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FAQ's Water Garden

Water Garden Frequently Asked Questions

 

About the Water Garden:

Setting Up Your Water Garden:

Water Garden Fish Care:

Troubleshooting:

Water Garden in Australia:

About The Water Garden

What is a Water Garden?

The Back To The Roots Water Garden condenses all of the amazing features of large-scale aquaponics into a 11 ltrs (3-gallon) tank for your kitchen or classroom! The fish fertilize the plants, and the plants filter the water for the fish. You can grow organic herbs like basil and wheatgrass with this closed-loop ecosystem in any kitchen or classroom! . 
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What are the dimensions of the Water Garden?

The Water Garden is designed to fit in most small spaces to make easy to start your urban farm. Here the dimensions: 34cm height, 24cm width, and 34 lenght, with a 11ltrs (3 gal) capacity, it really can be incorporated in any environment like classroom, unit, office or bedroom!

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What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is an ancient, sustainable method of farming developed by the Aztecs. It uses 90% less water than traditional farming methods and combines aquaculture (fish cultivation) with hydroponics (plant cultivation without the use of soil) in a symbiotic environment. The water from the fish tank(s) is pumped to the plants, where 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.
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What's Included with the Water Garden?

The Water Garden includes everything you need to get started right away! Just buy your fish, decorate your tank, and watch your plants grow!

      • Tank
      • Grow lid
      • Grow tray
      • Pump*
      • Flexible tube
      • Plant pots
      • Growstones™ for the plant pots (lightweight and porous)
      • Gravel for the bottom of the tank (multi-colored)
      • Bag of fish food
      • All-natural aquatic products provided by Kordon®
      • -Bottle of all-natural D-Klor™
      • -Bottle of Zym Bac™ Nitrifying Bacteria
      • Organic wheatgrass, snow peas, radish sprouts seeds — no seeds for New Zealand

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What seeds are included with the AquaFarm?

The AquaFarm comes with organic wheatgrass, snow peas & radish sprouts seeds.


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What other plants can I grow in my Water Garden?

Leafy greens and herbs grow best in the AquaFarm, and we include organic wheatgrass, snow peas, and radish sprouts seeds in each unit. Alfalfa, radish sprouts, parsley, coriander, mint, chives, mixed greens, and other varieties of basil also grow well. Check out our Facebook or Instagram to see what other customers are growing -- #Watergarden #AquaFarm #undofoodAUNZ
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Can I grow flowers in my Water Garden?

Flowers require higher quantities of nutrients than our one betta can provide. Leafy greens and herbs require lower nutrient levels and work great with the Water Garden. That said, feel free to experiment! We love to hear what plants are growing in customers’ Water Gardens and how they’re doing.
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What are the ingredients in the fish food?

The fish food contains a combination of ingredients that provide the necessary proteins, vitamins, and dietary supplements for your fish. These include krill meal, kelp, herring meal, spirulina, biotin, and vitamin B12 supplement.
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What is D-Klor?

D-Klor is a chemical free dechlorinator made from vitamin C and aloe vera. In addition to removing chlorine from the water, which is harmful to fish health, the D-Klor enhances the fish's natural protective slime coating.
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What is ZymBac?

Zym Bac contains beneficial bacteria that establish the biological filtration in your tank. They kickstart the cycling in the tank and help correct for ammonia and nitrite levels that might otherwise be harmful to your fish by converting them to nitrates - the nutrients the plants then take up to grow!
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Where do I re-order supplies for my Water Garden?

You can re-order all Home Grown Ponics aquatic supplies, and Organic Seeds for replanting from our Supplies and Accesories section. 
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Setting up your Water Garden

Help setting up your submersible water pump

When setting up the submersible water pump, place pump inside of the tank and thread the flexible tube through the small circle in the back right-hand corner of the grow bed. Bend the flexible tube and nestle it into the "tube groove" to allow water to pour horizontally into the grow bed. Finally plug in your pump to turn it on.

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How long will it take to set up my Water Garden?

Water Garden set up requires 20 minutes of actionable set up time and 30 minutes of waiting. All in all, it will take about 50 minutes to get your AquaFarm up and running. 
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Does the Water Garden need electricity?

Yes, you'll need to plug the pump into a nearby outlet.
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Where should I keep my Water Garden?

When growing basil or other perennial herbs light-loving plants, you'll want to put your Water Garden somewhere that receives a significant amount of direct sunlight - ideally by a south-facing window. If possible, try to orient the tank in a way that blocks sunlight from hitting the water in the tank, but allows light to reach the plants - this helps prevent algae from growing in the tank. If you don't have a spot like the one described above, we highly recommend you grow wheatgrass, as it grows fantastically in low light conditions. You can also invest in a small grow light - recommendations of ours can be found here.

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How high should I fill the water in the tank?

The system works best when the water level is at the bottom of the textured line. Keeping the water at this level helps maintain good water flow and allows bettas room to breathe.

