Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Greetings all,

 

I have made a few android applications in the past, and looking to apply my skills toward aquaponics.   I would like to gauge everyone's interest to see if it is even worth creating an app or website.

 

Please take a few moments to answer a few questions.

  1. What mobile apps do you use for aquaponics?  
  2. What websites do you use, and for what?
  3. What features would you like to see in an app.

 

Depending on the responses, we will look into a mobile website, or a mobile application.  

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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Replies to This Discussion

I've  been planning on writing an app myself - although I am more of a web guy so it would be an HTML5 based web-app. Maybe we can collaborate?

 

The biggest issue for me is record keeping. So, capturing the primary water params - temp, ph, nitrate/nitrite levels, etc. on a regular schedule would be important. With reminders! The app needs to be able to easily handle multiple systems quickly - for instance, I draw water on 4 systems at the moment and do PH on all of them at the same time.

Then doing a bit of analysis based on things like PH. You could graph the nutrient uptake level based on the current PH level. (reference, 3rd link down http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/EK2lnL ) Add the ability to attach photos for reference and have a feedback loop so if the PH is high or low that will suggest things to look for regarding nutrient problems and possible solutions. Maybe having knowledge of things like water volume, the app can suggest steps that can be taken to bring the system closer to ideal - e.g. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar each day for the next three days to drop PH .1 point a day to bring your PH down to 7.2 from the current 7.5 (Many people aren't patient enough to move water params slowly)

 

A 'hidden' cost calculator module would be good. Most people don't figure what their lighting & pumps cost them to run every month. I have half a dozen 400 watt metal halide fixtures that aren't being used because It's cheaper to buy tomatoes at the moment than it is for me to grow them using those lights.

 

The OTHER thing I was planning on doing with an android phone (which fits with your long term goals) is using it as a webcam and internet connected sensor mode for critical things like water levels. It can send out alerts if things get out of whack - low water level, flooding on the floor, temp too high/low, lights didn't turn on, fire, thieves, zombies, whatever.

Great ideaes, and though out.  

the systems can be integrated with System #1, System #2, etc.  Each keeping it's own systesm.

Hidden costs are very important, and hard to calculate.    Thanks for the link, that's exactly what I what I was thinking, and putting a line down, based on current levels.  Also like the "optimum" ph range for specific plants on the left side of that chart.  

Based on those, we could make a chart showing all items currently in an aquaponic system, and the ideal range for all (averaged).  This would be a green line (or optimum) ph for plants being grown.  Putting in  information like nutrient issues, and more importantly how it can be fixed.  I like the vinegar idea, and tried it once.  I ended up using muratic acid.  

But like most who have a settled system, now my problem is raising the PH enough to not kill the fish, and no overshoot the "sweet spot".

 

Yes, I am open to collaborating.  I am leaning more towards not making it an app to start, but rather making a website driven.  

 

The main reason? The app will need some place to communicate to a centralized datastore anyway.  This way any smartphone, tablet, and pc/mac can start using and refining the needs of the site.

 

Later it will be opened up by using API, this will allow applications to communicate to/from the website and databases.

 

So at this point, let's open up this discussion to platforms and experince for those interested in this project.  From there we can figure out the best technologies to use, based on the skill pool.  While keeping track of the features that everyone has commented on.

 

Languages: php, mysql, sqlite, css, html, json, xml, etc, some java and C

Content Management Systems:  Wordpress, Joomla, PhpBB, and recently Drupal

Mobile Apps: Android, java, eclipse

Micro Controllers: Arduino & processing

Cloud: Microsoft, Google, Vmware, AmazonAWS

 

Would welcome more volunteers and talent so we can actually make this happen.

 

Hosting I can take care of, with root access to both physical, and cloud servers.  

 

Comments, ideas, and volunteers welcome. ;)

 

Mike Creuzer said:

I've  been planning on writing an app myself - although I am more of a web guy so it would be an HTML5 based web-app. Maybe we can collaborate?

 

The biggest issue for me is record keeping. So, capturing the primary water params - temp, ph, nitrate/nitrite levels, etc. on a regular schedule would be important. With reminders! The app needs to be able to easily handle multiple systems quickly - for instance, I draw water on 4 systems at the moment and do PH on all of them at the same time.

Then doing a bit of analysis based on things like PH. You could graph the nutrient uptake level based on the current PH level. (reference, 3rd link down http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/EK2lnL ) Add the ability to attach photos for reference and have a feedback loop so if the PH is high or low that will suggest things to look for regarding nutrient problems and possible solutions. Maybe having knowledge of things like water volume, the app can suggest steps that can be taken to bring the system closer to ideal - e.g. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar each day for the next three days to drop PH .1 point a day to bring your PH down to 7.2 from the current 7.5 (Many people aren't patient enough to move water params slowly)

 

A 'hidden' cost calculator module would be good. Most people don't figure what their lighting & pumps cost them to run every month. I have half a dozen 400 watt metal halide fixtures that aren't being used because It's cheaper to buy tomatoes at the moment than it is for me to grow them using those lights.

 

The OTHER thing I was planning on doing with an android phone (which fits with your long term goals) is using it as a webcam and internet connected sensor mode for critical things like water levels. It can send out alerts if things get out of whack - low water level, flooding on the floor, temp too high/low, lights didn't turn on, fire, thieves, zombies, whatever.

