Outdoor Aquarium Ideas: Putting A Fish Tank In The Garden

Goldfish In A Fish Tank In The Garden
outdoor aquarium
(Image credit: jax10289)

Aquariums are generally made for inside the house, but why not have a fish tank outside? An aquarium or other water feature in the garden is relaxing and adds a whole new level of visual interest. A backyard aquarium can be elaborate and costly, but it can also be simple and DIY.

Outdoor Aquarium Ideas

You can go big with an outdoor aquatic ecosystem, but a small tank or pond is great too. Consider your budget, the amount of time you can put into building and maintaining it, and your skill level before choosing a project.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Trough tank - A galvanized steel trough is all you need to create a lovely outdoor aquarium or pond. A horse trough is great for a big space, but a tub or bucket makes a great small ecosystem.
  • Large glass jar - A glass jar or terrarium provides the basis for a simple aquarium that can sit on a tabletop, on the ground, or even in a planter among flowers.
  • Barrel fishpond - Find an old barrel to repurpose into a small outdoor aquarium. You’ll need to seal it to keep the water in, of course.
  • Pond with a view - A more traditional pond becomes an outdoor aquarium if you construct it with a window. Use thick, sturdy acrylic to create one or two clear sides to your pond.
  • Upcycle - An outdoor aquarium can be a truly creative endeavor if you look around for materials you already have. Create a box out of scrap wood, use a large plant pot, or even make an aquatic ecosystem out of an old canoe.

Tips for Putting a Fish Tank in the Garden

Aquariums in gardens can be tricky. You may have some trial and error and a failure or two before you make it work. Consider these tips first and make a detailed plan before starting the project:

  • Plan for winter if it gets cold. Either design your aquarium to be year-round or be prepared to move it indoors.
  • If you do want to keep it outside all year, you can use a heater for the colder months.
  • Avoid putting your aquarium under trees or you will be forever cleaning out debris.
  • Also, avoid a location that has no shade or shelter. A corner of the yard with some shade from the house is a good spot.
  • Use a filter to keep it clean.
  • Consider putting in some aquatic plants for a complete ecosystem.
Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.