Back to the Roots’ Water Garden is the perfect choice for those who are passionate about aquaponics, mini ecosystems and self sustaining aquariums but don’t have a lot of space to work with.
Even for those who are hearing for the first time about aquaponics or aquariums will surely find this product absolutely amazing!
The concept of aquaponics is extremely interesting: you get to grow fish and plants (edible if you want to!) in the same ecosystem, with the waste produced by the fish providing nutrients for the plants, while the plants themselves filter and clean the water for the fish.
A “Help me help you” kind of thing. Pretty cool, right?
The best part is that this type of arrangement works! This type of aquaculture is extremely popular with the self-sustaining communities as it requires little maintenance and offers a lot in return.
While most do it at a much larger scale… you can still have your mini aquaponics ecosystem at home, using minimal space and an absolutely impressive bit of equipment.
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The Water Garden from Back to the Roots takes things to a whole new level and makes everything not only extremely affordable, but also pretty straightforward.
Instead of building your own aquaponics system which might or might not work, you just buy this one and you’re ready to go. It works, it looks amazing and it’s as cool as it gets!
The Water Garden is also pretty small (13.4 x 13.4 x 9.5 inches), so definitely indicated for beginners or those who don’t really know if they actually want to commit to something like this.
Or those who live in smaller house or apartment and simply don’t have the space for a larger setup.
Back to the Water Garden, it is described as a “self-cleaning fish tank that grows organic sprouts and herbs,” with no water changes required and only needing minor maintenance every now and then: probably once every couple of months!
If you buy it – you will receive a beautiful 3-gallon fish tank, gravel, organic seeds, Growstones, natural dechlorinator and fish food. In other words, everything you need to get your ecosystem up and running.
There’s also a coupon for a Betta fish in case you don’t have one to populate your aquaponics ecosystem with… but you can choose any other fish type (or shrimps) that fit well in a small tank.
It’s probably best to start with a Betta, though, especially if you’re a beginner since Bettas are some of the hardiest fish around and beginner-friendly too.
How to set up your Water Garden Aquaponics Ecosystem
Basically, all you have to do is to fill it with water, plant the seeds, add the fish and enjoy this amazing ecosystem on your desk or whenever you can find a good spot for it in your home.
However, aquarists recommend giving the water inside the tank some time to stabilize. This is a project that takes a couple of weeks – during this time, helpful bacteria develops in the water, ensuring proper living conditions for your fish.
So, in order to ensure a smooth transition of your Betta fish into its new habitat, let the water sit for a couple of weeks first. You can still plant the seeds and get the ecosystem running during this time, though.
I’ve seen people storing it in the kitchen for quick access to the plants – and nothing beats taking some fresh mint leaves for your cold drink or maybe some fresh basil for your homemade pasta…
Now if you are to check out the reviews of this product on Amazon, you will find out that quite a few of them are negative, but don’t let that discourage you!
First off, many of the negative reviews are for an older model so they can be considered obsolete.
Back to the Roots actually improved their product and managed to turn it into a really good working aquaponics system.
However, it’s not really no maintenance either – so don’t expect to just fill it with water, add the fish, plant the seeds and then start harvesting from in.
First of all, you will have to leave the aquarium cycle – this is a common thing to do if you want to grow healthy fish – basically meaning that you will have to add the water, the provided substrate (and maybe a bit more), maybe one-two live aquatic plants and wait for a couple of weeks for beneficial bacteria to form in the tank (I would recommend the Marimo ball as it requires almost no maintenance and is extremely durable) .
Afterwards, you can add your Betta (or some micro-fish, but not many because the aquarium itself is really small).
I would personally recommend adding one or two shrimp as well in order to help clean the tank (red cherry shrimp are hardy, but you might want something less colored if you choose a Betta, or it might attack them).
Add maybe a snail too (or just a snail if you don’t want shrimp). Make sure it’s a snail that doesn’t multiply, otherwise you’ll soon have too many for your tank. A good choice is the zebra nerite snail – even if you add a pair, they won’t multiply. They will also keep the glass clean, which is a bonus.
Also, you will most likely need a thermometer/thermostat combination in order to keep the water temperature ideal for the fish.
Bettas are hardy fish and they don’t necessary require a thermometer if you keep the room warm, but it’s better not to risk it.
As I said, you might also need to do some minor maintenance on the tank every couple of months as residue will invariably build up eventually.
It’s not hard work, but you will most likely need to clean the tank every now and then, even though the plants above will do a good job at filtering the water.
Here is the Water Garden in action on Youtube, an update published on the Alberta Urban Garden channel two months after setting up this system. As you can see, it works really nice and maintenance is not extremely difficult:
I am extremely fascinated by this and find it really interesting!
I have always been a fan of self-supporting ecosystems or anything similar, so being able to own one – one that would also give me some herbs to actually consume would make things even better.
Of course, this is more of a hobby and nice looking thing than a source of food, but it’s totally worth it in my opinion.
Kids would absolutely love it as well and it will also teach them a lot about how things work in nature, how plants grow and even how to care for fish and plants. It would be a great gift for them, but prepare to do most of the maintenance yourself!
So check out the Water Garden on Amazon and get yours now today. I would love to hear updates on how it all goes and I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Water Garden alternative
There are other mini aquaponics systems available for purchase, even though you don’t have a huge variety of products available at the moment.
However, if for some reason you want to try something else (maybe bigger or simply different), this is the alternative that you have at the moment:
The best alternative in my opinion – or the best option if you want something larger.
It is built for a regular 10-gallon tank, so it allows you to grow a lot more plants (and keep more fish or a really happy Betta), but have in mind that you only get the system and not the aquarium or the top light.
And this would be it. You not only know everything about Back to the Roots’ popular Water Garden, but you also have an alternative option if you want to give this entire aquaponics thing a try.