How To Convert An Aquarium To A Terrarium; Amazing Game Of Imagination And Creativity

Last Updated on March 6, 2022 by Marco C.

Can you convert an aquarium to a terrarium? Stay with us and find out all the details about this interesting project.

At some point, almost every aquarium hobbyist finds himself in a situation where he has at least one empty tank not being used. Did you know that you can use that empty tank in a much better way and that it doesn’t have to stand aside and collect dust?

Stay with us and learn how to convert an aquarium to a terrarium.

A Word Or Two About The Terrarium, What Is It And What Is It For?

The word terrarium comes from the Latin terra (earth) + arium (a place or receptacle). The aquarium and the terrarium are quite similar. The only difference is that plants and soil are kept in the terrarium, and fish and water in the aquarium.

Terrariums are tiny plant ecosystems, which are mostly self-sustaining, meaning that plants are watering themselves through transpiration and condensation. Their origin and first use are related to the Victorian era, and they are used even today. The terrariums are low-maintenance, space-saving, and simply beautiful.

Now you are wondering how to build a terrarium tank? Stay with us and find out.

How To Convert Aquarium Into Terrarium?

These are the simplest steps to convert an aquarium to a terrarium. Keep reading and successfully build your own mini-greenhouse.

Choosing An Aquarium

Choosing an aquarium is the first step you need to take. You can choose your old tank that has been collecting dust for a long time or buy a new one, whichever suits you better. In terms of dimensions, you are limited only by your imagination, space, and the size of the plants.

Stacked aquariums

Learn more about: How to Decorate a Fish Tank with Household Items?

There are two types of terrariums: sealed and open ones. The difference between the two is that sealed terrariums have a removable lid, while open ones don’t. If you are planning to grow plants that thrive in a high humidity environment, it is recommended to get an aquarium top. Also, if you plan to turn your old and used aquarium into a terrarium, be sure to clean and disinfect it well.

Putting Gravel On The Bottom

When you convert an aquarium to a terrarium, you lose the ability to easily drain the soil. For this purpose, gravel is placed as the first layer. Put about 1 / 2-2 inches of gravel, you can even a little more, depending on the dimensions of your tank. In this case, the saying “less is more” does not apply.

Putting A Layer Of Sphagnum Moss

The next thing you need to do is add a layer of sphagnum moss. Its purpose is to eliminate the possibility that the layer of soil (which will be added later) mixes with a layer of gravel at the bottom.

Soak the moss in warm water for a few minutes and squeeze out the excess water. You don’t need to overdo it, one thin layer will do its job quite well.

Adding Activated Charcoal

This step is optional as there are still some disagreements over whether you should add activated charcoal when you decide to convert an aquarium to a terrarium. Its purpose is to remove all odors. If you choose to use it, simply make one thin layer that doesn’t even have to cover the entire surface of the moss.

Adding Soil

Next in line is adding land. Use a potting mix of your choice, but it is recommended that you add a little perlite to aerate the soil and reduce the risk of the soil being too moist. After that, water thoroughly.

Adding Decorations, Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Choosing decorations to place in your terrarium is not mandatory, but it is a great way to express your creativity. Their role is twofold; they serve for visual appeal, but also for functionality.

Decorations are especially needed at a time when your plants haven’t matured yet.

Light Installation

As with aquariums, so with terrariums, light is essential for the healthy growth and development of your plants.

It is recommended to choose a horticultural supplementary light that has a full spectrum of approximately 4000K. It will provide your plants with everything they need for both foliage and flowering. For more instructions on where to place the light, the distance between the light and the plant, and the duration of the light, see the manufacturer’s instructions.

Adding Plants

This step is certainly the most interesting but for some perhaps the most difficult one – choosing the plants. Make sure that you get plants that require the same conditions such as light, moisture, etc. because only then can you expect your little eco-system to thrive.

After all, don’t be afraid to experiment!

Enjoying The Sweet Fruits Of Your Labor

Finally, we come to the last step of the whole process of converting an aquarium to a terrarium, and that is watching, admiring, and enjoying. Take a break, you really deserve it!

In Conclusion

Terrariums are a fun and soothing addition in any space, whether it is a family home or office. Best of all, it scratches the gardening itch in the cold-weather months.

You can buy a brand new tank or convert an aquarium to a terrarium. Take this step and build a small ecosystem that will bring style to your everyday space.

What are your experiences, have you used a brand new tank, or have you decided to use your old one to convert an aquarium to a terrarium? Let us know below!

Read more about How to Make Aquarium Decorations?


Can You Turn A Fish Tank Into A Reptile Tank?

That's right, you can turn a fish tank into a reptile tank! However, this is not an extremely easy job that can be done overnight, it takes a lot of work and dedication. Also, keeping large species of reptiles is not recommended, but it is a great option if you are planning to get small lizards, snakes, and turtles.

How Do I Turn My Aquarium Into A Vertical Terrarium?

The material you need to turn the aquarium into a vertical terrarium is:

1 sheet of acrylic
Acrylic cutting tools
Hook and staple
3/4 inch hinges
Cabinet handle

Click here to see what the crafting process itself looks like.