Growing herbs in an aquarium?

catherinet(5 IN)September 12, 2009

Hi everyone,

My son wants to grow herbs indoor in his apartment at college. I don't think he has enough sunshine to grow them on a window sill. We have a smallish aquarium that he was thinking of using, that has a cover over it with a light.

Could he grow things that way? He was thinking of putting about an inch of gravel in the bottom, and then soil.

What kind of soil should he use? How deep of a layer of soil should he use? Could he use a soil-less mix? Should he ever fertilize them? What kind of light should he use?

Won't the plants get leggy if too far from the light?

He really wants to do this, so I hope it works out.

Thanks for your help!

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Grown in an aquarium will make spindly plants. Its due to the lack of full sun, good soil, and plenty of air movement. I used to grow aquatic plants called watersprite and it looked a little like celery leaves. The purple color plant lights were used and left on 20 hours per day, but mine grew in water, and new plants sprouted from the leaves. I would break these little plants off, and bury their roots in a fine gravel. Even though the lights were on, there was never an issue of alge growing as the plants took all the nourishment from the water. I didn't have any fish in there, but it was a healthy aquatic plant system. I have no idea what kind of 'herbs' you plan to grow, but keep in mind that things like basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, and several others will get quite tall IF they prosper. That 'tall' equates to a few feet tall up to 5 feet! Suggest that you research herb plants and choose some that have low light conditions as well as being short. Soilless mixes are ment for seed starting only, and once transplanted need a good quality soil with good drainage and not too much water. Many people kill plants by doing too much care. The leaves yellow and die. Thats usually the major issue as its excessive water related in most cases, but could also mean a high iron deficiency.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:05PM
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Forget it.

See this thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: herbs in terrariums

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 2:03AM
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I did have a friend that did what would be now called a xeriscape herb garden using some of the minature thymes and corsican mint. It looked healthy but since she kept a very large spider in the aquarium there was no way I was going to sample anything. There was one thyme that formed a small tree which was where the spider spent lots of it's time. See if you can find instructions for a cactus or succulent one. The lid did have several slots cut in the top.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 8:09PM
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This year was my first year gardening outdoors. I started my transplants in a setup similar to the one you describe. I had poor germination rates as well as poor survival rates.

I wouldn't recommend it. As ksrogers explained, the plants will not get enough light and air circulation. Also, the high humidity inside the aquarium will play a large factor.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 9:54AM
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