You see this aquarium right here?

It goes by many names and comes in several different sizes, from 2 gallon to 3.5 gallon. There are many different brands of this kind of aquarium, and judging by the positive reviews most of them aren’t too bad.

HOWEVER one of these brands can and will kill your fish. A month ago, I bought an Aquaculture 11.4 litres (3 gallons) 360′ View Aquarium with multicolored LED lights as shown above. It was $40 and looked pretty cool, plus it was the perfect size for a betta, so why the hell not?

After I got it set up (following the instructions to a T), the first betta I put in it died within hours. The next two also died fairly quickly. I tested my parameters and besides one of the bettas (either the 2nd or 3rd) “vomiting” a lot which resulted in a nitrite spike, there was nothing at all that could have harmed them- no ammonia, no nitrates, nothing. The pH and hardness were where they needed to be, I had a small heater and a thermometer to measure temperature, everything was rinsed before use, and I conditioned the water. I took a sample to PetSmart to be tested and they could find nothing wrong.

It was only after I (stupidly) put a fourth betta in it that a strong chemical smell started coming from the tank. I’m talking, like, the smell of bleach. I couldn’t breathe. I quickly rehomed the betta in question (he made a full recovery) and returned the tank to the store. They replaced it with an identical one and I, hoping I just got a “bad batch”, set this one up and rehomed the betta again.

Nope. This tank, too, leached chemicals into the water. Please take note of this brand and as cute of a tank as it is for a decent price, do NOT waste your money on it. It caused me so much heartache and a few great fish.

Avoid this tank at all costs. Probably the entire brand.


Dr Warhol’s Periodic Table of Microbes, The Small Guide to Small Things

92.  U.  Undibacterium

I will go straight for the easy jokes and say, “No, this isn’t a microbe that lives in your underwear.” We could write a book on stuff that could potentially be found there, including the weird ones that eat nylon or cellulose. The irony here is that Undibacterium was first isolated from drinking water in Sweden, and if you can’t get good clean water in Sweden, where can you get it? The organisms were actually named because the Latin root word unda means water, and these are rod-shaped microbes that live in fresh water (“undah watah”, how easy is that!)

The microbes have also been isolated in permafrost and semitropical prawn aquaculture ponds, and one is even named for the giant fresh water prawn Macrobrachium. You might say “Who cares?” but your life will be changed forever after you see how big a giant freshwater prawn really is. No, really! They are a foot long and weigh a pound.

But frankly there are not a lot of U microbes, and there are only 8 species of the genus Undibacterium. Unlike many other organisms listed in The Table of Microbes, Undibacterium are remarkable for the long list of things they don’t eat.  It’s too long to list here, but if you are a microbiologist accustomed to keying out an organism using fermentation patterns, you are out of luck.

Undibacterium cells are Gram negative rods about 0.5 microns wide and 2 microns long.

Get a Periodic Table of Microbes poster today!

Copyright 2017 Warhol.


Hi Guys,

The rain started very early this morning and everything looks so green!

Everything is growing very well, we still haven’t lost any of the seedlings and have even added sage, coriander, basil and tomatoes into the spare spaces.

There is a definite line that exists in aquaponics between running a system on seasol whilst waiting for fish to arrive, and the week or two after fish arrive and the system begins to be powered by waste and the nitrite/nitrate/ammonia cycle.

You can almost see the plants grow and count the new buds and shoots daily.

What will be the biggest learning curve for me in the Deep Water System, will be planting patterns, where things grow best in this system, what slows water flow such as the celery, and what plants need the most or least nutrients. This is really very exciting!

The little system is all mapped for us, we know what grows the best where and what we can get each year from the space we have, but this new system is completely different. And its fun, and we love the fact that we can share it all with all of you.

Thanks for following everyone, and welcome to our new followers!

I haven’t done an update on my main tank for a while.

3ft - 170 litre - Freshwater Community.

-Pair of Pearl (Lace) Gourami’s.
-Nine Black Widow Tetras.
-Eight Danios (Pearl, Leopard, Zebra).
-Twenty two Neon Tetras.
-Twelve Peppered Corydora’s.

I have changed some stuff around and removed/moved some plants. I’m pretty happy with how it’s looking at the moment.



Hi Everyone!

Ok, so an update for you on the Deep Water Aquaponics System.

If you remember, we began planting this system on 9 March this year, so that makes it around 40 days from planting.

The standout for me are the red lettuces. They have turned a deep red colour and look great! Have a look at the first days planting and see what you think!

The Silver Beet too, the last week has seen a big jump in growth.
In fact since we added the aeration and the trout, it has leaped forward in health and growth.

The only significant laggers are the strawberries, they are very slow compared to the leafy greens both in foliage and root growth.

Other than that, the new system is really showing promise very early. It is yet to finish cycling, but it will get there! 

