5 Stars By Alec on 2016-04-09
Perfect product with the right fish and plants
I recommend using ghost shrimp,a snail, and a clean fish of your choice to make the tank close to self sustaining.Also the best plant is lucky bamboo...so get rid of the grow stones and put marbles instead.And buy more rocks for the tank.
4 Stars By annstarrr on 2016-12-10
Cool Fish Tank, Not Herb Garden
So far I really like this - I got the deluxe version. I've had it about two and a half weeks. My betta is much happier in it than the tiny box the pet store recommended I get (see the pic of the sad original tank). I added my own rocks, a heater, five nano luffy balls, 2 amano shrimp (my local stores carries these instead of ghost shrimp), and a moon snail that immediately died, probably from transport shock after being mailed to me in the winter. You're going to have to get a version of this stuff if you want your tank to work.
Btw, after doing all this work to set up your tank, don't cheap out and get a cheap heater - apparently they will sometimes cook your fish out of nowhere. See my other comments for a well-reviewed heater that fits this tank.
Also, you should set up this tank and let it run for at least ten days before adding a fish. The materials don't make that clear, but it will give your fish the best chance of success. Seriously, don't add your fish the first day. It was super tempting to do that, but I resisted. You can too!
- The included seeds grow really fast. After soaking the radish & wheatgrass seeds for 6 hours and putting them in the grow stones, they sprouted the very next morning. The roots had expanded into the water tray after five days. Lately the plants grow about an inch a day. The My husband jokes that he can see the plants growing if he looks at them very long.
- The water stays MUCH clearer than the non-filtered tiny box I had before. There is still maintenance, and my tank is not 100% cycled yet, but as far as small tanks go, this one should be fairly low maintenance. So far the plants just suck up a lot of water & I have to top it off every three days. I add half a cap of D-Klor to 2 cups of water, pour the new water over the plants, and it cycles into the tank to top it off.
- The grow rocks are pretty cool. I didn't know what they would be, but they're basically like light gray pumice. They stay damp all the time by sucking up water through all the tiny holes, I guess. I assume this is what provides the water to the seeds before they grow roots down to the circulating water.
- The tank is not huge. I like the aesthetic of it, and I like that it's big enough for my betta and also doesn't take up a ton of room.
- This really isn't a complete kit. It's more like a half kit, which is fine, but they should make that clear. You need A HEATER, a thermometer, more rocks, some plants, a snail, some cleaner shrimp, a tester kit to make sure your water chemistry is right, etc. You need this stuff or your tank will not last long. They should make this REALLY clear since a lot of beginners buy this tank.
- There isn't enough gravel to do more than just barely cover the plastic at the bottom of the tank. If you want to put in any plants or decorations, the included amount of gravel will not anchor them. They should just not include any gravel, or double up the amount they include. I added my own rocks to the bottom.
- They really should include a heater. I don't know of a fish other than a betta that would work in this tank and not need a heater. I had to do quite a bit of trial and error to find a well-reviewed heater that would fit both the tank and the cord exit hole (for instance, the Eheim heater's cord is too thick to fit through the cord hole). I wound up with the Hydro Theo 25W. The black heater and the black pump take away from the clean visual design of the tank, though. It would be nice to have the right back corner of the tank have a white partial column that could hide both the pump and a heater and still allow water to flow through the top and bottom of the column. It would make it look much cleaner, visually, and would be easy enough for the makers to build in.
- It seems, disappointingly, that herbs don't grow well in here, even with bright light. The wheatgrass looks cool enough and I guess I could add it to a smoothie or something, so I'm not deducting a star, but it really is misleading to have the advertising photo on 2DayDeliver feature it growing basil. I bought this as a betta tank and not an herb garden, so I'm not deducting a star.
- The included instructions are good for the first day's setup. However, they should be clearer for ongoing maintenance. I had to read comments and questions to figure some things out.
- I bet that pump breaks fairly soon. I don't think there's any kit out there that comes with a quality pump, though, so I can't be too harsh about that. It vibrates just a bit against the side of the tank, just enough that I can hear it when the apartment is quiet. Based on some other comments, I cut off a piece of kitchen sponge & shoved it between the pump and the tank, and another piece of sponge between the white cord holder and the thank. It helped a TON and the tank is super quiet now.
3 Stars By cicisbo on 2017-01-18
Starts out as a cool science experiment, then....
