Whether your kids are begging for a pet or you want to add an easy-to-care-for animal to your home, fish make great companions for those who don’t want the responsibility of a dog or cat. The Back to the Roots Water Garden Self-Cleaning Fish Tank is the perfect home for freshwater fish, snails, and water frogs, according to Amazon customers, because the mini ecosystem also grows microgreens on the lid of the tank for a cyclical aquatic environment. It’s a best-selling aquarium on Amazon, and it’s currently 42 percent off.
While most fish tanks require filters, this self-cleaning system purifies itself by using an aquaponic cycle. Aquaponic systems use hydroponics (the method of growing plants without soil); in this tank, the nutrient-rich fish waste fertilizes the microgreens, and the microgreens remove the ammonia-filled waste from the water. (High ammonia levels in water is a known fish killer.)
The tank has three growing beds on the lid and can harvest microgreens in as little as 10 days — reviewers say that they’ve seen plants sprout within three days. You can also grow small houseplants, succulents, and herbs. The aquaponic system comes with organic microgreen seeds, two packets that will purify the water and boost the nutrient cycling, growstones, a water pump, and even fish food.
One reviewer calls the tank “a very happy ecosystem” for freshwater fish, aquatic plants, snails, and even African dwarf frogs. Many parents and teachers have also praised it as a fun way for young kids to learn about balanced ecosystems.
“Bought this aquaponic tank for my 5th grade classroom,” this teacher wrote. “The kids were super invested in putting the tank together and in researching how the plants and the fish would work together. They take daily observations on the progress of the tank and seem to have a stronger understanding of ecosystems and how humans can positively impact nature (i.e. the water pump). We are also able to discuss the water cycle. Highly recommend for classrooms or at home science experiments!”
Another shopper said, “This combination fish tank and herb garden is a delight for our whole family. My child loves the betta fish and watching the herbs grow, and I love not having to clean the tank! Having the fresh herbs growing right in our kitchen is really nice, too. We’re coming up with recipes that make use of the herbs, and enjoying every moment and bite.”