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Grow your own herbs with ‘self-cleaning’ aquarium

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This new aquarium is to be marketed as a ‘closed-loop ecosystem’ that cleans itself while also facilitating the growth of fresh produce including beans, basil, thyme, baby greens, oregano, mint, parsley, and spinach.

The principle is that the plants housed in the hood feed on the nitrogenous wastes produced by the fish and thus remove them from the water, a process the manufacturers claim eliminates the need for additional maintenenace.

The aquarium measures approximately 10″ wide, by 11″ high, by 6″ deep and holds 3 U.S. gallons of water with recommended inhabitants including the ubiquitous Betta splendens, and appears to have space for 6 small plant pots.

So, is this set to be a viable, eco-friendly home aquarium system, or another gimmicky product with little thought given to the live inhabitants? Check out the video and have your say below!

Category: New Products, News | Tags: , , , | 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Grow your own herbs with ‘self-cleaning’ aquarium”

  • Rüdiger

    Welcome to the holy grale of marketing.
    The basic method of filtration featured here is a very old hat indeed and can work very well if set up correctly.
    And of course it has to be poor old Betta splendens again, damned to solitary confinement for eternity.
    Apart from the fact that I would not keep any fish permanently in such a puddle (it’s not necessarily about the total volume but the ratio footprint to watercolumn), this setup has a couple of downfalls.

    The “harvest” one can expect from this “garden” will be somewhat limited since the “organic wastes” produced by the little fish could never sustain 6 plants, let alone fruit bearing plants, for any period of time. That’s why one has to buy (very expensive) fertilizers for hydroponic cultures.

    Quote: “and you never have to clean the water, so it’s a self cleaning tank” What a load of …….. (you know what I mean)
    Even if it was true that the water would be perpetually cleaned and suitable for the fish eternally, is the Betta supposed to mop up the solids, which will accumulate at the bottom of the “tank”?

    I.m.o. just another scam to make a couple of quick bucks with a toy that’ll end up collecting dust after the first one or two fish had to bite the latter.

  • Dan Martin

    Where is the air layer for the betta to breathe??

  • Rüdiger, do you think there’s any way this kind of system could work with adaptations? A higher-density tank such as a Malawi setup might be better for instance?

    I think it’s a superb idea, if it worked.. and maybe I could use it to get round my landlord’s “no pets” rule by claiming they’re just there to sustain the herbs??

  • Catre

    Sadly this system is too good to be true, and I think deep down we all know that.
    Hydroponics isn’t a new idea and this is just the betta vase with a slight dash of “El natural” ideals added in. I can see so many issues:
    Where is the heater for the betta?
    The tank is so small, conditions in there could quickly turn toxic.
    How can you feed the betta?
    How can you do partial water changes (these still are required of course! )
    There is no plant cover for the betta – they like heavy planting which would then be taking in nutrients on top of those for the terrestrial plants.
    No mention of mechanical filtration – what about the poo?

    I have seen tanks with terrestrial plants growing in the filtration in the lid – but these tanks were larger and allowed all the usual tank maintenance. They are lovely and I plan to have a tank with emergent plants in the future!

  • mattcarr

    Not on my life would I buy this. Poor fish left on its own!! Animal cruelty.

  • Rüdiger

    Hi Duncan,
    yes indeed, if set up correctly this is an effective and of course very natural way of filtration. The plants will utilise agents of the nitrogene cycle as food the same way aquatic plants do. The additional benefit in a hydroponic setup is the substrate. The materials used are mostly chemically innert thus not releasing any unwanted chemicals but offering plenty of space for a nice culture of ‘beneficial’ bacteria to colonize. You’d just have to “guide” the water through as opposed to over that substrate to ensure sufficient oxygen levels.
    I don’t want to go into too much detail here but the easiest way to realise this would be a sort of “in tank” solution such as a riparian setup with modified filter outlet.
    But there are of course many different ways of doing this, just PLEASE not like pictured above.
    If more info is needed, let me know.

  • Michael

    Fish and plant abuse.

  • luffy

    Interesting idea. If you watch the video, you can see that there is open air where the betta can gulp some if it likes.
    I think it would be possible to combine this with the Natural Planted Tank techniques to make a nice little home for a small Betta or maybe a couple Dario Dario. Definitely better than some of these 1 gallon bowls. It looks like you could easily put soil under the gravel and grow some low light plants like maybe a small crypt and some pennywort in the fish part (you could put a piece of PVC pipe around the bottom intake of the hydroponic pump to keep soil or roots from getting in). The top comes off like a lid so water changes can happen. The only thing that I am suspect of is that the plants on top will grow well. Could be an interesting experiment…

  • Dan Martin

    I didn’t look at the video before your comment. I agree that a 3G is better than a 1G for any fish. If I had to choose I’d put a couple of paradise fish in there. Otherwise I’d get bored looking at it.

    I also didn’t realize this was a fund-raiser for the company wanting to offer them for sale. While I wouldn’t buy it there are plenty of people living in condos that might like growing their own herbs vs buying them at the grocers or used dried products. It would depend on the price point. Maybe they should go on Sharktank. I wouldn’t invest.

  • Catre

    A couple of paradise fish in 3 gallons? I think they are a bit big. Seriously fish recommends 88.5L atm – that’s around 20 UK gallons.
    Im my opinion single male bettas should be kept in at least 10 UK gallons if possible (45cm * 30cm * 35cm).

  • Michael

    Two paradisefish in a bare 3 gallon container will quickly become one paradisefish and one corpse.

    I can’t see the video, but the basic problem with this sort of thing is that it attempts to combine two incompatible systems: a very small aquarium and a very small hydroponic set-up. Taken separately, both are possible. Combined, neither function will be successful.

  • Rüdiger

    No matter wheter you live in a small condo or a huge mansion, there are better ways to culture your own greens if you wish to do so.
    What next? Keeping a horse in your bedroom to fertilize the roses on your balkony. Why not? It would certainly fit in!
    You want to grow herbs? Grow herbs!
    You want to keep fish? Keep fish!
    If you want to combine the two, DO NOT try it in one of the advertised systems. The wellbeing of the fish MUST be considered first and foremost!

  • Aohiki

    I think it’s obvious in the video that the people who created this at-home aquaponics kit are plant and food people- not aquarium people. So while your little bit of spinach will be everything you expect from a small window plant (not much), the poor fish suffers. Not a fan.

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