While it may not be as visually appealing as a glass aquarium, a plastic container can be a safe and durable home for your fish and aquatic pets. The inexpensive and easy-to-set-up container works well as a recovery habitat for injured fish, a breeding area to raise fry and as a backup home for fish if your main aquarium is unavailable. Plastic containers can also be made into outdoor ponds and tanks that can be partially sunk in the ground and house large fish such as koi.
Select a plastic container that will be big enough for your fish. Check with the seller or manufacturer to ensure the container is made from chemically inert polythene. This material won't leach or add pollutants to the water once it's made into a tank. Also, when choosing a plastic container that's rectangular, make sure it's strong enough so it won't bow on the sides when filled. A circular plastic container won't have this problem.
Buy your plastic container. Some pet stores sell plastic containers for fish. Gardening stores also carry plastic containers in a variety of shapes and sizes that you can turn into your own aquarium.
Place the plastic container wherever you want it displayed. This could be on an aquarium stand. Just make sure it's out of direct sunlight. Also, leave about 5 inches of space between the container and the wall for the filter to fit. You can also create an outdoor fish pond by partially burying the plastic container in the ground. The soil will add support to the container's sides once the plastic has the durability to stand up to the elements.
Add gravel and water to the container. This aquarium gravel should be washed before placement in the container. Make sure the water is safe for fish. For example, if it has chlorine, neutralise it with a dechlorinator once it's in the container. This chemical can be purchased from most pet stores.
Install the plastic container's filter and heater. An ideal filter would be an internal or canister filter. Unlike a hanging filter designed to fit on the fish tank's rim, these filters go inside or completely outside of the container and will work with any size plastic rim. Most heaters are attached by suction on the sides of an aquarium.
Add decorations to your plastic container, such as plants, driftwood or plastic ornaments. This will give your fish a place to hide and feel safe.
Wait 24 hours for the aquarium to settle. This will allow the water temperature to stabilise. After that, acclimate your fish to the water and release them in the plastic container.