Aquapioneers’ open source kit lets you print your own aquaponics ecosystem
Do you find your goldfish waiting for you, floating face up in the water when you get home from work? Do plants wilt at your touch? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then Barcelona-based startup Aquapioneers has engineered an aquaponics ecosystem that makes both gardening and fish-keeping nearly impossible to mess up.
The company has designed an open-source kit that allows you to 3D print all the pieces needed to get started as an aquaponics farmer. Made to be constructed from plywood, the structure stands a little over four feet and has room for both a fish tank and a planter which rests on top. This makes it tiny compared to many similar setups which take up much more room.
The idea behind aquaponics is simple: fish eat food and produce waste, which then helps fertilize the plants sitting above. As the plant roots suck up the fish waste, it helps naturally clean the tank, making managing the tank easier. An LED sits above the entire contraption, producing only the spectrum of light that plants need to grow.
The designers claim the result is a 100% organic aquaponic planter that uses 90% less water and requires 80% less work (no weeding or digging here) compared to traditional gardens. What’s more, plants grow two times as fast when using fish fertilizer. The Aquapioneers planter isn’t big enough to support crops of food, but should be more than enough for the home chef. Lettuce, parsely, mint, basil and strawberries are all some of the things that can be grown.
The company is crowdfunding the project to help cover the costs of R&D for the open source kit, which will be released to the public later this year.