What is a Garden Light Box?
A water garden light box is a cost effective and attractive way to keep your tropicals healthy throughout the winter months. And, It's a fun project your friends and family will certainly enjoy!
In the cold seasons of the year, tropical plants especially need extra care. Some pond plants (such as frogbit) will grow just fine with a regular florescent light and others will survive outdoors even in freezing temperatures. Other more tropical plants need a little extra help with lighting, heat, and humidity. Water hyacinth is one such plant.
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Step 1: Start with a 10 gallon aquarium
A basic light box is made with a rectangular 10 gallon aquarium. These can be purchased used for a few bucks or new from the store for $10 - $12 dollars. I had an old cracked aquarium, so my cost was $0. You can easily find a 10 gallon aquarium at a thrift store or yard sale. Craigslist.com is also a great place to find free project materials.
Step 2: Cut and insert mirrors
I initially purchased 6 - 12x12 mirror tiles for $12 at Lowes, but they were the wrong size and needed to be cut. Then I made friends with a man who owns his own glass business in town. And, he said that he would be glad to cut scrap glass for the garden light box! My cost was $0 dollars for this.
There should be...
One mirror for the bottom
One for the backside
One for each end
And if you do not have a lid, clear glass for the top
Measure the inside of the aquarium for mirror size and allow for a slight shorter measurement (about 1/16 inch) allowing the glass to fit in the aquarium. A tight fit is not necessary.