My Aquarium
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This is the aquarium I built in June 2007. I have made a brief video guide on how it works.


Figure 1, Video of aquarium

In the video I had forgotten to mention that the pump is really noisy, so I keep it off most of the time. I turn the pump on daily for a little while to ensure the air in the top section does not stagnate. I put the outlet from the pump into the bottom section, that way, if I put too much water in the tank, the water goes through the pump and back into the tank.

I do not have a bubbler, I keep the water moving constantly with the filter which keeps the oxygen content of the water normal. If a bubbler was used, you would need to either ensure that the bubbles do not go into the upper section, or constantly draw air from the upper section (i.e. keep the pump on whenever the bubbler is on). Otherwise the water level in the top section will drop (which means the water level in the bottom section rises).The parts used to construct this tank are:

    4.5mm acrylic sheet
    Diaphragm pump (flopump FL-2202)
    PVC hose
    Plastic hose barb joining things (I forgot the correct name)
    Hose ring clamps
    Acrylic bonding cement (IPS weld on #16)

I got most of the goods from a plastics shop (Menzel plastics).

At first I tried to bond it together with IPS weld on #3 which is a clear thin liquid. I found it a little difficult to use so I changed to IPS weld on #16 which is a clear thick cement. It took about a week to put it together, only joining parts together every 24 hours, waiting for it to cure then joining the next part. There is plenty of info on the internet about building acrylic aquariums and other enclosures so I will not replicate that info here.

After I had built the tank I tested it full of water for a few weeks. A week before you get the fish, go to the fish shop and ask them what you need, you will probably need something to neutralise the chlorine in the mains water, and a bottle of the bacteria that reduce the concentration of ammonia and nitrate. If you don't do this before hand, your fish are likely to die from the chlorine in the mains water and the ammonia that the fish produce. Then there are all these test kits for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and pH that would be recommended for the health and wellbeing of your fish.

The two files below are the technical drawings for the tank in AutoCAD dxf and pdf format. I used the AutoCAD file directly with the laser cutter that we have at work to cut the panels of the tank. All units are in mm.


If you scratch your acrylic you can fix the problem (acrylic scratches much easier than glass). The scratch can be sanded down lightly with a very fine sandpaper and then polished with something similar to Meguiar's Plastix polish.

The acrylic seems to react badly when the clear PVC tubing comes in contact with it. The acrylic looks frosted where the PVC has been in contact for a long time, so it may be best to use something else other than clear PVC tubing. 

Figure 2, The tank under test before adding the fish

Figure 3 The tank with guppies and catfish getting familiar with their new home

The first few days, the guppies were a little confused, they expected the food to be delivered at the top (where it would have been at the fish shop). They soon realised that the food was delivered to them at the lower water level, smart fish. They often swim in between my fingers if I put my hand in (no doubt because they associate my hand with receiving food).