The Fish Tank Greenhouse

I guess you could call this recycling. My husband’s cousin’s widow gave me a 10 gallon fish tank that she said she was just going to throw away. It was practically brand new and in perfect condition. So, I couldn’t turn it down. The filter that came with it was very poor quality and insufficient for the needs of a fully stocked freshwater tropical fish tank. No wonder they couldn’t keep any fish alive in it. Anyway, after about a year of trying to keep it going with fish they all died and I turned it into a greenhouse for starting my seeds instead of throwing it out. I figured it has the special aquarium/grow light type lamp and it would hold heat and moisture well; it should work.

I used some of the newspaper pots that I made for my winter sowing project for this greenhouse. I fit in 15 rows of 8 mini pots each with orange juice carton pieces as dividers and markers. This is what I planted between April 23-25, 2008:

Date Planted Row # Planted Bought/Rec’vd Type Common Name
4/25/2008 1 4 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Tiger-Like, IND, 70+ DTM
4/23/2008 1 5 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Costoluto Genovese, IND, 90 DTM
4/23/2008 2 4 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Italian Market Wonder, IND, 75 DTM
4/24/2008 2 4 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Olena Ukrainian; IND, 85 DTM
4/23/2008 3 3 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Bonny Best; IND, 72 DTM
4/24/2008 3 3 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Livingston’s Golden Queen, IND, 78 DTM
4/23/2008 3 3 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Cosmonaut Volkov; DET, 75 DTM
4/23/2008 4 9 10/23/2007 Fruit Tomato, Assorted
4/25/2008 5 9 11/8/2007 Fruit Tomato, Marglobe VF, DET, 75 DTM
4/24/2008 6 9 10/23/2007 Fruit Tomato, Speckled Roman Heirloom
4/25/2008 7 9 2003 Fruit Tomatillo, Mexican Husk
4/23/2008 8 9 4/15/2007 Fruit Tomato, Jelly Bean Hybrid, Indeterminate
4/25/2008 9 9 9/30/2007 Fruit Tomato, Delicious
4/25/2008 10 9 2003 Fruit Pepper, Chile Bola
4/25/2008 11 9 2004 Fruit Pepper – Ancho/Poblano
4/25/2008 12 9 2003 Fruit Pepper, Cayenne
4/25/2008 13 9 2004 Fruit Pepper – Jalapeno Early
4/25/2008 14 8 2004 Fruit Pepper – Marconi Red
4/25/2008 15 9 2004 Fruit Pepper – Serrano


I watered the whole thing with a pint of water with 2 baby aspirin dissolved in it. Supposedly the aspirin is going to aide in germination and ward off dampening off.

On Monday of this week I was searching through the “barn” and found an old waterproof lamp that’s made for a 15 watt bulb to give heat. I wasn’t going to use it for it’s original enclosure so I brought it in, cleaned it up and hung it inside the fish tank greenhouse as close to the top as I could get it. It keeps the temperature in there a steady 72 F. Both the aquarium light and the heat light are kept on 24-7.

It’s paid off already. I was misting the little pots and noticed that I have three sprouts – 1 of the Marglobe Tomato and 2 of the Speckled Roman Heirloom Tomatoes. In the picture you can barely see them so I’ve circled them in green. Hopefully once their baby leaves unfurl I’ll get a better picture. Not bad for only 5 full days in the tank and 3 under the heatlamp. 😀

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