Can I use a terrarium as an aquarium?

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In summary, if your terrarium is made of thin glass, you may want to reinforce it with Handyman's Secret Weapon.
  • #1
Mk
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I have a glass terrarium, and I have a project where I need an aquarium. I'm going to be filling it full with water and oil. Can I reliably use my terrarium for this application? It will need to last months to years and I kind of don't want it to leak or break everywhere :)
 
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  • #2
Mk said:
I have a glass terrarium, and I have a project where I need an aquarium. I'm going to be filling it full with water and oil. Can I reliably use my terrarium for this application? It will need to last months to years and I kind of don't want it to leak or break everywhere :)
If your terrarium was in an aquarium, it should be fine. Be sure to disinfect it first and be sure that it meets the requirements for an aquarium.

OIL?
 
  • #3
The oil part has me uncertain. I don't know what holds aquariums together either, so am not sure oil won't damage the adhesive.
 
  • #4
Check if its waterproof, duh, LOL, but I think the adhesive should be fine cause I think its basically silicone caulking. Might try a test with a bit of the oil that will be used on one of the upper corners in the terra/aquarium.
 
  • #5
The terrarium was not an aquarium! That's why I'm asking. The sealant/glue is silicone, so I was wondering if there needs to be more, or something if you have an aquarium? Plus, oil is heavier than water. I'll fill it with water tomorrow to see if it leaks.
 
  • #6
The problem MK, might be the glass thickness, must be sufficient to withstand the pressure of the liquid. The glass of a terrarium may only be 3 mm. A small aquarium is at least 5mm for a foot of water level (30cm) and more like 8-12mm for 18-24 inches of water level.

So check the glass thickness and the glue of course being water thight.

Silicone glue is fine also for oil
 
  • #7
Andre's right. If this thing has long/wide spans and is made of thin glass, then you do not want to load it with water/oil unless you are prepared to deal with the mess when it breaks. If it was originally designed as a terrarium, it will not have the structural integrity of a real aquarium.
 
  • #8
My experience is that terrariums use thinner glass (but not necessarily) that aquariums, since terrariums are not designed to be filled with water, but only to keep a controlled moist atmosphere/environment.

Is one using mineral oil?

Oil is less dense than water.
 
  • #9
Astronuc said:
Is one using mineral oil?
Yes!

Oil is less dense than water.
Yes!

I measured the thickness of the glass at 1/8 inch. The box is about one foot wide and two feet long.

According to this, I'm okay:
http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/literature/Subramanian_Glass_Aquarium.html
2 x 1 x 1 = 5mm glass
 
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  • #10
How deep is the glass? The use [itex]\rho\,g\,h[/itex] to determine the static pressure at the base of the glass.

I think aquariums use at least 6 mm or 1/4 inch, so 1/8 might be risking failure, even will slightly less dense oil (s.g. ~ 0.8-0.85)
 
  • #11
Mk said:
I measured the thickness of the glass at 1/8 inch. It's about one foot wide and two feet long. How's that?

Sounds a little thin based on Andre's recommendations.
 
  • #12
If you don't have to see through the sides, you can just reinforce it with the Handyman's Secret Weapon. :approve:
 
  • #13
Danger said:
If you don't have to see through the sides, you can just reinforce it with the Handyman's Secret Weapon. :approve:

I knew that was a duct tape reference before even hitting Google to make sure. Good replacement for Jesus.
 
  • #14
Red Green is a genius in his own warped way. :biggrin:

And if you haven't seen his other stuff, Steve and Morag were one of the best comedy teams going. See if you can find any Smith & Smith footage.
 
  • #15
I love the fact/idea that glass is a liquid and that it is slowly flowing downwards.
 
  • #16
I always loved that, too, but a recent programme that I saw disputed it with reasonable scientific principles. Since I don't know enough about it, the jury remains out for me.
 

Related to Can I use a terrarium as an aquarium?

1. Can I use a terrarium as an aquarium?

Yes, you can use a terrarium as an aquarium. However, there are some important factors to consider before doing so.

2. What is the difference between a terrarium and an aquarium?

A terrarium is typically designed to house land-dwelling plants and animals, while an aquarium is specifically designed for aquatic plants and animals. Terrariums typically have a solid bottom, while aquariums have a water-tight bottom to hold water.

3. What are the potential risks of using a terrarium as an aquarium?

There are several risks to consider when using a terrarium as an aquarium. The lack of a water-tight bottom can lead to leaks and potential damage to your home. The materials used in terrariums may not be safe for aquatic life and can cause harm to your fish. Additionally, the lack of proper filtration and aeration in a terrarium can lead to poor water quality and unhealthy fish.

4. How can I make a terrarium suitable for use as an aquarium?

If you still wish to use a terrarium as an aquarium, there are steps you can take to make it more suitable. You will need to seal the bottom of the terrarium to make it water-tight and ensure that the materials used are safe for aquatic life. You will also need to add a filtration system and aeration to maintain proper water quality.

5. Are there any alternatives to using a terrarium as an aquarium?

Yes, there are many alternatives to using a terrarium as an aquarium. You can purchase a pre-made aquarium or build one yourself using appropriate materials. Another option is to create a paludarium, which combines both land and water elements, allowing you to have both aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals in one habitat.

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