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PostPosted: Dec 6th, '17, 12:30 
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Thanks, Boss. I've enjoyed following your thread for a while too.

Tested the feeder today. Seems to work well. I get about 42g per minute, about 1/3c of food. That should work for me but it might be a little too much for a tank of 100 fingerlings.

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PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '18, 05:44 
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It's winter so I'm stuck inside scheming of this year's upgrade. The fish feeder noted above has been dispensing dry cat food (to the cats) and seems to be working flawlessly.

I am thinking of adding some electronics and would appreciate any help/advice.

I have a little programming experience but haven't ever done anything with Arduino. After much research, I think I'll give Adafruit's CircuitPython a try:
https://learn.adafruit.com/welcome-to-circuitpython

I'm ordering some electronics startup kits, an Arduino Metro M0 Express (see Adafruit.com).

For starters, I would like to monitor and log/report tank and external temperature, conductivity (a.k.a., EC, TDS), and pH. If that works, then I might add some active controls, like a small pump that would circulate water through a bucket of shells to lower pH, some alarms if things are out-of-whack.

Temperature seems easy I'll order some DS18B20 temperature probes (cheap on Amazon).

For pH, there isn't an easy/cheap way to measure it. I think you get what you pay for. I was considering Atlas Scientific pH kit (https://www.atlas-scientific.com/ph.html), perhaps even the industrial grade kit. I'm waiting spend for pH until other stuff is working.

For dissolved oxygen, for the cost of the probes, its more cost-effective to just over-aerate (I already continuously operate an aerator with battery backup).

For conductivity, In principle, it seems like it 'should' be easy to get something that's 'good enough' for detecting trends and alert to sudden changes. I think I'm going to try this method with a cheap or home-made probe:
https://hal.inria.fr/file/index/docid/635652/filename/TDS_Logger_RJP2011.pdf

For conductivity probe, I could make with PVC pipe with electrodes of one of any of the following materials (advice is appreciated):
Stainless steel (nuts/bolts from hardware store) - corrosion resistant, oxidation/fouling may cause drift over time.
Nickel (e.g., nickel solder tab) - better than stainless (?)
Nichrome (e.g., heating-element wire) - Should also be corrosion-resistant.
Copper-Nickel (30% nickel, 70% copper, e.g., U.S. Nickel coin): bio-fouling resistant (?) only bad for fish if it corrodes (which it shouldn't?)

Cheers.

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PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '18, 22:02 
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Sounds you are going all in on the electronics. I can't wait to see what yo come up with and how it works.
Brian

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '18, 04:34 
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I like the fish feeder. I need to build one of those myself. I keep killing the cheap fish feeders I buy (knock them in the water) so a custom built that protects electronics would be great!

I need to tackle my arduino project again... I got a decent start and was pretty close to having it operational until I tried adding plugins that I could control through it... then I ran in to some wiring issues that I pulled everything back apart and didn't have it documented well enough where everything plugged in at, so I need to go through the code line by line to make sure I reattach everything where it needs to go (and superglue them together this time so if I unplug again its easy to tell what plugs where). I just haven't dedicated any time to it in probably a year now since the kid keeps me busy every night.

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '18, 11:15 
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For the fish feeder, here are some of the key ingredients and instructions:



FAVOLCANO CN101 DC 12V 16A Digital LCD Power Programmable Timer Time Switch Relay (there are other versions/brands that should work)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012FSL2GK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

uxcell 6mmx8mm Bore Stainless Steel Robot Motor Wheel Coupling Coupler 6mm to 8mm
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DCAKLH2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Yard Butler IRT-1, 9-Inch Roto Auger, 1.75-Inch Diameter (seems to be a good size but there is a 1.25 inc version. I also needed to file down the shaft a little to fit into the 8mm coupler. I did in a few minutes with a hand file.)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HD7OHOS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

1 RPM gear motor (there are cheaper ones but this one is a good speed and has a TON of torque)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NVR5S4W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1v

inShareplus 12V LED Strip Power Supply 2A 24W, Wall Mounted 12V Switching Power Supply, 110V to 12 Power Supply for LED Strip Light with 5.5/2.1 DC Female Barrel Connector to Screw Adapter (any 12v power supply should work)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GD4ZQRS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

For the body, I used 2" PVC, as can be seen in the photos. A 3-2" reducer and 3" cleanout adapter are used to hold the timer.

