How to Make a Vivarium

Written by jessica jones
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A vivarium is a wonderful and decorative piece that can add beauty to any space. To put together a vivarium, you can use a variety of items that are found in nature. Soil, plants, water, moss and other items are commonly found in vivariums. Use your imagination to create a work of living art in your home.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fish tank
  • Egg crate (plastic)
  • PVC connectors
  • Clay pellets
  • Soil mix
  • Spaghum moss
  • Decorative items (plants, driftwood, etc.)
  • Water pump
  • 25 watt submersible heater
  • Water resistant lighting
  • Mesh screening
  • Small bucket

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  1. 1

    Gather your materials for your vivarium. Determine the size tank you will need by measuring the space where you plan to keep it. Visit pet stores or shop online for the rest of the materials. Search for decorative items in thrift stores, beaches, lake and river beds to create a collection of items found in nature.

  2. 2

    Create a false bottom to allow water to flow easily in the tank and to hide the submersive heater and water pump. Glue 1/2 inch PVC spacers to the bottom of the tank. Next, lay a sheet of plastic egg crates on top of the PVC spacers. Leave enough space for the heater and water pump. Depending on where you want these items in the vivarium, construct a small box out of the egg crates that's large enough to cover the water pump and heater once you're ready to install them.

  3. 3

    Spread a thin layer (1 1/2 to 2 inches) of clay pellets over the egg crates. Next, spread a layer of spaghum moss. You can lay it dry or run tap water over the moss so it will expand. After spreading the moss, place a layer of soil mix on top.

  4. 4

    Add plants and other decorative items you want to include in the vivarium. You can add rocks, driftwood, beach glass and other items. This is where you can be really creative.

  5. 5

    Install the water pump and heater. Follow the directions to install each piece properly. Hide them in the box your created out of the egg crates. Hang decorative water-resistant lighting if you want. Once you have everything in place, you can add water to the tank. Using a small bucket, add water slowly until you reach the rim of the tank. Leave about an inch of room at the top so the water doesn't overflow. Cover with mesh screening if you have pets.

  6. 6

    Turn on the water pump, heater and the lights.

Tips and warnings

  • Use unique items found in nature to create an inviting and interesting vivarium.

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