Aquaponics

We recently set up a new fish tank.  It’s the Back to the Roots Water Farm.  It’s really neat.  Our betta fish, Toodles, lives in the water (because, where else would a fish live?).  On top, we can grow plants.  Right now, I’ve got either lettuce, spinach, or Swiss chard.  I can’t remember what seeds I added.

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Toodles.

There is a pump in the tank to bring water up to the growing surface.  The nitrogenous fish waste provides food for the plants.  The plants remove the harmful nitrogen compounds from the water.

It’s billed as a self-cleaning tank.   I’m not convinced that my little plants can handle all of Toodles’ waste yet, so I change about 25% of the water once a week or so.  The other problem we’ve encountered is algae.  Algae grows when the water is exposed to lots of sunlight.  Sunlight is required for my plants to grow, so I can’t just put it someplace dark.  We added a snail, which my daughter named Cinderella.  True to her name, Cinderella the snail works hard to help remove the algae and keep the tank clean.

My daughter has been fascinated watching the plants grow.  We put seeds in, and now we’re getting some sprouts.  She’s really trying to understand how all this is happening, and it’s been a fun way to explore science with her.

The tank holds about 3 gallons.  It’s much nicer than many betta setups, because it is so spacious.  The only addition we have is a heater, since betta are tropical fish.  Toodles is one happy, active, fun fish.  Our family is enjoying watching him and learning from him.

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See my beautiful sprouts?

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