Feb.27, 2013 | By Geraldine Bouvry

Saying that 3D printing can make any ideas come alive has just proved to be literally true with the launch of a domesticated self-cleaning fish tank! Not that the fish were 3D printed themselves, the technology does not go that far just yet…

This prototyped fish tank was created by Fathom, a California-based company, specialized in Stratasys 3D printers’ sales and services. As such, they offer product prototyping using their high resolution 3D printing equipment (Connex and Eden models).

This 3D printed fish tank does not only remain a decorative and entertaining object but it brings an added value for us, humans, which is to grow food and eat it.

The project, called “Back to Roots”, was founded in 2009 by two graduates, Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora. It took its roots during a class lecture when both came across the idea of being able to potentially grow gourmet mushrooms entirely on recycled coffee grounds. Fascinated by the idea of bringing sustainable farming into home on a small scale, they developed an easy-to-use kit for growing Oyster mushrooms and became full time mushroom farmers.

Building on the success of their mushroom kit and on the concept of “home-made and do-it-yourself” sustainable farming, the two youngsters then developed a fish tank consisting of a home farming aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a sustainable, traditionally large-scale food production system which combines aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment.  Alejandro and Nikhil wanted to create a small-scale version of this concept and turned to Fathom to help bring their idea to life.  

In practice, the fish provide nutrients to the plants which are being grown at the surface of the fish tank. The plants, in return, naturally clean the water by pumping the nutrients out.

The entire tank and hood were prototyped on the Objet Connex multi-material 3D printer, using the VeroClear transparent material for the aquarium body and the VeroWhitePlus material for the hood.

The selling price for this 3D printed fish tank is 60 dollars, when purchased on the Back to Roots website.







Posted in 3D printing Applications

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