Have you thought about owning fish but you’re not sure if you’re ready for the responsibility that comes with the upkeep attached to the little buggers? Maybe you enjoy incorporating fresh herbs into your meals but you don’t exactly have a green thumb. Well, now there’s an answer to both dilemmas with an aquaponics system called the Water Garden. It’s a self-cleaning fish tank with an auto-feeding feature that amounts to minimal maintenance while allowing you to grow fresh herbs at home. It’s perfect for beginner fish owners and gardeners with limited space or know-how.
Not Your Average Fish Tank
Already in its second generation, the new Water Garden is a multi-tasking environment for both hobbies. Its unique design takes the normally toxic ammonia that fish excrete and uses it to feed the plants in the grow bed above. How can this be, you say? Easy. It’s done through a pump and, as it turns out, the ammonia-rich waste makes excellent plant food. Yes, consuming herbs fertilized by your fish may sound a little off-putting, but the aquaponic process allows the plants to grow at twice their normal rate, as compared to traditional gardening methods.
Water Pumps & Filtration Systems
One of the best features about this setup is that once the ammonia has been pumped up top, fresh water is then filtered back down below where your fish are pleasantly swimming about unaware of the entire process. What this means for you — besides the fact your fish are clueless — is almost no cleaning of your fish tank due to the handy-dandy low-maintenance, self-cleaning system your fish would be calling home right about now, were you to own one.
Limited Space & Convenience
The unit itself, designed by Pablo Velazquez of Daylight Design, resembles one of those large water filter carafes you get for home use, only with plants on the lid and a fish or two swimming around inside. If you live in a small space or an apartment the Water Garden might be the answer to keeping fish and having an herb garden. Besides the fact it would fit in nicely with your limited surroundings, it’s quite the conversation starter. A friend of mine has one sans the added herb garden. He keeps it on the kitchen counter and guests always ask about it.
Owning fish carries with it certain responsibilities, as does any caretaking position. But small fish tanks and fishbowls are a great way to build up to larger tanks or realizing you just don’t have the time or interest you thought you might have had. If you do decide to go this route, make sure to choose fish appropriate for the environment you’ll be providing, e.g., freshwater fish, fish that don’t need warmer temps, fish that can live solo, fish that thrive best in pairs or groups and fish that fight.
By taking all of these factors into account, you and your scaly new pal or pals could be enjoying the benefits of aquaponics in no time.