Sleek Self-Cleaning Fish Tank Grows Food and Looks Great Too


So you have been thinking about getting a cute fish tank for your kitchen counter, but you are also pretty dead set on an indoor herb garden. There is only so much room on the counter, so a tough choice has to be made: is it going to be basil or bettas, man? It’s heart wrenching, I know, but you can now rest easy because Back to the Roots has met it’s Kickstarter funding goal for an ingenious Home Aquaponics kit that combines a fish tank and a hydroponic herb garden all in one design-friendly package.

Aquaponics looks better than a clunky fish tank or bowl.

Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez were seniors at UC Berkeley getting ready for lucrative and potentially soul crushing careers in investment banking and consulting. When their business ethics teacher got to the subject of sustainability, the gears got turning. “What if you could grow gourmet mushrooms entirely on used coffee grounds,” they thought. After some successful experimentation and a social innovation grant from the Berkeley Chancellor, they were helping gourmet home cooks grow their own mushrooms at home using all sustainable, recycled material, and Back to the Roots was born.

No surprise, kids love it.

Arora and Velez wanted to continue to help people grow their own food at home, so they turned to hydroponics, but how to make it a sustainable system? Fish poo, that’s how. The Aquaponics kit they developed feeds the plants using the water in the tank and the nutrients the plants need come out of your goldfish’s rear end. Don’t get all grossed out, your food is often grown using doo-doo from all kinds of animals, and in comparison, fish turd is not all that offensive. So not only is there no dirt involved, you don’t even have to clean the tank because the plants keep the water clean. That, and you won’t forget to water the chives. It’s a balanced ecosystem, pretty much all you have to do to maintain it is feed the fish. 

While they have met their funding goal on Kickstarter, there is still 14 days left for you to get in there and back the project. Not only are you helping out some seriously eco-friendly entrepreneurs, for every $50 you kick in you get a pre-order of an Aquaponics kit at 30% off the planned retail price and free shipping. That and you can finally put that fish-or-herbs debate that’s been keeping you up at night to bed.

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