Introducing Graham. The Other One.

review pic


(Psst. There is a giveaway at the end of this post… Keep reading…)

My kids love animals. A pet was not exactly in the cards. Between the two of them and work and my half a billion projects a pet didn’t seem like a good idea. But then we found the perfect pet:

This is Graham. (Guess who named him?) He’s a hot pink betta who’s happily living in our house. Fish are the bestest pets when you have little ones. No walks, no picking up poop, no chewing on furniture. Of course, this doesn’t stop me from worrying about Graham. Is he getting enough food? Is he getting too much food? Is he happy? Is he lonely? (Betta’s don’t do well with other fish but I’m wondering if he’d enjoy having a snail to keep him company.) 

But I still put off getting a fish for a long time. Buy a giant tank! Clean the giant tank! These were obstacles I didn’t have the energy to surmount. If you are in a similar position then I have a solution for you:

Aquafarm from Uncommon Goods It’s the Aquafarm! I will tell you why I immediately said yes when given the opportunity to review it.

Tank Made Simple

 I am not an experienced fish buyer. I never had them growing up. This is my first fish too and I want it simple. I want a tank where I don’t have to spend a lot of time worrying about cleaning. That was the thing that held me back from buying a fish for years. But the Aquafarm has an awesome system where water goes back and forth from the fish tank up to the top. The fish provides nutrients for the plants. The plants clean the water for the fish. You don’t have to clean your tank. BOOM.

The tank is a good size, nice and sturdy but won’t take over the surface you set it on. Plus it comes with all the instructions you need and all the tools you’ll use to get it ready. We did it in less than an hour. (Not counting the time it took us to go pick up Graham the Fish.) Y’all know I’m not exactly a big ball of energy in the evenings, but it was totally doable, even for me.

Plants That Grow

At the end of the last school year, Graham the Boy brought home a potted bean plant. It grew. And grew. And grew. Until I forgot to water it. And then it died. I have that effect on plants.

But the Aquafarm gives you plants you don’t have to water! Another crowdpleaser with the kids. Our Aquafarm came with seeds for wheatgrass and basil. The wheatgrass is great for the kids because it grows FAST. This was ours less than a WEEK after I planted it.

Seriously, the only upkeep is I have to trim the wheatgrass once it hits 5 inches or so. If you’re a juicer, you can even use it!

The other pods I use for the basil, which is just for Mama. Because fresh basil at the store costs a bajillion dollars. It’s a super cool system. You grow the seeds in these porous rocks instead of dirt, so less mess.

Problems? No Problem!

So while I did a great job and won my Mother of the Year medal presenting my kids with both a fish AND a set of growing plants, I forgot to turn the air pump off one night a week. And it died last week. My fish was looking tepid, the water turned cloudy, my plants wilted. When I do a review, this is where it has the potential to go to awesome or horrific. I tweeted and emailed Back to the Roots, the people who make the Aquafarm, and they were fantastic. Told me they’d send me a new pump free of charge. (They knew nothing about this review, by the way.) They also gave me a set of instructions for an alternate set up for the pump to help it run better. 

Got my pump, my fish is happy again, and all is well. Nicely done.

Where to Get It

Uncommon GoodsThe Aquafarm is such a fun, funky gift. A great thing to give as a family gift, too. You can get one from Uncommon Goods, an online retailer that specializes in handmade items, green and recycled gifts, donate to several charities, and pay a living wage to their workers. You’ll be hearing more from me about them in my upcoming Cyber Monday Shopping Sites roundup. 

I’ve had my eye on the Pick Punch for years as a gift for my brother the musician. Guitar picks out of old gym cards? Sweet.

They have a set of iPhone cases with designs made by independent artists. Not the same old stuff you seen in the mall kiosk. 

And you can bring the beach beneath the tree with the super cool Kinetic Sand. 

I love a site that picks their products with care and stands for something. 

Giveaway Time!

The lovely folks at Uncommon Goods are offering a $50 gift card for one lucky Don’t Mind the Mess reader, just in time for your holiday shopping. 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Uncommon Goods for providing us with the Aquafarm for review. Opinions are my own. 


  1. Shaina says

    my first pet was also a betta, i’ve had i think four? starting in college. they’re great! that thing looks awesome. i wants it, i does.

  2. Phyllis says

    That is such a cool idea! Perfect starter pet for kids!!!! My first pet was a beagle. Funny story behind it. But we loved him soooo much!

  3. Mahdi Martin says

    The first pet I remember was a cat named Lazy Lester and I bird whose name I forgot. The bird use to sit on Lester and clean his whiskers. I would say out cat was aptly named.

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