Lot of creative aquaponic systems keep hitting the shelves, claiming to give people living in small areas opportunity to grow fish and vegetables together. However, not many people are able to use them, as some do not address their problems well, while the others are not affordable. For such people, here is a DIY project of making a smart aquaponic system.
The Aquaponic Balcony Garden
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This smart and small-footprint aquaponic system can be fully automated. The smart relay-controlled pumps and sensors detect water level in the fish tank, and soil moisture, temperature and humidity. The fish in tank are completely safe even if the power goes out because of the backup air pump. If anything goes wrong, the master system kills relay and handles everything, and you can operate it via internet.
The bell siphons are the culprits in other aquaponic systems, so the designer has not used it in this project. Motorized ball valve waters the grow bed, which you can schedule as per your convenience and the plant needs. Following are the basic DIY instructions to give you an idea of what all you need to have while making this system:
The Solids Filter
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This filter pulls and captures fish excrement and excess food that results in overfeeding of plants. It breaks down the captured things into smaller units that bacteria digest and convert them into plant nutrients.
This big system provides maximum surface area for bacterial activity. The conversion of waste material into something so useful depends upon this system in the Aquaponic Balcony Garden. Using an aquarium bubbler and moving bed media, the bioreactor supports bacteria growths that make non-toxic plant fertilizer with toxic fish waste.
The grow bed holds soil and other things required for plant growth. It consists of a moisture probe, temperature probe, water inlet and water drain. The water inlet and the overflow preventer work to provide bio-treated water to the grow bed, and prevent overflow of water. Water drain doubles as a root clogging preventer as well. It does not let roots clog everything, which usually accounts as a major trouble in many other aquaponic systems.
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You can paint the fish tank using a food-safe rubberized coating, which will enhance the appearance and serve the purpose of heat reflection. Equipped with an ultrasonic distance sensor that measures water level, the temperature probe measures water temperature to ensure fish are safe inside. A float switch that works like an analog backup to the ultrasonic sensor, and a screen that prevents small fish from getting into the pump section. The fish tank cover is designed especially to keep unwanted things like leaves from falling into the tank, and it enables fish to sense day and night.
Electric drain valve
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It performs a very important function of delivering water of grow bed to the fish tank on command. In times of power outage, it opens and delivers as much water and oxygen required keeping fishes alive.
A platform that supports grow bed, holds the important drain valve, and routes all wiring is the grow platform.
Double leg support
The brain of the aquaponic garden you can call it, as it houses the all the electrical connections, microcontroller and supports the grow platform as well. The see through box enables you to see a lighted pilot switch inside that controls the mains power. You can turn that off before putting your hand in water, or you can control it with a relay.
Aquaponic systems are sustainable systems that allow their users to grow fish and plants together. This solves the problem of less space availability, is a chemical free process wherein fishes help fertilize plants, and less water and electricity are used.