Build an Aquarium That Looks Good on Any Living Room

What I’ll be showing you in this instructable:

– how to build an aquarium stand that looks good in any living room;

– how to build a complete and versatile lighting system for an aquarium;

– how to get a low maintenance planted freshwater aquarium running;

– some tips on using different materials;

– hopefully inspiring you to build your first aquarium system or upgrade yours 🙂

The background

When I was a kid, I had an aquarium system. It was about 80 liters (21 gallons) and was purchased at a large retail store. I’ve had some success with simple tropical fish and zero plant luck. The Internet was still not accessible in our town (yes, I feel old right now) and the books I did find were not very helpful in this area.

After that, I’ve been giving up the hobby for many years. Once I came back about 4 years ago, the plan was to get a much larger aquarium. Yet now that there was a lot of information available all over the world, I easily found out that back in the day I didn’t even have the essentials for supporting plants: the right light. I really liked the images of the aquariums planted, so I didn’t want to fail.

The vision

My aim with this project was to put an aquarium about 1,2 to 1,5 meter long in our living room.

As most’ marine lovers ‘ know, our affection is not always shared by other family members, and they may be hesitant to agree to place the aquarium in the center of the house. Several times, the aquariums are moved to a less respectable part of the room where they are not valued as they should be. I believe that part of the problem is that the aquariums and their stands don’t always look good. If you buy or build a good looking stand and take care of your aquarium its more likely that it will be accepted and appreciated by all.

With this in mind, I wanted the aquarium to be well coordinated with the rest of the furniture in our living room. The current furniture was mainly made of wenge, tropical dark wood or dark oak, with very straight lines and a few features that I like and wanted to replicate.

I didn’t want any wires or tubes to lie or hang around, either.

Finally, after searching online and remembering two very good aquariums from two friends, I decided that I wanted the aquarium to be transparent on three sides, with only a shorter side concealed (almost impossible if you want all the hoses and cables to be covered).

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