Home Pets

Vegua fish tank keeps fish as pets, cleans itself with fresh herbs on top

Pets and plants are two of the best things one can have to make a house a home. Both, however, require some maintenance.

The Vegua fish tank provides both the fun of fish and the nutrition of fresh herbs with the least amount of work possible. This mini eco-system keeps itself going with very little help from anyone. The waste from the fish feeds and waters the plants. In turn, the plants consume everything that makes the tank dirty so it never needs to be cleaned. To feed the fish, just put a small amount of food in the compartment on top. Vegua can support a variety of fish and plantlife from goldfish and bloodfin tetras to basil and mint.

We’ve seen other tanks like this one in the past, such as Avo. This is a nifty little idea that brightens up anyone home. It also has the added perk of growing fresh herbs. Too bad it isn’t completely self-sufficient as the fish still need to be fed. For their own, backers can donate €239 (~$364). Vegua is hoping to raise €120,000 (~$182,900) on Kickstarter.


Gneiss Spice tidies up culinary toys for creating tasteful delights

Some people say that spices are toys for those who love to cook. They’re essential to creating a great meal, but all of those little bottles have a tendency to clog up kitchen cupboards. Gneiss Spice can make organizing them and actually using them much easier. Lids are magnetic so that spices can be stored on the refrigerator or some other convenient metal surface near the stove. It’s also possible to get a plate to go with these – assumedly metal, though that is not clearly stated.

One of the especially interesting goals of this campaign is to allow those who are interested to create their own custom spice rack for manufacturing. Interested backers might also want to check out the Mobin,  campaign, and those who love their fresh herbs may want to check out the Ecofarm and Herb Grower campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $10,000 by December 8, 2014. Backers get three jars for $25 with an expected delivery of December 2014.

Accents Pets

AquaSprouts put your fish to work growing herbs

The Premise. In the ocean, fish and plants seem to live together without too much need for intervention. However, growing plants in the home can be tedious. Constant feeding and watering can fall the wayside resulting in sad or even dead vegetation. Similarly, owning a fish can make for a fun companion, but tank cleanings and constant maintenance of the aquarium can become annoying.

The Product. An ecosystem in a box, AquaSprouts offers the best of both owning a fish and growing plants in your home. AquaSprouts’ product is basically a fish tank with a place to grow plants on top. The waste from the fish is pumped up into the plants and acts as their food source. In this way, the plants keep the tank clean so that you don’t have to. The clean water is then released back down into the tank. Simply feed the fish and the rest takes cares of itself. The tank looks very sleek and simple, but with lush vegetation growing on top. Options for fish include goldfish, betas, tetras and guppies and these fish can support growing lettuce, basil, garlic, mint, cilantro and a slew of other herbal delights.

The Pitch. The video shown on this Kickstarter campaign shows the tank’s creators talking about their passion for aquaponics. They also explain how they have teamed up with experienced product designers in order to make their tank even more sophisticated. In order to continue, however, they need funding in order to make the manufacturing process more efficient. AquaSprouts hopes to raise $100,000 in its 31-day campaign.

The Perks. The reward tiers are where AquaSprouts falter a little bit. There are several early-bird specials, but none seem to offer both the garden and the tank. For $139 backers receive just the garden and for $149 backers only receive the tank. It isn’t until $179 that backers actually receive both together. Presumably, the other tiers offer more of a DIY alternative, but an expensive one. Reward tiers go all the way up to $10,000 with an estimated delivery date of August 2014 for the product itself.

The Potential. AquaSprouts is certainly a very cool concept and an attractive implementation. The idea of having one’s very own ecosystem in their home is appealing to many. However, there are very similar products out there for far cheaper. Back the Roots offers the smaller Aqua Farm for $60. AquaSprouts offers a bigger variety of fish and plantlife, but for triple the price. Still though, the concept is interesting and does offer a fun and functional addition to animal/plant life enthusiasts.


Herbie grinds greens across edibles from your high place

The Premise. For the fancy chef, self-proclaimed foodie or anyone with taste buds, fresh herbs are a must. Chopping herbs can be difficult and doesn’t always produce even, reliable results. Finely chopped herbs can also make a mess, spreading out and sticking to the cutting board, knife and countertop.

The Product. Bearing no resemblance to the Volkswagen Beetle that co-starred with Lindsay Lohan, Herbie is an electronic herb grinder that is rechargeable and plugs into the wall or laptop using a USB cord. It  can run for up to two hours (good for at least one Phish jam) on a full charge. Herbie is made out of aluminum and stainless steel and comes with a wall charger, USB cable and spout. Herbie has a cheaper little brother, Herbie Lite, that’s made out of plastic and polycarbonate and comes with a wall charger and USB cable.

The Pitch. Herbie’s Indiegogo campaign shows that its creators, Conlin Monaco and Will Lawler, really wanted to craft a well-made product.  In the video, they talk about how they designed Herbie to avoid the problems that other dry herb grinders face, such as clogging up and metal shavings that come off of the mechanism. Their campaign explicitly shows the difference between the Herbie and Herbie Lite, which was extremely helpful. Monaco and Lawler are trying to raise the unrounded sum of $76,875. They have three stretch goals: $120,000 for a spout attachment, $160,000 for a storage compartment that attaches directly to Herbie and $200,000 to manufacture Herbie with Teflon to avoid gunk build-up. They’ve been confident enough to launch a Herbie Web site though it doesn’t contain much information yet.

The Perks. There are two early bird specials, one for an Herbie Lite at $39 and one for a regular Herbie at $69. A regular Herbie for the not-so-early bird requires a contribution of $79. The reward tiers climb all the way up to $2,250, each including generous discounts for the grinder and its accessories.  More than 30 Herbies might sound like a minyan, but the option is there if desired. Estimated delivery is May 2014.

The Potential. Overengineered aluminum USB grinders seem to be a crowdfunding thing; the iDraw pencil sharpener failed to meet its funding goal on Kickstarter. The idea of being able to sprinkle some reasonably fresh rosemary onto one’s meal instead of salt could have great health benefits for many. Herbie, while a convenient solution for the kitchen, though, is incredibly expensive at a retail price of $90 for the Lite version and $100 for the not-so-Lite. Mechanical grinders are much cheaper and can chop up herbs just as well as Herbie seems to be able to. There are also electronic grinders already on the market such as the Compact Electric Herb Grinder at about a tenth of the price and choppers that can get the job done as well. Ultimately, most foodies may opt out of purchasing this expensive luxury item. However, Herbie may find success with other demographics, such as certain residents of Washington and Colorado.