The idea behind growing sustainable plants/crops via fish waste, instead of using fertilizers is ingenious. But it takes a lot of know how to have the garden stay sustainable; which means a lot of work to grow those tiny little buggers. Sure, you soak those little seeds to your hearts content, and then place said seeds into the grow pods. Mrm alright... Those sprouts are growing splendidly, and you keep following the same procedures like clockwork to keep those buggers happy. Well... here's the problem with aquaponics. You develop this strange, sweet and gross amalgam smell of who knows what it is, as the roots are developing down through the grow pods and into the bed. On the interior of the grow bed is this insidious looking, slimy film of what one can only assume is waste by-product percolating down through the grow pods and into the grow bed. You can follow the instructions to the T, and you may or may not be successful.
I somehow managed to grow mold in my pods after about a month. No biggy, as I wasn't intending to actually ingest the wheatgrass or sprouts. I just wanted to see if anything would grow prior to me trying to grow other plants on this tank. The mold most likely developed from seeds that hadn't finished germinating, and weren't plucked out promptly (that's on me). I deconstructed the pods, and cleaned everything out, so now I'll grow something else instead.
But here's the other deal. If you're an aquarist, you'll also know that this tank will require other add-ons, not included with this tank. It actually says on one of their pamphlets that you should invest in a heater if you keep a beta in your tank. But if you're someone who has no clue about running a tank, and this is your first one, research a little on aquarium maintenance. You need to understand how to top off water, because it does evaporate, and add a little water conditioner every time you top off the water. You will need to clean the tank water. Period. There is waste build-up and decaying matter that accumulates over time, and this will kill your fish. You may need to buy a different filtration system. Not a fan of this one, but considering the size of the tank, no biggy. Also, probably best to cycle the tank (and yes, I know how tiny it is, but you can still kill a fish by having it go into shock), before placing your fish in the tank. You should probably clean that pump at least twice a month, not once a month, because you will not believe what is in that thing.... It's a lot of work for such a small tank... Personally, I like my other tanks.. and this one will do just fine hanging out in my kid's room.
5 Stars By Colleen Guilford on 2017-02-12
Love this. We painted the back of tank with black paint and added a submersible light. I recommend soaking the seeds for a few days till they sprout before putting on rocks. We added;aquatic plants, guppies, African dwarf frog , mystery snail, nerite snails and blue velvet shrimp. It's a very happy ecosystem.
2 Stars By stacey on 2013-07-20
I loved this thing... A month and a half later, not so much.
I deleted my original review because after a little over a month of owning this, I wish I just had a regular fish tank...OR that over at Back to the Roots they included information about fish in vs fishless cycling of tanks and more information overall. And there are a few problems with the design.
Here's my experience with this tank so far.
I started out with white cloud minnows in the tank. We had to get cold water fish unless we wanted to add a heater (another thing they don't tell you) because I live in San Francisco, and our house is usually 62-65 degrees inside.
I changed out 20% of the water every other day while the tank was cycling because I was (rightly) concerned about the fish. These minnows are hardy, but fish in cycling can still damage their gills or kill them. They survived but after a couple of weeks I took them back and bought a betta instead because the minnows really should be in a bigger tank.
So now I have a betta. And I love him.
Unfortunately, the tank doesn't really live up to their self- cleaning claims. "Dump some sludge eradicator in the tank every couple of weeks or get a snail" they say. Having done both of those things, there's still a build up of "stuff" in the gravel at the bottom of the tank. I've just resigned myself to the fact that I might have to clean out the tank regularly, which would be fine if it wasn't a colossal pain in the butt because of the top, or throw this out and get a regular tank that's easier to clean (with or without a filter).
Also, the plants sprouted really quickly and grew fast for about two weeks. After that, growth significantly slowed down. They are getting sunlight but obviously, this tank can't be directly in the sun because of the fish. I don't think we'll be able to eat anything that grows out of it because it will probably stay small and am doubting that it takes enough waste out of the tank.
Problems with the design-
- the pump! It really should not be housed in the top of the tank. It vibrates violently which is not good for any fish, plus it's really loud. I bought more airline tubing and moved the pump outside the tank
- the entire top part of the tank. It completely warped within a week. They say it doesn't affect the functionality of the tank but the plant holder doesn't sit on the tray correctly.
- the pump doesn't seem to take enough waste out of the tank. If there's waste floating about in the water, a lot of it gets pushed up to the top of the tank, but some of it doesn't and once it settles on the gravel, it's there to stay. Unless you clean the tank.
