New Uses For Your Old Aquarium

By Melianie Cho
Author: Last updated:

Woman wandering what to do with empty fish tank

Fish aquariums are a great addition to any household. They are easy to look after, a great talking point for your family and friends and fish are a fabulous pet for you and your children. But what happens when your fish outgrow the aquarium? You have invested a lot of money in it. You don’t just throw it out or put it in storage.

Well the good news is, the glass exterior, water tight seals, and pleasing aesthetics make it very easy to recycle an old aquarium into a brand new household attraction. Some ideas and how-to guides are below.

Empty bowl with plants
This very simple desert style requires minimal care

Make your aquarium a terrarium

Take out the water and the very design of an aquarium creates an immediate green-house. With water tight seals and an enclosed lid and light, your plants will be thriving in a matter of days.
  • Add soil. Make sure your planting foundations includes a bottom layer of pebbles or sand for drainage, some activated charcoal to keep the air clean, some sphagnum moss to keep the top layer from sifting down, and your top soil.
  • Add plants. Plants should be slow growing and sized to the aquarium. Place larger plants at the middle and spread pebbles and rocks for variety.
  • Close lid. If you want a rain forest effect, pop your aquarium lid on. If you want the desert effect, keep it open.
  • Add water. Add only enough water to moisten soil. You only need a small amount of condensation on the walls and lid and once this is achieved, stop watering.

candles in a fish tank
Brighten someones day with a light display for indoor or outdoor use

A great candle holder

If you have a romantic side and want to impress your partner, why not enjoy a fancy meal while gazing over your recycled candle holder! Not only is it energy efficient, you will both be dappled in romantic light.
  • Add pebbles. Choose your favourite coloured pebbles just right for the occasion.
  • Add candles. Add your candles and Voila! Your aquarium will keep any wind from blowing out your flame for the outdoor lovers.

ice and beer in a fish tank
Does this qualify as a cold water fish tank?

An ice bucket

Feel like a beer? Create a funky ice bucket by using your old aquarium. The best thing about this one is you will be able to see exactly what beer you’re grabbing through the glass wall.
  • Add beer and ice.
  • Drink and be merry.

A mouse house

An old aquarium is the perfect house for a mouse, or other small rodent. The glass walls make them impossible to climb and the solid floor create a safe, unescapable haven. What’s more, you can see what your pets are doing from every angle.
  • Add Bedding. Sawdust, woodchips or kitty litter. Make sure it’s absorbent and changed 2 times per week
  • Build a playground. Adding levels with pot-plants, enclosed sleeping areas and PVC pipes or spinning wheels for play time all create a nice environment for your pet.
  • Add Mice. Two males together will fight so be sure to have a male and a female (If your breeding) or two females if you want them to have companions.

land hermit crab in old fish tank
Old tanks make ideal enclosures for all sorts of weird creatures

Keep an unusual pet

Aquariums are perfect enclosures for a number of unusual pets, and many are very easy to care for. Giant African Snails, Stick Insects, or Land Hermit Crabs are just a few ideas to try out. You can even use an old aquarium in the garden as a tadpole pond, perfect for children to watch the tadpoles turn into frogs.

Author Bio

Melianie works for a pet care store selling discount aquarium supplies online. She is also passionate about recycling and sustainable development.

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