How to Make an Aquarium from a Pre-Owned Fish Tank

How to Make an Aquarium from a Pre-Owned Fish Tank

Purchasing a new fish tank requires extensive research and investment, which might not be feasible for everyone. Whether you are a newbie fish keeper or wish to transform your old fish tank into a new aquarium, this article will surely give you best tips and methods to complete the task. Most of the people buy an expensive aquarium and do not have enough knowledge to maintain it properly. Even though used fish tanks are difficult to recreate, but following some best techniques will surely give you ultimate benefit. So, if you are excited to convert your pre-owned fish tank into a newly built aquarium, this article will absolutely make your experience worth remembering.


Before you select any old fish tank, there are several points to be noticed in order to ease the whole procedure. Figure out what category of aquarium you will need; longer and wider tanks are difficult to maintain and require extensive cleaning habits. Make sure each equipment and the lighting work properly so that you do not have to make any extra purchases. Moreover, check for base and side glass to ensure there are no cracks or leaks, which can give you future problems. Making an aquarium requires extensive detail and attention because fish remain healthy only if you are able to maintain a healthy environment.


Let’s say you have succeeded in finding an old fish tank which is best suitable to be reconditioned. Next, comes the cleaning and washing procedure for which you will use vinegar/H2O2 and a clean towel. As detergents tend to get into the seals and can damage fish health, just wash the tanks by using natural cleaning substances. You can make your old tank perfect for new fish by thoroughly cleaning and drying at the end. To start with the procedure, you will need cleaning supplies such as salt, vinegar, a water bucket and a sponge. As you are about to clean the tank on your own, do not forget to take some precautionary measures as old tanks might have bacteria.

When considering natural cleaning substances, we prefer our readers to use vinegar or a light solution of H2O2 as it is safe and gives the best performance. Using typical household cleaning supplies can start killing your fish slowly, and you might find your aquarium full of dead fish within no time. To stay safe in this regard, vinegar can be used to neutralize any unpleasant fish odors for which you will not have to make hard efforts.

Once you are done with applying vinegar inside the tank, rinse it thoroughly with water, and you now have a fresh and clean aquarium. Once you are done with the procedure, check for leaks and breaks before filling your tank with water.

In case there are some leaks found, you can purchase an aquarium sealant and implement it over the leaks. It is common for fish tank owners to overcome small leaks or breaks for which there is no need for any extra care. Just repair your tank properly before adding water in order to avoid any future problems.

Things to avoid

To convert your old fish tank into a new aquarium, you need to take care of some important steps. Read about silicon sealant details before you make any sort of internal repairs.

Make sure the product you are using is nontoxic and provides long-term protection against leaks. After you have made silicon repairs, place the glass pane edges even and wait for the joint to dry properly. If you think the glass is difficult to repair and has a long crack in it, then we advise you to replace it with a new one to stay safe from future breakage.

Set up your new aquarium

As you are now done with washing and repairs, the time has come to fill your new aquarium with gravel, plants, and fish. Start with adding gravel evenly throughout the surface and place the rocks carefully to avoid any damages.

Make sure you clean everything before placing it back into the aquarium as it can cause unwanted health hazards to your fish. Planted tanks are considered better as compared to normal fish aquariums as they give a better and healthy living environment for the fish species. Moreover, you may choose to provide a consistent CO2 supply for your planted tank to make survival conditions better. Tanks need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Make sure when purchasing used equipment that you have a siphon for aerating and removing detritus from the substrate.

For people using hob or canister filters in their aquarium, they will need to maintain or regularly replace media to ensure the water is safe for fish to live in and plants have a healthy environment to thrive in. Not to mention, these filters will help keep water quality clear. Furthermore, chlorinated or contaminated water can also be hazardous and should never be used, but in the event, that it is the only viable option, and then it must be treated with a solution like Seachem Prime before being implemented into the aquarium and properly cycled before introducing anything to the tank.


Preparing a planted tank gives immense pleasure and satisfaction to people who have always kept an aquarium and those who have a strong passion for aquatic life. So, if you are planning to convert your existing fish tank into a planted aquarium, this article sheds some light on a few things to keep in mind when using an older or pre-owned tank and certainly has included a couple tips that can be followed to reap long-term benefits.

From selecting the fish tank until making the final adjustments and adding plants, fish, inverts, etc., you will need to make sure you have balanced your tank and have reached proper water chemistry according to the selection of your chosen scape, design, or aquarium load. Making sure your tank is properly cycled and the water chemistry is safe will help you avoid killing your fish and other planted tank aquatic life. Furthermore, making silicon repairs, filling gaps and balancing aquarium sides requires great attention to detail, so paying a close inspection can make sure that you do not have to face any further problems down the road.

As we understand purchasing an expensive aquarium might not be possible for everybody and the tips, methods, and notes explained above can be considered and used when wanting to convert your old fish tank into a freshly planted aquarium. Just by taking heed of the notes above, you can go beyond the setup and think of how you can create a healthy and beautiful living environment for your fish and plants.