A Comprehensive Review of the Back to the Roots Aquafarm Fish Tank

As a die hard marine life enthusiast, I had begun collecting various species of fishes, exotic water plants, designer fish bowls and aquarium decors from my very childhood. So, this is not the first time I purchased an aquarium for my house. An elegant, vivacious Betta is the latest addition to my collection of fishes. Although they are dainty, intelligent creatures, they defecate just like any other living creature. Without proper cleaning, the water will turn heavily toxic and the life of the little ones will be in danger.

Cleaning the water tank manually is time-consuming. You cannot scoop the entire water out of the tank at once to avoid hurting the fish. Therefore, I was desperately looking for a self-cleaning fish tank for my new pal. My search was over when I chanced upon Back to the Roots Aquafarm 3 gallon fish tank. I have been using it for a while now and here’s a thorough review of this self-cleaning tank which you might find useful.

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Detailed Specifications

Before going ahead with a purchase, you need to make sure the tank you are purchasing is the latest version, and you also need to check out all the features thoroughly. Personally, I found the performance quite up to the mark so far. I’m listing down the product details below to help you get a clear insight of its functionality:

  • Silent underwater pump and 360 degree view.
  • Adjustable cutting length.
  • Approximately 13.3 inches x 9.4 inches x 13.3 inches in dimension.
  • Weighs not more than 10 pounds.

This product has its own share of pros and flaws. You can ask your service provider to set-up the equipment or you can follow the manual and do it yourself without much hassle. Here’s a nice little infographic created by Back to the Roots to help you understand the science behind this self cleaning fish tank.

science behind self cleaning fish tanks


Natural Growth of Plant Food

This self-cleaning fish tank, apart from maintaining the hygiene by itself, supplies food for the plants as well. Back to the Roots Aquafarm has an innovative mechanism that helps in replicating a closed-loop ecosystem right inside the fish tank. A grow bed with numerous plant pods on it is placed on the top of the aquarium, the submersible pump flushes out waste from the water and deposits into the beds. The saplings thrive on fish waste.

Aesthetic Decoration

You can adorn your self-cleaning fish tank with exotic herbs, multicolored wild plants, dried leaves, shrubs and watch your Harlequins and Bettas swimming around them, displaying their royal charm. An aquarium like this really adds to the value and appearance of your house, office or wherever you place it.

Noise Free

The Water Garden doesn’t snore like a giant like most ordinary tanks do. You can enjoy gazing at your fish all day without getting annoyed by any noise.

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This automatic cleaning fish tank runs on fluid displacement technology. It eliminates the debris and fish droppings through an attached tube. The cleaning process will begin only when the weight of the debris is heavier than the water surrounding it which means you have to evacuate the harmful floating debris, algae manually.

A small 3 gallon fish tank is ideal only for cultivating petty-sized fishes like Betta, Harlequin, Ember Tetras, Corydora etc. To house a voluptuous creature like Pearl Gourami, you need a more spacious tank.

My Assessment of the Back to the Roots Water Garden

My experience with Back to the Roots Aquafarm has been more or less positive so far. I have to admit that it doesn’t perform as well as the ad claims, as you still have to get your hands dirty once in a while to ensure a healthy ecosystem for your fish. The technology of growing plants naturally using fish feces is the USP of the product.

A Thorough Review of Fluval Edge Aquariums


The Fluval Edge aquarium comes in a unique 3D cube design. Its versatile architecture and compact structure make it an ideal complement for limited spaces like kitchen, desktop, coffee tables. These aquariums are embellished with white and blue LED bulbs to create breathtakingly beautiful ‘broad daylight’ and ‘moonlight’ underwater effects.

A crystal clear glass aquarium is neatly placed inside a pedestal which provides support to the tank and it appears as if the aquarium is floating in the air. All the essential equipments such as electrical wiring, and connectors for the Fluval power filter, are smartly concealed inside the pedestal column, allowing an unhindered all-round view of the interior.

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Fluval Edge aquariums are available in two variants, 6 and 12 gallon fish tanks and three different colours: black, white and silver. It has a powerful, high quality 3 stage filter that skims the dirt out of the water, keeps it fresh, and circulates oxygen in it to keep the environment of the aquarium fresh and healthy for the fishes.

The 6 gallon aquarium is a perfect choice for fishes that are a bit on the smaller side. It comes in two tones: black and white. This model includes 21 LED bulbs which give the plants and fishes a stunning vibrant look, reminiscent of the natural marine view under the shining sun.

The second model can contain 12 gallons of water and comes in all the three colours. 42 LED lights have been added to generate a grand illumination. Turn on the three blue bulbs during the night-time and watch the colourful fishes play under the spectacular moonlight in serenity.


