I want to make a zen garden aquarium out of a plastic bottle. It is a variation of an aquarium that I made previously - check it out for details. This time I let my 7 years old kid do as much as he could.
For this project we need: 1.5 or larger plastic bottle, a plastic bowl, a tube, a paper clip.
Tools: knife, scissors, soldering iron, hot glue gun.
Water, snails, fish, and water plants for the aquarium. And rocks and sand for the zen garden.
Remove stickers from the bottle. Wash the bottle thoroughly. Cut off the bottom part of the bottle.
Unscrew the cap from the bottle.
This time I am going to use a wider plastic bowl than the one I used in my previous project - I want more space for the zen garden. Mark the spot where to glue the bottle cap. I prefer to attach it about somewhere between center and the side of the bowl. This way we can add supporting rocks all the way around the bottle. And we dedicate the wide space between bottle and the side of the bowl to the zen garden.
Apply a generous amount of hot glue at the spot where you want to attach the cap.
Push the cap firmly into the hot glue.
Let the glue cool down.
Use the hot soldering iron to cut a hole of the same or slightly larger diameter as the tube about 1 cm away from the cap.
Cut aslant one end of the tube. Insert the tube through the hole inside of the bottle.
Place the end of the tube in the middle ( 1 - 2 cm) of the bottle pointing to the cap.
Apply hot glue around the tube to seal the hole.
Hold the tube in place while the hot glue cools.
Measure and cut the tube. I make the tube about 20 cm longer than the bottle.
Pull the end of the tube through the handles of paper clip. Fix the paper clip to the top of the aquarium.
Screw the bottle into the cap.
We can wrap the tube around the aquarium - it looks better this way.
Basically, we have made the aquarium.
Put large rocks around the cap to support the aquarium. And then add smaller rocks on top. I put rocks to the top surrounding the part of the bowl near the aquarium, leaving a shallow wide space in front of the aquarium for the sand.
Fill up the bowl with sand. Let the wet or damp sand dry and then add some more sand filling up the empty space between rocks.
Let the water settle for 24 hours or at least over night before you add it to aquarium. Keep the level of the water in the aquarium about 2 cm below the top edge of the bottle - we don't want fish to jump over out of the water! Add water to the aquarium as necessary.
Then you can add water plants.
I like to add water snails to my aquarium.
This size aquarium is sufficient for small fish like betta fish or couple guppies.
Direct sun light could be harmfull! I attach some color paper with sticky tape to the back (and sides) of the aquarium. It blocks direct sun light and the fish looks nicer on the background.
Congratulations! We have made a zen garden aquarium! Taking care of the aquarium is the interesting part. The aquarium looks better with water plants. Also, the water plants serves as food for the fish and provide oxygen and removes some of the waste made by fish. The waste accumulates in the bottom of the aquarium - where we placed the tube. We have to remove accumulated waste about once a week or two. Prepare a cup. Unfasten the end of the tube from the top of the aquarium.
Lower the end of the tube in the cup. The water with waste will flow from the bottom of the aquarium through the tube to the cup.
The lower the end of the tube then the level of the water in the aquarium the faster water will flow.
Fix the end of the tube back in the handles of the paper clip. Dispose of the waste water (it's good for watering flowers and plants!) and refill the aquarium with adecvate necessary amount of water.
It is enjoyable and fun to work in zen garden.
One day (not long after we set up the aquarium with zen garden) we noticed about a dozen of baby guppies (fry) hidden among water plants. It's sure sign that fish likes the aquarium.
It's a good idea to keep baby guppies separately from adult fish (adult fish may eat babies!). We are going to make couple more aquariums using similar concept. It would allow us to cross breed guppies for different colors and shapes - which is all year around cool project. And it looks and sound as nice gift for our friends!
Have fun and happy zen garden aquarium :)