Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Fish-water for Fertilizer}

Whenever Frannie travels, like a few weeks ago for the 2017 Groundwater Foundation National Conference, she makes sure follows her packing list very carefully.

Toothbrush: check.
Camera: check.
Fish tank and cleaner: check.

Frannie loves having clean water and a clean fish tank in her home, but she used to feel bad about wasting so much water. She then learned that she could use her dirty water to fertilize plants and gardens. Here’s how.

The water in the aquarium are rich in elements like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus and a compounds like ammonia from the fish food and excretions. If you look at the ingredients in plant fertilizers, you’ll see that they have those exact same elements.  If you regularly clean your fish tank, then that water dilutes those chemicals to appropriate dosages for your garden or house plants to handle.  In some cases, gardens that have been fertilized with aquarium water grown twice as large as those without!

Be careful, though, because you can’t always just pour dirty fish water on your plants.  For example, if you aren’t like Frannie and haven’t cleaned your tank in a very long time, you will need to add fresh water to the dirty water in order to dilute the chemicals a little more.  If you have treated your tank to adjust for pH or kill algae, you should not water any plants that you intend to eat.  Also, using water from a salt-water aquarium is more likely to hurt or kill your plants than it is to help them grow, especially if they are potted plants.

What other cool ways can you save water at home?  Share them with us at or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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