Ask Wine Wizard

Can I use a fish aquarium as a fermenter?



Dear Wine Wizard,

Could I make wine in an aquarium or would the glue cause a problem?

Dean Mehrkens
Thief River Falls, Minnesota

Wine Wizard replies: “This is the dawning of the age of Aquariums…” Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right. Well, no matter, because my advice is to refrain from serving eviction papers to your aquatic friends and use something strong and food-grade in which to ferment your wine. The glues and materials used to make aquariums are designed to stand up to a cool-water, neutral-pH and alcohol-free environment.

Aside from the materials not being appropriate from a chemical and food safety perspective, also think of it this way — winemaking, especially red winemaking, is a pretty violent process. Winemaking containers are made from stainless steel, thick oak or sturdy plastic for a reason. I’d hate to think how disappointed you’d be if, at the height of a raging fermentation, the contents of your tank spilled all over the floor.

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