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Old 12-12-2012, 11:21 AM   #1 
umi
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What do you think about this self cleaning tank?

Hi Guys,

Maybe you've seen this before. What do you think about this tank for a betta?
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...sh-tank-that-g

At first glance, it looked small, but they claim it is 3 gallons. I think once a heater is in there with some fake silk plants, it could be a good tank. Thoughts? It seems like there is no need for a filter, since the plants are acting like one. I'm really intrigued by this and might consider backing this up.

My main concern is getting some grow lights for this.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:41 AM   #2 
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Originally Posted by umi View Post
Hi Guys,

Maybe you've seen this before. What do you think about this tank for a betta?
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...sh-tank-that-g

At first glance, it looked small, but they claim it is 3 gallons. I think once a heater is in there with some fake silk plants, it could be a good tank. Thoughts? It seems like there is no need for a filter, since the plants are acting like one. I'm really intrigued by this and might consider backing this up.

My main concern is getting some grow lights for this.

Hello, the tank looks alright, three gallons is good for a betta. The only problem is that this tank will not "clean itself" like it claims.

It's been a false dream that many people chase but there is no such thing, I've read the info and there is many issues with it:
  • So what's happening? The fish, they poo and they pee, and all that waste-water gets broken down by beneficial bacteria into nutrients
FALSE. The beneficial bacteria cannot survive well without a filter to live in, true they grow on gravel and decor, but in less quantities, the filter is the best way to keep them alive, and to have bacteria grow in your filter you must undergo a process called Cycling.

There is no such thing as "instant beneficial bacteria" and the cycling process is very stressful to do with fish inside the tank and is done usually before fish are added and can take up to a month to be completed, and a few more weeks to be established.
  • The waste-water from the fish is then pumped up & upcycled as an awesome organic fertilizer for the plants. The plants take up the nutrients and, at the same time, clean the water which then falls back down for the fish.
FALSE. Plants can use up the poo and pee, but it doesn't clean the water as they say, as they can only absorb a certain amount. So you wouldn't get crystal clear water. There is no way to for waste to be 100% magically gone, it is always required to remove the waste physically with water changes.
  • There is no soil - the plants are growing just on rocks - all the nutrients coming from the fish (no need for any artificial fertilizers - it's all organic!!)
I guess this is true
  • There is no need to clean the water because of the plants - it's a self-cleaning fish tank!
FALSE FALSE AND TRIPLE FALSE. You NEED to perform water changes, the minerals, oxygen must be replaced as the plants + fish will use it up.


Also, as I said above the remaining waste needs to be removed physically, for a 3 gallon tank, water changes should be performed 50% and 100% twice a week.

Perhaps 50%, 50% twice a week since you are taking care of plants in this case.

1) How many fish can I keep? The industry standard is 1" of fish for 1 gallon of water. This is a 3 gallon tank, so you can have 1 larger 3" fish, or a few smaller 1" fish. If you'd like to host other types of fish, the system will allow it, but you should transfer them out to a larger tank when they grow in size.


Before you add more fish, you should ask around here. If you put your betta in there, You can ONLY have your betta in there and perhaps a few shrimp, or a single nerite snail.



- Please trust me when i say this is but an evolved form of the terrifying betta vase, just with a little more space and technological looking.

You can get the tank if you like it, but make sure to perform the water changes, as there is no such thing, and you will hear it from other experienced fish keepers, no such thing as a self cleaning tank.

Last edited by asukabetta; 12-12-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:26 PM   #3 
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Man, that was a buzz kill. :(

Haha, kidding.

Thank you for your reply! That makes sense.

It's true that there is no guarantee on whether the plants are taking up all the stuff in the water.

I wonder if I could make this work if I put an under gravel filter or sponge filter on the side. If I cycled the tank, it would be an interesting concept (although I would still need to do water changes). I'm also just fascinated by the plants.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:49 PM   #4 
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My mom wants one :/ She figures it will be easier to grow plants that way. Oh joy. I'm trying to talk her out of it. But in the meantime I'm asking them all of the points brought up here to see what they think about. If I get a reply, I'll let you know what they said.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:48 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umi View Post
Man, that was a buzz kill. :(

Haha, kidding.

Thank you for your reply! That makes sense.

It's true that there is no guarantee on whether the plants are taking up all the stuff in the water.

I wonder if I could make this work if I put an under gravel filter or sponge filter on the side. If I cycled the tank, it would be an interesting concept (although I would still need to do water changes). I'm also just fascinated by the plants.
I'm sorry, I do not encourage or discourage buying this tank :) any tank is pretty much fine as long as proper care is done.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:22 PM   #6 
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If you use enough of the right kind of plants, you can actually remove a surprising amount of ammonia and nitrate through them. Plants that are known nutrient sponges such as duckweed, hornwort, hydrilla, azolla and elodea/anacharis can in some cases act as a natural filtration system, particularly if a tank is only lightly stocked.

However, the shape of this 'self-cleaning' tank means that not only are you not going to have much area available for floating plants, you are not going to have much area available for plants full stop.

In Walstad planted tanks, water changes become unnecessary due to the use of soil as susbtrate. These type of tanks are probably the closest to self-sustaining that you can acheive in aquaria. However, I prefer to do regular water changes as even in nature there would be periods where new water is being introduced.

