Did you spot my Ask Mother Nature advice column yesterday? It was about keeping eco-friendly home aquariums. It’s a timely topic, I suppose, since cats and dogs have been getting so much play around MNN lately but pet fish … not so much. As I mentioned in the column, my very first pet was a goldfish named Georgy Girl that I won at a carnival and took home in a plastic baggie. She lived for eight happy years.

In yesterday’s column, I stress that the Mother Nature-preferred way to keep home aquariums is to keep 'em smallish (for energy conservation) and freshwater (to ensure that fish are captive bred and not unsustainably captured in the wild). Hot on the tail, or fin in this case, of yesterday's aqua-advice comes a rather unusual home aquarium concept from designers Sheng-Zhe Feng and Ling-Yuan Chou: a 2-in-1 fishbowl and indoor planter.

I’ve seen my share of ingenious, leftfield planter concepts (the ANDREA planter/humidifier being one) but this plant pot/pet habitat combo takes the cake. The way this fishbowl/planter works is quite simple and symbiotic: the fish waste provides nutrients to the plant and the plant naturally filters and cleans the water for Mr. Goldfish. Plus, the water in the bowl keeps the plant’s soil humid so there’s minimal need for watering the plant.

Yanko Design elaborates on some science-y benefits of this unique fish and plant-keeping setup:

Using this system of cycling materials keeps the fish poo from staying in the water long enough to turn it acidic. It also can reduce the use of chemical substance such as nitrifying bacteria and other materials, 'maintaining the steady neutral PH quality of the water.'
I’m not sure if/when this fern n’ fish mash-up design will become available. In the meantime, it’s pretty neat to look at. What do you think? Silly? Or a worthy piece of forward-thinking sustainable design?

Via [Yanko Design]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

An indoor goldfish garden
Want to meld your love of greenery and aquatic life with a koi pond but don't have the space to do it? Here's an intriguing solution: A 2-in-1 planter and fishb