Some Ideas for DIY Fishy Aquarium Builds

Does DIY aquarium building sound simple? If yes, then please don’t follow your thoughts. It requires proper learning and maintenance. In the following, you can look at a brief building summary via some build aquarium top ideas. Material and methods for creating different types of tanks, i.e., saltwater tanks, tropical tanks, aquascapes, etc., are on your scroll. 10 different ideas are worth learning besides setting up a breeding fish tank.

setting up a breeding fish tank

How to Build an Aquarium?

Aquarium building means designing, setting up, and arrangement of an aquarium. An aquarium usually houses fish, plants, and other aqua-pets, i.e., African clawed frogs. They are used to displaying or studying fish behaviors in their natural environment and variable conditions. Different materials, i.e., fiberglass, glass, concrete, acrylic sheets, and wood, are used to build an aquarium. At least one side is transparent to observe their behavior and display. Their capacity varies from a few gallons to 12.9 million gallons.

Summary Of How to Build an Aquarium

It is easy to build an aquarium. Here is the brief procedure to build an aquarium.

  • Design your tank, i.e., tank type, capacity, suitable material, fish, etc.
  • Gather all the material.
  • Glue the side, back, and front panel.
  • Check the leakage.
  • Do plant transplantation and install tank decorations and equipment in the tank.
  • Cycle your tank.
  • Add your fish and other aqua pets and enjoy the scenery.

Where Does It Start to Build a Fish Tank?

Building a tank is not just taking 5 glass panels, gluing them, and filling the tank with water. It needs designing and brainstorming over it. Here is what you need and how to build different types of tanks, i.e., tropical, saltwater, reef, and aquascape tanks.

Tropical Fish Tank

High temperatures and regular water changes are distinctive features of tropical fish tanks. Here is the list of materials to build a tropical fish tank.

Aquarium Light for 10 to 12 hours Test kit
Heater Water conditioner Decoration, i.e., live plants, gravel, and stones
Filter Algae scrubber Sturdy sand that can hold 10-gallon per square foot

Saltwater Tank

Saltwater tanks are different from regular tanks. They require extra care and maintenance. Here is a list of materials you need to build a saltwater tank.

Tank Powerhead Heater Test Kits
Lighting Salt mixer Thermometer Additives
Skimmers, Filters & Filtration Equipment Sea salt Air Pump Supplements
Live Rock & Substrate Hydrometer Air Stones Maintenance Tools

Reef Tank

It’s way more complex than tropical and saltwater tanks as it involves several parameters and equipment. Here are the things required for a reef tank.


At least a 50-gallon tank Aragonite sand Siphon hose LED lights
Protein skimmer Wavemaker Test Kit for water parameters Glass cleaner
Canister filter Heater Marine salt Hydrometer
Live rocks Thermometer Reef safe epoxy Algae scrapper
RO water Salt mixer Corals Reef fish

Aquascape Tank

Aquascaping is one of the best ways to beautify and give a natural look to your tank. To build an aquascaping tank, you need specific techniques and tools.

At least a 20-gallon tank Cleaning tools CO2 injection method Fertilizer with macro and micronutrients
A thermometer to check the temperature LED lighting Driftwood and rocks(关联主题:How to Clean Driftwood for Aquarium) Nutrient-rich substrate
Heater to maintain the temperature Aquascaping tools Test kit Decorative elements
Aquarium plants, i.e., fore, mid, and background plants Filtration system (HOB for less than 50-gallon and canister for more than 50-gallon tanks)

How to Build a Tank

  • Rinse off the substrate and decorations.
  • Set the decorations and lay down the substrate in the tank.
  • Install filtration according to your tank size. In the case of a reef tank, install all other equipment, i.e., lighting, protein skimmer, power head, or wave maker.
  • Make a plant layout in case of an aquascape tank. Moreover, grow them with proper care and fertilization.
  • Fill the tank with the RO water. In the case of a saltwater tank, fill it with the saltwater tank water parameters.
  • Cycle the tank to establish the parameters.
  • Introduce fish in the tank. In the case of reef tanks, also introduce corals and other invertebrates.
  • Make a maintenance routine and follow it.

build aquarium top ideas

10 DIY Aquarium Build Ideas

DIY is always a great way to learn with fun. You can also use DIY ideas in the aquarium building. Here are 10 ideas that you can use to build a DIY aquarium.