I wish they would include a way to add a heater should you need one (bettas like warm water, around 78 degrees), and more information about cycling the tank including a fishless cycle option, however I do realize that most tanks don't come with this information.
At this point, I'm not sure what I'll do with this tank. I'm obviously having issues with it that some others aren't having.
I really really like the idea of this tank and I know aquaponics works, but I'm not sure this tank is really practical.
Tip- If you want to take the top off without getting water everywhere, first take the plant tray off, then shove paper towels in the holes in the bottom tray and dump that water in the sink.
FYI- if you want to see pictures of other tanks, check instagram, #aquafarm.
5 Stars By Jess in Massachusetts on 2015-04-01
A fun ecosystem to brighten your day.
* Update October 2016 - Yes, I still have this and still love it. I learned that letting your houseplants get too long or large will quickly suck away your water. And not usually uptake any hard minerals. A couple of fish suffered through hard water, even with spring water, before I was able to figure this out. There isn't a problem with this when I use sprouts or keep the sprouts small.
I found that the water falling from the top back into the tank created a lot of ripples and any bubble nest the fish made soon disappeared. In looking at the old version of this product, I saw the tube going up through the center and it inspired me to create a way to stop the ripples. I used aquarium silicone and slender PVC pipes cut to size to make return pipes connected from the lid to just below the water line. The water is able to travel down the pipes into the tank with little disruption.
A small straw cleaner is invaluable to clean the hose from the pump. It gets clogged every couple of weeks.
And I still have the same snail. What a trooper.
*Update October 2015 -
I still love my Aquafarm.
I grew tired of the sprouts and changing them out every two weeks so I just l left the house plants in. I took out the bamboo, it grew too tall!!!
The picture I attached with the grass in it was from the original set up. The photo with the plants coming from the top, I just took today, October 2, 2015.
The fish in the vase on the left is also doing well but he requires a cleaning every few days.
I have a turkey baster that I picked up at the dollar store to clean out the vase. I use it occasionally on the aquafarm because that snail poops like a champ. He's doing a great cleaning job but he leaves some stuff behind! I take out the poop and water and use it to water other plants in soil. The water I take out of the vase smells of ammonia however there is no such smell in the Aquafarm. The only difference is the water circulating and the snail. I like to think that this is what makes the Aquafarm a better choice for a Betta Fish than just a vase.
I also clean out the pump occasionally. I noticed the other day that its starting to show its age. The pump is fine but the tube has become rigid. This is normal in an aquarium. I expect that I'll be replacing the tube within the next six months.
I have never used Tidy tank or any other chemical in the tank and don't anticipate a need to. I use filtered or spring water when needed.
I love my little Aquafarm. I set it up the beginning of February 2015 and two months later I still love it.
I let it cycle for a week before getting a fish. I added a couple of silk plants, betta leaf and a pot decoration. I purchased a different color stone for the bottom also just because thats what I wanted. He loves them all. I did get a heater as the office I keep him in gets cold over the weekend. You can see in the picture the wheat grass just starting to grow. I've transferred a bamboo plant and philodendron to a couple of the other pots and just cycle out the wheat grass. The radish sprouts were fun but I prefer just the grass and the houseplants.
If you are looking into this and trying to decide if its right for you, here's what I learned:
Its really cute and interesting, especially in my quiet, sometimes lonely office.
It does take some effort. This, and nothing ever is, just a drop the fish in and plant some seeds and let it go. You have to be actively involved in the process. The grass needs to be changed out for fresh seeds every two weeks or so. If you are home, this is easy, if you are in an office like me, you may need to get creative. And you need to purchase more grass or add houseplants like philodendron, bamboo or peace lily to take advantage of the filtration. If you don't want to deal with the plants, get a different kind of tank, simple as that.
I thought I was going to lose my fish last week but it turned out the water I was using from the tap was very hard. Betta fish do not like very hard water. I've had to switch to purchasing spring water by the gallon. There is some evaporation, I'd say about 4-8oz a day, so I think maybe a gallon every couple of weeks I will need to purchase. Again, you need to proactively care for your fish and tank. Be ready for it.
I wasn't interested in adding the tidy tank every month so I purchased a Nerite Snail instead. Wow, is he great. And efficient! He does a great job at taking all the algae off everywhere.
