Hands in the Dirt: from Aquarium to Terrarium

At one point we kept a fish tank.  Well actually we have two fish tanks.  I don't talk about them much ... and that's probably a good thing since all the fish in our large tank have passed on to fishie heaven.  We thought about starting the tank up again, it was a tough call after having one fish live with us for almost three years, but we decided not to.

So, what to do with a 29 gallon tank and stand?

First of all... I drained the water.  It was full to the top, I luckily remembered to take this picture mid-draining.

Then, I flattened out the rocks and cleaned the glass. 

I added about one inch of sphagnum moss (was surprised to find it at Home Depot of all places fairly cheap!) on top of the rocks.  Then, a bunch of potting soil.  Then, I started planting little indoor plants.  I also put the fish rocks and decor back in between some of the plants for added drama.

And voila!!

Here you can see (from left to right):
"Creeping Fig" Ficus, "Silver Tree" Pilea, Polka Dot plant, and Spider plant in the back right

On the left side we have (from left to right):
"Magenta" Dracaena, African Violet, and I have a bit of Christmas Cactus behind the horse 

After everything was planted I gave it a generous watering until I could start to see some of the water making it's way down to the rocks. 

I really think this is going to be a great transition for me to indoor gardening over the winter. 

I know, it's only August... I shouldn't be talking about winter.  But I am.  This should make those cold winter months more manageable.  I hope.

I am going to see how these plants make out for a bit.  Hoping they are all hardy and low light enough to thrive.  I was also thinking about adding a few aromatic plants like mint or oregano. 

And there you have it!  I now get to tend to my very own little terrarium -- we are only on day three, I'll be sure to let you know how it fairs.

Also, here is a shopping list in case you also have an old aquarium laying around that you want to set up as a terrarium:
  • old aquarium - I used my old aquarium... doesn't mean a new one wouldn't work.  You can also look for other containers.  Really the sky is the limit on what can become a terrarium.small rocks/pebbles
  • small rocks/pebbles - these are also used for drainage.  If you had a fish aquarium, then by all means use the same fish rocks.
  • small indoor plants - I found "Angel Plants" to be good ones for low-medium light and the bonus is they purify air too!!  These ran me about $2-3 a plant.  I also looked around at my current house plants and clipped a few pieces of the spider plant and Christmas cactus to include.
  • potting soil/dirt
  • Sphagnum moss - this is optional; but seems to really help the plants from getting too dry.  I managed to cover the whole surface for about $4.
  • decor - anything goes for this too.  I used a plastic horse, fish rocks from the aquarium I had previously kept, and that rad skull which also came from the aquarium.
 Do you keep a terrarium?  I'd love to hear about it!!  And if you set up a new one, I'd love to hear about your experiences as well! 

Let's go garden!! 

I will be adding to these parties:
Link up you latest project every Wednesday on the Elle Belle Creative Your Way Wednesday link party!Suzy's Artsy Craftsy SitcomRhinestone Beagle
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Quiet Quilter said...

Simple question from One Who Doesn't Know....after draining the tank, did you rinse out the rocks at the bottom?

Tres Chere said...

Hopefully the maintenance will be easy for you.It turned out really nice. I'll see how yours is doing before I start one.(I have 2 empty 10gal. tanks) Keep us posted!


Kelly @ Vintage Fabric Studio said...

this is such a great idea for an old fish tank! Looks great, and I love the little horsey :) Thanks for linking up to Eat, Grow, Sew! (the mosaic of linking up buttons is genius!)

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

This is such a labor of love! Thanks for sharing your creativity at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop :)

Now that I saw your project, I regret the fact that I sold our old fish tank in a garage sale. Your terrarium turned out so pretty :)

Dianne said...

lovely indoor garden
I love the horse :)

deb said...

Looks great! Much easier to take care of than an aquarium ;)

Unknown said...

The change is a lot of work, but after that -great! Love the red horse in there!

Michael said...

That's such a good idea! you are so creative, aren't ya? Love it. Looks very moody...in a good way. :) do you have any pet spiders in there too?

I so love that moss too.

Fishtail Cottage said...

Love this! what a fantastic share at Cottage Flora Thursday's! xoxo,tracie

Unknown said...

Darn, I just sold my old fish tank on CL. I should have kept it and made it in to one of these. Great idea!

Suburban Girl said...

I think you will be enjoying this all winter! Great summer project too.

Honey I'm Home Blog said...

Fun. I always admire people who have a green thumb. I can grow stuff outside, but don't do so well indoors! Thanks so much for linking it up to my party. Please come back again.

Warmly, Michelle

Jen said...

I hope they survive! What a great idea.

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