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Forum Home > Reviews & Homemade projects > Sticky: How to attach glass shelves to an aquarium

Hannah Jones
Site Owner
Posts: 941

So many members have asked me how I attached the shelves to Tic and Tac's aquarium (below). I've always answered 'I bought the aquarium as it is'. They've akways replied 'Then how do you attach shelves like that to my aquarium?!' I've always answered 'Sorry, I don't know...'. 


So here I'll show and explain how to make one - link/tutorial courtesy of member Camden.

Original source - http://gerbilforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=projects&action=display&thread=10924

 

Supplies:
20 gallon high (tall) tank, 12"Wx24"Lx16"D. About $40 at Petco. 
2 glass triangles 11"x15.5"x19" and two long rectangles 1"x18.75". Custom cut for about $30 at a local glass and mirror shop. ***Be sure to tell the glass shop that this is for an animal's habitat so every edge must be completely smooth!*** 
Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.
Clear aquarium sealant (silicone). About $6 at Petco.
Masking tape.
Xacto knife or razor blade.
Newspaper.
Paper towels.
Widget or razor blade.
Tape measure.

N.B. Your gerbils will be able to easily reach the inner rim of the plastic tank edge from the top shelf. If they are chewers, you should remove this rim with a utility knife and lightly sand the cut edges.



Measuring:
I placed the shelves 9" and 12" up, measured from the floor (not from inside the tank). Measure and mark with tape both sides of the tank where each shelf will be attached. 


Making Guidelines:
Put the tank on its side and line up the edge of a big sheet of newspaper under the tank parallel to the tape. Use the tape measure to be sure it is even with respect to the top of the tank. This gives a long guide line to follow when you insert the shelves. Tape something with a straight edge along the side of the tank in the same way (I used a record album). Your shelf should be level if you do this carefully.


Cutting the Notch:
Set the bottom shelf in to see how it fits. Because of the silicone holding the tank together, you will have to cut out a notch for the shelf to sit square in the corner. Mark the silicone with the knife on both sides of the shelf; then remove the shelf and cut out the notch.



Practice Setting the Shelf:
Set the shelf into the notch and make sure it lines up well with the guidelines and sits at a right angle in the corner, not tilting in either direction. Soon you will be putting silicone on two sides of the shelf and setting it permanently in place. Before you do this, it is a very good idea to practice putting it in place! Once the silicone is on, it is a terrible mess to try to adjust the position of the shelf. You also have to figure out how to hold the shelf without getting silicone all over yourself. I found the best way to set the shelf is to hold it in the air with the edge over the bottom guideline and move the shelf carefully toward the corner. When it is almost there, I set the shelf down on the guideline, make sure the side is lined up with the side guideline, and slide it gently into the notch. See below for more photos of this procedure.


Gluing and Setting the Shelf:
Now you are ready to put on the silicone. Wipe the glass with alcohol, according to the directions on the silicone. Use a moderate amount of silicone; too much will make a mess but too little won't hold the shelf. Once the shelf is in place, you'll need to hold it there for about 5 minutes, until the silicone becomes stable enough to keep it in place. It will take about 24 hours to cure before you do the next step.


Getting the shelf into position.


Lined up on the guideline, and sliding into the notch.


Adding the Lip:
The lip sits on top of the shelf, not in front of it. The lip is made just a touch shorter than the shelf to fit properly. Put silicone on one long side and both short sides and set into place. The next day, you can use the widget or razor blade to scrape off any smeared or extra silicone and then get started on the top shelf.



A Fabulous New Tank:
The tank should look something like this when it is done.



And they're ready to move in! 


I hope this helps!


UPDATE: I just made this measurements/specifications drawing of my aquarium:



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March 14, 2009 at 2:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Justice
Moderator
Posts: 917

WOW! That's cool, THANKS.

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March 14, 2009 at 8:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hannah Jones
Site Owner
Posts: 941

I just hope this tutorial's possible- if anyone can't get some of the materials or supplies needed here, please let me know as this is supposed to be a quick fix, easy to make tutorial!

