How to Convert an Old TV into a Fish Tank

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The art of upcycling is the act of taking something bound for the landfill and turning it into something useful, and in some cases, amazing. Old console televisions have been decorating the curbside for years, long before the flat screen rage began. These behemoths hardly seem useful, but with a little ingenuity, a quick trip to your home improvement store and some basic tools, you can convert an old TV into an aquarium.

Things You'll Need

  • Old console television
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning rag
  • Work gloves
  • Wire cutters
  • Aquarium
  • Aquarium background
  • Fluorescent fixture
  • Glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Sandpaper - 80 grit
  • Three hinges and accompanying hardware
  • Power screwdriver
  • Remove the back of the console and set it aside. Depending upon what type of screws fasten the removable back to the console, you may need a flat head or Phillips screwdriver.

  • Remove the "guts" of the television. Wear your work gloves for this step, as some of the items inside the television may be sharp. Remove the power cord first by cutting it with the wire cutters. Remove the tube by unscrewing it from the front of the console. Do this gently, as the tube could explode if it is bumped or dropped.

  • Clean the inside of the console using your cleaning rag. Years of dust and debris can build up inside a closed console.

  • Measure for your aquarium. Most console televisions will hold a standard 20-gallon aquarium.

  • Remove the top of the console using the reciprocating saw. Carefully cut around the top of the console as you do this. Lay the console on its side for each cut, and then turn it, so the side you're cutting is always on top. Your console with the guts removed will be light enough to lay on its side, and doing this will make this step much easier.

  • Sand around the edges of the open top of the console to remove any rough edges. Also sand the opening in the front of the console where you removed the tube.

  • Determine if the console will hold the aquarium. If the underside of the console is weak or deteriorated, you will need to shore this up to hold your aquarium. You can do this by measuring, cutting and attaching a heavy piece of wood to the underside of the console, and adding supporting wood underneath, between the bottom of the console and the floor.

  • Add the hinges to the lid of the console using the accompanying hardware and the power screwdriver. Place one hinge in the center and one at each end.

  • Measure the underside of the console's lid to determine what size fluorescent fixture you'll need. You can purchase these fixtures in any home improvement store.

  • Add the fluorescent fixture to the top of the aquarium. Aquarium lids often contain fluorescent fixtures, but you won't be using the aquarium lid, so you'll need to attach the fixture to the underside of the console's lid.

  • Using the reciprocating saw, remove a square from the back of the console in the lower corner that will be hidden by the front of the console that originally held the knobs. You'll need to be able to slide a power strip into the console into which the light fixture and aquarium filter will be plugged.

  • Apply the aquarium background to the back of the console, leaving the square open for your power strip. Adhere the background with glue. For an interesting twist, utilize a background from your favorite television show.

  • Reattach the back of the console using the same screws you removed in step 1.

  • Lift the lid of the completed console and insert the aquarium.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint or stain the console to match your existing décor.
  • Always wear protective eyewear when operating saw.
  • Keep tools and saw away from children.

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References

  • Photo Credit smirart/iStock/Getty Images
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