It’s that time of year again, Tour de Tanks 2015! Since 2013, the Aquaponics Association has held the Tour de Tanks, which is a celebration of all things Aquaponics. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate by either showing off their system(s) or visiting those who are. The idea is to spread the love of aquaponics by showing how it’s made an impact in your life.
This time last year, a group of aquaponic enthusiasts got together and built an aquaponics system for Solid State Depot. The system was built using mostly reclaimed materials. It has served as a lovely addition to the space and is used as a teaching aid during aquaponic classes held at the space. Come visit the hackerspace and see the aquaponics system we created together, one year in the making.
This system also boasts some technical features including, a PID controller used to regulate both the heating and cooling of the tank as well as temperature and pH monitoring, all sent to the web and graphed for your viewing pleasure.
If you’re in the Boulder, CO area there will be a showing of the SSD tank as well as a showing of my home tanks. If you can, please RSVP on the Boulder Aquaponics Enthusiasts Meetup page. Who knows, maybe next year you’ll be hosting your own tour!
This past summer, I set out to build an aquaponically filtered habitat for my pet aquatic turtles. I wanted to test both my aquaponic system building skills as well as my wood working skills. The stand and above tank basking area were a great challenge, and building them helped me get back in touch with my inner carpenter. But that was only half the challenge. The second half was seeing if the turtles would actually eat food grown aquaponically from their own waste.
I finally got around to doing a big write up on the whole build, from conception to finishing touches. You can read all about the project over here.
New to the site is the Projects tab up in the top navigation. You can quickly access write ups to all my projects there without having to search through the blog. Stay tuned, as there will be many more past and present projects being added soon.
I also had the privilege of writing up a blog post about the system on SparkFun.com. That post covers more of the electronics used in the lighting system but also gives a good synopsis of the project if you don’t want all the gritty details.
If you’re in the Boulder/Longmont area between January 31st and February 1st, stop by the Boulder Mini Maker Faire, and while you’re there, stop by the Openponics booth to say hello. This will be our public debut. 2015 is going to be a big year for Openponics!
As of January 2015, Openponics is offically in business and dedicated to providing smart, simple, open source monitoring and automation equipment for aquaponic and hyrdoponic systems as well as aquariums.
SparkFun recently started selling 3W high power LEDs, which are great for lighting projects that need a lot of lumens. I’ve been experimenting with some different designs to create smart LED lighting for my dart frog terrariums. They get their 15 minutes of internet fame in this weeks New Product Friday video. Check it out…
This past week, I’ve been working more on automating the aquaponics tank at the Boulder hackerspace. The first step was to be able to monitor the system remotely. Using a Raspberry Pi B+, the data.sparkfun.com service and Google Charts, I was successfully able to post the tank temperature in (almost) real time via the web.
This chart pulls data from the original data.sparkfun.com stream, found here. I used this tutorial to figure out how to modify the HTML for my needs.
Now that I’ve figured out how to read one variable, adding more data should be no problem.
The first ever Aquaponics Festival is happening this summer at the Aquaponic Source, right here in Colorado. The festival will be held on August 9th and 10th, 2014 in beautiful Longmont, CO. The Aquaponic Source is one of the largest distributors of Aquaponics kits in North America and has played a pivotal role in forming the amazing aquaponics community we have in this area and across the world. The festival will be two days full of speakers, workshops, tours, networking, and all around fun. Click here, for a complete list of speakers and workshops. I will be there representing both Solid State Depot, the Boulder Hackerspace and the Boulder Aquaponics Enthusiasts. I will also be giving a talk on open source technology, hackerspaces and how they can transform aquaponics for the betterment of humankind.
I’ve had a 12x12x18″ Zoo Med tank sitting in my garage for some time, and I decided it was time to put something amazing in it. A quick search on Craigslist revealed some dart frogs for sale nearby, specifically some dendrobates leucomelas, also know as yellow banded dart frogs or bumblebee dart frogs. Dart frogs have always fascinated me, but I’ve never know what was needed to care for them and thus never got in to the hobby. However, Mark, the man selling the frogs, was very helpful and answered most every question I had about tending to the frogs. He even sent me home with some substrate so I could create my habitat for them before purchasing them.
I learned a lot about terrariums in one evening. The most fascinating part was how similar they are to aquaponic systems in that they resemble a complete ecosystem. By creating a false bottom with expanded clay or rocks and then layering substrate on top, you create a replica of the forest floor. The false bottom allows water to collect in the bottom, which then evaporates and adds to the humidity of the tank. The water then condenses on the sides and on the plants and falls back down to the false bottom, where the cycle begins again. You can also add critters, such as springtails, to a tank top help break down the solid waste form the frogs. They also may provide a tasty snack for the frogs on top of their typical meal of wingless fruit flies.
Here is my temporary home for the frogs until I can build them a full terrarium, complete with a false background.
And here are the little frogs in their new home. Aren’t they just the cutest!
This month I decided it was time to generate more interest around aquaponics in my area, Boulder, CO, by starting an aquaponic-centered group. Having successfully started a Meetup.com page for Solid State Depot, I felt the same could be done for an aquaponics group. Meet the Boulder Aquaponics Enthusiasts. Much like the hackerspace that the group will use as its home base, the BAE will serve as a group created by the community, for the community. It will be a hub for all things aquaponics in the Denver-Boulder area. On top of monthly open house catch-ups, the group will offer introductory classes and workshops centered around aquaponics and other related technologies. We will also cater to those who have lots of aquaponics experience by offering classes on unconventional topics such as automating systems with open source technology. I aim to bring together all the great minds this state, and this world, has to offer not just for aquaponics but to also help us change the way we use the finite resources this planet has to offer.