Create Your Own Fish Bowl Terrarium: A DIY Guide

Are you looking to bring life and creativity to your home? Look no further than a fish bowl terrarium! Instead of fish, fill it with lush greenery for a stunning centerpiece that will elevate your space. In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating your own fish bowl terrarium, whether you prefer a closed or open terrarium. Let’s dive in and explore the possibilities!

Fish Bowl Terrarium

Closed Terrarium: A Self-Sustaining Ecosystem

A closed terrarium is a traditional approach that creates a self-sustaining ecosystem. It requires minimal maintenance and is ideal for housing tropical plants and moss that thrive in humid and warm conditions. You can embrace a rainforest or woodland theme with this type of terrarium, creating a miniature ecosystem within the glass walls.

Open Terrarium: A Modern Take with Regular Care

If you prefer a more contemporary style, an open terrarium is the perfect choice. It functions more like a glass planter and requires regular care, much like a houseplant. Open terrariums are typically built with arid plants that prefer a drier environment and good airflow. You can create a stunning succulent or cactus terrarium with this design.

Humid Terrarium

For further inspiration, check out our terrarium ideas and terrarium decor articles to discover unique ways to style your terrarium.

Aquarium: The Conventional Fish Bowl

Of course, if you still want to include fish in your fish bowl, you can always opt for an aquarium. While we love all ariums here at Terrarium Tribe, if you’re interested in fishkeeping, you might want to explore the captivating world of aquascaping.

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Where to Find a Fish Bowl Terrarium for Sale

To start your fish bowl terrarium project, you’ll need a suitable glass container. These containers are widely available online, and you can also find them in select pet stores and plant markets. When choosing a fish bowl, consider the type of terrarium you’re building:

  • For an open terrarium, look for fish bowls with wider openings to allow better airflow.
  • For a closed terrarium, select glassware with an even circular opening.

Open Glass Bowl

Once you have your container, you might need a lid. Unfortunately, fish bowls rarely come with lids, but you can easily find a solution. Custom-cut acrylic sheets make excellent lids and create a seamless look. In a pinch, you can also use saran wrap temporarily.

Beginning the Build: Fish Bowl Terrarium Layers

Once you have your glass container and lid, it’s time to assemble your fish bowl terrarium. Start by creating a drainage layer at the bottom, using materials like leca, aquarium gravel, or decorative pebbles. This layer will prevent excess water from pooling around the roots of your plants.

Adding Substrate to a Terrarium

Avoid using potting soil in your terrarium, as it doesn’t drain well and can lead to compaction. Instead, opt for a pre-mixed substrate suitable for your terrarium type. Pour enough substrate to comfortably cover your plants’ roots. This is also the perfect time to add any large hardscape items like rocks or wood, securing them in the substrate.

Dragon Stone in a Terrarium

Plants for Your Fish Bowl Terrarium

Choosing the right plants for your terrarium depends on whether it’s open or closed:

  • Closed terrariums thrive with plants like peperomia, pilea, ferns, fittonia, and moss.
  • Open terrariums are perfect for succulents, cacti, and air plants.
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Ensure that the substrate is slightly moist before planting your chosen greenery. Create small depressions in the substrate using a terrarium tool or spoon, gently placing the plants’ roots and smoothing the substrate around them. Add any additional items, give it a light spray of water, and if it’s a closed build, secure the lid. Marvel at your new creation!

Succulent Terrarium

Caring for Your Fish Bowl Terrarium

Proper care differs based on whether you have a closed or open terrarium. Closed terrariums require minimal intervention, as they create their own self-sustaining environment. However, if it appears excessively dry, you may need to add a few sprays of water and remove any deceased or overgrown plants. Closed terrariums thrive in bright, indirect light.

Open terrariums need direct sunlight and a regular watering schedule, allowing the substrate to dry out between waterings. Air plants will require soaking in water for about an hour every few weeks to maintain their health. For detailed care instructions, refer to our terrarium care guide.


Congratulations on creating your very own fish bowl terrarium! We hope this DIY guide has inspired you to embark on this creative and rewarding project. Share your beautiful terrarium on Instagram or join our Facebook group to connect with fellow terrarium enthusiasts. If you’re ready for your next challenge, consider venturing into the world of fish tank terrariums. Happy crafting!

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