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Growing herbs in the aquarium?

 
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Hi, I'm planning to set up an aquarium with ornamental fish which I also would like to use as an aquaponics system, growing herbs. However, the fish I would like to keep (Everglades pygmy sunfish) needs heavily planted tank, so the aquatic plants would compete with the herbs. So instead of growing them separately, I would make a tank that's only around 15 cm tall and grow the herbs out of the aquarium. I'm thinking about mint, basil and stevia. What do you think? Would it work?
 
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Interesting idea! I used to have aquariums and love the look of a heavily planted tank. Since those tanks need a lot of light, I think growing useful plants in conjunction with ornamentals is doable. But I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're planning: Do you mean to grow mint etc. directly in the water of the tank? I think that only plants evolved for an aquatic or semi-aquatic life would do well in that situation. Are you thinking of combining the fish water with an aquaponic type medium for the plants' roots? I think that could work well, provided you don't need to dose your fish with medications.
 
Deborah Ori
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chip sanft wrote:Interesting idea! I used to have aquariums and love the look of a heavily planted tank. Since those tanks need a lot of light, I think growing useful plants in conjunction with ornamentals is doable. But I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're planning: Do you mean to grow mint etc. directly in the water of the tank? I think that only plants evolved for an aquatic or semi-aquatic life would do well in that situation. Are you thinking of combining the fish water with an aquaponic type medium for the plants' roots? I think that could work well, provided you don't need to dose your fish with medications.



The water itself would be only 15 cm deep, so herbs could grow out of it. I think several herbs would do well in water if they have the chance to grow out of it, for example mint in nature grows next to or in water. Mint, stevia and basil can all grow in a cup of water, but that doesn't provide enough nutrients to keep them alive for a longer period of time.
The whole thing would look like a paludarium. This is the closest to what I have in mind:
http://interfaze.ch/DSC01111.JPG
 
chip sanft
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Wow. So you mean just basically stick the plants in the water? Although I've grown plants in cups, I've never seen anyone doing what you're suggesting and I've looked at lots of aquaria sites. I think you should just do it and see what happens. If you're worried about your fish, you could start things with just a couple of guppies or something -- which wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, to give the bacteria a chance to colonize. I will be interested to see how it works out.
 
Deborah Ori
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I think I will still use some kind of a soil to give extra nutrients and keep them in one place. I just found on a new aquarium forum that many people use kitty litter as soil for planted tanks. It's a good idea to use cheap fish, I will try a few guppies first.
 
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