AquaFarm – Setup and Review

I love urban farming. I love sprouts. I love aquariums (but I don’t love the upkeep). I love science. I love sustainable ecosystems. And I love anything that is self-cleaning. So when I saw the AquaFarm I flipped.

The AquaFarm, designed and manufactured in California by Back to the Roots, is a mini-ecosystem that sits on your counter. It’s a three gallon tank that can house a betta and grow food in the lid. The fish feeds the plants. And the food that you grow cleans the water. Totally self-contained auto-watering auto-feeding food grower. Not even kidding. Within a week we had sprouts and wheatgrass that looked like this:

Aquafarm sprouts

Radish sprouts and wheatgrass after a week

 

The Scoop

So what does the AquaFarm look like? How does it work? And how easy is it really?

Here’s what our AquaFarm looks like:

AquaFarmSprouts-20150115-137_edit

 

This small-scale aquaponics kit includes everything you need to get started: 3 gallon tank, water pump, gravel, fish food, natural water treatments, organic radish and wheatgrass seeds, and a betta fish coupon. I also bought the recommended heater ($9.99) to keep the water at the recommended temperature for a betta (78* F).

The instructions are well-written and easy to follow. An older child can easily set up the AquaFarm with a little guidance from an adult which is what we did. My 11  year old set it up and we were up and running in under an hour. The seeds should be soaked for 6-12 hours before planting so if you’re anxious to get started, like I was, you’ll want to start soaking the seeds immediately and then get to work on setting up the tank. We filmed the set-up so be sure to watch the video posted below.

There are five plant pots that fit in the lid of the AquaFarm. We planted radish sprouts in the front row of pots and wheatgrass in the back two pots. The seeds started sprouting on day two and were ready for harvest on day ten. Here are some photos along the way:

AquaFarm Sprouts

Day 1 – Adding the seeds to the pots.

 

AquaFarm Sprouts

Day 3 – Beginning to sprout

 

AquaFarm sprouts

Day 4 – Starting to grow. Radish sprouts in front, wheatgrass in back.

 

AquaFarm sprouts

Day 5

 

AquaFarm Sprouts

Day 7

 

AquaFarm sprouts

Day 9

 

Havest Day

On Day 13 I cut the radish sprouts across the bottom and then rinsed the cups and grow stones so I could start another batch.

Radish sprouts from the AquaFarm

Radish sprouts

 

The radish sprouts were delicious! I used them on veggie sandwiches and in salads for the next few days and have grown more every time I replant – they’re definitely at the top of my favorite things to grow in the AquaFarm list. I don’t have a juicer so I didn’t do anything with the wheatgrass except admire it’s beauty. Wheatgrass is perfect cat grass so it didn’t go to waste and garnered two paws up.

Veggie Sandwich with radish sprouts from AquaFarm

Veggie Sandwich with radish sprouts

 

To see how easy it was to set-up the AquaFarm please watch our video tutorial below. If you are interested in starting your own AquaFarm, we purchased ours from Amazon.

As of this posting, we’ve had the AquaFarm for almost four months and have grown a ton of food in it. The water stays crystal clear, the fish is happy, and the plants that it grows are delicious. We like it so much that it has even become the focus of my 11 year old’s science fair project. He’s comparing the rate and quality of plant growth using aquaponics, hydroponics, and soil. I’ll be sure to report the results.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with the AquaFarm, please leave a comment.

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