Honestly, if your mum was interested in growing plants, a nutrient rich substrate, appropriate light and standard glass tank are all she is going to need.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:47 PM   #7 
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If you use enough of the right kind of plants, you can actually remove a surprising amount of ammonia and nitrate through them. Plants that are known nutrient sponges such as duckweed, hornwort, hydrilla, azolla and elodea/anacharis can in some cases act as a natural filtration system, particularly if a tank is only lightly stocked.

However, the shape of this 'self-cleaning' tank means that not only are you not going to have much area available for floating plants, you are not going to have much area available for plants full stop.

In Walstad planted tanks, water changes become unnecessary due to the use of soil as susbtrate. These type of tanks are probably the closest to self-sustaining that you can acheive in aquaria. However, I prefer to do regular water changes as even in nature there would be periods where new water is being introduced.

Honestly, if your mum was interested in growing plants, a nutrient rich substrate, appropriate light and standard glass tank are all she is going to need.

She wants plants to eat and "Oh, wouldn't it cute and fun and space saving if I could have a fish and have a small garden in the house?" Oh well, I'm still going to try to convince her it's a bad idea. At least I don't have to live with her.
I'm still waiting for a response from the tank people to see what their answers are to the points made in this thread. If they completely blow me off, then I know they really don't know what they're doing. But if they say we have some valid points and actually try to address them, I might feel ok with my mom having one of these in the future.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #8 
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Oh my God. I totally realised this is not that jar with a tap coming off it. I saw the kickstarter link and the self-cleaning element and thought it was as there have been several posts about it.

I see now that what you are looking at is aquaponics. Totally different ball game. Probably explains why my post makes no sense at all.

Honestly, I don't think a single betta is going to produce enough waste products for your plants to thrive. If you look at actual aquaponics set-ups they are usually very heavily stocked with 'dirty' fast-growing fish to provide adequate nutrients to the plants. However, I wonder if you could use a nutrient rich soil/susbtrate instead as a way of providing the plants with the adequate nutrients.

Aquaponics is pretty neat. I love the idea of being able to grow edible plants in this kind of manner. Just was never keen on the ones I've seen where they are also eating their fish as well.

Sorry for the confusion. I should have actually clicked on the link.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:58 PM   #9 
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Like every one else. NO TANK CLEANS ITSELF. I'm not trying to deture you from buying. This is a very handy thing to have though. I would say go for it as long as you can preform the water changes necessary for this tank and the health of your fish.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:08 PM   #10 
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I got a response from the guys making this tank, it seems pretty straight forward and do seem to be trying to make this a really good thing.

  • Hi Sara!
    Thank you so much for reaching out to us and asking such awesome questions!!
  • Our system will require some topping off every so often, as there will be water loss due to evaporation. A huge amount of new water isn't needed, but I believe the small amount of added water will help replenish those essential minerals you mentioned.
  • The beneficial bacteria actually grows quite well on the expanded clay we've been using as a growing medium. We may end up going with expanded shale, but both mediums are porous and offer plenty of surface area for the bacteria!
  • You're right in that it usually takes about 6 weeks to get a tank completely colonized by beneficial bacteria and cycling properly. We've been speaking with a number of labs, who will be providing us with nitrifying bacteria for our kits. This is what we meant by "instant beneficial bacteria." They'll basically jumpstart the system's ability to process ammonia.
    If you notice a huge amount of waste builds up on the bottom, you may need to vacuum it up. However, our airlift pump will definitely circulate a large portion of those solids up to the grow bed, where they can attach themselves to the growing medium and be broken down by the bacteria.
  • We're working a way to incorporate a heater in our tanks! It's mostly an issue of where the cord can fit through - but we've discussed this with our design team. Including heaters in our kits is cost-prohibited at this point, but we'll work on pointing customers to good heaters that will work through our website.
  • Finally, there's definitely room for decorations! These are another type of item we can't include do to cost issues, but we'd love for our customers to customize their tanks! Growing aquarium plants is tricky, as they may take nutrients away from the plants up top. It's your call of course, but I would suggest adding fake plants to the tank.
  • It's your decision what type of fish food you'd like to use. If your betta is picky, definitely give her what she likes to eat! That's totally fine.
    I hope my answers are of some help! Let me know if you have anymore!! It would be an honor to have your backing on Kickstarter!
    Best,
    Nikhil

    Here is what I asked:
  • How do you replace essential nutrients and minerals that only water can provide? Eventually those will be depleted if you never change the water.
  • How is the beneficial bacteria sustained without a filter or sponge for it to grow on? They can grow on the rocks and sides, but not very well.
  • What exactly is "instant beneficial bacteria"? How does that work? Usually it takes quite a while of cycling a tank for beneficial bacteria to grow on its own.
  • What about the waste? Eventually there will be more than the plants can use. If you're not supposed to clean it, then eventually you'll have a big pile of poo on the bottom of the tank. That's not exactly healthy for the fish.
  • Also, how do you keep the fish warm? Is there a way to put a heater in there?
  • Is there room for decorations, most Bettas love hidey holes and plants to swim around in.
  • Can you use any type of fish food? My Betta is very picky about food and I have only pellet that she'll eat.
  • Would it be safe to grow aquarium plants inside the tank?
    Thank you,
    Sara

Last edited by sainthogan; 12-14-2012 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Added bullets
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