SSD Aquaponics Tank

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.

Aquaponics Festival 2014

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.

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Aquaponics Fest 2014 Flyer

Dart Frogs and the Science of Terrariums

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.

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And here are the little frogs in their new home. Aren’t they just the cutest!

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Can you spot all three fogs?

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