Students launch self-cleaning fish tanks – using coconuts!


Two French entrepreneurs are revolutionising fish tanks with a product that uses half a recycled coconut and means that an aquarium rarely has to be cleaned.

Maël Levet and Marc Laperche started their business CocoPlant while studying at Université Paris-Saclay.

Maël Levet studied how to miniaturise an old technique called aquaponics to create a small ecosystem within an aquarium, where fish waste feeds plants and plants keep the water clean.

He set up CocoPlant to produce and sell these natural filtration systems using plants inside coconuts that sit on a tank, cleaning the water that flows through the roots. Designed to be a zen garden on top of the aquarium, the product is inspired by the Japanese gardening technique called Kokedama.

He said: “We developed an old technique for a device that is adaptable to existing aquariums. Then we found the natural materials, coconut and bamboo, as well as an eco-friendly and social process to manufacture it. We are proud to support the circular economy by using a garbage of the coconut industry.”

Determined to have a social impact, their product is made by disabled workers in the Paris suburbs. It’s part of a French initiative to give disabled people jobs that they can fulfil with their hands.

The team is looking to expand CocoPlant throughout Europe and the US, taking the organic product range to fish tanks around the world.

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