Using fish waste as a natural fertiliser to help herbs. PICTURE: Instagram

Many people are worried about the potential health effects of man-made chemicals sprayed on crops.

But now there’s a more natural alternative from an unlikely and very small source.

Dutch inventors have created an ‘EcoFarm’ that is part fish tank and part herb box and will use fish waste as a natural fertiliser to help herbs and cherry tomatoes housed above the fish tank grow rapidly.

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Dirty water containing waste is pumped into the grow bed to feed the plants, which in turn clean the water in the fish tank below. ‘We believe that local farming is the first step to deliver fresh tasty fruits and vegetables,’ said the inventors, who are currently raising funds on crowd funding website Kickstarter

With this goal on mind, Ecobird has started to develop a product line based in aquaponics.’ Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture, of raising aquatic animals in tanks, with hydroponics cultivating plants in water.

The inventors, who are based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands , describe their EcoFarm as ‘a symbiotic environment where the waste of the fish is used as a natural fertiliser and the plants clean the water.''You can grow fresh food with the tiniest amount of effort. The only thing you need to do is feed the fish.''

It may seem to some people like a neat solution for something that aquarium owners have been doing for years watering their plants with dirty water from their fish tank. Many people have reported on internet forums that their houseplants have thrived faster than normal by using the fishy water.

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'I wanted to see how well the water from my tanks would do as a fertiliser and the results are stunning,' one person wrote on fishforums.com, while another said: I've used my tank water for years. Better than any fertiliser I ever used.’

The EcoFarm costs from £68/R1000 in Europe and the kit will include a fish tank, grow bed, pump, stones and gravel, seeds to get them started. The product will be made using injection moulding.