Have you been wondering what the tank under the stairs at Robot Garden was for? It’s our aquaponics automation project, so it’s really the garden part of Robot Garden. There are fish too!
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, but we have a lot more opportunities to do great things in our new location at The Switch, 2324 Second St Livermore.
As phase 1 of the Aquaponics Interest Group, we are putting together an aquaculture system, utilizing the 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.
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 http://www.aces.edu/dept/fisheries/education/documents/LowCostBiofilters0305.pdf). The
- Water circulation and aeration accomplished by means of an airlift system (see http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showthread.php?129885-types-of-air-lifts). The great benefit of this system is there is no need for a mechanical pump to move water.
- Automatic Fish feeder (http://www.super-feeder.com/asfmodel.html)
- 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.
- 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
Would you like a tour? Or to join the group?
What’s are some more things happening this week at Robot Garden?