How to Build a Garden Aquarium

Reader Contribution by Ann Katelyn

In order create a more relaxing environment in your garden, you can build an outdoor aquarium. Buying a pre-made aquarium can cost you thousands of dollars, but the expense is avoidable by building your own.

The fortunate thing is that an aquarium is a simple replication of an ecosystem and can be set with the right conditions that support fish just like the commercial ones. It may be challenging to build the structure, but using the proper guidelines, you can make a beautiful and well functioning system at the lowest cost possible. Here are some tips and guidance on making your DIY garden aquarium successfully.

Determine the Location

Choosing the best place for your garden aquarium is important as it should be positioned in a way that it will add beauty while at the same time it should be away from direct sunlight. Keep it away from drafts and vibrations as these affect the fish.

Avoid building the aquarium under trees. This location plays a critical role in the long-term success of the project. Depending on the country where you want to build the system, the weather will play a significant role in deciding where to place it. Regions prone to very cold winters may dictate that you build indoors or in a greenhouse or completely shut it down if it’s outdoors during winter. The planned size of the aquarium will determine the part of the garden where it should be built on the available space.

Choose the Size and Depth of the Tank

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The garden aquarium size can be decided based on the quantity of fish you plan for and the availability of space and materials. Choose the type of tank material for the chosen depth; glass is commonly used, but a more expensive acrylic can also be used since it is efficient at insulating the whole system meaning the cost of heating will be low compared to glass.

Source Remaining Equipment

These include filter system to provide adequate aeration for the fish. You also need a timer and LED lighting in addition to having fishing rod more here in readiness for fishing. An ultraviolet sterilizer and water pump are also required to build your garden aquarium.

Set Up the Tank

Step 1: When everything has been made ready, place the tank in the chosen position and fill it with water. Check for leaks then add gravel or a substrate then pile it slightly towards the back of the aquarium so as to form an illusion of distance in the fish tank.

Step 2: Using de-chlorinated water or with adequate chlorine remover, fill the tank mid-level. Place a dish on top of the gravel in the fish tank and fill it with water gently, this will create a minimum disturbance to the underlying gravel.

Step 3: After doing all this, proceed to install the filter and heater. The heater is required for a tropical aquarium to maintain the right temperature. This requires the installation of a thermometer in a location that can easily be read to aid in controlling the temperature. 

Step 4: When the basics have been set, it is time to add decorations inside the aquarium. Include some ornaments, rocks or some back pictures on the tank base for additional beauty. If you can, then add some floating plants when the tank is full.

Step 5: The last step is to turn on the heater and water filter and check for optimal functioning of both. Fill the aquarium with de-chlorinated water to the top starting the process of tank cycling.

Adding New Fish to an Outdoor Aquarium

Before adding any fish ensure the aquarium is stabilized. The pH level should acceptable to the fish — the temperature should be standardized to support all the types of fish in the tank. Add the fish a few at a time as you monitor their survival and health before adding more. Putting all of them in the tank may cause you severe loss especially if you have not set the tank and the conditions of the water as required.

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It is a very engaging job building an aquarium in the garden. It calls for commitment in terms of time and money for it to succeed. However, when designed and set properly, it will be used for years raising fish while making the garden more serene and beautiful with the view of fresh water or tropical fish.

All the mentioned components are readily available at local hardware and gardening stores. They can also be bought at second-hand places including eBay, Gumtree, and Craiglist. It looks very basic but once built this aquarium is very functional and beneficial. Just go get your fishing rod more here as you prepare for the fish to mature.

Ann Katelyn is a homesteader in Alabama who has dedicated most of her life to gardening and botanical study with growing interests ranging from the popular, world-class roses to the rarest and most exotic orchids. She is currently trying her best to become well versed on plants found in desert areas, the tropics, and Mediterranean region. Connect with Ann on Twitter and her website, Sumo Gardener. Read all of Ann’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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