Pets & Animal Reptiles

Building a Terrarium Out of an Igloo Cooler

    • 1). Clean the cooler with soap and water. Thoroughly rinse the inside of the cooler to remove any soap residue. Cleaning your cooler removes any chemicals or debris that may be on the inside of the cooler from manufacturing. Allow the cooler to dry completely.

    • 2). Clean aquarium gravel under running water. This will remove any dust that settles on the gravel during storage at the store. The amount of gravel you need depends on the size cooler you choose. Use two inches of gravel along the bottom of the cooler. Place your gravel on the bottom of your cooler. This will help with water drainage. Also, if you house animals in your terrarium, it allows for urine drainage.

    • 3). Apply a 1/2-inch layer of activated charcoal on top of the gravel. Activated charcoal acts as an air filter.

    • 4). Cover the activated charcoal with a 1/4-inch layer of peat moss. The moss is another filter. It allows water and urine to pass through the moss into the charcoal and the gravel but keeps soil from passing through.

    • 5). Apply a three-inch layer of soil on top of the peat moss. If you are using your terrarium for pets, choose a soil that does not have chemical additives. If you are using your terrarium specifically to grow plants, choose a high-quality soil with fertilizers.

    • 6). Decorate your terrarium with rocks, plants or other garden decorations. If you planting greenery, follow the directions on the plants for specific planting directions. If you are keeping pets in your terrarium, add water and food bowls at this time.

    • 7). Remove the cooler's lid. If the lid is not attached with fasteners, remove and discard the lid. If the lid is attached by plastic bands, use a utility knife to cut the plastic bands. If the lid is connected with screws, remove the screws with a screwdriver and discard the lid.

    • 8). Place any pets into the terrarium. Cover the top of the cooler to keep your pets from escaping, using a glass lid or a mesh screen lid. Look for lids for fish aquariums and choose one that matches the size of your terrarium. If the lid is not tight against the cooler, place a heavy rock on top of the lid to hold it down.

    • 9). Place a desk lamp or heat lamp outside your terrarium, pointing down over the lid. This will allow you to turn the light on to simulate day and night.

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