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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was curious if anyone had an acquiponics project they would like to share.

For long term survival, or even off-grid living, something like that would seem pretty important. From what I understand, with a greenhouse, some solar cells, and some electronics smarts, you can make enough food for two to four people in a very small footprint - year around.

Anyone considered something like this? Anyone doing something like this?

If anyone is interested, I'd be willing to offer some expertise if they are willing to report on experimentation and results.
 

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Hey that is mine. Yeah, I am kind of on hold right now. Had to remodell the entire outside of the house, so money got tight. Should be back to getting it up and running in the next couple months. Any questions I would be glad to answer, harvested some stuff a couple days ago, and planted a bunch more. It is going to be run off solar, and wind, with back up grid power.
 

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Ha, small world. Me and the wife are remodeling 2 houses, so I see where you're coming from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Holy crap, I got a much bigger system than that and I won't be anywhere near that cost.
Ya, a system can be done on the cheap if one is willing to to DIY it. That especially includes the electronics.
 

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Thought I would share
with you so you can see that you don't need large and expensive stuff to do an acquiponics project. It can be done very affordably if you're willing to DIY.

Helomech, would you be willing to talk some more about your system since you already have one in place?
 

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Helomech, would you be willing to talk some more about your system since you already have one in place?
Is that your system?

Sure fire away, mine is not complete, but it is up and running. I still have a lot to learn, but more than willing to share what I know. I am trying to stay away from electronics in my system. I am hoping to only have 3 water pumps, or 2 air compressors. Starting to think I may try a airlift system using air compressors instead of using water pumps. That way I can do everything with only 2 12 volt air compressors.
 

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Thought I would share this video with you so you can see that you don't need large and expensive stuff to do an acquiponics project. It can be done very affordably if you're willing to DIY.

Helomech, would you be willing to talk some more about your system since you already have one in place?
I like that Arduino control system.
 

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I like that Arduino control system.
I would love to get something like that to monitor my system, but I don't want any vital components controlled by any electronics. I am looking for something to monitor the water, PH, Temp, Nitrites, Nitrates, and oxygen. But have no idea where to get something like that.
 

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Last week I harvested some plants from my system and replanted. I left the peas, becaue they are not ready to harvest.

The peas



And here is a eggplant sprout, I put the seeds in last Monday.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
No, the arduino system isn't mine. I showed it because that's a surprisingly low cost solution, capable of some fairly complex sensing and automation. It is in the general direction of what I'd like to do sometime down the road. Considering you can get started with an arduino for roughly $15-$20 and an AVR (the type of microcontroller [uC] used on an arduino) for $1.50 - $7.00 (plus an ISP programmer for $4 - and you only need one), its hard to ignore.

In part, learning more about aquaponics is why I posted. I was hoping to figure out what has and hasn't been done, why, get some good ideas, and hopefully expose some to the notion who may have never heard of it before.

All of the systems I've seen use pumps and gravity. While I do know some use air, I don't know anything about this type of system. Would you care to provide a little information as to why you prefer an air system over pumps, how that works, and perhaps some implementation details?

As for sensors, some of them are fairly cheap. Some not so much. Something like a humidity and temp sensor can be had for a couple of bucks. In fact, I'm looking at one right now (DHT11). If you tie that to something like an AVR chip (have five, looking at an atmega8-16pu now) or a full blown arduino (looking at two), you can use it control your greenhouse; including opening and closing vents and turning fans off and on. Its this type of automation I was hoping I could help in exchange for simply documenting and sharing your result.

But have no idea where to get something like that.
I might be able to help.

BTW, thanks for sharing the pics. More pics and details on anything you guys have been doing in this direction would be awesome.
 

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No, the arduino system isn't mine. I showed it because that's a surprisingly low cost solution, capable of some fairly complex sensing and automation. It is in the general direction of what I'd like to do sometime down the road. Considering you can get started with an arduino for roughly $15-$20 and an AVR (the type of microcontroller [uC] used on an arduino) for $1.50 - $7.00 (plus an ISP programmer for $4 - and you only need one), its hard to ignore.
I know nothing about computers. But I would like to monitor water temp, Nitrites, Nitrates, Amonnia (spelling), and PH for sure. Any help here would be greatly appreciated. I won't have any automted vents are anything, like I said just pumps or a compressor run of batteries with solar power.

In part, learning more about aquaponics is why I posted. I was hoping to figure out what has and hasn't been done, why, get some good ideas, and hopefully expose some to the notion who may have never heard of it before.
Would be more than happy to anwer any question you have.

All of the systems I've seen use pumps and gravity. While I do know some use air, I don't know anything about this type of system. Would you care to provide a little information as to why you prefer an air system over pumps, how that works, and perhaps some implementation details?
I am just trying to power my system with the least amount of power I can. Solar is expensive, and the less I have to buy the better. I THINK I can power it with less power using 2 small aircompressors than using 2 or 3 pumps. Besides I would still need a aircompressor to provide more aeration even if I go with pumps. Air lift is very simple, just pump some air in a tube and the air makes the water rise to the top. It is used for deep water wells around here. No moving parts except the piston and motor in the pump. And since water does not go through the compressor it stays cleaner, nothing below water to clean.

