Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fish Bowl In The Garden

I wish I could build a pond in my tiny garden, but with a huge Gleditsia (Honeylocust) tree planted on the fence-line, yikes - it would be a lot of work to keep clean and too shady to attempt. I love watching fish swim about and see living plants grow in water. Relaxes me.

My compromise:

Found this great flask/terrarium at Pier 1 Imports. Made in Spain, it's quite durable - with rather thick glass (weighs a ton without the water), I thought it was the perfect choice for my new fresh water pets: "Goldie"& 'Gorbie".  I've seen other terrarium style glass bowls and such but all made from glass too delicate for outside. This one is perfect.

The small spouted neck will prevent unwanted animals and birds from attempting to grab my fish.  Big enough to provide air, to access and clean.

I've added two fresh-water, living plants:
Hornwort - ferny plant and Duckweed - lime green butterfly floaters
Both plants will oxygenate the water and Goldfish eat Duckweed, when nothing else is available. (Great back-up food source for weekend getaways).
Portable enough so that I can take it inside come any change in weather. Still need to find a perfect stand but for now, it nestles into my planters.
Because Hortwort floats, best to get sinking Goldfish food. That way the fish don't have to tangle and fight with plant life.

To help clean the terrarium, this little fresh water snail will help a lot.
I chose goldfish for their tough ability to withstand temperature ranges and for their colouration. 'Goldie' stands out quite well, to give visual interest.

Was glad to find 'Gorbie' (named after Mikhail Gorbachev :) isn't he/she cute?

Best friends.
I will warn you, this is not the easiest to take care of. Each week, I remove about 1/3 of the water. I have a turkey baster that I use to suck out the waste at the bottom and I wash the bowl once every 2-3 weeks. It is a labour of love, but sooo worth the effort.

This would be great for condo/apartment balconies too.


  1. This looks very pretty, but is horrible for the fish. Single-tail goldfish need at least 50 gallons for the first fish and a lot of filtration. It is a complete myth that goldfish will do well in a bowl. They live much shorter lifespans and die when their organs grow too large for their stunted bodies and they fail. In a proper set-up goldfish can live up to 50 years. Please, if these fish are still alive, give them to a proper home before it is too late for them.

    1. Island Bird - I understand your concern. These two goldfish continue to live and out-grew the terrarium. They lived happily indoors this past winter with a pump. In total, they lived in the terrarium for nearly 8 months. I released them into a garden pond in late June. I use the terrarium now with snails, hornwort and some other aquatic plants. Given I bought feeder goldfish for 25cents/ea, they had a better and longer life than in the gullet of another fish.


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