Which Containers To Use For Growing Mushrooms

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Which Containers To Use For Growing Mushrooms

Choosing the right containers for a magic mushroom grow means a good experience from start to finish. Learn which containers to use with MushMagic.


When talking about containers for magic mushrooms, two types need to be considered to get the most out of your mycelium. A vessel for making mycelium cakes when using the PF Tek, and fruiting chambers or terrariums.

In the first instance, mycelium cakes need to be turned out or birthed from their containers. This means that container mouths need to be at least the same size and shape as the base and body. Otherwise the cakes will need to be broken to get them out, and this is certainly undesirable. It is like disturbing the roots of a plant and still expecting vigorous growth.

Fruiting chambers are where the mushrooms themselves are given space to grow. The only prerequisites are that the chambers are large enough to let each mycelium cake fully flush and expand. Also, they should be deep enough to allow for a generous base of material to be placed in the bottom, while allowing enough head height for mushrooms to stretch as they grow. Some shrooms can get quite tall during the first flush.


Mason jars are the go-to jar for creating mycelium cakes. They are made from materials intended for preserving fruit and vegetables. This means they withstand the sterilisation process and have a good airtight seal. What is more, they are food safe, durable and re-usable time and again. Before you start, it is still wise to check each jar for hairline cracks or chips, that could lead to breaking. Especially after a number of runs. When they have been heated and cooled several times, jostled while being sterilised and generally handled often.

Not all mason jars are the same, however. There are the standard jars which have shoulders and taper from the body to the mouth. These have their uses with other methods of mycelium growing, but not in the PF Tek. It is the 500ml “jelly jar” style that is the best for the cake birthing process. The jars do not taper to the mouth and have the same durable properties of a standard mason jar.

The usual two part metal lid—with the metal screw top and the rubber seal—isn’t used for the PF Tek process. It requires the plastic “storage cap” instead. These are made from durable, reusable plastic that can be autoclaved. The cap is modified with a 2cm hole drilled into the centre and then fitted with a filter disk. This way the culture can breathe and exchange gases without being contaminated.


Once substrates are mature with mycelium they will need a place to fruit.

The choice of a container depends on how big you want to go. A disposable aluminium baking tray, or a small plastic dishwashing tub will work well for a single cake or two. A multi-tiered mini greenhouse—available at hardware stores and nurseries—can be the home to kilos of shrooms.

There are really only three set rules for fruiting chambers. They need to be translucent or clear, if not the whole container, at least the lid. Light gives a sense of direction to emerging pins. They must also be deep enough to allow for a layer of perlite in the bottom and grow room at the top. They must also allow for gas exchange, which basically means holes need to be punched, drilled or cut out.


Disposable aluminium baking trays or small plastic dishwashing tubs are deep enough to allow for the base humidifying layer plus, future grow room. They can be placed inside a clear plastic bag, which has been perforated to allow for gas exchange. Then they should be stored near a window for light, or given artificial light.

There are a variety of opaque kitchen storage containers with lids that are ideal for small runs of shrooms. Round or rectangular, just depends on how many cakes you are doing.


The ever-present rectangular plastic storage tub with a fitted opaque lid and handles, is the cheap, easily sourced and easily modified to suit option for a mid-sized fruiting chamber.

They come in a number of volumes. Considering that at least 6 cakes will be needed to have a successful run, the 50-150 litre capacities are recommended. Anything less is generally too small, anything larger is generally too unwieldy, especially when full of damp perlite.

When using a drill to modify them, drill from the inside out, into a piece of wood. This will prevent the container from cracking and the drill from burring the holes.


It is possible to purchase greenhouses or propagation tents that have a number of wire tiers and a removable, heavy duty clear plastic cover with zipper access. These are a common item and come in a number of sizes. The smallest will take a reasonable sized container per shelf, and fit quite well into a closet. With a decent light source and attention to air circulation, half a dozen shelves of shrooms can be produced.

The largest is essentially a small greenhouse, and will take up the whole room. It is doubtful that a hobbyist magic mycologist would have the facilities to produce enough mycelium to fill a whole room. Unless another sterile room was dedicated to propagating. Nice to dream though!

This isn’t to say that the biggest container possible should be used per shelf. It is much easier to manage lots of smaller to medium sized ones.


There’s blog posts that go back sixteen years, praising glass aquariums as fruiting chambers. And it is a totally doable project. There aree substantial modifications and additions to begin with, but things can be made to function well. There are several versions of the ex-aquarium, terrarium fruiting chamber. The obvious con with glass is that it is heavy and when broken, very dangerous.

The contemporary grower has generally abandoned the glass aquarium fruiting chamber for the lighter and easier to modify plastic storage bin. One reason could be the fact that nowadays we all have inexpensive plastic storage containers in a number of handy volumes and shapes.
If you are attracted to the idea of an aquarium hack, you will need a few tools and bits of equipment, plus a piece of clear plexiglass that would make a good lid. You’ll need special drills for glass, an inlet fan of some kind, and a humidifier. And remember: slow, patient and careful is the way to go when drilling glass.

The steps are fairly the same as the plastic storage container for in any PF Tek. Breathing holes need to be added to the chamber, fresh inlet above and CO₂ exhaust below. At least 5cm of damp perlite needs to be accommodated in the bottom for humidity. Unless the chamber is being used in a dark cupboard with lights, the sides will need to be darkened so the shrooms don’t grow sideways.


The pros of any of these fruiting chamber choices are that they are fruiting chambers that will be full of magic mushrooms. Their individual cons are difficult to identify as there is no “best, tried and trusted, everybody does it like this”, way.

As long as a few simple rules are adhered to, then one grower's con is another grower's pro and vice versa. Just remember the things that are a must. Air circulation for gas exchange. Lots of lovely humidity. A gentle light source and having an enjoyable experience.