Home Aquaponics Kit: helping kids grow herbs from fish poo


November 22, 2012

The Home Aquaponics Kit provides the perfect opportunity to educate kids about the process involved in food production

The Home Aquaponics Kit provides the perfect opportunity to educate kids about the process involved in food production

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Many of us have completely lost sight of where the food we eat comes from. As long as the product is sitting on the shelf when we visit the supermarket, we pay little attention to the process that led to it being there. The Home Aquaponics Kit is designed to counter this ignorance by educating children in the process involved in growing and cultivating food using a self-cleaning fish tank and a self-maintaining herb garden.

Aquaponics, a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture, has been around for centuries, but apart from in rice paddies, it's not a farming practice in widespread use today. We've recently seen attempts to bring aquaponics to the masses – like the Fishy Farm – and the Home Aquaponics Kit from Back To The Roots is the latest to take on the challenge.

The Home Aquaponics Kit comprises everything an individual needs to start a self-contained herb garden using aquaponics as the method of propagation, barring the water and the fish. This is a table-top fish tank with a herb garden located on the top, and recipients of the kit get the tank and garden unit, five pots filled with pebbles, a mix of organic seeds, fish food, water conditioners, and an air pump to move the water from the tank to the garden.

The system works thusly: You feed the fish, the fish excretes the food, the water containing the effluent is pumped up to the plants, the plants absorb the nutrients from the effluent, and the water spills back into the tank. This process will repeat constantly and consistently all the while the fish is being fed. The tank is kept clean, the plants are kept fed, and the process of waste being upcycled into edible food is revealed. While herbs are the ideal plants to be grown using the Home Aquaponics Kit, leafy vegetables or flowers can also be planted in the pots of pebbles.

Back To the Roots is a company founded in 2009 by Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora while they were students at UC Berkeley. After being inspired by a class lecture about using waste products as the basis for growing food, the pair created the Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden, which allows gourmet mushrooms to be grown from recycled coffee grounds. While the start-up costs for that product were minimal, the Home Aquaponics Kit required more funding, hence the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Pledges start at US$1 but to get a full Home Aquaponics Kit requires a pledge of $50 or more. The product is expected to eventually retail for around $70. At the time of writing the campaign has raised $77,000 of the $100,000 needed, with pledges being taken until Dec. 15. The video below shows the founders of the company setting out their vision for the product.

Source: Kickstarter via Core77

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

Any idea from where i can purchase these cool small Aquaponics systems ? I tried but did not found the type in picture.


Hey guys, have you thought of getting rid of the pump, re-arrange the tank & plants, let gravity do it’s thing get some water aeration at the same time.

Since plants need sunlight maybe a solar/ thermodynamic pumping system, just keep the fish cool.

Bob Flint

I'm waiting for a breakthrough that makes keeping saltwater fish quick and easy!!

Steve Roth

nice idea...wanted to support on Kickstarter but don't want to open an account... what's wrong with Pay-pal ?

Andrew Edwards

Have you seen this system? It is called the ECO-Cycle system and was developed by a non profit in San Diego.

It just goes on a 20 gallon fish tank so you could have it inside if you live in an apartment or somewhere with no garden space. The price will go up February 1st 2013 from $195 to $250. It looks nice too!

Janai Bashore

hey i like the concept but i'm married and my wife doesn't care too much for the look are there any plants that will grow directly in the water with the fish or is there a reason why the two are kept separate? idea is to put them in a nice vase if possible.....

Just Amin

You can grow plants directly in the water like lettuce. Use floaters (styro) for your plants to float.


Jams Puno

Looks like a great science experiment! My sons would really enjoy this.

Beth Jones
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