Main Project Report Part 1: Upside Down Fish Tank

My final project is the upside down fish tank. The idea came up because I saw a picture of a fish tank upside down inside of another. The water level was above the water line and it allowed the fish to swim up to a “lookout tower.” An image is shown below.


  • Acrylic or Glass? Thickness?
  • Design? Needs to have an upside down aesthetic
  • Project needs to have a moving part?
    • Drawer to hold fish food
  • What kind of fish?
    • Freshwater because it is easier to clean

Top 5 Constraints

  • The acrylic has to be thick enough
  • The shape of the fish tank must both be sleek and provide the upside down aesthetic.
  • The drawer will be furnished nicely to match the sleek fish tank.
  • I would like the drawer to function without handles
  • Both the fish tank and the drawer must fit together nicely in some way or another.

Material Selection

Acyrlic Fish Tank

Acrylic is lighter and easier to manufacture.
½ inch acrylic will be used to provide enough support for the water pressure

Wood Drawer

A wood drawer below the fish tank will give a nice aesthetic feel.


I decided to create my physical prototypes out of cardboard and acrylic. These are scale to model.


My other prototype includes CAD.


Materials and Manufacturing

I bought the acrylic from Colorado Plastic and the wood from Home Depot. I then used the ITLL woodshop and the project depot to work on my project.

Budget & Time

Estimated -> Actual

Acyrlic Fish Tank (10 hours -> 5 hours)

$100 -> $150

Wood Drawer (10 hours -> 15 hours)

$80 -> $80

Aquarium Materials (2 hours -> 10 hours)

$80 -> $250

Total (22 hours -> 30 hours)

$260 -> $480

Acknowledgements of Assistance

Mark Eaton

Cameron Micksch

Kai Amey

Previous Post
Final Stretch: zoetrope
Next Post
Main Project Report Part 2: Upside Down Fish Tank

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Colton Behr
    May 7, 2017 4:06 pm

    I think this was a really cool idea that you executed well. Somehow I missed this one at expo, I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see it. It looks like you did a really good job with the CAD drawings as well. Did your final product end up exactly like you drew it up? I’m also interested in how you got this in to class on the day of the expo!

  • Katherine Yarnell
    May 6, 2017 1:37 pm

    This looks great! I’m impressed with the amount of time and effort you put into this project, but it was well worth it! I turned out great! How did you decide the thickness of tank? I like the fish you put into the tank and the hidden drawer. Really great job!

  • Emily Pearson
    May 4, 2017 1:55 pm

    This project turned out really well! I can’t believe you put so much time and effort into it but it really looks great. I think my favorite part is that you knew exactly what fish you wanted to put in the tank. How do you clean it? Also, would you ever consider using different colored acrylic? Great job though!

  • Siddharth Nigam
    May 4, 2017 2:24 am

    I love the fish tank! The solid works rendering is really cool. I also like the plants in the water! Perhaps you can consider expanding it further by growing some herbs on top and use a growing light. I like the scale models too, that was a good idea to see them before you fabricated them in full scale. What was the toughest part of your fabrication? The design seemed intricate, and it must have been tough to get the edges right. Did you do some calculations to measure the thickness of the acrylic for the project?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.