We soaked the wheat, chia and radish seeds overnight and sprinkled them on top of the rocks. Within a few days they have sprouts and roots! Yay! The sixth opening without a basket is a hinged opening directly to the tank where you drop in the fish food.
The kit recommended Betta fish, but the lady at Big Al's thought goldfish would work better because they would produce more "fertilizer" and speed up the system. Ryan named the orange one Goldie and I named the silver-bellied one Blizzard. They will grow pretty big in the next few years if they survive. We learned that the idea of fish only growing to the size of their container is actually a myth. We saw older versions of this same type of fish at the store, and they are the size of small salmon! By then either we get a bigger tank or they said that they will accept them back if they get too big for our setup.
So the way it works is this: There are little baskets filled with porous rocks that set into the grow tray. A small pump circulates water from the tank and spills it into the grow tray, where the rock soaks it up and keeps the seeds viably moist. The roots of the plants filter the waste and grow. The water then drains back into the tank and the cycle continues. Ry decided to keep a log book of his "scientific observations" and I'm looking forward to seeing what conclusions he comes to.
Can you imagine how cool it would be to live in a temperate climate where you could do this outside once the kids were a little bigger?
I wondered if Domino would see the fish and try to knock over the tank so he could eat them. So far so good. We joke that maybe with them behind glass, he thinks it's just another i-pad app!