I've seen other reviews complaining about bad smells but I just don't have that problem. I actively monitor the tank and take care of any problems. I did have a little fungus/mold issue in the growstones with the radish sprouts. I cleaned them well and voila, smell/fungus/mold was gone. There is also absolutely no smell in the water itself that is unpleasant.
I strongly recommend the Betta mirror. I leave it in only a few minutes at a time every couple of days because I'm absolutely positive that it does cause some stress. What an entertaining way to view your Betta and it works great to get him to flare out his fins so that you can get a good look at his body and make sure that he's healthy.
3 Stars By Sarah K. on 2015-04-22
this is an awesome idea. Logistically
Theoretically, this is an awesome idea. Logistically, in a home, it stinks- both figuratively and literally. To be totally honest, it's a HUGE mess. The wheat grass attracted fruit flies and my tank got filthy fast. The basil never made it past sprouts. I had to work really hard to keep it all clean and for one fish, that isn't the kind of commitment I want. The roots get all tangled in the rocks, cleaning them if a real pain but establishing the plants is important for the whole process. This would be good for a classroom to see aquaponics maybe- or one person who doesn't have three kids and three cats like I do. The cats at all of the wheat grass so that didn't last too long. I got rid of this tank after about a month- and upgraded to one without aquaponics.
3 Stars By C. Rug. on 2016-01-28
good for the fish and growing wheat grass
Update: the customer service is awesome and took care immediately to send unexpired things...they are very eager and friendly....after a few months, the fish is happy and we have found wheat grass easy to grow....but the basil and dill just sprout then sit there, barely growing.....maybe they need a full spectrum bulb? We are enjoying Herb the fish, one day real herbs?
Received item, contents were expired for 2 years....i agree with other reviews, the liner for the planting pot is already a little warped....i did get an open box warehouse deal, but this was really disappointing.
The fish coupon is for 99cents at petco, and it was over a year expired....
The pump and cord are ugly and arent shown in the pics...so consider them when you imagine this in your kitchen....
2DayDeliver customer service was fantastic as always and gave me a credit towards unexpired stuff, and Petco honored the coupon after I begged...but overall a difficult purchase.
The tank itselt is attractive though and once i get some things to grow it will all be fine...the design is well thought out and tested, which is why i chose this one. The new pump is very quiet, no complants there.
3 Stars By C. McAllister on 2015-12-20
I really enjoyed this thing the first month I had it
I really enjoyed this thing the first month I had it. It came with radish sprouts and grass seeds, and that is what I initially planted. They grew amazingly well, and I was able to harvest both a few weeks into the growing process. The instructions say that you can get two harvests out of each plant. However, what I didn't realize was that when you cut the plants to harvest them the first time the cut plants stalks start to shrivel and die while the uncut stalks continued to grow. As the cut stocks started to shrivel and die they started to emit a really unpleasant musty smell. So the next time around I planted basil and cilantro because I felt I would be more likely to enjoy these herbs. However, this decision did not go well at all. I moved the aquarium to be close to a window which got a lot of sunlight for the herbs. This indirect light was still not enough to get good growth out of the herbs and it created a really big problem with algae, which was not simply solved by adding a back to the tank. Furthermore, because these plants grew much slower than the seeds that originally came with aquarium, mold started growing in the plant rocks, and the aquarium water wouldn't stay clean because the plants lacked sufficient roots to clean the water. Also, the design made it very difficult to clean the tank because you have to take the top off with the plants to get to the tank. In my experience there is no easy way to do this without making a mess and getting water everywhere. Bottom line: if you are thinking of getting this system so that you can grow fresh herbs year round, this is not going to work unless you are also willing to purchase a grow light to go with it. Also, at least in my experience, it is not nearly as self-sustaining and hands off as the advertising would lead you believe. Really cool idea that just doesn't quite live up to its expectations
5 Stars By DEBRA D. JEAKINS on 2015-09-22
I am having a wonderful time with this
I got this a week ago and set it up on the same day. I waited 24 hours to buy the fish and plant the seeds. I am having a wonderful time with this! Frank(the fish) is enjoying his life in his new home and my seeds have already sprouted! I recommend this in classrooms all over the country!! Not only does it teach the responsibility of keeping a "pet" but a learning experience of the cycle of life. The fish feeds the seeds which grows into plants which feeds the fish with clean water. My next quest is to grow something of my own choosing like herbs or veggies!!