gumball machine betta fish tank build

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Tanks' started by el_piraña, Feb 15, 2010.

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  1. el_piraña

    el_piraña Flamingo Tongue

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    I've been wanting to start a reef tank for several months, but haven't been able to start yet.....I don't have much extra $ and I'm going to have a baby in another month!

    So, instead of waiting around, I thought I could build some kind of cool fish tank without spending much money and keep myself busy for a while.

    I decided to try a betta tank. They look easy to keep, don't require much equipment and can live in small aquariums.

    In my search for ideas I came across a fish tank that looked like a gumball machine and I liked the idea. The one I saw on the internet looked cheap and a little too small.

    Just after Christmas I found a gumball machine for 50% off in a store, so I bought it. I also got a small heater on sale.

    Now, I've already begun working on this but I still wanted to be able to show what I've done in case anybody else wants to try the same thing.

    Here are some pics of the gumball machine I got, with and without the stand.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'll try to post some pics of what I've done to seal it up and install a heater. I still need to add lights and get a fish!
     
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  3. bje

    bje Long-fin Bannerfish

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    heh neat idea. just hope you can find a way to really seal it up
     
  4. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Great idea can't wait to see it finished.
     
  5. el_piraña

    el_piraña Flamingo Tongue

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    When I was looking for the gumball machine, I read up on bettas and found out they're supposed to be in 76-86 deg water. so I needed a heater for a really small aquarium.

    I decided to try the Hydor mini heater. it says it's meant for 2-5 gallon aquariums.

    HYDOR componenti per acquari

    I'm taking some pictures, so there's more to come...
     
  6. el_piraña

    el_piraña Flamingo Tongue

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    taking it all apart...

    [​IMG]

    The part on the left normally spins around to allow gumballs to fall through, I won't be needing it so I'll remove it. I kept the gray plastic piece to use as support for the bowl. the plastic ring sits on the gray plastic piece and is like a gasket I guess. I kept it too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the base, behind the front plate, there are a couple holes that I can use to route the heater cord through. I removed a gear from the front plate to give some extra room in case I needed it later.

    It's not in the pics, but there is normally a hollow rod and a threaded rod inside the hollow rod that run up from the center of the base to the lid. This is normally used to hold the whole thing together. I removed it since I want to be able to take the lid off anytime. It will also give the fish more room to swim ;D
     
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  7. el_piraña

    el_piraña Flamingo Tongue

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    Thanks! I've already got it sealed. It held water overnight one night without any leaks. I've emptied it again to work on it some more. I'm trying to catch up with my posts to where I'm currently at now.

    me too! I've got an idea what it'll look like once it's all done, but for now it's just a thought in my head ;)
     
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  9. el_piraña

    el_piraña Flamingo Tongue

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    I don't want any cables, cords, etc. on the outside of the tank, so I chose to seal the bottom with acrylic rather than glass. I figured it would be easier to cut and drill holes.

    This is the heater inside the bowl. I'm not sure if anyone would actually recommend doing it this way, but I figured as long as it works in the end it would be ok.;)
    [​IMG]

    This is looking in from the top.
    [​IMG]


    Here's a bottom-shot. You can see I already screwed up. I siliconed the glass bowl to the plastic ring to the larger gray piece and let it cure. Then when I went to install the acrylic piece, I realized I couldn't get it in through the top!

    I cut it in half and created some extra support pieces, siliconed it all up this way. It gave me a good way to route the power cord from the heater through.
    [​IMG]

    Now this actually holds water. The first time I filled it up, it leaked in 3 places. I took pictures, but they're not good. Went back in with more silicone and it worked, I left it full of water overnight and when I checked the next day there were still no leaks. 2nd time's the charm this time :p
     
  10. mattheuw1

    mattheuw1 Montipora Capricornis

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    is there going to be any flow or filtration in there? Or just a betta and some decorations? Cool project.
     
  11. el_piraña

    el_piraña Flamingo Tongue

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    I put a lot of thought into that before I actually bought the parts....such as how to go about filtering such a small aquarium and hiding the filter at the same time. (I'm still not completely sure how I would've gone about doing it, but I came up with an idea of using a small sponge filter)

    Since I won't be running a filter, I'll have to stay up on frequent water changes.

    Also, the tank is really too small to put most fish in it. Bettas can live in very small amounts of water. When I filled it up, it held about 1 gallon of water. I would prefer closer to 2, but this is still a reasonably sized tank for a betta in my mind.

    I am working my way to a reef tank though - I picked up a 55 gallon glass tank with a stand and HOB filter for $50 last weekend!! :cheesy::cheesy::cheesy:
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
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  12. SkyFire

    SkyFire Clown Trigger

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    Cool project.

    Can maybe use marbles to cover the heater and it'll look a bit like gumballs.