PVC pipes Aquascapes

Cut the PVC pipes and join them into interesting shapes and structures. Put them underwater and grow plants or moss in these structures.

Terrarium Aquarium

Grow aquatic plants and terrestrial plants in a large glass tank. Build a water holding facility in the tank and introduce fish in it. Don’t forget to apply all aquarium equipment, i.e., lighting, ventilation, filtration, etc., in the terrarium.

Masson Jar Aquascape

It requires minimal effort to turn a large mason jar into a tank. Just take a big mason jar, clean it, lay a layer of substrate, do plantation, install decor, introduce fish, and enjoy with your DIY tank.

Glass Bowl

Take a large clear glass bowl or acrylic bowl, and fill it with water and decorative species. After that introduce a betta fish and enjoy with a single betta bowl.

DIY Stream Aquascape

Stream aquascape gives a naturalistic look to your tank. Use substrate or driftwood to create a stream landscape. Do plantation on the sides of the minimalistic stream to give it a more realistic look.

Ideas for DIY Fishy Aquarium

DIY Aquaponic System

Aquaponics is a great DIY idea for your home aquarium. To turn it into reality, grow the aquaponic plants at the top of the tank and use the fish waste as a nutrient source for the plants.

In-Wall Aquarium

Make a custom-sized cavity in the wall. Install lights and filtration system hidden. Use decorations around the wall to give a finishing look to your in-wall aquarium.

Floating Island Aquascape

Floating Island is another interesting aquascape. You can use styrofoam as a floating object. Grow terrestrial, aquatic plants on the top, and make a hole underside of the foam to intake the nutrients from the water.

Vintage TV as Aquarium Frame

Do you remember the box-shaped old T.V.? If you have such an item, you can place the aquarium inside the T.V. and use its screen side as a display. It’ll give you a nostalgic look.

Nano Reef Tank

This idea is for veteran aquarists as it requires extra attention. Take a glass tank and install all equipment, i.e., filtration, protein skimmer, etc., and reef decorations. Cycle your tank, add water, and enjoy the scenery.

how to build an aquarium

Set up an Aquarium for Breeding Fish

Usually, fish become territorial during the breeding period. Their aggression toward other fish creates discomfort in the tank. Aside from this, some fish can cannibalize their eggs and juveniles. Therefore, it’s always wise to have a breeding fish tank. Here is an easy method to build a breeding tank.

Size of the Tank

Usually, small tanks, i.e., about 20 gallons, are more than enough. However, if you are dealing with big fish, you need a large tank. Small tanks provide a proper opportunity for a proper look after the fish.

Place a Lid

Always cover your breeding tank with a lid because fish are excited during the breeding period. It’ll help them to keep within the tank.


Plantation serves three main purposes in a breeding tank.
1. It helps to reduce the aggression of fish during this period.
2. Plant leaves provide a spawning mop for fish.
3. It helps in maintaining water quality.


Usually, the breeding tanks are fine without substrate. It helps in cleanliness and monitoring the eggs and juveniles. However, fine sand substrate helps to fry from getting trapped.


Three major pieces of equipment, i.e., heater, filters, and pumps, are crucial for any breeding tank.

  • Water temperature is crucial for the mating and successful growth of the broods.
  • Sponge filters are the best as they help to avoid the sucking of eggs.
  • Flow is necessary. However, don’t go with the too high flow as the higher turbulence can cause damage to eggs.

Water Parameters

Water parameters are different for different species.

  • Maintain water parameters, as they affect the growth and survival of fry and juveniles.
  • Avoid sudden changes in water parameters.

DIY Fishy Aquarium Builds

Final Thoughts

DIY aquarium ideas are fun and learning. However, you require proper building materials, design awareness, and care to thrive in this DIY. 10 different DIY building ideas, i.e., mason jar tanks, aquaponic tanks, and vintage T.V. aquarium ideas are worth learning. Aside from a straight tank, you can also DIY your breeding tank.

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