Hey all, I’ve got a really fun experiment I want to try with you guys. Today, I will show you how to make an upside-down fish tank. For those that aren’t familiar, the upside-down aquarium pulls inspiration from a hellish place in the NetFlix show Stranger Things. I’m really, really excited to do this one because we will be using bring shrimp as our choice of critters!
If you aren’t familiar with what a bantamarium is, I strongly recommend you take a look at this deep dive I put together. In a nutshell, it’s a concept I’ve been working on where we bring a diorama to life. The goal is ultimately to make photo-realistic vivariums anyone, no matter the skill level, can make!
A Stranger Things Theme
As I mentioned earlier, this tank’s theme plays off of the idea of the upside-down world from the show. The idea will be to set up that has two worlds, identical to each other with one being upside down and… well… dead.
Making An Upside-Down Fish Tank
I’ve been working on ways to make these newer tutorials easier to understand and less complex. The idea with this one will be just as simple as the last couple of builds. The real challenge will be if rather or not we can successfully maintain an environment where both brine shrimp and living plants can both survive.
- Bantamarium Jar 8″ x 6″
- Classic Black Mountain & Lake | Inner Terrain Decor
- Sheet Moss
- Black Gravel
- Black Lava Rocks
- Distilled Water
- Aquarium Salt
- Brine Shrimp
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The Black Mountain Terrain Decor:
The terrain we will be using today was not actually made for this exact idea. Originally, the idea was to use it upright as a mountain set to place things around… like moss. This idea of flipping it upside-down happened on accident as I was test-fitting it. I loved how it looked and decided to do an entire build around it.
Making The Upside-Down Fish Tank:
To start things off, I applied a small about of silicone around the area of the jar on the terrain will rest. Let this cure completely (24 hours) before placing the terrain in and moving along with this guide.
If the silicone is completely cured, we can continue with placing the terrain into the jar. Don’t force the terrain with too much pressure or you’ll risk breaking it or the glass. I was able to fit mine flush between the silicone after cutting excess caulk off.
Once the terrain is securely in place, I can move on to pouring the black gravel around neatly to set the scene.
I like using Lava rocks in my builds for a number of reasons. Today I’ll be using them to form a mountain range that looks similar to the upside-down terrain.
Here’s a pro tip for you: Arrange the rocks on the side before adding them to the scene. That way you can get a general sense of how you’ll arrange them before disturbing the substrate arrangement.
Once you have the ideal formation of the rocks, consider adding a little more gravel between rocks and move on to adding plants.
I double back and pour another ring of white sand to make this layer more aesthetically pleasing.
Best Plants For Sea Monkey Tanks
Now that we have the premise of our stranger things fish tank setup, we can proceed with plants. Now this will be cemetery experimental from this point on, so if you want a functioning upside-down brine shrimp tank with plants that are guaranteed to always look good, go with preserved moss and keep the water below the terrain with the lid off.
I’m testing this barbula sp. moss to see if it survives. This moss came from a sidewalk and has proven to be pretty resilient over the years. I’ve also found Java moss and marimo balls to hold up well in salty water like this as well.
Once I covered most of the terrain with moss, I added a tiny trailer to represent the first kill site from the latest season. These models will be available soon as part of a trailer park pack I’m currently working on. I will update this guide once it becomes available.
With everything finished, I can now add distilled water and aquarium salt. It would make more sense to mix before you pour it into the aquarium to insure the salt dissolves evenly.
Once the water has acclimated (best to wait 24 hours), we can add our brine shrimp eggs. It should only take a day to hatch if the water is warm enough. I found success around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
More About Sea Monkeys…
Brine shrimp aka sea monkeys are very easy to work with. I feed my brine shrimp a small amount of yeast once a week. These guys grow fast and reach adulthood in like 2 weeks. I think these are one of the best aquatic pets to have if you’re a beginner or like making small enclosures like this. They also make tasty treats for bigger fish.
Stranger Things Aquarium Care
The care requirements for this enclosure will be relatively simple… Since I have a lid on this I won’t have to worry about water evaporation often. I will need to set up an air pump or manually pump air into this tank daily to keep the water oxygenated. I more than likely won’t change the water on this unless I notice unusual odors.
With a little bit of strobing lights and some camera magic, these guys look just like “demo-bats”!! I love it! So far it’s been a week since putting it together and everything is holding up. The shrimp are growing pretty nicely as well. I’ll do updates on this one as I go. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed my upside-down fish tank!
If you’re interested in seeing updates on how this as well as other enclosures progress follow me on social media. If you’d like to get your tall tweezers on one of these limited edition vivarium decors yourself, check them out in our shop.