Aquaponics have been around for some time–these systems are already being used to produce edible plants and fish. They make enormous sense, since plants need nitrogen for fertilizing, and fish produce nitrogen in their poo, you pair the two. The plants clean the water; the fish produce the nutrients for the plants. That’s how nature works.
But Benjamin Graindorge and Duende Studio wanted to replicate those systems at home, to produce a miniature ecology. Their acquarium does away away with the most tedious chores of owning fish–constantly changing the water, and buying new water filters. The system comprises a tray of plants–in particular, varieties like tomatoes, or ferns from the Amazon basin, which love watery soil–planted in a bed of sand that sits above the tank. The sand traps the fish waste, and natural bacteria break these down into plant-nourishing nitrates. The only upkeep consists of topping off the tank as water evaporates, and an occasional wipe-down to elminiate algae. As they write: “The fish tank is a microcosm thatreflects human concerns: within the finite space of its architecturethe main issue that conditions the well-being of its inhabitants iswaste management.”
In other words, a living metaphor for the home–and a microcosm of the world’s rivers. The product is expected to hit the market in a year’s time.