Avo: A new self-cleaning tropical fish tank


Ask people what is the thing that puts them off owning a fish tank and they’ll undoubtedly say it is the hassle of regular cleaning. But a new Kickstarter project has put paid to all the bother of transferring fish and scraping down aquarium tank walls.

The Avo

The Avo is the brainchild of design fanatic Susan Shelley, and uses clever technological design features to clean itself. The Avo doesn’t need a filter or frequent water changes to do this either, everything is incorporated within the fish tank, meaning that all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your fish.

Shelley decided to change the way fish tanks operated after keeping fish herself for many years, and realising that it was quite a complicated hobby:

“I’ve always kept fish and it was a steep learning curve in the early days – trying to maintain a tank properly, making sure my fish were healthy and had a clean tank. Fish keeping isn’t as easy most people think – you’ll know yourself if you’ve ever kept fish.”

You have to maintain important bacteria in the tank, change the water on a regular basis and clean the smelly filter. Shelley thought that with a little thought and the help of technology, she should be able to design a self-cleaning tank, and she did.

How the Avo operates

The Avo uses a natural balanced micro-ecosystem that works between the fish, the plants and the bacteria, to ensure that harmful compounds, such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are removed from the water. This means that you never need to change the water.

You also don’t need to clean the filter, as Shelley has developed a self-cleaning and natural filtration system based on a moving bed filter system, this means the filter cleans itself.


One of the most common problems that fish tank owners face is the build up of algae. Shelley has identified this problem as meaning that there’s too much light and too many nutrients (nitrate) in the water. To combat algae build up, the Avo has an automatic plant specific LED lighting system which prevents algae. The light emits the exact wavelengths that the plants need to photosynthesise and grow, and to also clean the water efficiently.

Heating is also automatically maintained, at a temperature of 27°C (80.6°F) which is the perfect temperature for most tropical fish. The heating elements are also cleverly positioned to create convection currents, helping the nutrients get efficiently to the roots of the plants.

The Avo Launch

The Avo launched onto the crowdfunding site Kickstarter a couple of weeks ago and is now fully funded thanks to pledges from 405 backers who have raised £65,985 of the £60,000 goal.

Shelley, who studied Industrial Design at University before working in a design studio in London, has a team of people who helped her design the Avo, including an ex-Dyson engineer.

The Kickstarter funding will provide money to enable Shelley and her team to start preparing to manufacture the necessary tools to get the tanks made.

If you are interested in supporting Shelley there are still some pledge options available, for information visit her Kickstarter page.

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  1. John Smith February 7, 2017
    • Janey Davies February 8, 2017

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