Fresh food fed from fish poop: aquaponics!

“Shitty food” means a whole new thing when it comes to aquaponics: gardening your own plants fed by fish waste. WTF, right?

I first heard about it a few weeks ago, sitting on the couch drinking wine and watching Tyrant (that show though, amirite?). My boyfriend was on his phone and mentioned something about growing vegetables. “Yeah, sounds good,” I mumbled. Then he said something about a fish tank, and I figured he was saying that he wants to get a house someday with a fish tank and ample space to garden but I wasn’t really listening because Tyrant.

Then last week I opened up a shipment from Back to the Roots with a picture of a weird fish tank on it with some plants growing out of the top and I was like, OH…okay?

I read the pamphlet and suddenly became giddy. “The water from the fish tank(s) is pumped to the plants,” it read. ” The beneficial nitrifying bacteria growing on and around the plant roots convert the ammonia-rich waste from the fish into nitrites and then nitrates. The plants then take up the nitrates as the nutrients they need to grow.” So my fish’s poop helps to make plants? Hell, yeah!

We ran to the pet store to grab three Zebra Danios to start the process: we followed all of the set-up instructions, cleaned the tank, planted the seeds, and submerged the fish bag into the tank to match the water temperature. I squealed with excitement as I released our fish into their new home — then they died. Almost instantly. It was pretty awful to watch.

I don’t actually know why it happened, but a few days later we bought one betta fish instead and started the process again. IT WORKED AND NOW I AM SO HAPPY:


The “Water Garden” kit is a beginner’s introduction to hydroponics. As soon as I started to see the seeds sprout, I was quick to start researching aquaponics on a larger scale so that we could one day grow bigger plants, perhaps larger vegetables in the comfort of our own home!

We live in an apartment with a cozy, yet small patio but hadn’t ever thought about “gardening” our own fresh herbs and vegetables. This is a great start!

So far our fish Iggy (because she’s a fancy guppy) has helped us to grow wheat grass and radish sprouts:




Within a week, the plants grew faster than I could rap first thing’s first I’m da realest.


I’m pretty excited for what’s in store with this new found interest in in-home gardening (countertop-to-table?) Shout out to Back to the Roots for creating the Water Garden set-up!



Follow Shanyn on FB here,
or do it for the gram here,
or don’t be bitter and connect on Twitter here.

Plus, you could always shout at her by contacting her @