# Can I use a terrarium as an aquarium?

1. Feb 22, 2008

### Mk

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 :)

2. Feb 22, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

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. Feb 22, 2008

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
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. Feb 23, 2008

### binzing

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. Feb 23, 2008

### Mk

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. Feb 23, 2008

### Andre

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. Feb 23, 2008

### turbo

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. Feb 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

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. Feb 23, 2008

### Mk

Last edited: Feb 23, 2008
10. Feb 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

How deep is the glass? The use $\rho\,g\,h$ 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. Feb 23, 2008

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Sounds a little thin based on Andre's recommendations.

12. Feb 23, 2008

### Danger

If you don't have to see through the sides, you can just reinforce it with the Handyman's Secret Weapon.

13. Feb 23, 2008

### dst

I knew that was a duct tape reference before even hitting Google to make sure. Good replacement for Jesus.

14. Feb 23, 2008

### Danger

Red Green is a genius in his own warped way.

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. Feb 23, 2008

### binzing

I love the fact/idea that glass is a liquid and that it is slowly flowing downwards.

16. Feb 24, 2008

### Danger

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.