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We love both Robots and Gardens. One of our goals has always been to have a demonstration garden, managed as much as possible by robots (automation). We started working on this at our original location on Longard Rd. in Livermore but have a lot more opportunities to do great things in our new location.


As phase 1 of the Aquaponics Interest Group, we are putting together an aquaculture system.


We are raising funds to move the aquaponics project forward. Any donation is appreciated. If you could like to participate in building an aquaponics system and learning hands on, please donate.

system diagram

Initial sketch of aquaculture system

Project Outline


  • Tank measurement
    • Continuous immersion / measurement
      • Temperature
      • Water level
      • Pump status (current)
      • Return flow
    • Cycled
      • PH
      • Nitrogen
      • Oxygen
      • Turbidity
  • Web cam
    • Fish counter
    • ROV?
  • Ambient environment
    • Air temperature
    • Humidity
    • Sunlight
    • Weather Station


  • Emailing the humans
  • Auto feeder
  • Sensor cycle mechanism
  • Pump
    • backup pump?
  • Refill valve
  • Dump valve
  • Lights?
  • Heat?

Electronics Architecture

Raspberry Pi connected to WiFi posting data to and accepting commands from server backend (Phant?).
See Garden Computer wiki page

Web page

  • Live video
  • Live data
  • Historical data / trends / plots
  • Time laps

Background information

Nitrogen Cycle

  • Fish produce ammonia
  • Bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite
  • Other bacteria convert nitrite into nitrate
  • Plants use nitrate as a nutrient and remove it from the system

This is the most significant chemical cycle in an aquaponics system so for the health of our fish and plants we need to monitor it.

Wikipedia page



We have a fully functioning but rudimentary aquaculture system in place:

  • Fish tank – basically an IBC tote with the top cut off.
  • Biofilter based on the ‘traschcan biofilter design’ (see The
  • Water circulation and aeration accomplished by means of an airlift system (see The great benefit of this system is there is no need for a mechanical pump to move water.
  • Automatic Fish feeder (
  • Fish. We only have four little fish in there now (two goldfish and two catfish). The biofilter is fully ‘cycled’ now so we can accommodate more fish but we’re holding off until we have monitoring systems in place.

Next Steps:

  • Build and install a remote monitoring and control system. We have a Raspberry Pi and OpenSprinkler Pi relay board as well as temperature and other sensors.
  • Get more fish!

Some other to-do’s:

  • Build a settling tank for removing sediment from the system
  • Attach a drain hose for removing waste water to the garden

Please donate if you would like to see this happen.

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