Terrarium vs Aquarium – Which is Better for You?

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Looking to spruce up your office with a little bit of life? If you’re trying to decide between the two, let’s take a look at the pros and cons. 

But first, what is a terrarium? In simple terms it’s a mini ecosystem that is self-contained. Terra is the root for land, and you craft these to your desire.

I’m sure you know all about aquariums already. But for the sake of equality, it’s an aquatic system capable of sustaining life.

terrarium vs aquarium

Both options will infuse some good energy into your workspace and they both have different levels of upkeep. So lets a look at the differences between a terrarium vs aquarium. 

Terrarium Synopsis

 There are two types of terrariums. Open(beginner friendly) and sealed(more difficult). How does the sealed version work? There are 5 steps to making your own thriving environment. 

  1. Soil Levels and types
  2. Moisture
  3. Plant types used
  4. Drainage
  5. How the above 4 variables interact with each other

Seal it up, and watch it work. There are cases of enthusiastic terrarium owners who have left them for years without ever having to interfere. In the case of David Lattimer, he hasn’t watered his since 1972! 

Once you figure out how to keep your terrarium going strong you’re pretty much set. But if you’re not ready for all of that yet, you can easily make your own open terrarium. Just water it every few days. 

This video can give you some good ideas and we outline everything you’ll need below.

Layers for your Terrarium

  1. Start with a large open glass jar. For your first time, this will make it super simple to setup and water. 
  2. Next you’ll need some pebbles at the base layer for drainage.
  3. Add some soil, whatever level you think is right. Usually it’ll be a few inches
  4. Add some decorations(the fun part). 
  5. Add a small plant that works well for your climate. 

Aquarium Synopsis

Aquariums have always had a calming effect on me. That’s why I love them, seeing the fish move around I can almost hear David Attenborough narrating their movements. But, when I looked into upkeep it wasn’t worth it for me.

Aquariums can be thriving environments that add life to any setting or they can be a money pit that siphons money from your wallet! Just ask anyone that has a salt water aquarium setup. 

That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t be looked into. There are plenty of affordable setups for smaller aquariums that are for sale. But, on average the big knock on aquariums when comparing them to terrariums is the price. 

Pros vs Cons

If upkeep and money is not a big factor in your decision, I would go with an aquarium. But, it’s your decision not mine! Terrariums are cheaper, and after setup the only upkeep is watering every few days in the case of an open version .

While with aquariums.. there are a lot more variables involved which can be interesting or exhausting depending on your personality type. I’ve skipped both options actually, but I wish I had the patience for an aquarium.

Instead, I have Gretchen. My house plant. :p

But, I’ll happily watch videos of large aquariums like the one below. 

Author Picture - Conor


Hey everyone 🙂 My name is Conor. I'm passionate about technology, zen, and improving the quality of life so many of us share at a desk!

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