Fish Tank of Eternal Life

Designer Rob Maslin would like us all to think of the following phrase while looking at his project (in this post) and while going about creating industrial designs for the rest of our conscious lives: There is no such thing as sustainable product, only the by-products of a sustainable system. To be sustainable, first we must establish a close-loop system and the carrying capacity, then the system must be managed and not over- or under-consumed.” Thusly Maslin presents an aquaponic project by the name of “Free Lunch.” It’s an office-based fishtank with a loop of production and two sources of food.

Salad for the humans as well as fish, if the fish start to overpopulate of course. While the fish are alive, they create waste in the form of ammonia which is turned into nitrite, then nitrates by bacteria in the water. The nitrates are filtered through the plant bed above, the plants cleaning the water for the fish to live in, creating a lovely little circle of life, a closed-loop system with two food crops.

Rob Maslin lets us know that this system, with a 225 liter volume fish tank will grow approximately ten 15cm plants per week, which is enough for an average size bunch of basil or salad leaves on a four-week cycle. To produce a “decent-sized” edible fish stock, (for example, 18cm carp,) the tank would have to be twice the size it is shown in the example in the gallery here. The perfect balance is yet to be found!

Designer: Rob Maslin