EcoGarden Frequently Asked Questions

Plants

What kind of plants can I grow?

The EcoGarden has three grow beds, each with the capability of housing two smaller plants (think the little pots of herbs that you get from the grocery store). All of the following herbs, microgreens and vegetables work well in the EcoGarden:

  • Herbs: Basil, Coriander, Dill, Rosemary
  • Microgreens: Watercress, Chia, Chives, Kale, Pea shoots
  • Leafy Greens: Romaine lettuce, Collard Greens, Watercress
  • Chilis

If you’re new to aquaponics, we recommend starting with herbs and/or microgreens, and once you’re feeling comfortable with that, working your way up to the leafy greens and chilis.

What can I use to grow from - seeds or plants?

Both! You can use, for example, herb plants from the grocery store or a gardening store (just remove the dirt so that the roots are exposed), or seeds to grow from. Obviously it will take longer to go from seed to harvest, so we recommend that method more with fast-growing plants such as the microgreens and leafy greens. 

If you start with seeds, remember to germinate them before planting them in the EcoGarden. There are many ways to undertake this process, here’s a decent guide: https://www.fullbloomgreenhouse.com/how-to-germinate-seeds/. The shoots need to be about 2cm high to transplant them into the EcoGarden.

How long does it take a plant to be ready for harvest?

Overall, growing plants aquaponically goes about 3x faster than conventional growing, so this means your plants will be ready to harvest anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after planting. Microgreens are the fastest, taking from a few days to two weeks from seed to harvest.

On the other hand, it takes around 4-5 weeks to grow a basil plant from seed. Other herbs might take 2-3 weeks instead. It really depends on what you want to grow. See the table below for more detailed growing times.

Growing from an already established plant is, of course, the fastest method, and works best with herbs and leafy greens. With this method, all you need to do is remove the dirt from the plant so that the roots are exposed, plant it in the grow medium (gravel, clay pellets, etc.), and trim some of the leaves so that the plant has room for new growth.

Plant Category From Seed (post-germination) From Plant
Microgreens a few days-2 weeks
Leafy greens/chilis 4-5 weeks 1-2 weeks
Most herbs 5-6 weeks 1-2 weeks

Is there any preparation needed when growing from seed?

Yes, the seeds will need to be germinated and reach a height of 2cm before being planted in the EcoGarden. You can read about how to germinate seeds here: https://www.fullbloomgreenhouse.com/how-to-germinate-seeds/.

What about starting from a plant? How do I transplant an already established plant in the EcoGarden?

All you have to do is remove the dirt so that the roots are exposed and set the plant in the growth medium (gravel or clay pellets). Make sure to trim the plant so that it can allow for new growth.

How can I grow again after harvesting?

Some plants, such as basil, can be harvested many times without having to re-plant. In order to ensure that the plant will keep growing, try to limit your harvesting to one-third of the total plant growth.

If after harvesting your plant isn’t coming back, and you need to start over, the roots of the previous plants need to be taken away and the grow medium (gravel, clay pellets, etc.) needs to be cleansed thoroughly. Then you are all set to get growing again!

Fish & Aquarium

What kind of fish can I have?

Based on the average 1″ of fish per gallon rule (2.54 cm of fish per 3.78 L of water), you’ll only want to put small fish in the EcoGarden. Here are a few basic options:

  • Easy: 1 Betta fish (should always be alone)
  • Colorful: Up to 15 smaller shrimps
  • Entertaining: 2-3 guppies
  • French: Up to 15 Snails (great algae eaters and can be combined with any other types of fish)
  • Advanced: Rasbora fish (very sensitive, not recommended for beginners)

The best is to consult your local aquarium store on the species they carry that would thrive in a 30L aquarium.

What fish can be combined together?

