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Old 07-10-2013, 10:46 PM   #1 
Lindsaypez's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Rhode Island
What are your thoughts on this tank?

Is this tank no good?

I backed this kickstarter project called Aquaponics (it's called AquaFarm now). It's a 3 gallon tank that grows plants from the top. They claim this tank never needs water changes because of the way the system works...The fish's pee and poo fertilize the plants while the plants clean the water. The plants are separated from the fish by a plastic tray type thing. It has a very gentle filter that causes no current that I can see. my fish doesn't seem to mind it.

I have my betta in this tank and so far I do not believe the "never needs water changes" thing because my ammonia is .25 ppm. I am doing 50% water changes everyday and waiting to see how it goes, if it stabilizes. It is a PAIN to do water changes because of the plants...I'm currently growing wheat germ and the plants are doing well, but I can't just remove the top of the tank to do the water changes; I only have a small circle I can get to the fish water from so I have to use a baster thing. It takes half an hour to pump out and in 50% of the water!

Anyway, it's such a pain in the butt that I'm thinking of buying a 5 gallon tank or bigger to: 1. Make my fish happier; 2. Have a tank that can be cycled; 3. Have a tank that's easier to do maintenance on.

It's just such a shame because I spent $50 on this tank and I like the idea of it. Can a 3 gallon tank be cycled? I assume that's why this company says you never have to do water changes, because it cycles. But I've read in these forums that 3 gallon tanks can't cycle.

If you want to see the tank and what I'm talking about, it's here: (I hope links are allowed, I'm sorry if they're not. I'm not trying to sell this tank to people, lol, especially since I have my doubts about it!).

What do you guys think? Can this tank work? Or did I throw $50 down the drain? By the way, I've mentioned in previous posts that I have silk plants in the tank to make the fish happy. I'm not leaving it empty like the people in the website are!
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:05 PM   #2 
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Location: Kentucky
It's a nice idea but I do not think it would actually work as well as the claims. I think you could cycle a 3 gallon... it would not be as easy as cycling a bigger tank perhaps but it's not impossible, after all the mechanics are there... usually we just recommend not bothering with cycling tanks smaller than 5 gallons because it's easy to do regular water changes with smaller tanks but since this design doesn't make that easy... I don't know. I'm leery of anything that claims something that goes against what I've seen time and time again. After all even people with cycled planted tanks do have to do small water changes from time to time. Or am I wrong?
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:17 PM   #3 
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That's a very cool idea but I'm afraid it's probably only good for the plants. Well, it's kind of like having a planted tank, so it's not TOO bad... But still, I think having a 5 gallon would be better. You could put some snails or something in that tank. :P
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:31 AM   #4 
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I'll have to check it out, my husband is a Kickstarter junky!
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:18 AM   #5 
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Location: Massachusetts, U.S.
As a rule, I don't support any of the "self-cleaning" tanks. Anything that makes it so you don't have to take full responsibility of your animal makes me feel like its allowing you to distance yourself from the fact that it is a life you are responsible for. You should be cleaning up after any animal that you have. That's part of having a pet. Plus, none of the "self-cleaning" tanks I have seen seem to be in the best interest of the fish. This one seems to be more for the plants than the animal. I think things like this just support the concept that Bettas are not living creatures, but decorations, or in this case, fertilizer. Sorry to be a bit blunt, but these sort of things really bother me, because the less you have to do for your animal, the less responsibility you are taking for it. Others may disagree with me, and that's okay, I just thought I would share my opinion.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:36 AM   #6 
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I have an aquaponics set up. I have a 200 gallon catfish pond with 1 growbed that contains roughly 70 gallons of growbed media. I need three growbeds to support the amount of fish I have. Needless to say I have to do water changes. You'd treat it just as you do a fish tank. It has to cycle and everything. You basically need a 1:1 ratio to growbed to tank water. 3 gallons of water needs 3 gallons of growbed media + plants. self cleaning tanks exist? Yes. It is a delicate balance. You have to find it.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:30 AM   #7 
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Location: Maine
There are some extremist in the planted tank world who to filterless tanks, but I think even they might have to do a water change.

You do still have to go through the cycle. I do not know if any tank setup that would never have to go through the cycle.

But in theory, and it has been proven, you could setup a tank with the right conditions where you would never need a filter or water change. Or at least not a filter. You have to have the most specific bioload too. Even one fish too many and its over.

Would I trust it? Heck no. I have a hard enough time with all my equipment and plants keeping a 30 gal LOL
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:40 AM   #8 
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Location: Rhode Island
Thanks for all your thoughts! That's what I figured. For now I will continue to do daily water changes and test the water chemistry too...Until I can convince my husband to let me buy a 5 gallon tank and/or find a cheap one (this AquaFarm tank is the third tank for Abraham. My husband thinks my obsession is going crazy lol. But I LOVE this fish! He has the biggest personality out of all the bettas I've owned).
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:51 AM   #9 
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in my heavily planted bigger tanks I only do a 10% water change about once a month, month and a half, but these tanks are fully cycled and have pleanty of filtration, plus they get water added weekly for evaporation, fast growing stem plants and floaters will help keep the water clean, but I don't know how well terestial plants would do at keeping the water clean
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:05 PM   #10 
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OMG I found the culprit for my ammonia spike: there is TONS of waste hiding in the gravel. I can't believe there's that much after only a week. Isn't a filter supposed to take care of that, or am I totally misinformed? I really get the feeling now that this tank is total garbage.

I just did my daily 50% water change and sucked up everything out of the gravel I could. I would just do a 100% change but I don't have any buckets that hold three gallons to get the new water's temperature to match the tank's.

I'm going to test the ammonia again in a few hours and if there's no difference I think I'll do another 50% change to give it a boost. I'm using Prime so I feel good about that.

I just want my fish to be in perfect water conditions!! Grr. Darn this AquaFarm tank. But he's a silly guy: All the other bettas I've had, when I have done water changes, they hide and are scared. But Abraham has to be where all the action is. He follows the baster all around and when I'm gently pouring the new water in, he has to be checking it out and hanging out in the stream lol. If I take too long he starts acting stressed out (swims frantically all around) so I'm hoping these water changes aren't too intense for him.
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