Ever since I saw the Back to the Roots AquaFarm at a friend’s house I have wanted one. They are pretty much the coolest pet thing my opinion. Okay, so maybe a bearded dragon or some exotic pet would be cooler in terms of pet ownership, but the AquaFarm is like the best pet thing a foodie like myself could own, not because I like to eat pets but because it grows herbs out the top. I was pretty excited to see them at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, a convention I went to for my other blog, and we made a deal that let me bring one of these home. They make a great gift and also make a great educational tool for your kids.
What is an Aquafarm?
Back to the Roots was started by two guys out of college who decided to become urban mushroom farmers. I know mushroom farming and let’s be honest, I’m not sure it’s the career I would choose but hey, someone’s gotta grow those things for us, right? Or, provide a way THAT WE CAN GROW THEM OURSELVES. Yeah, really. Anyway, the AquaFarm isn’t about growing mushrooms. It’s about aquaponics. Aquaponics is basically combining raising aquatic creatures with hydroponics (growing plants in water). Please tell me you are already seeing two science lessons here!
So here we are, we have a tank that I carried through 3 airports and stashed under 2 airliner seats. Clearly I wanted one of these pretty badly if I carried it through airports, right? Clearly other people want it badly too because approximately 20 people asked me where they can get them and many more people eyed it surreptitiously.
It took about 3 weeks to set up. Not because it was difficult or because I needed any supplies, but because it took me that long to get my act together after being gone. The AquaFarm comes with everything you need to set your fish home up, except the fish and water. They do include a coupon for a $0.99 beta at Petco and you can use tap water. We went to the pet store to pick out our fish and I cannot tell a lie. I came home with 2 fish. I wanted to come home with all the fish but alas, it wasn’t feasible. Sadly, my gorgeous green and flame red ‘Flame’ died 4 days later. Thankfully, Sonic P. Sherwin, who lived 4 very long days as “He Who Has Not Been Named”, survived.
Our tank took about 20 minutes to set up. Easy peasy as long as you notice the little details and put the filter on the right way. I do not fare well with directions. I put the filter in the wrong spot twice. I’m blond. What can I say? I should have had my blond direction reading 11 year old put it together. He’d have gotten it right.
The AquaFarm came with directions but you can also find directions online. This homeschool mama believes any moment can be an educational moment so direction reading would be great for new readers, and following directions for, uh, moms. Yeah.
We are happy to say that Sonic P. Sherwin is very happy in his new home. He is starting to adjust to knowing when and where he gets fed – the AquaFarm comes with a handy little “trapdoor” to feed your new fishy friend.
Our wheat grass is starting to grow and our basil has a few sprouts. The kids love checking it every day, and yes, they love fighting over who gets to feed the fish this time.
The AquaFarm would make a great Christmas gift and is especially great for the classroom, whether it be home or school. Not only is it a fun way for kids to learn pet ownership, it is a great tool for learning so many things about science.
Back to the Roots AquaFarm Study Tips
- Learn about Aquaponics
- Learn about Hydroponics
- Learn about fish – what they eat, their species, habits, characteristics, and the ecosystem they usually live in.
- Learn how plants grow – track their development, how long they take to grow, and what they need to live.
- Learn to be a good pet owner.