How to Build an In-Wall Aquarium

Written by joe thull
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How to Build an In-Wall Aquarium
An inwall aquarium can be an attractive way to showcase your fish. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Aquariums are a fantastic way to add visual appeal to the home and raise fish. Most aquariums, especially large ones, require a lot of floor space and can take up a lot of room. You can save space and hide unsightly tank equipment by installing an aquarium inside of a wall. In-wall aquariums look very professional and add a unique visual dimension to any room.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Glass
  • Extra support materials
  • Razor blades
  • Silicone aquarium sealant
  • Glass cleaner
  • Duct tape
  • Tape measure
  • Sand paper
  • Non-toxic marker
  • Aquarium equipment
  • Hose
  • Buckets
  • Wall cutting tools
  • Metal hinges
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Hammer

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    Assembling the Tank

  1. 1

    Consider the size of the wall you want to put an aquarium in and how much room is available behind the wall. There will have to be room for aquarium equipment behind the wall as well.

  2. 2

    Cut the glass for the front, back and sides of the aquarium. Consider having a professional complete this step for you, as you will want all dimensions of the glass to be exact.

  3. 3

    Sand the edges of the glass with fine sandpaper so they will fit flush with each other. Be sure not to round the glass because this will cause for imperfections leading to leaks. Clean the glass that will face outside and mark it with a non-toxic marker.

  4. 4

    Use duct tape long enough to cover the entire edge of the glass and put the tank together with someone to help hold it in place. Doing this with two pieces at a time, put the aquarium together with the duct tape around the edges and use the silicone aquarium sealant to run an even line along the inside edges of the aquarium to create a sealed bond between all the glass pieces. Most aquarium sealants should be used similar to caulk, in a gun, in order to guarantee effective distribution in all the cracks and edges.

  5. 5

    Use your finger to smooth the sealant into the crack. Let the silicone dry for around two days before removing the duct tape. Trim off unsightly extra dried silicone with a razor blade.

  6. 6

    Take the aquarium outdoors to check for leaks. You will want to fill the aquarium to the top to insure it does not leak with the full amount of water pressure inside of it. Once filled, let the tank sit for a couple hours, checking periodically to see if there are leaks. If leaks are present, pinpoint their locations and empty the tank to reseal it properly.

    Installing the Aquarium

  1. 1

    Consider the type of material used in the wall the aquarium will go into. Concrete and harder materials are very sturdy, but hard to cut into. Sheetrock and wood beams aren't as sturdy, but easier to cut into. For this step, consider hiring someone to complete the cutting for you. Regardless of wall materials on hand, be sure to consider the total weight of the tank once filled with water, rocks and decorations. Generally, water weighs about 4.54 Kilogram for each gallon.

  2. 2

    Construct support materials on the other side of the wall, using 90-degree metal hinges to secure them to the floor. Use a sturdy, flat surface for the bottom of the tank to sit on the top of the support beams. Be sure to leave a bit of leeway on the top and sides of the tank to allow proper fit in the wall.

  3. 3

    Determine where you want to place the equipment on the other side of the wall. The tank and its equipment will need maintenance and should be placed with ease-of-access in mind. Canister and wet/dry filters should be placed underneath the tank for larger tanks, while tank-mounted systems are usually placed on the upper-inside part of the tank. Be sure to run a surge protector strip plug to an area where there is no risk of water dripping into electrical sockets.

  4. 4

    Clean rocks and decorations under water and place them in the aquarium as you wish. Slide the aquarium into the wall and be sure it is level. Place aquarium equipment like heaters, thermometers and filter systems in the tank according to the manufacturers' suggested directions.

  5. 5

    Fill the tank with water from the other side of the wall. You can attach trim of your colour choice around the front edges of the aquarium. This will give the viewable side of the aquarium a professional appearance and complete the inwall aquarium process.

Tips and warnings

  • When dealing with heavily filled aquariums, consult a professional to make sure the floor and support materials can support the weight.
  • If uncomfortable, always consult a professional when dealing with electrical components by a water source.
  • Large tanks carry a lot of weight, so professional consultation on types of support materials should be considered.

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