Student-designed kit turns 10 gallon aquariums into aquaponic gardens

From large-scale commercial aquaponics farms to suburban, backyard self-sufficiency, I've always been intrigued by the potential for aquaponics to support sustainable, efficient vegetable production and provide a source of much needed protein too.

Until now, however, I've been less excited about those small-scale aquaponics systems that use goldfish and other ornamentals as the aquaculture component. After all, feeding fish pellets to fish, just to get fish poop so you can grow your greens just doesn't seem so smart.

A new KickStarter project from some students in Austin, Texas, may have caused me to see the light. This isn't necessarily about the most efficient way to grow food. Rather, it's about a way to make ornamental fish tanks a little more efficient, and open some eyes to new possibilities in the process.

You see, there are an awful lot of 10 gallon aquariums in the world already. And those aquariums are full of an awful lot of fish that need regular cleaning. So why not put those fish to good use, creating an attractive, easy-to-retrofit kit that's compatible with any 10 gallon aquarium, providing fish lovers with an easy solution to keep their tank clean, and turning the waste water and nutrients into fresh, edible produce?

That's the idea behind AquaSprouts . And they are looking to KickStarter to help take their early prototypes into mass-production.

Inspired? Donate what you can to help get them started.

Jack Ikard, one of the founders of AquaSprouts, tells me they hope to work on systems for bigger fish tanks more suitable for edible fish too.

Tags: Fish | Organic Agriculture | Permaculture