Hello Chris,

 

Thought this may be of interest...let me know your thoughts ( I have an iphone so will wait for appropriate app for that):

 

Aquaponics Guide Android Apps | Nov 17, 2011 |

 

God bless,

Sahib,

Android app, and you have an iPhone.  That's exactly why I think making a mobile/cloud website is going to work better for our community.  

 

Thanks for the link, looks like the developer compiled a bunch of info, and created an e-book app for it, infact many different guides.

https://market.android.com/developer?pub=bigo

 

I think with a focused effort, and the existing knowledge base of our community we can make a much more effective aquaponic management system.


Sahib Punjabi said:

Hello Chris,

 

Thought this may be of interest...let me know your thoughts ( I have an iphone so will wait for appropriate app for that):

 

Aquaponics Guide Android Apps | Nov 17, 2011 |

 

God bless,

I see what you mean about the mobile website being the best first step.  Most of us with smartphones have data plans, and most of us probably also have broadband internet.  That said, the idea of an aquaponics-monitoring smartphone app could really bring the ability to grow food to a vast number of people who: (1) don't have time for the enormous amount of research required, (2) don't have the resources to purchase and maintain a PC, (3) don't have access to always-on internet.  That describes a pretty big chunk of the world.

Also, with the goal of creating 100% solar-powered systems, a smartphone can efficiently run on solar power; a laptop less so.

When Google adopted arduino for the Android ADK, I thought: "Finally! A power-efficient microcontroller-controller!"

Ever since, I've been watching the arduino-Aquaponic automation development thread on this site, as well as the pHduino project.  I wish I could help but I'm not a programmer (yet).  Best of luck, and if you need any non-programming help, I am most interested.

Aquaponics Tracker.  It's an Android app used to track some variables.  It can even track multiple systems.  It's not automation software though.

I would like to see a pH calculator.

We have high pH water (8.3) out of the tap. 

I would like to be able to enter the total amount of water in the system gal or liters and the current pH reading then be able to calculate the amount of muratic acid required to bring the system to the desired pH without having to guess. Is there a way to calculate the buffering of the system?  I add a cup of Muratic acid in the evening and the the system is back where it was in 24 hours.  I need to be able to calculate the buffering and if I'm catching up with it before I over shoot. 

I would like to be able to ascertain the desired mineralization of a variety of plants in a water system not a dirt system. 

First/last frost dates by zone or zip code

Preferred temp ranges for plants

Germination time of seeds

Days to harvest by plant, Then a prompt when harvest is near and a way to record actual v theoretical 

I would like to be able to record the water temp, ambient temp, pH, growing times, by date

Calculate the fish weight by food input in the system.

length of photo period

moon phase

And they have to sync up and be available on the PC as well.

Hope you are still planning to work on this. 

Jim

There are quite a lot of parameters involved in the water chemistry of pH and buffering.  You would need to also be testing carbonate hardness.  I actually don't think making an app to tell people how much acid to add on a regular basis is a very good idea since adding acid to a system is not the appropriate long term regular method to deal with very hard source water.  If you were to always need to add large amounts of hydrochloric acid to your water before adding it to your system you will be exchanging the calcium carbonate for calcium chloride which is a form of salt and likely to have detrimental effects long term.

I also do not recommend adding acid directly into a system to adjust the pH.  Now if the system hasn't been cycled up yet it could be ok but if there are any living fish, plants or bacteria already in the system, adding acid into the system is going to be detrimental to them because the pH will bounce until the carbonates have been used up and if you are able to calculate the exact amount needed to use up all the carbonates and bring the pH down to the desired final position in one dose, the pH shift is still going to be too fast and detrimental to the living things already in the system.  This is why most of us recommend to do the acid adjustment to top up water before using it in the system.  Even doing the adjustment before adding the water to the system will mean adding things to the system (like chloride) that are not necessary in such high quantities all the time.  You are better off calculating the roof space and tank size required to collect and store up some rain water or calculate the running costs of an RO/DI filtration system.

@ TC 

Thanks for the input it is greatly appreciated.  (un)fortunately, I am in Arizona where it never rains and the pH of the local water is above 8.3 most days...We have lots of evaporation too.  So there seems to be no really good way around adding pool acid regularly. 

I tested my pH last evening at 7pm it was about 7.4 I added approximately 16 oz of pool acid in a slow drip froma 5 gallon bucket mix.  4 hours later the pH was 6.4.  This morning at 7AM the pH was still at 6.4 by this evening at 7PM the pH was back to 7.4 in about 750 gallons of water including the FT, sump and grow bed.  

So, what's guy to do?

Jim

By constantly adding pool acid (if it is hydrochloric acid) you are going to be elevating the chloride levels of your system too much long term.

You will likely be better off getting some means to inject CO2 into your water (just be careful not to overdo it and drive the oxygen out)

Or get an RO/DI filter.

TC, wouldn't constantly salting our systems with 1-2 parts per thousand with sodium chloride on a yearly basis result in the same thing then? 

Now, I'm not saying that having to constantly adjust your top up water (with any kind of acid) til the day you die is a good long term strategy or anything...I'm just wondering how realistic of a concern something like that is..? I suppose you could always just test for chloride salinity once in a while to see...

My source water's  kH (carbonate hardness) value is 'quite high', so like Jim's it's pH is 8.2-8.3...I'm much more concerned with running into excess calcium issues than excess chlorides...Either way though, an RO/DI filter or some rain water collection seems like a good idea long term if you have really hard water.

CO2 injection seems pretty neat.

I'm not really fighting my pH though, and I grew out my first two crop cycles with a pH at around 8 with no real issues...It has since come down.

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