A wooden disk (i.e., cut with a 2 1/8" hole saw) with a hole in the middle and a couple metal washers serve as the bearing for the auger shaft and to mount the motor. The disks are held in place by screwing into the bottom/side of the pipe. A larger wooden disk (3") is in the 3" cleanout adapter to hold the

I'm trying two different versions for the feed hopper. For one the whole contraption is inside a 5-gal bucket with the bucket lid cut and taped to the walls to serve as a cone-bottom feed hopper. A gamma-seal lid on top should keep critters (and weather?) out. The second is a 4"-2" PVC fitting, a foot of 4" PVC pipe and a threaded cap. I think I like the second version better because it's more straightforward (less custom cutting and duct-taping) and should be more weather tight. If all goes well, I'll use both feeders because I have two tanks to feed.

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PostPosted: Feb 19th, '18, 09:21 
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Nearly up and running with the electronic systems.

Shout out to adafruit.com for making it a fun learning process. innparticular their circuitpython making python programming on microconttiollers accessible, and adafruit io to log and access data.

Here's a link to my data dashboard. It isn't live yet because I just got everything working together today. I also need to add a couple sensors, like for water level. Eventually, I'd like to add a webcam, light switch, and link it to my feeder.

https://io.adafruit.com/orloffsr/dashboards/aquaponics

I'll post an update when it's live.

On a related note, I discovered a dead fish outside the tank today. Unlucky fella--the tank is even mostly covered. Looks like 'mostly' isnt enough.

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PostPosted: Apr 15th, '18, 02:27 
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Put in 100 yellow perch from Zetts in WV. A couple inches. Pond reared and not pellet trained.

Any advice on pellet training yellow perch? The farm suggested canned tuna mixed with the pellets.

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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '18, 10:00 
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Update

Yellow perch doing fine. I bought a small bag of 1/16 inch sinking aquamax pellets from amazon. They are those and. NOw I just break up the larger aquamax pellets and they’re doing fine.

Arduino controller “worked” but I took it out. More trouble than its worth. I’m glad I did it because I learned about the world of microcontrollers but not likely to use it in my system.

Fish feeder got attacked by something large enough to move a 5 gal bucket of food. Raccoon I think. The feeder is broken so I need to rethink a racoon-proof design. I know what to do but don’t have time.

System is being overrun by squash. Every year I’ve lost all my squash at about this time. Squash vine borrer I think. This year I’m trying tromboncinos. Supposed to be resistant.

Also doing several first-time crops. All seem to be growing ok but too early for fruit. Bush beans, pole beans, tomatillos, ground cherrys, and chard.

Tomatos, kohlrabi, herbs, eggplants all doing well.

I’ve not had good luck with cukes but even those seem to be taking off


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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 01:36 
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hey scott do you have a final picture of what your feeder looked like after it was assembled? it looks like everything is growing good, should only be a matter of time til you start harvesting!

every time I see someones outdoors system I think I need to add an outdoor system... hmm

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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 02:36 
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rininger85 wrote:
hey scott do you have a final picture of what your feeder looked like after it was assembled? it looks like everything is growing good, should only be a matter of time til you start harvesting!

every time I see someones outdoors system I think I need to add an outdoor system... hmm




+1 on wanting to do a outdoor system.

I am thinking I may just make an add-on to my current system. During the Winter my system's heart (unheated) will be in a greenhouse with minimal feeding and production due to the cold. Then during the Summer months I can have something like floating rafts tied into the system to suck up the extra nitrates for when the fish feeding takes off.

