Monday, September 25, 2023
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How to Drill a Glass Aquarium

Glass aquariums are very popular among fish hobbyists because of their clean and sleek appearance. Most store-bought aquariums are made of glass, so if you want to add custom features like extra filtration or decoration, you will need to know how to drill a hole in the glass.

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind to do it safely and successfully. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the necessary tools and steps for drilling a glass aquarium successfully.

We’ll also go over some of the potential hazards and risks associated with this process. By following these guidelines, you can safely drill your aquarium without any problems.

How can you drill a hole in glass without breaking glass?

What you need for this tutorial

The technique is one thing when we drill through a glass aquarium, but choosing the right drill is probably the most important secret to the task’s success.

So, what drill should you use for glass?

There are actually three types to choose from:

  • Drill bits with diamond tips
  • Carbide spear-tipped bits
  • Drill bits coated with diamonds

Furthermore, you must get the small bits measuring about 3/32 or 1/8 inches to drill the smallest hole.

Also, you can get larger bits for the desired holes you want to create for the installation.

Now, here’re everything you need to gather before carrying out the task:

  • A drill and sharp drill bits of chosen sizes
  • Lubricating oil
  • A water cooler or bucket
  • Wet saw, A wet/dry vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • A permanent market usable on glass/a stencil
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A sharp knife
  • Some pieces of clean cloth

Step 1: Mark the spot

Mark the area where you want to drill the hole using a permanent marker. It’s important to be as accurate as possible so that your drill bit doesn’t slip.

If you’re not confident in your ability to freehand, you can use a paper template or stencil. Make sure the template is firmly affixed to the glass before proceeding.

Step 2: Apply the lubricating oil

This preparation step’s purpose is to protect your glass from extra dust and heat in the drilling process.

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Therefore, carefully apply several drops onto the drilling areas.

Step 3: Start drilling the small hole

Make sure that your drill bit is sharp and clean. A dull or damaged drill bit can cause the glass to crack or shatter.

Begin drilling slowly and carefully with the smallest-sized bit.

Apply even pressure as you drill into the glass. You may need to stop periodically to let the bit cool down.

Then, repeat it from the opposite side to create a small opening.

Step 4: Drill the large holes for installation

Once the small hole is drilled, making way for you to drill the desired size spot, you can start with the larger bit.

Do the same with the small bit, starting slowly and stopping several times. If your drill bit starts to smoke, it’s probably getting too hot, and you should stop immediately.

It’s important not to apply too much pressure, as this could cause the drill bit to break. If you’re using a wet saw, keep the blade lubricated with water to prevent it from overheating.

Drill through the entire thickness of the glass. Once you’ve reached the other side, remove the drill bit and let it cool down completely.

Step 5: Clean up

Clean up any debris or sharp edges around the hole. Use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove any small pieces of glass.

You can use a file or a sharp knife to smooth out the hole’s edges. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe down the area. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this could crack the glass.

How to Drill a Glass Aquarium

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Helpful tips in the process

drill a hole in glass without breaking glass

  • Always wear safety glasses, and eye protection when working with power tools.
  • Use gloves to protect your hands.
  • Do not apply too much pressure when drilling, as this could cause the glass to crack or shatter.
  • Be careful of sharp edges around the hole. Wear gloves or use a damp cloth to avoid cuts.
  • Do not use an abrasive drill bit, as this could damage the glass.
  • Use a drill bit the same size as the diameter of the aquarium tubing.
  • Wet the area you will be drilling with soapy water to lubricate the glass and prevent cracking.


When drilling a glass aquarium, it is important to use the right tools and take your time. If you are careful and patient, you can drill through the glass without any problems. By following the steps we have outlined and using the proper tools, you can easily drill your aquarium.

Be sure to take your time and use caution when drilling into the glass, and always read the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning any project. Have you drilled an aquarium before? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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