Family Projects, Outdoor Aquarium

One tank, two tanks, three tanks, four…

I wrote about starting a water garden last year. I thought it would be a great experiment with the kids, showing them the types of plants which grow underwater and introducing them to hardy fish species we could take care of and watch grow. We could have it as a center piece of the garden, encouraging us to sit and listen to water falling into water.

And it did. At first. After I changed a few things.

But really, I should have known better. When it comes to plants (ok, yes, AND animals), I don’t know the meaning of ‘one’ anything. Over the course of the past year, we have added an additional water garden, 2 fish tanks, and have plans for 3 more.

Here is our original tank, in its new location right by my back door. It is home to platys, cory catfish, and 2 angelfish (temporarily).

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I’m very happy with how it has turned out. This is my coffee drinking spot in the morning, as I watch the sun come up.

The second tank I purchased at a garage sale and it sat for almost a year before I decided to do something with it. This past May I figured I give a real tank a shot. It has been some trial and error, but here’s what we have so far.

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It is right outside our daughter’s bedroom window, so she can watch the fish from her room. It is a little sparse on wildlife, but I’m working on adding more variety. Right now there are platys, otto catfish, and one lonely mosquito fish.

Tank #3 was part of the $1 per gallon sale Petco and Petsmart run a few times a year. My platys had babies and I was overrun with fry. Seemed like a good time to purchase another tank, but it’s in a bad place to run an extension cord. So this tank is completely non-electric. I’m still working on getting the water balance right, as not having a filter is challenging. But fun, too.

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Our last one is another water garden. Tractor Supply put their Rubbermaid tubs on clearance and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s only been running for about a month. I tried putting mosquito fish in it, but a dragon fly larvae ate them all. So I’m waiting for my platys to grow up and then I’ll probably move them into there. It will be much bigger for them.

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It really is becoming a family hobby. I take care of the water gardens and tanks, but the kids love watching the fish and the older ones have requested personal tanks. We are in the process of building tank stands, which will also double as book shelves to replace some very cheap ones I picked up from Walmart years ago. The young ones have asked for tanks as well, but I think it’s best if we wait for them to get a bit older. In the next year, perhaps we’ll put one in their rooms, but for now they can keep helping with the fun parts. As for me, well, I’ll just keep on planting.

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