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Smart aquaponic system monitoring and controlling with AquaShield

I can remember clearly, when I first heard about aquaponics. There was a report on the national TV (it was before Youtube emerged, so back then we watched TV :D) about a special greenhouse with a small aquaponic system, built by an IT guy, here in Hungary. I was fascinated by the fact that fish and plants could live together in a symbiotic relationship and provide quality food for the  grower all year long. Since then I dreamed about building my own indoor aquaponic farm, so I could grow plants and fish together! In the last few years we developed the AquaShield, tested it, made a Kickstarter campaign and finally we built several automated aquaponic systems. Please let me introduce to you the smart aquaponic system run by the AquaShield at my home.

IBC AQUAPONICS

I always loved to recycle and repurpose used things (and it is something that most aquaponics enthusiast have in common), so for this build we used IBCs or Intermediate Bulk Containers. For the fish tank, we used an IBC opened wide at the top. For the grow bed and sump tank we used another IBC cut in half. Actually this is a commonly used design, so if you would like to build something similar, you will find a ton of material about it online.

Underground IBC aquaponics system controlled by the AquaShield

HIGH TECH SMALL AQUAPONIC SYSTEM

Our small aquaponic system is monitored and controlled by the latest version of AquaShield (that is a smart device for soilless indoor farms and gardens).

It is an EBB and FLOW system, so the grow bed is flooded for 15 minutes in every hour and then drained again. There is a solenoid valve installed, that controls the flood and drain cycle, but we also installed an overflow pipe, so we won’t overfill the growbed. For controlling the solenoid valve, we created a workflow in the AquaShield software (AquaShield Connect) and connected 1 of the 8 relays of the device to the valve. To learn more about how relays, check out this.

For this small aquaponic system we set up 2 triggers at the AquaShield Connect: the first

The whole system is located underground, so there is no sunlight. We use HID growlights (and also some LEDs) and these components are also controlled by our smart device. We have a simple workflow, that switches on the growlights at 7:00 and runs them for 12 hours. Although our workflow is super simple, you can set up more complex workflows for your growlights from seed to harvest.

We also installed a couple of sensors for monitoring the aquaponic system. We have a PH, EC, ORP and DO probe installed to the aquaponic fish tank as well as some temperature probes and level switches that could indicate if the water level is too high or too low (depends on the position of the level switch).

You can check your sensors’ parameters in real time (so you don’t have to run unreliable tests any more) and also set up alerts based on these values. You can set up alerts, if the PH is out of your safe range, the EC is too low, or the water level drops below the minimum (so you could have a leak at the tank).

SMART AQUAPONICS

We also shoot a video about our test aquaponic system when it was 2 months old. You can check the video here:

Also here is the setup now! Leafy plants just love the grow bed and the HID grow light. Tomatoes also started to flower, so we will have some underground homegrown tomatoes at the end of November 😀

Basil, chard, cilantro and tomato grown in a small aquaponic system
Basil, chard, cilantro and tomato grown in an aquaponic system (controlled by the AquaShield)

WHAT ABOUT HYDROPONICS, AEROPONICS ETC.?

AquaShield is also suitable for controlling and monitoring different types of environments. Most of the time it is a small indoor hydroponic system or a small aquaponic system, but we also work on projects to monitor a large fish breeding facility, moss walls or even a 3D printing farm (temperature and humidity is also a key component here).

So if you have something wild in your mind, don’t hesitate to contact us, we are always open to new challenges.

NEW VERSION IS COMING SOON

AquaShield is already capable to handle different kind of indoor growing systems but we don’t plan to stop!  We are already working on the new version of AquaShield, that will be able to handle new types of sensors, like soil humidity, CO2, ammonium or nitrite sensors as well as nutrient pumps (so you will be able to build workflows to balance the PH with PH+ and PH- solutions and also to add nutrients automatically).

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