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How Aquariums Are Made

By King of DIY on

Hi everybody. Joey here again, and welcome back. In today's video I have the pleasure of bringing you guys along to witness the first time any aquarium company has allowed their entire process of how they build their aquarims to be filmed. The company is Custom Aquariums. While not every aquarium is built the same and different techniques are used, I did find the way Custom Aquariums does theirs to not only be interesting and educational, but rather alluring as well. There's a few things that stand out with their aquariums that I'll point out as we move along through the build.

What you guys are about to see here is one of the tanks that I'll be getting is going to be built. Everything you're about to see is going to end up at my place. Custom Aquariums starts with raw sheets of glass. Depending on the dimensions of your aquarium, we'll depict the thickness needed. They use a huge sliding lift to select the glass and position it into place. Whether you want regular glass or low-iron glass will be up to you. From there, they drop it into place literally. The glass doesn't break due to the air cushion the falling glass creates under it.

They just need to make sure it falls correctly. This glass falls onto a padded air table. When the air is activated, it pushes against the glass, allowing it to be easily maneuvered. From there they command the computerized and automated glass cutter to take the dimensions and location of the panel. Regardless of how the glass is positioned, the machine will remember this for cutting. Finally, the operator will input the dimensions of pieces needed to be cut and the machine does the scoring.

A tiny wheel on the glass cutter scores the glass with oil being applied the entire time to not only protect the wheel for longer life, but also ensure a clean break later. If you're not familiar with what scoring glass means, simply put, a tiny sharp wheel typically made from something like titanium or other hard metals is ran along the glass, cutting a small groove into the panel. This creates a weak point in the glass and allows it to be broken cleanly along wherever it's scored, which is exactly what comes next. For larger pieces, the glass is positioned so that the scored line is above a small bar that rises and causes bending under the glass.

A little pressure from the operator above and the glass will cleanly snap. For smaller pieces, this can be done by lining the score up with the edge of the machine and applying a bit of downward pressure on one end. With the glass cut, the next step is to prepare the edges. The panels go through another machine that will not only sand the edges down to make them safer to handle and give them a much better appearance, but it will also bevel the edges slightly as well. This is mainly done to strengthen the edges and give them a better edge to silicone later, but it's clearly good for esthetics as well.

This is done with various grinding and cutting wheels made from diamond-coated cutters to rubber polishers. Here's a quick comparison of a prepared edge and a raw-cut edge. Something to note here is that I notice Custom Aquariums does this to every single edge of every panel for their aquariums, even the ones that won't be seen. I found this not only interesting, but also appreciated that extra step they take. At this point, if your build requires holes drilled anywhere, it's done on an automatic drill press. The machine actually drills the holes from each side at the same time.

The end result is a perfectly drilled hole without any chipping around the edges. With the glass cut to size, edges prepared, and any holes needed drilled, the glass needs to be washed. This will remove any oil left from the cutter, as well as any other dust or residue that may have gotten on it during the handling that might impact the integrity of the build. Keep in mind Custom Aquariums guarantees their aquariums for life, so they take a lot of extra steps and precautions to deliver on what they promise. The washing machine will not only wash the panels, but dry them, as well.

To ensure they've been cleaned properly, the panels are then individually inspected against bright lights. All the while the machine keeps the panels moving. The next step is taping the edges off to ensure a nice, clean seam as well as adding small silicone spacers. These spacers ensure that the panels do not come into contact with each other and allow for silicone injection. The bottom panel is placed first, followed by the remaining outside panels. These are then temporarily held together with corner braces and bar clamps.

An aquarium technician will then use a motorized silicone-caulking gun with a special tip and the silicone tube slightly pinched. This method is used to slowly and consistently inject the silicone along the seams. Again, the small silicone spacers placed in between the panels allow for the silicone to be injected. Prior to injecting the silicone, more tape is added to the outside to ensure a nice, clean seam. The silicone being injected into the seams is actually structural. It's what holds the aquariums together.

The next step is to add a seal of silicone. This is done by running another bead of silicone along the inside of the aquarium seams. A bright light is held up to the seam on the outside to also inspect for any inconsistencies and to ensure you get that perfect seam every time. It's then smoothed out to finish. So while the injected seams of silicone is what structurally holds the aquarium together, the seal on the outside is what keeps the aquariums from forming any leaks. The tank will now be left alone and let cure for at least 24 hours.

On to the braces. Custom Aquariums uses these aluminum bracing, which doesn't break, unlike plastic bracing. These braces are cut and drilled to size first and then siliconed onto the aquariums. Now, depending on the size of your aquarium, they may use a suction cup lift system to get under the tank and install that bottom brace. The one thing to note about these braces though, is that the middle brace is actually removable. So when your aquarium is empty and you're trying to fit in that perfect piece of rock or wood or whatever your décor you prefer, you can simply remove it and replace it once done, then fill the aquarium back up.

Once the aquariums are cured, they're ready for their customers. I'm going to close this video out with a couple of statements. The first is I'd like to send a big thank you to Custom Aquariums for allowing us behind the scenes to experience something like this. I'll admit, I didn't think they would, but they did tell me that they love feeling more connected with their customers and have nothing to hide.

With every aquarium built specifically for each customer, you can be assured that the same level of care, craftsmanship, and attention to detail that you see in this video will be given to your aquarium as well. For more information on Custom Aquariums and to see their full product line-up, you can visit Anyways, I hope that you found today's video interesting.

I'd also like to thank you guys for watching, and if you enjoyed this video and you're not yet subscribed to this channel, you might want to consider doing so. I've been making aquarium videos for eight years now, and I release a new video every Sunday and Thursday. If you're as passionate and as excited about the aquarium hobby as I am, I'll see you guys next week.

About King of DIY

Joey is THE King of DIY, and when he built his gallery of aquariums he chose the Custom Aquariums rack system with 120-gallon tanks...a lot of them!

Joey Mullen is also known as the king of DIY, uarujoey or the DIY fishkeeper on social media. Providing education and inspiration for aquarium enthusiasts on YouTube, he is also the author of The Ultimate DIY Handbook; for the DIY Aquarist. His channel is about educating all levels of fish tank hobbyists who are passionate about caring for fish and keeping an aquarium of their own. Joey's aquarium rack systems were custom made by our professional fish tank engineers, here at Custom Aquariums.

Please watch the King of DIY's videos for some helpful information and great tips on diy aquarium keeping.

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