Repurposing a Fish Tank as a Micro Greenhouse


fish tank mini greenhouseTurning a fish tank into your very own micro greenhouse is such a novel idea. Aquaria and fishkeeping was always one of my favorite longtime hobbies but after awhile it started wearing on me after I kept goldfish that despite my best efforts keep dropping like flies one by one. Lesson learned.:Goldfish thrive outside no matter what anyone at the pet store tells you, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway if you’ve got a fish tank that’s taking up space in your garden shed or closet it’s time to upcycle it and turn it into something not just useful but just as good as its original purpose too!

Let’s start with mine-it’s 20 gallons. Fairly roomy. Iv been toying with a few ideas….I could fill it up with substrate and start growing propagated plants, or seeds, but it does come with its own challenges. Since drainage will be harder to work out, I’m not sure how it will pan out. Terrarium building is a trend on the rise and since everything is concealed, there’s things you have to do to make sure fungi and bacteria don’t build up.. I guess it will depend on the type of plants and the amount of moisture.

repurposing my old fish tank

As you can see, I’ve already got it situated in my proposed grow space. I need to give it a good cleansing rinse  before I do anything. There is the second approach and it involves using it as a plant container. That’s probably what I will be doing . I do want to start with a layer of gravel first. After all that stuff is taking up a lot of room too. I will then arrange the seeded cups in a row. 

Also the issue of fluorescent lights. Therese are generally not effective for plant life. You would have to install the full spectrum grow lights or similar or place the tank in the proximity of them. I will then cover them with something like Saran wrap. As the plants grow I will be peeling back the saran wrap or poking holes in it so the contained amount of moisture and warmth do not overwhelm the space.

 Be sure whatever you decide to put together that your mini greenhouse does have an adequate light source. and plants receive adequate moisture and fertilize when the time comes And now, the end result:

aquarium mini greenhouse

The saran wrap performs double duty – keeps out curious critters like Miss Kitty, and keeps the moisture and light source carefully contained. I’ve got 8 bell peppers , 4 luffas, and a few chili peppers I planted a few days ago that i will be keeping tabs on. You can see this old tank has a thermometer on the side giving me an idea of how warm it will get inside.

Depending on if you have a big tank or little one you could come up with your own version of this. I also have a couple of nano tanks I might do something else with. These were for bettas . They are both acrylic not glass so they are more likely to get scratched. But nano tanks could be ideal for a terrarium.. One of them came with one of those color-cycling LED lights that you can let run through all the colors, or you could choose one of them and set it to that color. Since red, blue, and purple lights have been shown to be effective for plant growth, I may run a little experiment later on (and will update.) to see if they work as well as Grow Lights.

Whichever method you choose this is a great wintertime activity when you want to enjoy your hobby with limited space and growing circumstances are concerned. Have fun with this and watching those plants flourish in their new environment. 

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