Betta fish have what’s called a labyrinth organ. A bit like a lung, it allows them to breathe oxygen from above the water’s surface. Wild bettas were often found in rice paddies, drainage ditches, and stagnant ponds throughout Southeast Asia. Through cycles of floods and droughts, they evolved to be able to live in very shallow puddles. Though they can also breathe from their gills, it’s important to always leave a space of air between the surface of the water and the bottom of the grow bed.
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What temperature should my water be?

Native to Southeast Asia, bettas are tropical fish and are happiest in water between 76º-82º F, so just a little warmer than room temperature. Adding a heater to your AquaFarm is simple! Feel free to each out to our customer service at info@fluidgrowers.com.au for suggestions!
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I poured too much D-Klor in the water!

Not to worry! Our D-Klor is made of an all-natural blend of vitamin C and aloe vera and poses little danger to your fish - even if added at larger quantities than necessary.
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How long after adding the D-Klor can I add my fish to the tank?

The D-Klor is effective immediately, so go ahead and add your fish right after you've added the D-Klor.
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Should I use soap when washing the rocks?

Do not use soap when washing the gravel or Growstones. Soap can be very toxic to fish; hot water alone will do the trick! 
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Can I use my own rocks in the plant pots or for gravel?

We highly recommend using the provided Growstones in the plant puts as their lightweight and porous nature help facilitate the nitrification process and plant growth. Feel free to decorate the inside of your tank with the provided gravel and/or your own rocks and decorations though! Keep in mind that the water in your tank is the same water your plants absorb (which will eventually be the plants you eat) so choose decorations that are toxin and BPA/phthalate-free.
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Can I grow different types of plants at the same time?

Yes, you can plant different seeds at the same time, though we recommend you plant them in different plant pots.
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Can I put a live plant in the tank? Can I add decorations?

Live plants inside of the tank add oxygen to the water and help regulate the ecosystem. However, they may use up some of the nutrients that your plants up top need to grow, resulting in slower overall growth. Some plants like wheat grass and various sprouts are not affected by the reduction of nutrients and a live plant in the tank will coexist well with them.

We definitely recommend adding other decorations as bettas enjoy places to hide and swim around. For smaller species of fish, we recommend incorporating decorations to help break up the current. Water flow is crucial to keep the AquaFarm clean and healthy, but decorations will help create more peaceful waters for your fish. Just make sure they are made of food-safe materials, as the water in your tank is the same water your plants use to grow!
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Is the Water Garden recyclable?

The clear tank is made from BPA/phthalate-free recyclable (#7) acrylic and the grow bed and lid are made from BPA/phthalate-free recyclable (#5) polypropylene. Please check with your curbside or local recycling programs about whether they take #7 plastics, as those can be more difficult to recycle.
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Water Garden Fish Care

Does the Water Garden come with a fish?

Your fish companion is a very personal choice, so we leave that to you, and besides water, everything else required to set up the Water Garden is included. If choosing a Siamese Fighter/Betta fish they are known to fight one another when placed in the same tank and prefer to live alone, so please remember to only keep one in the tank.
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How many fish can I keep in my Water Garden?

We recommend keeping one large male betta fish in your AquaFarm. If you’d like to keep more than one fish in your AquaFarm, we recommend following the 1-inch of fish per gallon rule of thumb. 2-3 fancy guppies or neon tetras, sucker fish and Aquarium snails are very good ideas to have in the tank too. Please consult your local pet shop about stocking a 12 ltrs/3 gallon tank.
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Can I keep two Siamese Fighter/bettas together in my Water Garden?

Unfortunately, no. It is believed that betta fish got their name from an ancient clan of warriors called the “Bettah.” As their name suggests, betta fish will fight with each other if placed in the same tank. While it’s true that female bettas are less aggressive than the males, our 3-gallon Water Garden is too small for 2 female bettas to be housed together.
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What types of fish can I keep in my Water Garden?

We recommend keeping one male betta fish in the AquaFarm. They’re particularly hardy fish that fit well with a naturally regulated system like the Water Garden. They also have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breath in additional oxygen from above the water’s surface.

If you’d like to use your AquaFarm as a home for fish other than bettas, we recommend fancy guppies or neon tetras. Keeping a sucker fish or Aquarium snail is a great addition to your Water Garden as well, they will naturally help in tidy up any algae or food waste in the tank. All of these are tropical species of fish and thrive in temperatures between 72° and 82°F.

Some fish are schooling, while others prefer to be solitary. Certain species also prefer to have decorations and places to hide in their tanks. Please consult your local pet store on the preferences of your fish to make sure their home is a happy one!
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How much should I feed my fish?

Since the food we provide with the AquaFarm is on the smaller side, we recommend you feed your betta 6-8 pellets twice a day or 12-15 pellets once a day. Keep a close eye on how your fish responds to this amount though, as each fish is different.

Our feeding instructions and food are meant for bettas, though the food itself can be used for a variety of community fish. Please consult your local pet store on their recommended diets and feeding instructions for the fish you decide to keep in your AquaFarm.

Though bettas are notorious for having big appetites, their stomachs are only roughly the size of one of their eyes. Overfeeding can cause swim bladder issues for your fish, and uneaten food that accumulates at the bottom of the tank can pollute your betta’s water by promoting algae and bacteria (not the beneficial kind) to grow.

