06.06.13

DIY Mason Jar Aquarium....

Posted by Christina // 55 Replies

What can you do with a mason jar?

That’s what Danielle asked of us this week in her Craft with What You Got Challenge.  While I love me a mason jar or two, I feel like they have become a little over-done in the crafting world.  There is only so much you can do and I have enough planters and candle holders to make Martha proud.

So I asked my boyfran-man for ideas.  Wouldn’t you know that boy is a genius and casually mentioned the idea of a pico tank after about ten minutes.  A pico tank is a very teeny tiny saltwater tank, some as small as batteries.

The whole idea sounded like the epitome of this blog.  A homemade ocean. DIY MASON JAR AQUARIUM When we started brainstorming for the tank I got really nervous about putting anything living in it due to the very small size of mason jars.  My heart always breaks for those beta fish in the itsy bitsy cups, so how could I walk past a cramped crab everyday without a little heartbreak.  Then some luck fell into our laps.  We found a giant-sized mason jar at Hobby Lobby for 50% off….and scooped it up faster than Ms. Bynes tweets go viral. A GIANT MASON JAR I feel like Jupiter found Pluto or something, and they are homies for life.

The supplies were fairly straight forward.  A light, an air tube, some sand, a heater, and a cute little fish.  We got a Damselfish, and appropriately named him Jean-Claude Van Damsel.  It’s important to choose your fish wisely, keeping the size and rate of growth in mind.  MASON JAR AQUARIUM SUPPLIES HOW WE MADE OURS INSTRUCTIONS SO MAKE A MASON JAR AQUARIUM THE LAST STEPS Apparently, our goal is to have a tank in every single room of our house.  We are so head over heels for our little tank, we may have said “best project ever” about sixty times that night. DIY MASON JAR REEF And since that night I have walked around singing “Part of Their World” every time I cross through the kitchen.  PART OF THEIR WORLD Thank goodness for Tim and his brilliance.

Do you love decorating with mason jars?
Ever heard of pico tanks?
Think Jean-Claude Van Damsel is the cutest thing ever?

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55 thoughts on “DIY Mason Jar Aquarium….

  1. Janelle

    Add this to the “favorite posts” sidebar! I freakin love the name you picked. I can only assume you will come up with equally awesome and amusing names for your human offspring if/when the time comes 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Hahaha…it should get added over there huh? I mean it basically sums up the name of the blog 🙂

      Holy whoa I haven’t updated that thing in ages!!!

      Ohhhhh baby names…our poor kids MUUUUwahhhh hahahaha

      Reply
  2. Danne R

    Oh my goodness! I want to do this ASAP!! Is this something that would be good for a beginner to the tank world? I really want a salt water tank, however the boyfriend isn’t so sure about the upkeep….maybe I can start small and work my way up 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Awwwww THANKS! So there are benefits to having small tanks but there are also some negatives.

      If you are just starting out I say go for a smaller tank, that way you can get a feel for the maintanence and upkeep. Then one of two things will happen…you will get the reef bug like we did (we started with a 60 gallon and now have a 210 gallon which still isn’t big enough) or you will say, “phew too much work not for me”. Then at least you haven’t thrown a ton of money and time into the hobby.

      The problem is, it is much harder to keep your water parameters in line the smaller you go so it can be frustrating and a little harder to keep things alive. For this itty bitty tank we chose very hardy corals and a fish that you have to TRY to kill. We have obviously never worked with anything this small, but we are crossing our fingers.

      If I were you I would look into Nano Cubes, they are a little pricier than this homemade version but they come with all of your lights and filtration. I have one on my desk and the maintenance is a piece of cake! We talked about it a little bit here.

      If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask! We love helping people get into the hobby 🙂

      Reply
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  4. Jess

    I friggin LOVE this idea. I’ve been telling Jason for the longest time we are going to make a lamp like this! Even found one we could use!! Soon enough-for now we’ll just visit yours. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      I was surprised how easy it was to make! I mean I am not sure how easy upkeep will be (Tim says easy because he will just replace the water with our big tank water, but we will see)

      I can’t wait to see all the crazy tanks you all have one day 🙂

      Reply
  5. Shelly

    OMG that is so awesome and creative!! My husband has been talking about doing a tank for YEARS but we dont’ have the space in our house for one so this might be perfect.

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      You should look into Nano Cubes or Bio Cubes as well! Those come in smaller sizes and are really easy to care for! Thats what I have on my desk 🙂

      AND if you ever want a HUGE tank….I am your gal 😉

      Reply
    1. Tim

      We keep our tanks at 1.025 s.g. In order to keep the water parameters in line for such a small tank we plan to do small water changes every other day. We always have at least 100 gallons of salt water and RO water on hand for top offs and water changes on our display tank.

      Reply
  6. Christina @ Floridays Mom

    Oh my gosh!! I love this idea. John and I have been talking about getting Colin a fishtank for his room but I am nervous he would somehow tip it on to himself. This would be perfect for his nautical room! Love it!

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Ohhhhh yes! He needs a tank in that room 🙂

      My cousin has a turtle tank that she keeps on the floor of her boys room, it’s super cute and her son LOVES it.

      Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Our original idea was to do a Beta….in fact we bought the fish and named him before Tim decided that he wanted to try a pico tank.

