As soon as I saw the Back to The Roots Water Garden at my friend’s house I knew I had to have it.
This fish tank with a garden on top is a closed-loop ecosystem – the fish feed the plants, and the plants clean the water!
I was looking for a way to keep herbs alive inside over the long, dark winter. I wasn’t too excited about trying to keep a fish alive, though betta fish are meant to be hearty survivors.
Aquaponics is a closed-loop, sustainable farming method that combines traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). It uses 90% less water than traditional farming. Here’s how it works:
- Fish produce ammonia-rich waste which can become toxic for your fish if allowed to accumulate.
- Beneficial bacteria in the Water Garden converts the ammonia into nitrates. These naturally occurring bacteria grow really well in the plant pots.
- Nitrates are amazing food for plants! As the plants continuously uptake the nitrates as nutrients for growth, they are also cleaning the water for your fish.
We set up the tank without too much hassle – though I was dismayed to learn I did actually have to remember to feed the fish.
Because I don’t have a trusted sun source in a convenient place for the tank, I bought a little grow lamp.
The tank comes with seeds for wheatgrass, a superfood great for juicing, and radish sprouts, which I have never tried but I imagine would be inoffensive in a salad. Those seeds took off in just a couple days and in less than a week we have significant growth. I also planted basil and parsley seeds, which haven’t responded as quickly but may need some more time.
You can also see that my careless planting has allowed seeds and sprouts to fall into the tank. I am just hoping the fish doesn’t eat them and explode. But so far he has lived for one week, which is pretty remarkable considering that I can’t even keep alive a basil plant. I’m hoping this tank continues to do the work for me so we can have fresh herbs, better indoor air quality this winter, and a pet fish to add to our crazy family.