this fused section so that the vertical back panel is flush against the wall. Secure it to the wall with masking tape.

  8. 8

    Allow the fused section to cure for at least two hours.

  9. 9

    Position one of the side panes onto the base and fuse this to both the base and back pane. Repeat this process with the second side piece.

  10. 10

    Allow the fused four-piece unit to cure for at least another two hours.

  11. 11

    Place the front pane in place and fuse with the acrylic solvent to both side panes and to the base.

  12. 12

    Allow the finished aquarium to cure for two days.

  13. 13

    Fill the acrylic aquarium with water overnight. Drain this water and refill with water to be used for your fish.

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