Out in the ocean and rivers there are a million different components working together to create a harmonious ecosystem for fish. Aquarists can replicate those conditions as best they can, but there will always be a few problems that hobbyists run into. Probably the single biggest issue is clean water, and that includes all of the complicated details like pH level, ammonia levels, and water cleanliness.
How are these factors regulated in the wild? Well, it’s hard to compact that answer down to just one or two sentences, but plants play a huge rule. They help regulate the water system by sucking up a lot of bad chemicals, all while providing food for fish.
This harmonious relationship is the guiding principle behind One Pot, Two Lives. You look at this thing and you think, “Ah, I get it, a fish tank and a potted plant rolled into one.” Well, you wouldn’t be incorrect, but if that’s all you thought then you’d be missing out on a lot of the really important details. The fish and plant don’t just exist next to each other, they actually coexist and benefit from each other.
When you pour water onto the plant it trickles down through the soil and gets sucked up by the plant’s roots. Meanwhile, all of that water is getting filtered in a completely natural way to ensure that it’s clean and fish-friendly by the time it reaches the fish tank. Additionally, the close proximity to water causes the soil to remain damp for a much longer period of time, which means that your plant will stay healthy.
But that’s not all. The fish and the plant also have a great deal worked out involving fish poo. Fish relieve themselves in their own tanks (what other choice do they have?), which is actually rather dangerous because it can poison them if you let it build up. Ah, but wait — plants love poo! The plant will chow down on fish poo with the same zest that you and I would tear into a juicy porterhouse. The fish in the tank will give a steady supply of fertilizer to the plant, and the plant will keep the water poo-free.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing particularly revolutionary about this tank. If you put aquatic plants into a natural aquarium then you’ll also get a fish poo-fertilizer symbiotic relationship. The thing that makes One Pot, Two Lives so nifty is that it highlights that interspecies bond. That relationship is always there, but this artistic piece serves to bring attention to it — you can practically see it in action.