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Award-winning designer launches the world’s first self-maintaining tropical fish tank

Suzy with an early Avo prototype.

Loughborough University PhD Design student Suzy Shelley is close to launching the only tropical fish tank that requires no filter cleaning or water changes.

Suzy, who graduated from Loughborough Design School with first-class honours in 2011, was inspired from her own experience of tropical fish keeping. Avo is the result of three years of research and development and 18 months’ testing: “I’ve kept fish for years and found it a steep learning curve” said Suzy. “A well-maintained tank is the key to healthy fish, but this means frequent water changes, cleaning smelly filters and algae build up. I wanted to design something that takes the stress out of keeping tropical fish, to make it a simple, beautiful and above all enjoyable experience,” she added.

Suzy’s 15-litre fish tank is packed full of innovative technology that make water and filter changes a thing of the past. The filter never needs cleaning or changing because its continuously moving bed recycles older bacteria into plant food, creating space for new bacteria to grow.

Avo also features automated LED lighting specifically optimised for plant photosynthesis and growth, which promotes clear and healthy water. Avo’s unique lighting has the added aesthetic benefit of producing soft red light in the morning, fading to daylight white, to cool blue in the evening.

Avo is the flagship product of Suzy’s premium pet accessory brand, Noux, which she has developed with the support of the Studio, Loughborough University’s graduate commercialisation hub.

Suzy has just launched a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds in order to go into mass manufacture. Supporters can pledge £5 to contribute to the campaign, or for £200, receive their own Avo fish tank and starter kit for £150 off the RRP.

Megan Powell Vreeswijk, Loughborough’s Senior Commercialisation Fellow and Head of the Studio, said: “Suzy is a role model for graduate enterprise who produces innovative and beautiful work. A self-maintaining fish tank is an ingenious idea and I urge as many people as possible to help Suzy bring Avo to market.”

To date, Suzy has funded the development of Avo with prize funding including The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity Award for Manufacturing and Technology and the Marketest Award at the University’s Think BIG Awards and a Special Recognition Award at the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network.