Design Review: Upside Down Fish Tank

My final design project aesthetics is an upside down fish tank. I chose this project because I am in need of a fish tank but I want it to be unique. It would also be easier to see the fish as well. An upside down fish tank usually consists of two tanks in which one of the tanks is placed upside down and vacuumed out so that water can rise above the water line. For my project, I would like to combine both tanks together to form one single tank.


Acrylic or Glass? I chose acrylic because it is more durable and easier to cut into various shapes.

The project needs to have a moving part so I decided to build a drawer/stand to hold the fish food as well.

What kind of fish? Tropical or freshwater? Tropical fishes need salt water and they look a lot nicer, however the tank is more difficult to clean. I decided to go with freshwater fish so that the tank is easier to clean.


First, I had to gather materials. I decided that my prototype should be free. I went to the ITLL and gathered scrap acrylic and cardboard to create my prototype. The acrylic and cardboard is then cut out using a laser cutter and glued together with a hot glue gun.



Credits: Google Images

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Jimmy Speedy
    April 24, 2017 3:37 pm

    I love the idea Jason! I’ve seen something like this on facebook and wanted to do something like it myself, but I would not trust myself looking out for a fish. I like how the idea incorporates engineering ideas such as pressure to give off an almost magic sort of feel to the whole thing, allowing fish to swim above the typical water level. Do you know how you will be sealing the extrusion such that it will stay water tight? Super excited to see the final product!

  • This is very cool and unique, because I have never seen anything like it. I also think that it is cool that you are making something you are actually in need of. I am confused about how the vacuum works and how it doesn’t hurt the fish… Could you put cool plants and different aesthetics at the top part of the fish tank? I feel like that would look super unique and it would make the fish very happy haha. Awesome job! Can’t wait to see the finish.

  • Avery Anderson
    March 19, 2017 10:52 pm

    This is a really unique idea, I’ve only ever seen these on those DIY videos you see when you spend too much time on Facebook. I like the fact that you are primarily using remnant materials for this project. Having clean and sharp edges will provide a sharp exterior aesthetic, but since this is made using clear materials, your aesthetic can come from what you put inside the box. Excited to see the final product!

  • Emily Pearson
    March 19, 2017 9:27 pm

    I think this looks like a really neat design and one that I have never seen before. Very cool! I think finding scrap acrylic from the ITLL was a good way to source your prototype. Can’t wait to see how yours works out!

  • Jeremy Parsons
    March 17, 2017 12:15 pm

    It seems like you have put a lot of thought into what your design needs to do functionally. I would like to know more about the why! In terms of what is driving your design decisions other than the function and fabrication. We discussed some original concepts in our feedback in person, perhaps you can elaborate on this as you make the second iteration. I am excited to see how it pans out!

  • Neat idea, it’ll be interesting to see how it all comes together. Laser cutting is a good idea, should work well with the look, you can do some etching for designs. Maybe try to focus in your post on an aesthetic. Like you might be able to put some designs in your drawers that give it a specialized look.

  • Scott Lowenstein
    March 17, 2017 12:12 pm

    Cool project! Your thoughtful discussion about the brainstorming and materials choice was interesting to hear about. It was very convenient and smart that you were able to use salvaged materials to create your prototype. I am excited to see the final result! Great job!

  • Sam Van Dreser
    March 17, 2017 12:11 pm

    I never new you could create a vacuum in a fish tank and raise the water level. It a great idea to make something that would fit into a room. Im curious hoe you are going to be creating the vacuum and attaching the upper portion to the glass tank on the bottom? Could you also make the upper portion upside with the plants and what not?


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