March 15, 2009 at 5:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Tot, Gir, Shy 'n' Nemo
Moderator
Posts: 384

Looks like an easy to make tank.  I may try to build this with my Grandpa when we move in a week or two ^ ^

 

Thanks!

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***Hope that helps***

-Tot, Gir, Shy 'n' Nemo-

March 15, 2009 at 7:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Hannah Jones
Site Owner
Posts: 941

Haha, well it's here if anyone needs it :-)

March 27, 2009 at 3:24 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Hubii
Moderator
Posts: 952

I wanted to buy one at around £50 from a pet shop, but ive worked it out and it will roughly cost £25-£30 if you have to buy the tank, cheaper if you have a tank. I have loads of empty tanks from when i bred fish, so here we go! After i get back from camp, i am making a couple of them. Will the same technique work on bigger tanks?

 

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Hope This Helps, Hubii
Official Retro Member & Moderator 

 
March 27, 2009 at 3:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Justice
Moderator
Posts: 917

American currency, please. . .

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March 27, 2009 at 4:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hannah Jones
Site Owner
Posts: 941

Hubii - I think the tutorial is valid for bigger aquariums too - as I said, I didn't make this tutorial, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't make sense.

Justice - He wanted to buy one for around $71, but  worked it out and it would cost about $36 - $43 to make it yourself. US prices correct as of 28th March 09.

March 28, 2009 at 5:33 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Justice
Moderator
Posts: 917

Okay! Thanks. . . . =D

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March 28, 2009 at 9:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

coosh
Member
Posts: 53

i've been looking into buying a plastic box for my hammies like Justice has for pooter, but i canʲt find one that i think is clear enough, they all have that opaque sort of look.  so i thouɡht i could make them ones out of clear acrylic plastic sheets.  Do you think would the plans above for sticking in the shellves would work the same for stickinɡ plastic toɡether to make a plastic aquarium for themʔ 
any advice would be appreciated :)

March 29, 2009 at 5:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Justice
Moderator
Posts: 917

I think it should work the same. . . .

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March 29, 2009 at 9:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

MercuryHamster
Member
Posts: 55

I already have a 2-floor cage,but it's getting dirty and i might get a glass aquarium for my hamster Mercury.I think I might make the shelves,but getting the supplies would be hard for me beacause wedon't have much mirror stores aroud here,but if i do i'm pretty sure that i'm going to need some for for it:ohmy:

July 18, 2009 at 4:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sera
Member
Posts: 1

Is there anything that you could use other than glass shelves? Like wood or something?

July 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

James
Moderator
Posts: 1366

Wow that is a very detailed, step by step quide. Thanks :)

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Robo Love...:)     Moderator...:)


July 27, 2009 at 2:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Becky 22
Moderator
Posts: 772

I never understood how to attach a wheel and water bottle to tank, so I never bought one. Does anyone have any ideas? What about the wheels that stand up on their own?

July 31, 2009 at 2:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dukeslady
Moderator
Posts: 840

i have attached my water bottle with double sided velcro, one bit sticks to wall of their home and other is on bottle and it works fine.

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Do some research before you buy any pet !

 

Use the Search Feature on site to get results quickly ! 

 

Also please follow the sites "one photo per album" rule.

 
August 8, 2009 at 4:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma & Elizabeth
Moderator
Posts: 824

Flying saucers don't need to be atached. You could get one of those.

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Emma + Elizabeth

 

August 8, 2009 at 11:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Slacka' Alpaca
Member
Posts: 1

how much would it cost if you already had the tank

 

January 1, 2010 at 12:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Jazz
Member
Posts: 95

do you know if this would work for the plastic tubs? or would it be easier top have a freestanding 2nd level

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Dying can't be that bad otherwise people wouldnt do it :D

Jazz

January 5, 2010 at 11:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Tara
Member
Posts: 71

Becky 22 at 02:28AM on Jul 31, 2009

I never understood how to attach a wheel and water bottle to tank, so I never bought one. Does anyone have any ideas? What about the wheels that stand up on their own?

You could get a wheel that stands up and one of those water bottles with suction cups on the back so you can stick it to the tank! :D Hope this helped! -T

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-Tara

January 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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