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The Making of a Desktop Ecosystem: The Beginnings of ADI and the EcoQube

Posted by Team ADI on

Aqua Design Innovations, ADI, is not a large company, nor is it a long standing one. We do not have a wide range of products or the backing of a large corporation. No, ADI is not a household name, but we’re just getting started. What we do have talent, innovation, and a mission to reconnect people with the environment. Towards this end, the minds of ADI developed and manufactured the EcoQube: the desktop ecosystem that brings nature to you like no product has done before. More than just an aquarium, Kevin Liang and Eric Suen, founders of ADI, designed the EcoQube to be a window into nature. Through their unique, patented aquaponics filter, Kevin and Eric have reduced the infinite complexities and inner workings of the natural world into a self-sustaining ecosystem small enough to fit on your desk.


Kevin Liang and Eric Suen: Founders of ADI


Kevin Liang and Eric Suen’s passion for aquariums stemmed from their high school days when they were first introduced to the beauty and possibilities of aquascaping. Fascinated by the process, the two began to breed and sell the rare Red Crystal Shrimp in Kevin’s garage. In experimenting with the best ways to breed these colorful crustaceans, Kevin and Eric discovered the dramatic effect that the ecosystem of the aquarium had on the shrimp. Even minor adjustments in the delicate balance of plants, algae, and shrimp could greatly increase or decrease the health and number of the school. They learned that every seemingly separate element in the ecosystem worked together as a whole --a lesson they took to heart.


Red Crystal Shrimp


With their knowledge of aquariums and their components, Kevin and Eric began installing filters on large aquatic installations, including ones meant for aquaponic agriculture. Having been introduced to the concept, the two immediately recognized the untapped potential of aquaponics, for both practical and aesthetic purposes. Soon after, Eric and Kevin developed and 3D printed their first aquaponic filter. Designed to fit on existing aquariums, this filter would clean and maintain the health of the ecosystem using plants to filter the water, emulating a process found in nature. This was the first venture of ADI.


Kevin Liang and Eric Suen's first aquaponics installation


It didn’t take long for the company to consolidate the idea of an aquaponically regulated environment into a single product: the EcoQube. As opposed to selling individual filters, the EcoQube contains virtually everything needed for any desktop to host a self-sustaining ecosystem. Through a Kickstarter campaign, the first EcoQube took off beyond expectations. After only 50 the EcoQube had over 500 backers.


The EcoQube C


At ADI, we recognize the desire in people to connect with nature and our community has taken a step to satisfy that desire with the EcoQube. Only a year later we have released our second model, the EcoQube C: a more efficient, compact model designed to bring an aquaponic environment to even more desktops, living rooms, and classrooms than ever before. And we’re only getting started.

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