      I will warn you, we have had some trouble with the lights staying affixed to the lid. We are working out a more permanent solution now 🙂

      Reply
  7. Christina

    Is there anyway to add some sort of filtration to help the water clear up when first starting the Mason Jar Aquarium? I just added sand and water today so I am waiting for the water to clear up before I add anything in. I didn’t install a heater yet but my temperature 76 F so I’m thinking I don’t need a heater.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      You might be able to add a small sponge filter to the end of your airline but there isn’t much room for anything else inside the jar. If your temp stays constant then no need for a heater. Send us some photos once it is up and running.

      Reply
  8. Casey

    This is AMAZING! I’m seriously headed out to find materials ASAP, I have the same jar you used at home already. How much did the other supplies cost you?

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      The fish was less than $10, we had the air pump. They tubing, light, heater, and sand was about $30 if I remember right. We have been having trouble with the lights though and we are trying to find the best solution. We origianlly hot glued them to the top but they keep popping off! If you find a better solution, be sure to let us know!

      Reply
  9. d

    Hey cool idea. I think you should make sure people know what they shouldn’t be putting in something this small. I hate seeing fish pulled from the ocean just so we can kill them. Sadly being in this hobby I see it so much j
    🙁

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Oh for sure! We were at the fish store the other day and this lady was joking about how every time her grandson comes over she has to buy new fish because she doesn’t feed them unless he is there. I wanted to say a few words but I think T would have been mortified. Thanks for the suggestion, I will add a little note.

      Reply
  10. Dale

    Great project! I loved it so much that I did one with my six year old son. He loves watching our clown-fish in it. I took your design and added one more thing to it. I made an internal bio-filter from a 2 oz. Purell hand sanitizer bottle, and an old air-pump that I had. The surface gas exchange is about perfect, it will add to evaporation but top-off isn’t that bad on such a small environment. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome project with us!

    Reply
  11. Our Wolf Den

    That is amazing. I used to have tons of tanks when I lived at home with my parents but when I moved out on my own I couldn’t have them for a long time. Now I just haven’t gotten around to putting a SW tank back up. The little tank is amazing but I think it would be way too hard to clean. The smallest one I ever had was 5.5 gallon and it actually worked really well.

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      We definitely like the bigger tanks….they are so much easier to maintain! With our nano cube it seems like it can get out of whack really easily. Do you have pictures of your tank?

      Reply
  12. yolanda

    Hi, can you tell me the names of the different corals you picked out? How are they doing? Also, I’ve started a 2.5 gallon cookie jar pico and I CANNOT for the life of me find the right kind of lighting for it. My hubby doesn’t want a standalone lamp, so i found your site with the light you put inside (thinking I could rig it to sit inside the lid, in the knob recess), but I’m not sure if your LED is strong enough for me to raise coral and inverts. Plus, I’m curious if you found your “more permanent solution” to attaching it? Love this idea, thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Hey Yolanda,

      We used some hardy corals for this tank…some mushrooms and xenia. We have had a lot of trouble with the lights, the blue lights keep falling off so we have just been regluing them ever so often (definitely NOT permanent haha but it works for now). We have found that our corals are not doing as well as they were in our bigger tank so we don’t think these lights are very effective, haven’t thrown any inverts in because well we just aren’t sure if they would make it. We also considered a stand alone, but really like the look of having them contained. Let us know what you work out and send us photos!

      Best of luck 🙂 thanks for visiting!!!!

      Reply
  13. Jeanika

    This is really awesome, has anyone sent you photo’s of their little piko tanks? you should upload them, would love to see those too… Has the fish and coral been doing well? How often do you top up and do water changes? Would love to try this but I live in south africa and have no idea if I will find everything I need.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      We have received a few photos from readers with their own pico tanks which can be seen on our Facebook page. We have taken this tank down in the last few weeks and returned all of the livestock to our main display. Sadly enough, we needed the counter space in the kitchen. Also, it was becoming quite the chore to clean the lid and do a daily water change. The fish and coral seemed to thrive and are happy and healthy back in their big home.

      Reply
  14. Jeanika

    Yeah I thought it might become a chore cleaning and doing water changes because its so small but I still love the idea and think it is really cool 🙂

    Reply
  15. Emily

    I know you took the tank down alway but has anyone tried using a strong magnet attached to the light to hold it on the metal lid? Just a thought. I love your little tank!

    Reply
  16. Kaitlyn

    Hi! My name’s Kaitlyn and this is my second tank as a fish owner per say. I had three carnival fish that lived for over a year apiece, and when they died I went a year without more fish. Then senior year of high school happened and I really missed my fish. So I got one Betta. Now I’m a college freshman and I’ve adopted my second little finned friend, his name is Finneon, (his older brother is Bear) and I tried out your Mason jar tank for giggles and love it. I don’t mind the frequent water changes, and if my picture works then you’ll see what it looked like when I first started. I’ve now got my heater in and working, and I swear my fish loves it. He’s feisty, so playing dead is his favorite past time, and mine is reading about your tanks 🙂 my tank loving friends are all envious of your 210 gallon too. But yeah, <a href="https://24.media.tumblr.com/b31e58e88f8236d94a94e63e84ad1376/tumblr_n0rf02f2ux1tsv3wpo1_500.jpg&quot; title= "This is my tank" .

    Reply
  17. Nabeel

    Hi! I see it’s been a while since you’ve been updating this thread, but I was interested in this project. What exactly does daily maintenance involve? Also, how do you clean the tank/gravel and stuff?

    Thanks.

    Reply
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  19. megan

    hey that is awesome where do you get the corals from and btw what was the “hitchhiker” i got confuzzled thanks x

    Reply
  20. Kate

    What about a filter? Did you add salt to the water or just use RO/DI water? Did you just change the water completely since there’s no filter? I like this idea.

    Reply
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