Unparalleled Design

Fluval Edge aquariums are in a league of their own as far as design is concerned. Its neatly chiselled contours, shrewdly hidden trailing wires and other components procreate a panoramic 360 degree view for the onlookers and leave the space uncluttered. The fully sealed top enables you to fill the tank to the brim and also slashes down the rate of water evaporation. There is also a stylish cover on the top where the LEDs are fitted.

Compactness and Powerful Filtration

The Fluval Edge filter flushes out the fish excrements, debris and other dirt particles by circulating the water through biological, mechanical and chemical media. It keeps up the required level of oxygen in the water as well. Its compact size and magnificent design can transform the entire look of plain tabletops and ordinary office rooms.

Easy to Set Up and Maintain

Any novice can assemble the kit without any hassle. It has a retractable cover which keeps the heat, moisture, and dust at bay. You can access the filter easily by opening the case in which all the essentials are housed side by side.

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Despite of garnering rave reviews from general customers and expert aquarists alike, there is no denying of the fact that it is not free of drawbacks. The biggest minus point of this otherwise brilliant design is its size options. The 6 gallon variant, especially, allows little choice of fishes for stocking inside it. A fish that grows beyond 6 inches cannot be sufficiently accommodated in such a tank.

The narrow opening on the top of the aquarium is another setback. It makes access to the inside of the tank and putting in a new fish difficult. However, this problem can be overcome by scooping out some water in the beginning.

My Thoughts

I would highly recommend purchasing a Fluval Edge aquarium for its portable size and marvellous exterior. Providing an unobstructed aerial view of the interiors is an extraordinary feature. Being able to observe the activities of fishes from every angle feels heavenly. The 3 stage filtration system is impressive, the sealed glass top and easy maintenance make it an overall great purchase for the aquarium loyalists.

7 Excellent Betta Tank Mates for Your Siamese Fighting Fish

You might also be interested in the best fish tanks for your Betta.

The Siamese fighting fish or Betta splendens is the most celebrated member of the Gourami family. Colloquially known as Betta, this aesthetically pleasing fish has an invasive character hidden behind the grandeur of appearance.

As the very name of the species suggests, it behaves aggressively towards the fishes of their own community. Even though the female ones are occasionally co-operative, the male fishes are likely to fight each other to death if you happen to put them into the same tank. Even the most seasoned aquarists would admit to have a tough time housing these territorial species.

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In their native place South-East Asia, B. splendens thrive in rice paddies, warm standing waters, and flood plains, primarily in ditches of Thailand (also called Siam, hence the name Siamese Fighting Fish), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Contrary to popular belief, a spacious environment to swim, proper heating, and filtration are the necessary elements for a healthy aquarium environment for your multi-coloured fighter fish. Still, they require significantly less maintenance compared to most other fishes, giving rise to a growing market of self cleaning fish tanks suitable for Bettas.

Picture credit: andyram1
Picture credit: andyram1

These hyper-aggressive fishes are not at all in need of a tank mate. If you still wish to keep other fishes in the same tank, I would suggest you to choose the species wisely to avoid turning your aquarium into a battle ground of marine world war. As a rule of thumb, if you have a tank that can hold minimum ten gallons of water, you can go ahead with finding a roomie for your Betta.

Buying a suitable aquarium for your Betta isn’t the hardest part. Choosing the right tank mates for these wild fishes is undoubtedly a Herculean task. The individual characteristic of the Betta has an important role to play here.

From my personal experience, I can say that Siamese fighting fishes are often misunderstood regarding how they behave with other species. They can actually live peacefully with a few other communities. Although some of those other species are overly wild, especially during their breeding season, they generally do not cause any significant damage to either your Betta or the fish tank. Here are our top 7 picks of Betta tank mates:

1. Ember Tetras

Picture credit: Lauris Karpovs Ziemelis
Picture credit: Lauris Karpovs Ziemelis

Ember Tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae) are suitable to be housed with Betta fishes for their peaceful, submissive nature and can survive under the same condition as their Siamese tank mate. They are the creatures of shallow water in the lower Amazon basin. These fishes are small in size, having an average length of 15-20 mm. Both communities love to swim around floating plants in the water, so, make sure you decorate the aquarium with lots of plants and other natural elements.

Embers are not fin nippers and have dull colour which further adds to its viability. They are comfortable in acidic water with a pH level between 5.0-6.5, a temperature between 20-29 degrees and gentle filtration. They enjoy eating brine shrimps, flakes, and blood worms. They can be an ideal fit in community fish tanks for their amazing compatibility level. It doesn’t really like to take up fights with larger, boisterous Bettas.

