About this project
How does the EcoQube work?
The heart of the EcoQube is the aquaponics filter which uses plants, the world’s best and most natural filter, to keep your aquarium clean.
WELL DESIGNED - Built from scratch and 3D printed with every aspect examined and every detail refined. We worked extremely hard to build this from the ground up with a bigger purpose. So that we can scale this same filter for purposes like water sewage treatment, waste water clean-up and even filters for aquaculture.
And integrated into the EcoQube!
NEVER CHANGE OR REPLACE FILTERS AGAIN!- LOW MAINTENANCE
INNOVATIVE - First ever: compact UV, filter with LED and 2" filter that pump 100 gallons per hour
BEAUTIFUL - Nature’s most exquisite decoration for any space.
Our names are Eric and Kevin. We’re UC San Diego students and aquarium geeks who met in high school and instantly became intrigued by planted aquatic ecosystems. As we got older, we realized the bigger challenges humanity as a whole faces in terms of food and water shortages so we decided to use our knowledge of aquariums to deliver the concept of aquaponics and the impact it can have to as many people as possible. Here's some background on us and what we've done:
We started out working in various stores. Kevin actually served as a biologist assistant at the Steinhart Aquarium (California Academy of Sciences) where he managed and maintained 100,000 gallon systems as well as serve as the operations manager at Aquatic Central, the largest aquarium specific store in San Francisco. Eric was one of the first employees at Archaea International Corporation (DBA Aqua Forest Aquarium) also based in San Francisco where he focused on sales, customer relations and product user interface development.
Kevin's Garage at age 16. Our walk-in closet in college.
Eventually, we decided to start our own online aquarium store.
And continued our passion for connecting people with nature through aquatic ecosystem installations. This installation was performed earlier this year in a restaurant where over 1000 people see it and interact with it EVERYDAY.
We brought our love of aquatic ecosystems with us to college, going from keeping aquariums in a garage in SF to a closet in San Diego. We decided against on-campus housing because we couldn't bear to part from our passion for aquariums. Right now, we create unique aquatic ecosystems for people in SF and SD, but we'd like to expand our reach to you through the EcoQube!
Solutions Farms (Vista, California)
One of the LARGEST aquaponics farms in the US. Also where Kevin performed research on the sustainable cycle of Aquaponics.
Please support our mission by sharing the EcoQube with as many people as you know! You can learn more about us and see our story in pictures here:http://on.fb.me/17iU7oe
So WHY is our food still grown in soil?
WHY are we throwing out billions of gallons of water every year from fish farming?
WHY do we need pesticides in our vegetables, antibiotics and hormones in our fish?! And whatever we don't consume, flush it out into the rivers and oceans?
1. Plant farmers are not familiar with fish. Spraying pesticides, fungicides and utilizing GMOs to maximize crop yield is much easier than transitioning to aquaponics.
2. Fish farmers are not familiar with growing plants. Using antibiotics, flushing out billions of gallons of waste filled water raising fish in a desert is much easier than aquaponics.
With easy access to anything we want whenever we want, we have lost connection with our food, the way it's grown, and the rest of the world.
OUR FOUNDERS MESSAGE TO YOU:
Aquaponics is a clear solution to address many issues of water and food shortages all over the world and we hope the EcoQube can help bring this incredible yet simple solution into our everyday lives and influence the way we perceive the larger issues in the world today. We know there are these horrific things happening but we've been so disconnected with our environment and the negative impacts we make with our everyday decisions.
We know all these problems can't be solved immediately. We can't solve it with a fish tank no matter how beautiful it is, but we want to make an effort using what we're good at to take the first steps in influencing you to make the world a better place. We want to use the EcoQube as a vehicle to deliver the concept and beauty of aquaponics to as many people's lives as possible. To touch the minds and hearts of as many people as possible.
Because the crazy ones who think they can change the world are the ones who do. –Apple
-Kevin and Eric
At $60,000+, every backer with a light will also have cool cloud cover effects. Imagine watching clouds cover your EcoQube with the touch of a button!
At $100,000+, every backer with a light will have both cloud cover AND LIGHTNING storm effects. Change the weather of your Ecosystem with a touch of a button!!
Herbs and micro-greens can be extremely great filters and will thrive with the EcoQube, but for that same reason, it is EXTREMELY unsafe for food consumption. Chemicals used for aquariums are NOT safe for human consumption and the plants WILL soak these chemicals up. Consumption of the plants grown in the EcoQube is NOT recommended for humans.
International backers will NOT receive plant seeds or fish food as these are items regulated by customs strictly in many countries.