All I would have to do is set it up so the sump tank flows extra rain water to feed my potted fruit trees and gives them a good water/feed when we get a heavy dose of rain.

What is awesome about being outside the greenhouse during the Summer is that the plants will tend to grow better with the fresh air (CO2) and with the cooler temps be able to take up nutrients easier. I remember reading a long time ago that too high of temps can limit a lot of plants uptake/growth.

For now I am going to set up my current system so that all walls can be removed during the Summer.

There tends to be a LOT of predators and very few pests doing it this way.

When I was in Mobile, AL I had geckos, lizards, and a few types of tree frogs handing around. On top of the spiders, earwigs, and assassin bugs and such.

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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 03:47 
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my greenhouse stays about 80F in the summer time... that means I cannot grow lettuce in it because it bolts too fast. Just having a few rafts for greens would be nice for summer. We only have a few weeks in summer that are consistently above 80F outdoors otherwise it cools down at night so I think with an outdoor system I could keep greens going a lot longer. My biggest debate right now is if I should expand my existing system or just run it as a second stand alone system. I will probably need to shut it down for winter one way or the other unless I expand my greenhouse or at least put a hoop house over it to see if it keeps it thawed out.

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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 05:29 
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That is an option too. A hoop/shade cloth house during the Summer

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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 05:31 
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scott_dc wrote:
Update

Yellow perch doing fine. I bought a small bag of 1/16 inch sinking aquamax pellets from amazon. They are those and. NOw I just break up the larger aquamax pellets and they’re doing fine.

Arduino controller “worked” but I took it out. More trouble than its worth. I’m glad I did it because I learned about the world of microcontrollers but not likely to use it in my system.

Fish feeder got attacked by something large enough to move a 5 gal bucket of food. Raccoon I think. The feeder is broken so I need to rethink a racoon-proof design. I know what to do but don’t have time.

System is being overrun by squash. Every year I’ve lost all my squash at about this time. Squash vine borrer I think. This year I’m trying tromboncinos. Supposed to be resistant.

Also doing several first-time crops. All seem to be growing ok but too early for fruit. Bush beans, pole beans, tomatillos, ground cherrys, and chard.

Tomatos, kohlrabi, herbs, eggplants all doing well.

I’ve not had good luck with cukes but even those seem to be taking off



Your Garden Looks AMAZING btw...

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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 06:53 
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Photos of feeder below. I decided to enclose the guts into the bottom of a 5 gal bucket. The problem is that it isn’t easy to disassemble to fix it.

The raccoon appears to have reached up the outlet and the auger now spins freely. I think my method of mounting motor in 2” pvc broke loose.

For rev 2, I’ll use a 4” pvc as the hopper and a 4” to 2” reducer. Then, parts will be more accessible for repair. I also have ideas for stinger motor mounts. I’ll post photos when I make it.


Attachments:
File comment: Overview
2C2E4890-D6A4-431D-B1C1-56750E95AA2F.jpeg
2C2E4890-D6A4-431D-B1C1-56750E95AA2F.jpeg [ 92.12 KiB | Viewed 1556 times ]
File comment: Controller
3204F8C8-85D9-4619-8E0A-75BB75B5FD4B.jpeg
3204F8C8-85D9-4619-8E0A-75BB75B5FD4B.jpeg [ 123.75 KiB | Viewed 1556 times ]
File comment: Inside food hopper
0A8A58A3-DE56-47CA-84D8-3FC9C860AFAB.jpeg
0A8A58A3-DE56-47CA-84D8-3FC9C860AFAB.jpeg [ 106.43 KiB | Viewed 1556 times ]

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PostPosted: Jun 12th, '18, 06:55 
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Wide angle shot of garden.


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7EFC84C9-E486-4292-BD80-F8773ECC6D7A.jpeg [ 262.53 KiB | Viewed 1554 times ]

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