Again, we encourage you to consult with your local aquarium specialist, but here are a few recommendations: 

  • 2-3 Guppies (any small colored kind) + 1 small catfish (Otocinclus catfish)
  • 2 Guppies + 2 Otocinclus catfish (catfish are great at eating algae)
  • 1 Betta fish
  • 2 Killifish (Kap Lopez), one male & one female (they are very sensitive)
  • 2 Kap Lopez + 2 Otocinclus + 2 shrimps
  • 5 Corydoras pygmaeus (smaller type of Catfish)
  • 3 Guppies + 5 Corydoras pygmaeus

Do I need a heater?

Tropical fish definitely prefer a warmer climate, around 26°C. A heater is recommended and this will be communicated to EcoGarden users (in the app as well as through our other channels) if they decide to acquire a tropical fish. We will make it very clear which types of fish thrive at which temperatures.

Is the heater included?

The heater is not included in all packages. You can purchase the package with the integrated heater if you are planning on getting tropical fish.

What about decorations?

Decorations not only look good in your aquarium, they also act as a place for the fish to hide behind. We will offer decorations, as well as wallpaper, in our webshop, or you can find them at your local aquarium store.

How does the feeder work?

The feeder is based on a rotation system, where the feeding mechanism rotates a set number of times per day, releasing food each time it rotates. This continues until the feeder is almost out of food.  The frequency of rotation is controlled in the app, and depends on the number of fish, size of fish, etc. For example, a Betta’s stomach is small, so 1 rotation of the feeder, releasing a small amount of food 2 times/day, is enough.

How often do I need to refill the feeder?

Feeding 1-2 times/day, which is pretty standard and a good average, you can store food for approximately 3-4 months. Refilling the food compartment is simple and takes around 1-2 minutes.

What kind of fish food works best?

Flakes work the best with the automatic feeder, but they need to be small enough to fit in the feeder hole. Keep in mind that if you want your plants to be organic, the fish food must be organic as well. Therefore we recommend medium-sized organic flakes for the feeder.

General

How do I control the EcoGarden?

You can customize the settings for the light and the automatic feeder using our app or let it run automatically for optimal, consistent results.

You can also integrate the EcoGarden with Smart Home devices such as Google Voice and Alexa. This will enable you to feed the fish by voice command.

Water temperature can be reported to you through the app, but the heater must be adjusted manually.

Where can I use the EcoGarden?

Anywhere! The EcoGarden is a great product for the home, but also places like offices, classrooms, cafes, restaurants, and hotels. We advise you to position the EcoGarden against a wall or piece of furniture to ensure stability.

Are there any risks associated with use?

Improper care of the EcoGarden such as not cleaning the components as recommended could increase the chance of algae growth.

What features are available?

The features can be divided into two main categories: monitor and control.

Monitor:

  • Temperature
  • Ambient light
  • Fish feeding schedule
  • Feeder refill and water cleaning reminders
  • Plant library
  • Fish library

Control:

  • Automatic fish feeder
  • LED panel

The EcoGarden is also compatible with voice assistant control (using Google Home and Alexa). There is even a ‘vacation mode’ where the system will take care of itself completely.

Where can I buy the EcoGarden?

Right now the EcoGarden is only available on Indiegogo, but will soon be available at stores in Sweden and across Europe.

Interested in a distribution partnership? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact: hello@ecobloom.se.

What sizes do you offer?

We just offer one size right now, with the dimensions of 16,7″ x 10,2″ x 10,6″ (42,5cm x 26cm x 27cm). It has 3 grow beds which can each hold two smaller plants, so six plants total.

Will there be scaled up versions of the EcoGarden?

Not now, but hopefully soon! If this is something you’re interested in, please let us know at hello@ecobloom.se.

Tech

Is the app available for iPhone?

The app is only available on Android devices right now (November 2019), but we are working on an iPhone compatible app which should be released very soon.

How does it integrate with other connected devices?

Through Wi-Fi connection. Connect it to your Alexa or Google Home device, phone or computer.

Can it be controlled by other Smart Home devices not listed above?

Not currently, but that’s something we’re working on for a future upgrade.

What kind of sensors are you using?

Environmental sensors (Water temperature and ambient light).