Risks and challenges
We've spent most of the last year working with our partners to mitigate as many risks as possible, yet we know there will still be hurdles along the way. We will always be transparent with our community about challenges, including these:
The biggest risk is having users eat the herbs they've grown in their EcoQube. This is because professional aquaponics farms do not use regular aquarium chemicals for their water treatments. It is entirely unknown if chemicals from regular water treatments will find their way into the herbs. Also, aquariums with frogs, turtles, snails and other more disease-prone animals should not be eaten from. There are simply too many unknowns, and nobody wants a case of salmonella poisoning! It is not recommended to eat anything you produce through the EcoQube.
Ship date: We have built in extra time for the manufacturing process and are confident we will ship by the projected dates, but there is always a chance that things will take longer than planned.
Product changes: As we refine the EcoQube based on additional community feedback and more product testing, slight changes may be made. We'll only make changes that enhance the product experience. From feedback we've received, we already know that the light will be upgraded from a triangle to a rectangle with more LEDs to make it brighter for your ecosystem.
Supplier coordination: We work with a variety of suppliers to source the best materials and ensure the product is developed correctly. Each supplier has its own challenges, which may affect its partners, including us.
Maintenance: As hard as we've worked to make this AS LOW MAINTENANCE AS POSSIBLE, it is still a living ecosystem. As with all ecosystems, there can be imbalances like when your kids throw in a bag of fish food thinking the fish will grow faster, or if the aquarium is placed in the sun even though it comes with a beautiful bright light. Imbalances will cause algae growth and will require a tiny bit of wiping.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The dimensions of the tank you see are ~9.5"x7". We are working on finalizing the dimensions based on YOUR feedback! We will post an update where you guys can vote by commenting towards the end of the campaign. We'd like the tank to be a 7x7 cube but we want to hear what you all think!
The tank you guys see is hand made from acrylic. For the final one, we are deciding between acrylic and polycarbonate for several reasons:
1. Polycarbonate and acrylic are generally optically more clear than any glass that exists on the market right now.
2. To go along with our goal of beauty and perfection, we chose those 2 types of materials because they will not require silicone to be mended together (less obtrusive material, and more beauty). It will actually likely cost more than glass because we would have to use more material since polycarbonate and acrylic is less rigid than glass.
3. With our goal of being sustainable, we wanted to reuse as much material as possible and eliminate waste (like packaging). So our goal is actually to use the AQUARIUM as the PACKAGING. You can imagine glass to not be the best packaging during shipments when things are stacked. Here's a photo of what it would look like with the aquarium as packaging: http://on.fb.me/1aDoTat
Message us and let us know what you think!
We originally built the Aquaponics filter in the EcoQube with commercial use in mind so it can be scaled for food production and run clean water through plants we harvest from the filter but a typical small aquarium will not require UV sterilization although it helps keep the water extra clear and clean by acting as a buffer for mistakes such as over feeding or too much light which can cause bacterial and algae blooms.
The compact UV sterilizer can be added on as an attachment as well!
We're testing out different seeds right now and will likely package it with a type of small flower since that's not often seen in a living area. We are still working on finding the perfect seed.
If you're wondering what to plant, the easiest thing we've been using has been mint and basil. It brings an AMAZING aroma into the room as well.
But if you want to please the ladies, tropaeolum majus is a beautiful flower we're still testing.
Keep in mind seeds can only be shipped domestically.
The UV light is the first ever 265 nano meter LED used for water sterilization in aquarium filters and is rated for over 10,000 hours! It also only needs to be on 1 hour/day to clean your EcoQube. So it should last a lifetime.
We recommend white cloud minnows and zebra fish for starters but you can definitely get a bit creative getting into more tropical fish (like we did) in warmer room temperatures.
The internet generally suggests 10 gallons mainly because 10 gallons of water generally stays cleaner longer than say 5 gallons of water, but to put it in perspective, typical aquariums have little to no filtration. Think, would the fish prefer a larger tank like a mansion filled with their own feces or would they prefer a smaller environment with plants and the cleanest water they have ever been in? The aquaponics filter turns around a whopping 100 gallons of water per hour!
It's VERY hard to come up with a fine line or minimum gallon amount from our experience. It's all relative to the filtration capacity (mass of plants filtering the water).
What we would suggest is start with 2 small zebra fish or minnows and see how they like it and then slowly add more as the plants grow if you'd like. If you placing in a warmer area (75* room temperature) you can easily keep smaller fish like guppies, scarlet badis (really cool!) and many others like we have. But again for starters, we suggest sticking with minnows and zebra fish.
If you're looking to put more fish in, please do not cramp them in the little EcoQube. Simply purchase a larger aquarium and place the aquaponics filter on the aquarium for optimal filtration!
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- (42 days)