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Drilling Holes in an Acryllic Aquarium!!! (Plus Frosted Background)

By Andrew Windham on

Okay, so before drilling holes and plumbing this tank, I put a leveling mat on the bottom of it. Just put it down on the back of it, pull off the adhesive side and cut it to fit. I used this level that was just the size of my tank perfectly, measured three times, cut one the X-Acto knife.

A good tip is to use some isopropyl alcohol before you apply adhesive services just to get the most out of the stick I guess, I would say. Yes, pretty clean perimeter, cut off all the excess, looks good now. Now I'm going to drill the holes.

Okay, so to just make the template from where I'm going to drill, you want to know where you want to be. The customed aquarium provides you with how far away you want to be from every edge or wall and recommended but after the minimum, it's up to you really. I'm wanting outflow on each side of the aquarium and an intake on the middle. Because the overflow is much deeper, kind of just find your spot and then put it down. You can draw around it or I use the Expo marker so in this way if I made a mistake, I could just wipe it off and then try again.

The whole point was to make sure I had, that this was the exact same height as the other intake. That this was exactly centered so I measured like four times up and down or this way. Then got to my height that I wanted that to be at so I'd have the waterline exactly where I wanted it to be. It's not that bad so far. If you want to do this, make sure you're using Expo marker, not like a sharpie. They'll stain the glass and you can easily wipe off. It helps to have a really long level measuring tape just so you can measure it three times, draw once, cut once. The next part is going to be drilling it.

All right and just to skip time and save you guys some trouble just watching me drill through this. This is it really, just smooth cut altogether. It took a while, you just have to take it easy and slow. Here's exactly how I wanted it so you can see a representation of where I wanted the H2O flow to be and where I kind of want my water line to be. It's kind of high but that's also, when I measured that little gap right there, that's also where the canopy overhangs so it kind of perfectly blends it.

Yes, clamping that over here and just taking your time, going slow and praying a little bit, that's good. Yes, leveled mat's fine, the acrylic is fine, there is no breaking or anything like that. It's not glass, it's much easier than class and it's all good. I'm just going to do the same thing for these two then I'll get back to you.

All right, so here we go, done deal, got all three drilled in. Here's a little funnel view before I set this up and water test it, and everything. There we go. Yes, just go slow and easy. If you ever drill acrylic aquariums, any tool that you would apply to wood can be applied to acrylic. Just be careful with it. It wasn't hard, it was just tedious. One thing is that when you're finished drilling through a hole you should-- it'll be really warm. I went ahead and just made sure it was smoothed out all the way through and all the edges. If you need to sand you can but I just immediately put the bulkheads in and let it cool around them so I know everything's nice and fine.

Yes, so that was drilling, not really bad at all. Up next is just going to be plumbing, water testing, making sure everything's good for a half a day to a day before I start putting anything in here, and then scaping the tank, and then cycling it.

Okay, so here is the frosted background that I'm putting on the tank just so I can hide the filtration and the cords, and every thing that's going to be going on behind the tank. Here's a little preview, kind of, but essentially I couldn't record. It was just me and one friend, we got to get it done real fast. All I had to do is I used a card and a water bottle, and then the filming itself. All I did was just sprayed with water, just made it really wet all across the surface of this, excessively wet, took off the adhesive backing and then I placed it on after I kind of-- I gave it a little bit excess on all sides so I'd have room to play with and just I cut that off in a second.

Once I put the adhesive backing on, you just take a card and you'll have air pockets and you just squeegeed it. Just take a card and start sliding forward and then everything's going go fine and smooths out. It looks great. All I have to do is cut the sides and trimming off and then I'll be good, and have this nice little background that doesn't take away from the aquascape but also looks just nice and complements the whole ordeal.

I'll trim it off and I'll show you what it looks like set up. Okay, so the last thing I did just before I put it back up was I just used an X-Acto knife and I just trimmed the edges of all three holes before I put the plumbing backup. Hey, Jen. Hey buddy, how are you doing?

All right, this is a done deal now. I'll just show you. Now, I'm just going to show you what it looks like set up. This is what it's like finished with the frosted background. I'll set up looking.


Icy, oh my gosh. I don't know if I could actually do this, it's so good. What am I saying? In the next video, I'm going to show you guys plumbing and how to plumb the seamless sun filter and what all I'm doing. One thing I put for here is, right there, is a little 90-degree elbow with male and female fittings because Custom Aquarium doesn't make a little 90-degree for those. I talked to them and they said, try a little DIY thing.

Hopefully, they'll start making something like this because I'd love to switch out for a Custom Aquarium made for the same thing. I just love it to be an entire build from the hole from them but just paint it black with- What was it called? I'll link it in the description. There you go. It looks pretty nice though. I'm really proud of how it came out. I don't think it's going to take away from scape or anything but it'll also do a good job of hiding the wires and stuff behind.

All right. I'll see you guys next time.

About Andrew Windham

Andrew needed a custom stand, canopy and filter system to fit a non-standard aquarium for his axolotl. This video series features installing the Seamless Sump filter, H2Overflow and Siphon Stopper on an aquarium.

"This is the introduction to what will be a project series called the Axolotl Aquarium Upgrade. Custom Aquariums sponsored the build and made the equipment to go along. This series will cover everything from putting the tank, stand, and canopy together to plumbing, filtration, aquascaping, stocking, flow control, and much much more! Create your own dream aquarium with Custom Aquariums here:"

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