Very Happy!

So, I know Petco gets a ton of hate from fishkeepers, because they’re a big box store and employees don’t really have any education on the animals they sell… But as someone who works at Petco, I really do wanna let y'all know that behind the scenes and higher up they really are trying to make a difference.

Petco has made a promise to sustainably source all fish by 2022. They are investing billions of dollars right now in aquaculture. In fact I just read on the company website that they’ve now begun selling 100% aquacultured yellow tangs, and now they’re investing heavily into breeding blue hippo tangs in captivity as well!

Idk I just think its great and I’m really proud of them lol. They’re also putting up articles for employees lately about specific fish care requirements, encouraging us to ask questions about the tanks for the fish… Such as when someone wants to buy a pleco, informing them that the tank should be 75+ gals, etc. Definitely headed in the right direction, I think


Hi All, 

I have often been criticized for the depths of my Deep Water Aquaponic beds, comments to the nature of ‘too deep’ or ‘waste of water’ and even ‘un-traditional’ and some other far out there comments.

But this is why we made them 450mm deep and not the traditional 150-200mm deep the literature recommends. It makes sense when you think about it, if a media based aquaponic bed is recommended to be a minimum of 300mm deep for adequate root growth, why make a deep water bed only 200mm deep!

These celery roots reach the full 450mm depth of the grow beds, (nearly half a metre!) and 200mm outwards under the raft beside it. So much so that the net pots directly next to these need to be empty or risk being over run.

Even at this depth, these roots still slow water flow significantly, and had the beds been shallow ones, these celery roots would have clogged the system up for sure. We are only pushing 1000ltrs per hour through these beds, so its not a great water flow as it is, but i will need to keep a very careful eye on this when the other seedlings begin to reach full size to make sure i have adequate water flow.

Just something to think about.

Have a safe weekend everyone, and WELCOME to all our new followers! Thanks very much for taking an interest in us, in means a lot to us!

The Scary Thing About a Virus That Kills Farmed Fish
Zika and Ebola get all the headlines, but diseases that threaten livestock and crops could be even more dangerous to humanity.
By Ed Yong

In 2005, fishermen pulled out 316 tons of tilapia, a tasty freshwater fish, from the Sea of Galilee in Israel. But four years later, the catch had fallen to just 8 tons. This wasn’t just another story about overfishing, though: Throughout the country, in the summer of 2009, farmed tilapia were also dying en masse.

“Farmers lost 20 to 30 percent of the fish in their ponds, and it was spreading from one pond to the next,” recalls Avi Eldar, a state-employed fish vet, who was called to investigate. The enigmatic die-offs didn’t fit any known parasite, toxin, bacterium, or virus. “We couldn’t diagnose the problem. We suspected that there was a new bug in town…”
The Seas Will Save Us

Tremendously intriguing article on ocean farming and the prospect of the “blue-green economy.” Too often our thinking stops at water’s edge:

//This is our opportunity to rearrange the seafood plate by moving ocean plants and bivalves to the center and wild fish to the edges. Imagine being a chef in 2015 and discovering that there are thousands of vegetable species you’ve never cooked with. It’s like discovering corn, arugula, tomatoes, and lettuce for the first time. As one of my partner chefs — and the former punk-rock drummer — Brooks Headley says, “As a chef it feels frightening, daunting, and exciting all at once.” Ocean greens such as kelp are not small boutique crops. We can grow incredible amounts of food in small areas: 25 tons of greens and 250,000 shellfish per acre in five months. If you were to create a network of our ocean farms totaling the size of Washington state, you could feed the planet.

This is zero-input food that requires no fresh water, no fertilizer, no feed, no arid land. It is hands down the most sustainable food on the planet.//


Ok, so we planted chilli’s, and a new bed of parsley,  the strawberries are late but growing madly for a late run, we planted spinach under the pumpkin, and we are going to try two beds of Kale this season.

The green capsicum is also late to produce, we had only this big one all season but in the last week we have 5-6 more just budding.

We also got in more broccoli, and cauliflower, we are also trying rhubarb for the first time, along with cabbages and Brussel sprouts! AND snow peas.

We are already for another great season!
Fishes Have Feelings, Too
If we understood how sophisticated and sentient these marine creatures were, we might treat them better.
By Jonathan Balcombe

As a biologist who specializes in animal behavior and emotions, I’ve spent the past four years exploring the science on the inner lives of fishes. What I’ve uncovered indicates that we grossly underestimate these fabulously diverse marine vertebrates. The accumulating evidence leads to an inescapable conclusion: Fishes think and feel.

Because fishes inhabit vast, obscure habitats, science has only begun to explore below the surface of their private lives. They are not instinct-driven or machinelike. Their minds respond flexibly to different situations. They are not just things; they are sentient beings with lives that matter to them. A fish has a biography, not just a biology…