A Fishtank That Doesn’t Look Like The Dentist’s Office

updated May 9, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

The fish tank above is made from a glass canister that needed a purpose other than taking up space in the recycling bin. It’s made a great alternative to the usual dentist office type aquariums. Click through the jump to see how it all works (for less than $30) and to hear the story behind this (unoriginally named) male Beta named Nemo!

This past summer we inherited Nemo and his neon colored tank from a nearby elementary school who was unable to take care of it. The kids at the elementary school had named him Nemo for obvious reasons. Had we of named him, it would have been something far less Disney.
Nemo was sick with a few different parasites and we volunteered to help the litte fella out. Now healthy and happy, Nemo lives near the window in our dining room to bask in the morning sun.

The brightly colored neon monster of a tank that he had before just wasn’t going to cut it in our home so we set out to find something else that would work instead.

We used this jar (the largest size) to make the actual aquarium. The lid was cracked and it could no longer serve it’s previous kitchen-ly duties. ($15)

After placing some smooth rocks in the bottom (Betas like to lounge on things) we attached an external thermometer to the jar. This helps us keep an eye on the water since Betas aren’t too keen on temperature changes outside of 2 degrees. ($2)
A filter from Walmart and made by Tetra were attached, although there are others but since this is just one fish, we didn’t need a larger one. (roughly $8)
Due to Nemo’s location (near a window) we also added a heater. Also made by Tetra it’s fully submersible and is a workhorse at keeping his water regulated. ($7)
The plants are cuttings from a relative that love being water logged. They are super happy and super healthy. We used cotton kitchen twine and tied it around the lip of the jar to support it’s stems. First we ran a length around the circumference of the jar. Next we ran it from 12-6 and 9-3 perpendicular across the top like a grid. It does great at holding the plant up out of the water without becoming all gross and icky. (free)

Nemo is happy and healthy with regular water rotation and is always asked about by visitors who want to know “where we found such a great aquarium.” A little creativity and roughly $30 ($15 if you don’t count the canister we already had on hand) and we became “fish people” ourselves.