As for sensors, some of them are fairly cheap. Some not so much. Something like a humidity and temp sensor can be had for a couple of bucks. In fact, I'm looking at one right now (DHT11). If you tie that to something like an AVR chip (have five, looking at an atmega8-16pu now) or a full blown arduino (looking at two), you can use it control your greenhouse; including opening and closing vents and turning fans off and on. Its this type of automation I was hoping I could help in exchange for simply documenting and sharing your result.

I might be able to help.

BTW, thanks for sharing the pics. More pics and details on anything you guys have been doing in this direction would be awesome.
Not worried about controlling the green house, but humidity would be nice along with the things I mentioned above, water temp, Nitrites, Nitrates, Amonnia (spelling), and PH.

Your welcome. As soon as I finish my house which should be fairly soon, then I will get back on my system. Won't be much new other than cinder blocks for a while though. I will do some experimenting with my airlift this week when I get back in from offshore. I can post updates on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If anyone is interested in reading more making your own system, here's a detailed guide. I've not read it yet but thought I'd share it as I won't have time until next week.

Building and starting up an Aquaponics System

Hopefully some of you will enjoy the read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am just trying to power my system with the least amount of power I can. Solar is expensive, and the less I have to buy the better. I THINK I can power it with less power using 2 small aircompressors than using 2 or 3 pumps. Besides I would still need a aircompressor to provide more aeration even if I go with pumps. Air lift is very simple, just pump some air in a tube and the air makes the water rise to the top. It is used for deep water wells around here. No moving parts except the piston and motor in the pump. And since water does not go through the compressor it stays cleaner, nothing below water to clean.
If you can provide some information and pictures, and/or links to images and information, that would be great. I don't guess I fully appreciate and/or understand the role compressed air plays in the system. And as I understand it, your system is more of a hydroponics system rather than an aquaponics system since you don't have fish and/or closed loop of your resources via natural means (example, fish)? But perhaps I'm splitting hairs which have only been inferred and I have a poor conceptualization here and what's what.

As for the sensors, some things like surface tension conductivity sensors can actually be made CHEAP. If you don't know what that means, its basically a poor man's moisture sensor. If you're interested, I'll provide a link or two.
 

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If you can provide some information and pictures, and/or links to images and information, that would be great. I don't guess I fully appreciate and/or understand the role compressed air plays in the system. And as I understand it, your system is more of a hydroponics system rather than an aquaponics system since you don't have fish and/or closed loop of your resources via natural means (example, fish)? But perhaps I'm splitting hairs which have only been inferred and I have a poor conceptualization here and what's what.

As for the sensors, some things like surface tension conductivity sensors can actually be made CHEAP. If you don't know what that means, its basically a poor man's moisture sensor. If you're interested, I'll provide a link or two.
There are many places to get info. I am on a couple of aquaponics forums. As far as the compressed air. With the high stocking density (400 fish in 1500 gallons of water) the fish will use up all the oxygen if you don't replace it. Therefore you need air to move through the water, and that is what I need an aircompressor for. I may also use it as a water lift system. You can use air bubbles to lift water, it is more effecient than pumps.
Here is a link to my system.
http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=11149
No my system is a aquaponics system. It is a closed loop system, consisting of fish, water, pumps and grow beds. Right now I have bass, and perch in the system, but once my system is finished I will be eating all of them and replacing them with catfish and tilapia. If the tilapia survive then I will go with all tilapia after next winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks helomech. I finally got some time to read the link you provided. I don't think I fully appreciated your system until I read the link. I thought your system was just the grow beds, which is why I made my previous statements about the type of system you have. That's a very grandiose and impressive effort you're putting forward. Again, thanks for sharing.

But I would like to monitor water temp, Nitrites, Nitrates, Amonnia (spelling), and PH for sure.
Okay, what does "monitor" really mean? Does that mean you want to record and analyze later or does that mean you want it to help automate management of your system? Either way, something like an arduino will do nicely. A small battery and solar panel will likely provide all the power you need if you only want to monitor. The data can be recorded on a sdcard and periodically pulled out to be copied.

Give me a better idea and what you're wanting to do and at the least I can point you in a better direction.

Monitoring things like water temp and ambient temp/humidity is trivial. I don't think monitoring the others are really any more complex but I believe the sensors get more expensive. Regardless, running an Arduino can be done on something like 300mA of power while running and far, far less if you use use sleep modes (probably 10-50mA). You can save even more if you build your own rather than attempt to use a full blown arduino. If you want something automated, its possible some solar cells, an arduino, and some electric/pneumatic valves will help simplify things. Not to mention, if you add some low cost radios, you can even allow for remote control/monitoring.

Regardless, if you do want to move forward with something along these lines, let me know and if you like, I'll help ya.
 

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Great thanks. By monitor I mean I would like to be able to see what the parameters are without doing the normal water tests. If I could record the data that would be even better. The only things I want to monitor are PH, water temp, humitdy, amonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. I will have 3 seperate solar systems on this, so I could use any one of them to power it. I am not really interested in automating the system, half the fun is going out there and doing the things that need done. Cost of the sensors is not too big a deal unless they are really expensive. I am going to have at least 5k in the system.
 
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