arduino hydroponics


My dad was a Christmas tree farmer. This is my corn. I’Ve got cilantro growing here. These are chives no onions, and this is Italian parsley and basil. I went to college and I got a degree in horticulture. I’Ve always wanted to do my own farm and the Christmas tree farm wasn’t big enough for the whole family. Basically here’s, the fish tank water flows from here I’ve got ta. Let a timer that I built mechanism here with these mechanical timers and they turn on I’ve got some electric valves back there that turn on and the water will run from here, which is that’s the drain inside the fish and a run over and there’s a pipe Going down the back here when it comes in through the inlet right here, and you can see the water coming right through there and it just flows down to the end it flows. This is a little bit higher on this one and it flows down this way. Here comes the water, this fills up and then it drains down into my sump and then here in just a minute, that’s going to kick off and then that sump pumps it back up into here the fish. Basically, I paid him twice a day and then, as they process the fifth food, then it just goes into the water, and then it gets. The bacteria eats up the fish, poop basically and then that’s. What gives the nutrients to the plant grow? A lot of food in just a really small area – this is small I’m, actually got plans for a 500 gallon system, and this is going to be filled up with the aquaponics along this whole area here and then I’m.

Actually, building this system right here, which is my tower system on a pull these out and put it ours in here – this is totally scalable, so these will actually fit inside here and I’ll. Have four of these. This is six square feet and there will be 186 slots here. So I will germinate all my seedlings and then they just pop in there like that, and then the water will be pumped up there and then pumped back down. And then this is totally scalable, because, as I build units on, all they got to do is just put them right in there and then all I have to do is put these plugs in these ends, and water will not get into this area right here, because That’S going to be all my automation, stuff and it’ll all be wireless to where, in this unit right here I’m designing it it’ll have 30 different sensors in it. This is going to be what goes in the top like right here it sits up there. This is a sensor for water, so this will come down and be connected to the internet down there, and so, as water fills up this cup, when I know it gets full, I can cut it off and then just let the water go down trickle down my Whole concept is, is that greenhouses are expensive and everybody seems to want to put in greenhouses I’m going we’re in California. You can grow year round just about so the thing I like about this is: I can just go, find vacant lot, someplace that somebody wants to control the weed control.

I can go in and put in a unit and then if they decide that they want to charge more money or I need to move, I can just pick everything up and move within, probably a week’s time, so I can close down the whole operation and move On because that’s, really the expensive part of growing and being commercial is what the land costs are so that’s kind of my plan, but the only way that I’m going to be able to get there and that’s. Why I’ve gone into the automation aspect and the internet of things is because you don’t have to have as many people involved in the operation here’s my timers and then this is an automatic valve. That’Ll add water to it daily, based on how I’m going to really do aquaponics at a commercial scale, you have to have precise control, and then I monitor my pH right there and here’s the actual probe right here, that’s a pH probe. This is going to be fully automated on the Internet, to where I can monitor it any place, and so this is really to show you the Internet of Things. This is my my little unit right here that I’m doing all my testing on this is a working model of an aquaponic system. I’Ve got a pump in there. I’Ve got a heater, I’ve got a pH meter in there. I’Ve got temperature probes, a float switch and you can see here’s these little plugs, so that fits in there.

So I can actually grow plants in here. This is actually the water pump when I plug it in water starts being pumped from here. Up to here, all the sensors are tied into here. This is what’s called an Arduino. All these sensors get it’s like this right here, here’s a temperature probe hooked up to that. This is hooked on to the internet, so it’s reading all these sensors and I can actually make decisions where I had to physically open and shut the valve. This will do that for me, like these things right here once it hits those two probes right there it’s a sensor that when the water hits there – or it goes a certain point, it will automatically turn that valve on based on the coating that I have for The Arduino you see, I got a lot of moving pieces but it’s all driven off of understanding the sensors and having them make decisions to be able to flood and water, so it’ll automatically without me having to switch over electricity that’s going to kick on right there With a relay that turns the valve on automatically as soon as it hits those set points and then it will automatically drain and if it doesn’t drain and it starts overflowing, I’ll get an email telling me that I’ve got a problem with my system. I’Ve got a wireless modem that fits on this that I can hook up and I can actually do it even from the car seat.

Basically, this is an Arduino with the temperature probe on it, it’s hooked up to the Internet. This is an API that is written by a guy that I got in touch with me when I was trying to write my own code and everything. So basically, what he does is he’s got flash firmware that you flash the Arduino with, and then you can set up these sensors here. This is probe 27. Instead of having to write all this code, I just go in and create a sensor, and I call it probe 27. I put what kind of sensor it is, and then you put what you’re doing and then what tenets on this is pin. 27. This is the exact probe that I’m working with, and I have it assigned to pin number 27 on their Arduino, so that’s telling it to go to pin 27 and to read these there’s a hex code in here and you say: read it every thousand. Basically, every second and then logging there’s, a data logging chip in here actually it’s a card and that’s where all the data is sent. So I can see my temperatures anytime, then I want to twentyforseven and then I’m done. I just save it and then it goes that will feed over to Dively, which gives me what my variables are, what it will give me the grass, so I don’t have to be a programmer to take from here to get output.

