Tanks for Nothin makes “experimental aquariums on the cheap,” self-sustaining ecosystems that are lower-maintenance than your average fish tank. In the video above, they put together a Strawberry-Powered Aquarium, a tank that cleans itself with the help of 2 snails, 5 cherry shrimp, an adopted gourami, 10 chili rasboras, and lots of plants… including strawberries.
In a filter-free setup like this, the plants, animals, and beneficial bacteria all take care of each other. Fish poop, uneaten food, and decomposing plants create ammonia, which is transformed into nitrates by helpful bacteria. High nitrates are harmful to fish, but plants happily absorb nitrates for the nitrogen, and that cleans the water.
The fish stay healthy in clean water, and the growing plants are nourished by fish and plant waste. Bacteria thrive in their role, and the snails and shrimp eat any algae and extra food in the gravel.
It takes a few months to balance, but Tanks for Nothin patiently documents the process, adding new plants and animals slowly while the environment stabilizes and matures. And then the strawberries grow and ripen…
“I give the tank food and the tank gives me food. For the price of some dirt and a couple of strawberry plants, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.”
Find more of their cheap experimental aquariums on YouTube. And previously:
• Fish Poo Strawberries: How can aquaponics sustainably grow plants and fish?
• Volcano Filter Betta Aquarium
• The Pond On My Window Sill, a DIY ecosphere experiment
• Seacosphere: One year inside an airtight jar of seawater
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