What can we expect from the app?

In the app you can learn about sustainable farming and the process of aquaponics, be notified about the health of your EcoGarden, and even get inspired and share recipes with the community or your friends. One of our favorite parts of the app is vacation mode, where the system takes care of itself completely.

Set-up/Maintenance

How do I set it up?

The system is designed so it can be set up easily, by anyone. You simply…

  1. Fill the tank with dechlorinated water.
  2. Connect the power adapter to the wall.
  3. Water cycle so that the water is ready to support life (explained in the below question “What is water cycling?”).
  4. Decorate with gravel (and other objects for the fish to hide behind, and make it look pretty!)
  5. Fill the upper grow bed compartments with a grow medium (gravel, clay pellets, etc.).
  6. Add the fish, and allow them to acclimate for a few days.
  7. Add germinated seeds or plants to the grow beds.
  8. Get growing!

This process is also laid out clearly for you in the app.

How do I dechlorinate water?

It is important to dechlorinate the water to be used in the tank, otherwise it can be harmful to the fish. We recommend either boiling the water first, or using Vitamin C tablets to dechlorinate the water. The best is to talk to your local aquarium specialist on a product or method that will work for you.

What is water cycling and when do I need to do it?

Water cycling is a simple process that prepares the water in the tank to support life! It needs to be done before you introduce your fish to the EcoGarden. To complete the water cycling process, just add a small amount of fish food into your water (as if you were feeding the fish), and allow the water to cycle through the system for a few days. This allows bacteria to grow, which will then be able to break down fish waste into nutrients, and create a healthy ecosystem.

What are the realistic time/maintenance needs?

The EcoGarden requires occasional water changes. Twice a month, you should take 20% of the water (about 6 liters) out of the aquarium and replace it with dechlorinated water from the tap (either filtered or dechlorinated using another method). This shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. 

Cleaning the tank can be done on a monthly basis, and simply involves removing and rinsing the decorative grave and integrated sponges, which you then put back into the system. For ongoing cleaning, we recommend adding a snail which not only looks cool, but helps to remove the algae (natural vacuum cleaner).

How does it work to get replacement parts?

We have a 365-day guarantee on all parts of the EcoGarden. Simply reach out to us at hello@ecobloom.se and we will take care of the replacement for you. If you would like to purchase additional parts or decorations, you can purchase those on our webshop.

Power/Internet Needs

What happens if the power goes out?

The fish would be fine for a few hours but after that you would need to either transfer them to a different container or re-connect power because the pump and heater would stop working.

What happens if the internet goes down?

The pump and heater will continue to work and your fish should be fine as long as they get food before too long and the water is kept cool and clean enough. The automatic feeding function, however, will not work, and you will not be able to get app updates regarding your water temperature and cleaning, etc.

Durability/Sustainability

What certifications do you have?

We have the following certifications: CE, FCC and RoHS.

Is it safe?

Yes, the product is completely safe to use and could not cause harm in any way. The materials used in the EcoGarden are 100% recyclable, food-grade and BPA-free, which means it’s completely safe for both humans and animals.

How durable is it?

The parts are made out of sturdy PC and ABS. All of the parts are food-grade and BPA-free and are known for their sturdy and robust properties. They are also light, compared to glass, which makes the EcoGarden easier to move around and transport if necessary.

Is it waterproof?

Yes, it is built to withstand water splashes. However, it is not recommended to submerge the lamp shaft because there are connecters that could be damaged if not careful. It will, however, be protected and sealed as a precaution.

How is the product produced? Sustainability?

The EcoGarden is manufactured in China, where we have chosen suppliers because of their close proximity to each other, to avoid unnecessary shipping. We also chose these suppliers because they work in a sustainable way, recycling and reusing any wastage from making the parts. The EcoGarden is made of 100% recyclable plastic, and will also be enabled to be re-sold to a second owner.

Can the product be transferred over to a new owner?

Yes, the EcoGarden can be transferred to a new owner and sold on the secondhand market.