It’S real life analytics here, huh yeah, I mean it’ll analyze anything and I can configure it any way that I want to, and all I had to do is set like four parameters for this probe. I can put as many probes and sensors on there as I want that’s what the Internet of Things is all about. So so I can drive like one of those towers down there. Basically, from anywhere in the world, you can have hundreds of thousands of these without any more effort than one. I am running a full farm from here, so that’s. What the Internet of Things will allow you to do so I can run as big a operation as I want to right from here. Let’S say I mean you: have a vacant lots in place. I could come over there and set you up and I could different hearing there’s no windows or anything in here. I can tell you what a system is doing just by once. I get all this configured so it’s, so you don’t have to go outside and look at it. Correct, that’s, not a good way to farm, obviously, but I can see if I’m someplace elves and you can set up all the triggers to that. If your pH drops below a certain point, you know you got to adjust your pH and you don’t know it before you even get home because it can send you a text message or a Twitter feed this tower right here.

This will have four sensors in it. It’S going to have a water probe sensor at the top it’s got a temperature sensor in it. I can get text messages when there’s a parameter that’s out. If one of these, like there’s pumps in here and if one of those pumps clogs that’s, what this is going to tell me is when I’m not getting water up there, and then I know to go. Look this and find out what the problem is so I’ll know it almost Benson taneous Lee of when there’s a problem. This is a solar light, that’s the solar unit, so I can run all this off of that Solar. That will power the Arduino and all the electronics inside here, because all that stuff, just this comes off. This is going to be all dry in from here to here to here to here, to where I have all my electronics and everything down inside there, and I could just drop. The Arduino is right inside there and everything will be self contained, and here will be the control panel for the Arduino to where I can control it and see what’s going on and it’s all fits together. Like that, the way I made these is that I saw on the internet, I’ve read about a guy and I emailed him, and this is the tool, so you just heat that with a heat gun and then you just stick it in there and then that makes That hole and all these parts or you can buy in a hardware store.

I started with like a two inch one, but I want to get the maximum out of it and so that wasn’t, you know I couldn’t. I could only get like 12 per row, so you can see it much more efficient. It is, and then I moved over to this side and did those and then I finally ended up with this, which is really whatever we have now so I’m, pretty much there until I can start running water and testing plants, so, but I think that that’s, a Pretty good design my plan is, as I get these units established, I just pull them out and if I want to go to the farmers market with that, I just take the whole tube and you can feel how light that is. I can just pull them out of there and unplug them and take them to a farmers market and then all people that have to do if they want to buy something they just pull out. One of those I mean I can grow lettuce in there. This one I’m going to grow strawberries in it’s, going to be about 350, fully automated the models that I’ve generated already. I can pay that back in probably two months, three months I’m actually going to put it in there and I can fit three units plus a fish tank in there. I’Ve already got somebody that will give me an acre 12 of land that they’re not using, and so as soon as I get ready to scale I’m going to put a 500 gallon tank here, that’s half of a thousand gallon when I get to a thousand gallons That’S going to be my scaling volume, so I’ll know how many of these I need.

I’Ll have six of these beds that it will be hooked up in my front area. There there’s gravel I’ve actually got a 250 gallon pond that I got going in there as soon as I learned how to automate all this stuff. But this is where I’ve got the pond it’s going to go in here and then I’ve got all my controls. I actually have a heat sink that’s going to go in here, that’s going to be where it goes down in the ground and I’ll be able to keep the water at the temperature down there year round is about 53 degrees, so I’ll take the pond water because It’S, a black pond run it through there and it will get like 80 degrees, so I’ll be able to drop it to like 55 degrees, and then I can have trout or some of the cooler water, because, especially outside tilapia, will only go down to about 72 Degrees and then they start dying off. The pond will be sitting here. I’Ll have a filter system, then I’d go down there and then I’m going to pump it over to the side over here that bed that I showed you there’s, going to be six of them in here you’re, taking a gauge of every spot, yeah pretty much. Unfortunately, my wife supports me so that’s gon na be filled up with girl beds. Eventually, as I get there right here, those things that I was plopping into the tower uh huh.

