DYI specs for a custom tank: Kick the walls

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an interest in aquariums or fish keeping!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 12, 2022
New York, NY
DIY specs for a custom tank: Kick the walls

In my initial plans for this 5 gal custom freshwater tank, do you see any areas for improvement, or missing factors or options I should address?

Volume hides easily, so if there are particular benefits for one or two more gallons, please let me know. (I can already see it would give me more species options when owning just one tank.) Dimensions are interior, and reverse-calculated to leave 1" space above the water.

The material is 0.5" thick low-iron glass, but I am open to other ideas.

  • PLAN A Cube: 10.8" L x 10.8" W x 10.8" H
  • PLAN A.1* Cube: 10.5" L/W; 11.5" H
  • PLAN B, Rectangle): 12.8" L x 8.8" W x 11.5" H
A few questions:

Q1. Does you count substrate and other matter as part of your desired volume?

Q2: Is 1.42:1 a good L to W ratio for a rectangular tank, or do you prefer another?

Q3: Can you recommend a maker that will look closely enough at my choices to question them, and speak up? Location is NYC.

Species are open; perhaps a showy centerpiece fish, 1-3 hardy fish, and a snail. What favorite or interesting species I should consider?

Thank you!

* In PLAN A.1, the cube is the water.

(The photo is a 3D PowerPoint rendering of one idea -- perhaps just a whimsy, but a rather cheeky one -- a to-scale 5 gallon version of the notorious Umbra, a design I love. The Coke can is for perspective. I would build the shell, and would consider changes, such as letting in, or forcing in, more light. I measured my newly-arrived Umbra yesterday; the tank capacity is not 2 gal / 1.8 gallon as advertised, but 0.9 gal, or 1.1 gal when filled to the rim.)


  • image.jpg
    40.3 KB · Views: 19
Last edited:
Top Bottom