Setting up a worm composting habitat in an aquarium?

Question: I have an aquarium I’d like to use for a worm composting project in my classroom. Will this work and do you have any tips?

Great question. I’m not sure worm composting is the right project for an aquarium. I can see that you like the idea of being able to see the worms, as you would in an ant farm, however the reality is that worms don’t like light and won’t hang out in plain view. Also, they may try to escape the habitat at night. Drainage also might be an issue.

If you’d like to try it anyhow, you could start with lots of premoistened shredded cardboard in the aquarium — fill it most of the way full. Then add some established compost with the red wiggler worms and some kitchen scraps on top of the bedding. Then lay a thick damp section of newspaper or two on top folded to the size of the top of the aquarium. You’d lift this thick pad of paper up to add food to the tank.

Moisten the system only if the bedding is drying out. Most successful worm bins have drainage holes at the bottom so water doesn’t stagnate, so you’ll want to watch to make sure water’s not collecting at the bottom.

Let us know how it works out! Has anyone else tried an aquarium as a worm composting habitat?

Update: Week two and so far so good. The teacher taped black paper on the sides of the aquarium that the students can lift to see the worms.

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