Aquarium Herb Garden

taras49(6)March 3, 2013

The last of my grand-son's fish have died, RIP. Now I have a grand 50 gallon fish tank in the basement. I have done some basic research on using the tank to grow herbs but I need some more advice: Here's my preliminary plan, clean the tank thoroughly, add about 2 inches of gravel to bottom, add five inches of soil. Use the existing pump, placed in a 5 gallon container, hooked up to a timer to deliver a certain amount of water daily. Use the existing light, maybe changing the fluorescent bulb for a grow light, also hooked up to a timer. I would like to grow Basil, Mint, Oregano and Thyme. As simple as my plan sounds I know that IâÂÂm missing a lot of information; Please comment.

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Where to start?

Firstly, consider where many herbs come from. Your Oregano and Thyme come from the Mediterranean where they grow in bright sunshine on fast draining rocky hillsides. Basil comes from India so likes even more heat and sun. Mint comes from temperate damp climates and likes moist roots. So for starters all your chosen herbs need different conditions.

Secondly, some of your chosen herbs are perennials and one (basil) is an annual so will need to be resown every year.

Now let's look at the drainage issue. Your aquarium has none. A layer of gravel isn't drainage. This means that plant roots will be sitting in wet medium and before long it will probably begin to go stagnant and quite possibly start to smell. Under these conditions roots die.

Daily watering is far too frequent. Watering should be according to need and not to a schedule. And as I said above each of your herbs will need a different amount of water.

I can't comment on the light issue because I have never grown anything under lights. But I suspect there will not be enough for these plants.

Far from being simple, I think your plan would require a huge amount of knowledge and understanding of all the variables. A hydroponics expert might manage it.

You could possibly turn the aquarium into a terrarium using suitable low-light tolerant, moisture-loving house plants. The herbs would be far better off out of doors. They will taste far better than indoor herbs, even grown under optimal conditions.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Thanks, from the little research I was able to do, I thought that this particular venture might be well over my pay grade. I guess my next post will be; Anyone want to buy a 50 gallon fish tank? Thanks so much for your input

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Sure! Do you deliver to zone 5?

This is how I use an aquarium. I start some vegetables, other plants inside under grow lights. The cool weather crops (onions, broccoli) I like to get out early in the season. So I tip the aquarium on its' side cover about 85% of the back (aka - top) with cardboard and use it as a small greenhouse on the back patio. Some ventilation is needed on sunny days to keep it from getting too hot.

Yes, it's only used for about 6 weeks out of the year. But it does get used! And I can always use a bigger greenhouse!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:08PM
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