This is where I start the seedlings and I supercharged these arrow gardens to where I I can put the after they sprout. I can put them here and I’ve got like air pumps in there, so I kind of reconfigured them to my use. So I can control the environment. You can see I’m pretty invested in automation. This is a freezer in here I can take any crop I’m going to put all the sensors in it. I can control this. I can brew beer in here. I can make wine in here, because I can control the temperature I want to vertically integrate. So in order to vertically integrate, you have to that’s the live that’s the technology. This right here is a wine refrigerator, and this is actually where I’m going to be doing tissue culture. So, as I grow strawberries, I can actually do tissue culture taking them the stem tissue and then grow it in here and incubate it and that’s all going to be on the internet and controlled by the automation too. So I can scale just about at any level. I want – and you know I can’t do all this without automation: I’ve got these lights, these LEDs and I’m working on programming right now, and I I was having to write the program myself to where I could have lights in there now I don’t have to do It because I can use that product right there and tell them to turn on for 12 hours and turn off, and I don’t have to write, be a programmer to make that happen.

All I got to do is hook up some wires and here’s all the variables in here that are set. So if you want it to hit at a certain temperature, you set those variables but it’s all driven off of the automation, because you can’t run this much water and different things without having that automation, yeah see this is filling up in here now. I need to know what’s going on it’s, just like I didn’t know the temperatures down in the ground how much the water temperature is, and then that tells me what kind of plants I can grow. What kind of fish I can have all those types of things. The habaneros, my pH, is running a little bit high right now, so the fruits not setting on that I’ve got lots of buds on lowering the pH right now and here’s the asparagus I can dial in any scenario. Ok asparagus needs to have a dormant period. Okay, it’s just like melons to get melons, ripened and really sweet. You have to stress them. I can actually get on the internet and I can dial in like if I want to stress the asparagus, I just cut the water instead of going every hour. I do every 5 hours, and so I can put them into dormancy and then I can bring them out of dormancy. That way I have a precise control of the environment doing automation, so it is being productive yeah. It does.

I mean you can even see like this. This is a like my pepper plant and you can see down here, so you probably wouldn’t see that much fruit, typically on a pepper plant like that, especially when you get into like this one right here, that’s a pretty good size and the one thing that I Kind of like doing a lot – this is cilantro right here. This was started about two weeks ago and you usually don’t see that much cilantro being germinated. So this is how I seed these, and you can see here here’s where I had cilantro before so when I got done cutting them. I just leave the stems in there and I’ve got about 3000 earthworms in there one right there, so they feed on the roots, see these all these roots in here they go in they, they compost them and then that releases all that energy from these stems. Like you can see, as ever, they eat all the organic matter and then it turns it back into nutrients for the plants. But when I do this, I just in order to make money in farming you’ve got to have large operation, it’s really hard to be a small farmer in today’s world. But as you can see, I could grow a lot of food in here and once I get it totally built out that’s hardest part about cilantro is getting the seeds to germinate, but I can just do it like that and 14 days later they pop up.

You know to have this kind of production in a small area is pretty exciting but here’s the air pump that provides air to these air stones here. So that gives a supplemental oxygen, so you can see it bubbling there. So this is pretty much cutting edge and then this is where I’ve got all my electricity going. This is where the sump plugs in to it not a lot of people doing this kind of stuff, but I think that it’s a you know going to be the way that you can make a living in the future. You don’t have to touch anything really. How many other then put it in the ground and pick it so that’s where the efficiency comes in the technology is not that hard, it’s, really understanding the fish and the water relationship.


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Comment (21)

  1. There is only one question. Is it self sustaining?

    When u not harvest more Corn, than the Fish feast for a cycle, than u be better of fermenting the fish food and feed the plant directly.
    In a well mangaed garden, u get more productive soil over time, because o enriching of Nutrients. The only thing u have to add is some phosphor from time to time, because there is no gaseous phosphor, so it wont migrate in by itself.
    If such a bioponic system sould be more than a costly gimmik, u should be forced to get some plant matter out of the system, to not poison the system over time.

  2. Fantastic! Been researching aquaponics for quite awhile and am in the process of doing something similar with Raspberry Pi’s. Want to upload GPIO input data to a data repository for charting and email alerts. This is not an easy task. Well done!

  3. You know, I remember seeing this a while ago, was hoping there would be an update. What ever came out of this? Wasn’t he expecting to expand? And what about those units on the side, the verticals? Does he have a YouTube channel?

  4. Really cool stuff, the only thing that bothers me is “this is connected to the internet” being used everywhere for everything. “This is hooked onto the internet” sounds like something my grandpa would say when explaining it when really I’m the one who designed and built it all for him.

    I’m sure it’s a high level explanation that went through lamens terms dumbing down for a general audience, but I’d really like to see more videos like this targeted towards a technical audience.

  5. Seriously like NO ONE is going to point out the fact that he has like 5 or 6 huge fukking fish in that small compartment…. like for real???

  6. I live in northern California and his right land here is crazy expensive. to be on the go like that is incredible. I want to learn more from this man his a genius!


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