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New DYI Aquarium rack

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Hi Fishy Fam~!

I was given a 20G high from my neighbor which has sat in my closet for months. I already have a 20G high and really had my heart set on a 20G long. LFS was having a sale, and I was able to get a 20G long.  

With plans to put them both into my office, I was going to use a black metal rack (the one that holds 1000 lbs. a shelf), but I was not a fan of the look, and my home office is right in the front of the house. I decided that I would make another rack like my first one but a bit "fancier". I used concrete blocks (painted to match my wall color), used deck stairs (see close up) and another piece of wood to make it look more finished and stained all the wood to match my desk. I am in my office about 14 hrs. a day and really appreciate my fish when I am stressed or irritated.. they "ZEN" me out! I am in my office about 14 hrs. a day and really appreciate my fish when I am stressed or irritated.. they "ZEN" me out! 

I have the 20G high on top, and the 20G long at the bottom. I think I mentioned before I REALLY wanted a betta community tank. A female short fin betta is what my choice will be. I also want a dark tank (not super dark) but similar to my shrimp tank (medium tea color with the use of Mopani wood). I have watched many YouTube videos surrounding Betta community tank set ups.. but will happily take any advise here as well! 

I am thinking of using the 20G long for the Betta (on the bottom) I got a nice glass lid, new light (that can be kept on a low light setting using a timer). 

The 20G high will also be a community tank but I would like to keep this one without a lid, and have floating plants. It looks to be a top fin tank (but not sure). I need to find some clip on lights due to not having a top on it. Any recommendations??? 

I purchased some new metal fish art to put on the wall and will move all the stuff that is there before I really "formally" sit up the tanks. I think it will give a really cool touch~

I plan to pain the backgrounds black (like all my other tanks). They will both be heavily planted like all my other tanks 

I would appreciate everyone's feedback (good and bad). I may be past "rookie" status, but still learn from more experienced hobbyist! 

One question will be how to gravel vacuum (which FYI I don't do often on my other tanks due to A LOT of plants)! I feel like the lower the tank the more difficult to get the suction going. 

Any recommendation's for fish/stocking is also welcomed! 

New DYI Tank Rack 2022.jpg

Tank Rack 1.jpg

Rack 2.jpg

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Those shelves are so pretty. The deep stain color you went with compliments the grey really well.

stocking options…hmmm….

I love a heavily planted, community tank. I’m currently mixing all kinds of things and sizes. Threadfin rainbows, peacock gudgeons, clown killifish are all beautiful and stay pretty small (make sure the clown killifish go in the one with a lid). 

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Lovely! I do respect a tidy block rack build.

One thing I’ve learned is to leave at least 8-inches of space between the bottom of a shelf and the top of a tank below. It makes catching fish, planting, etc. much easier.

Well done bringing the bottom tank off the floor. I hate the tank I’ve still got on the floor.

If you want, you could paint the blocks to match your room / rack. Just do it before you add water!


For stocking, my main suggestion is this: minimum 3x plants for every 1x fish.

The warm water dwarf cichlid species I like include:

German Blue Rams…



and Apistogramma cacatuoides…



A school of healthy tetras or Pencilfish always looks nice with these.

For oddball options, I’ve bred Emerald Killifish…



And Nothobranchius guentheri…



But my most recent passion is US Natives. No heater required. Rainbow Shiners are spectacular — especially in spawning colors…



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@Fish Folk I know the picture does no justice, but the block are painted my wall colors LOL. My husband is color blind.. but bottom of my walls are a dark grey/green and top is 2 shades lighter than that. Sometimes people see more green others more blue. Its super neutral. I am shot an inch.. 7 inches between.. LOL.. I can always add another half cement brick. I am thinking the betta community on the bottom its nice and cozy.. ha.. 

I was thinking about rainbow shiners! my house temp is 68. I have 1 unheated tank that stays around 68.8 with lights off, and goes up a little but not much.. the shrimp love it in there. Apisto's and Rams are beautiful fish.. its going to be tough. 

The hardest part is picking fish. I want to try to get fish I don't have already. I currently have red and black phantom tetras, pearl danio's, plecos, corydora's (salt/pepper, albino, panda and pygmy), neon tetras, yellow neo's (FYI not all in one tank LOL) that is just a list of what I have across 2 community and 1 shrimp (Gazoo my murder bean is alone in a 5G). 

I appreciate your feedback and suggestions. I am making a list! 

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