If you’d like to give your betta a chance to clear its digestive tract, you can skip feeding one day a week. Bettas can go about a week without food, but if you’re away for longer than that, we recommend investing in an automatic feeder.
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Can I keep a goldfish in the Water Garden?

Though they may look small in stores, fantail goldfish can grow to be 20cm in length, and we do not recommend them as permanent residents of the Water Garden. While the Water Garden may make a good beginner home for a goldfish, please have a larger tank ready to transfer it to as it matures, so you’re not stunting its growth.
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Is the Water Garden a good first home for a Yabbie?

Aquarium Yabbies make excellent pets, but as gold fish the can grow up to 14cm in length, so if you are planning to use the Water Garden as a young yabbie home, please have a larger tank ready to transfer it to as it matures, so you’re not stunting its growth. Remember shelter is very important for them
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Troubleshooting

I just set up my Water Garden. Why is the water cloudy?

It will clear up! It's perfectly normal for the water to get cloudy for 3-4 days after setting up the AquaFarm. If the water is still cloudy for more than 10 days after, please contact us with photos at Info@fluidgrowers.com.au

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My Water Garden has algae, what's wrong?

Algae growth is a common issue in aquariums and develops as a result of the combination of sunlight, nutrients, and water. While algae is perfectly safe for your fish, preventing it will help you keep a clean and clear tank.

You can help prevent rapid algae growth by blocking the back side of your Water Garden and minimising sun exposure to the tank. One or two algae-eating snails or a sucker fish may also be great additions to your AquaFarm, as they will eat the algae and eat additional food and solid waste in your tank. They'll happily clean your tank for you!

Finally, if your tank only receives a small amount of light, a live plant inside of the water will help keep  the water crystal clear.

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My Water Garden isn’t self cleaning. What’s wrong?

If you’ve recently set up your Water Garden and it’s looking cloudy, do not fret! It should clear up within a week. If the cloudiness persists, please contact us with photos at info@fluidgrowers.com.au

The water should be clear if the plants are growing. Plants seeds included with Water Garden have a short life cycle. If it's time to re-plant your wheatgrass or snow peas, and simply pull out as much of the dead plants as possible. Afterwards, plant new seeds on top of the grow stones. Please check the back of your seed packet for additional instructions (ie soaking your seeds over night or rinsing clean). Wheatgrass, Snow Peas and other sprouts will grow quickly and begin filtering the water almost immediately. Consider keeping one plant pot of wheatgrass consistently growing, or one of a perennial herb like basil, mint, parsley or coriander.

If your plants are growing then you may have a bit of algae build up. Algae builds from excessive nutrients, light and heat. However, it's very easy to manage. In most cases we highly recommend keeping a live water plant for your tank. The plant will use up many of the nutrients that algae feeds on, helping to keep your tank clean and clear and your eco system balanced. Adding an algae eating snail to the Water Garden will also help keep the "windows" clean and eat any additional solid buildup in the tank.

If you’re noticing old food accumulating at the bottom of the tank, you’re likely overfeeding your fish. You can vacuum this old food up with a siphon and lessen the amount you feed your fish, monitoring your fish closely as you change its diet.

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The water isn't circulating, what do I do?

Check your pump! After a while, the pump can get clogged and needs to be rinsed out. Please see the manufacturer's instructions on how to clean the pump.  

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My plants are not growing.

First, make sure your Water Garden is setup correctly and that your pump is functioning. Plants need water to grow so make sure that water is being pumped up the grow tray and cycled back down into the tank through one of the drain holes.

Next, plants need light. Your AquaFarm is just like any other garden so different plants will require different amounts of light. If you are growing basil or other herbs that like full sun, check out some synthetic light options. If your Water Garden is housed in a low light area consider growing wheat grass, snow peas or other low light plants like salad sprouts.

Finally, often plants that we eat have a short life cycle. If it's time to replant, simply pull out as much of the dead plants as possible. No need to thoroughly clean the rocks. Afterwards, plant new seeds on top of the grow stones. Please check the back of your seed packet for additional instructions (ie soaking your seeds over night or rinsing clean).

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Water Garden in Australia & New Zealand

Why should I only buy Water Garden from fluidgrowers.com.au in Australia and New Zealand?

Only at FluidGrowers you would find products that are genuine, quarantine approved, and adapted to our country. You’ll always get: a) AU/NZ electrical compliant parts, b) Local seeds, and c) all natural supplies as included in the country of origin. Any other Water Garden (Aquafarm) from internet retail sites is a US version. If delivered to Australia, you'll get non working electrical parts, and an incomplete set of supplies to set it up, as local customs would have seized most of the items for quarantine and destruction.

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Is Water Garden the same as an AquaFarm?

Basically Yes, Water Garden incorporates a few improvements in local components for AU/NZ like a new version of the pump, different and more seeds, and packaging changes that make it easier to travel and display to you. In everything else, the products are identical. Just with a new name, to align to its denomination in other markets around the world.

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