Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

arduino's have a future in aquaponics in my mind.  Not many people talking about their use of arduino's and aquaponics.  Windowfarm groups are much more active with arduino's and control of systems.  I have just completed my auto mode function that I presented at Make:SF meeting featuring aquaponics in the Bay Area.  The auto mode function controls the following components:

 

water pump - controlled by relay with timer function for turning on and off when needed

media probe - determines water level in grow bed will cause water pump to shut off when needed

gravity feed valve -  drains grow bed after time period

float switch - controls water level in tank and protects water pump in case water gets to low in tank

start button - when pushed starts auto mode function LED lights goes from red to green for on

 

My media probe needs to be re-calibrated and I am moving to a new resistor configuration on this demo unit.  Once completed I will do a video to demonstrate the functionality and how the cycle performs.  I will next develop the KILL BUTTON function.  Then move on to 4 one-wire temperature probes and LCD display of options and temperature readings at request of user.

 

 

 

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I am just getting around to automate my system more. I had removed the timer that I have to water the verticals  because (just a fluke), but it malfunctioned in the middle of the night and kept running! Which in turned caused the middle raft tank (where the pump is to drain and damaged the pump!

I was waiting for a pump up switch and converter to be installed for quite some time before I put a new timer on, fearing it would happen again. I wanted to have a back up, so the water would refill instead of run dry if it did happen. Except, while relying on manually operating the system, we had many malfunctions, lol. 

I've recently learned that I can avoid putting the converter or guess it's also called a relay (?) and use a small inexpensive pressurized tank that we will add on to the well pump...s/b easier since my well pump has a small pressure valve on it too.

Anyway, this will allow us to put in a more sensitive float switch then the current pump up switch I have (water would have to drop something like 4 or 5" before it activated it).

I was doing do many things manually and it caused too many issues, because either I or the volunteers or interns would inevitably walk away and forget something was running!

The whole system water was changed over in approx one and half weeks because of this...

I definitely need more automation.

I have been looking into this.  Here are some items on my list:

 

-Monitor ammonia, nitrate, DO, pH, water temps and send alerts via SMS text message

-Monitor air temperature and control a servo to open greenhouse vents or fan or both

-Automated fish feeder, and updates via text including expected growth and weight based on feed/temps

-Harvest alerts via text msg

-Automation of advanced nutrient management

 

 

Izzy,

Do you know what would be involved with setting up the first item listed? We have a cruise planned for May. it's only four days, but already getting a little concerned about going away.

Michelle - I would agree with you, manually run system are a whole lot of work and constant worry.  I am only interested in simple automation solutions and easy to maintained once estabilished.

Michelle Silva said:

I am just getting around to automate my system more. I had removed the timer that I have to water the verticals  because (just a fluke), but it malfunctioned in the middle of the night and kept running! Which in turned caused the middle raft tank (where the pump is to drain and damaged the pump!

I was waiting for a pump up switch and converter to be installed for quite some time before I put a new timer on, fearing it would happen again. I wanted to have a back up, so the water would refill instead of run dry if it did happen. Except, while relying on manually operating the system, we had many malfunctions, lol. 

I've recently learned that I can avoid putting the converter or guess it's also called a relay (?) and use a small inexpensive pressurized tank that we will add on to the well pump...s/b easier since my well pump has a small pressure valve on it too.

Anyway, this will allow us to put in a more sensitive float switch then the current pump up switch I have (water would have to drop something like 4 or 5" before it activated it).

I was doing do many things manually and it caused too many issues, because either I or the volunteers or interns would inevitably walk away and forget something was running!

The whole system water was changed over in approx one and half weeks because of this...

I definitely need more automation.

izzy --  you have a big wish list.  all of it is possible with arduino's,  but some of it is a year of to out at this time.  I was not aware aquaponics needed advanced nutrient management, but arduino's could do it, but again this area would need some major work as there is nothing off the shelf that I know of at this time.  The code to run the arduino's would be the biggest problem.  Not many programing types interested in aquaponics as yet and willing to share.  --  rik

izzy said:

I have been looking into this.  Here are some items on my list:

 

-Monitor ammonia, nitrate, DO, pH, water temps and send alerts via SMS text message

-Monitor air temperature and control a servo to open greenhouse vents or fan or both

-Automated fish feeder, and updates via text including expected growth and weight based on feed/temps

-Harvest alerts via text msg

-Automation of advanced nutrient management

 

 

Michelle - totally due able, but depends on your skill with some automation basics and system needs.  Would take some work on your part to pull off and have a solid comfort level.

Michelle Silva said:

Izzy,

Do you know what would be involved with setting up the first item listed? We have a cruise planned for May. it's only four days, but already getting a little concerned about going away.

I can program it if you can figure out the hardware.  Deal?

izzy --

 

I have the hardware to get us started and can add as we get more advanced.  So you have a deal.

 

I have a good start on the code also.  I have been helped by a leading thought leader in the bay area of California on the arduino platform, but he is not that interested in aquaponics.  So if we run in to any technical issues with the platform we will have a expert to consult and help work us through any problems. 

 

Here is my blog that I have been doing to document the hardware that I have been building.  Have all of the major components done,  just been behind on bloging about  them. 

 

www.rik94566.wordpress.com

 

The ammonia, nitrate, DO, will need to have arduino shield developed to pull off.  Maybe someone will join in with that skill set in the future.   The arduino pH shield is well developed at this point and maybe some of the work done there can be use on the other items above.  Check this out:

http://phduino.blogspot.com/2009/08/phduino-02-released.html

 

I will put up a video (working on it now) take a look at it when posted and we can work on the next steps to start the development of the "aquapon-duino"

 

Looking forward to helping ours learn how to automate their systems at a very high level.

I just picked up a 2 arduino's for some robotics project, but automating aquaponics sensors and controllers may be better. :D
Does anyone have links to electronic ammonia, nitrate, and nitrate sensors, preferably not too expensive? I just came across this article, and thought it might be applicable to sensing those items in the water, albeit with substantial modification.
Andrei, there are a number of aquarium and aquaculture companies out there that manufacture these items - Sonde, Aquatronica, etc.  All are relatively to very expensive, depending of course on your interpretation of "cheap".  The problem is that each nutrient / element requires its own sensor (units with multi-probes just have a whole wad of sensors in one probe) and then typically also ends up with its own microprocessor or controller. 

Andrei Shindyapin said:
Does anyone have links to electronic ammonia, nitrate, and nitrate sensors, preferably not too expensive? I just came across this article, and thought it might be applicable to sensing those items in the water, albeit with substantial modification.

I see a lot of discussion here about trying to write code for probes and controllers to monitor and alert you guys if something goes wrong.  Not sure if you have checked out existing companies but there are an array of examples of companies that already supply the whole bang shoot for aquaculture and even home aquariums.  I am currently investigating a company called aquatronica.  It allows software modifications and updates, and already have data logging, sms / modem communication and all the other bells.

 

I tried to attach their pdf but it is over 5 mb

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