2. Harlequin Rasboras

harlequin rasbora
Picture courtesy: RCU2

The scientific name for harlequin Rasboras is Trigonostrigma heteromorpha. In their natural habitat, this species live side by side with Bettas without being violent — which means they have a natural compatibility towards each other. The chief reason to consider harlequin for your Betta tank is its appearance.

They are not fin nippers and don’t possess bright colours, giving themselves no chance of being diagnosed as a male Betta by your Betta fish. Both can survive peacefully under similar conditions and also share similar dietary habits. These omnivorous fishes are about 2 inches in size, easy to take care of and can live in a group of 8-10 alongside a Betta in an aquarium. Give them bloodworms, flake foods, Tubifex and an occasional treat of fry infusoria.

3. White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Picture credit: pongo_c

The name is not the only impressive thing about this fish from the mountainous regions of China. White Cloud Mountain Minnows or Tanichthys albonubes can be easily housed with mortal combatants like Bettas in the same tank. It’s a bit tricky to find this gorgeous species in local shops as their locality is limited to the Delta region of Pearl River. Moreover, it has been officially declared as an endangered species by the China government.

These fishes hardly nip the fins of their co-habitants and dwell peacefully with other communities in the same tank. The ideal pH range of the water for this fish is 6.0-7.5. You might face troubles while setting a right temperature for your Betta fish tank as Mountain Minnows are cold water fishes and Bettas prefer warm water. To make the tank water suitable for both communities, keep it at a moderate temperature of around 75F.

4. Pygmy Corydora

Picture by: Carnat Joel
Picture by: Carnat Joel

Among the numerous species of Corydoras Catfish, Pygmy is regarded as the most compatible tank mate for violent aquatic animals like the Siamese fighting fish. The members of the Corydorus pygmaeus group are found in the waterways of the South American region.

Keeping them in a school of 6-10 fishes along with Betta will be harmless for both communities. Younger fishes are bottom feeders and eat insect larvae. There is no way they would agitate a Betta since they have dull colour. Dwelling in a water pH level of up to 7.0 is not an issue for them either. Their tiny size and calm nature make them a perfect roomie for your pet Betta.

5. Loaches

Picture courtesy: Pierce Soracco
Picture courtesy: Pierce Soracco

Loaches are one of the most sold fishes around the globe for community aquariums. Both Betta and Loaches are tropical fishes, so, you need not worry about creating a mutually favourable condition for both communities. Loaches are however slightly aggressive. Putting them in groups of 6 is the best way to avoid any potential face-off between the Betta and Loaches.

There are many varieties of Loaches. Pond Loaches are the most preferred as domesticated fishes. Its eel-like look, olive green hue and shy nature rarely catch the attention of a Betta. Pond Loaches are bottom-dwelling scavengers and live on Tubifex, bloodworms and other microorganisms.

6. Feeder Guppies

Picture by: DianesDigitals
Picture by: DianesDigitals

Feeder Guppies are easily identifiable by the absence of flashy coloured fins and black spots all over their skin. Feeder Guppies are dull in colour and adaptive to a wide range of conditions.

These species are bred in the fish farms and ponds of Florida. They are found in myriads of shapes, ranging from top sword, double sword and bottom sword fin type. Feeder guppies are tiny and mostly bland, so, you can fit them alongside a Betta comfortably.

7. Clown Pleco

Picture courtesy: Benjamin Pecka
Picture courtesy: Benjamin Pecka

Panaqolus maccus or Clown Plecos are beautiful, tiny, harmless algae-eaters who can get along nicely with territorial marine creatures like Betta. They are beneficial in keeping the water of the aquarium clean by eating algae. They also enjoy gorging on driftwood.

A Betta will think twice before getting into a tiff with a powerful catfish like Clown Pleco. These fishes like to roam freely, therefore, a large aquarium of around 20 gallons of water or more is preferred. They thrive well in soft, mildly acidic water.

Summing it up

The mysterious world of aquatic animals has a diversity beyond the imagination of a human being. People like me who try their best replicate a part of this world inside an aquarium know how much effort it takes.

Siamese fighting fishes are no less than the knights in shining armour, they are brave, flamboyant, vigorous and pride of the aquariums. Perhaps these are qualities that make them one of the largest selling aquarium fishes in so many countries.

I hope this guide about betta tank mates has been useful to you. So, now that you know a lot about what other fishes you can keep alongside your Betta, what are the other fishes that you are planning to keep in your Betta tank?

Header Photo by: Sarawut Korsoongsak