Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
Essentially, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are used by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.
Recently, a farmer by the name of Rik Kretzinger decided to mesh aquaponics with open source technology by creating an automated garden using an Atmel-based Arduino Mega, Ethernet shield, along with various sensors and valves.
According to CNX Software, Kretzinger’s firmware is based on the popular APduino, an open source project designed to run on an Atmel-based Arduino Mega (ATmega1280). The open source aquaponics platform is tasked with processing and analyzing a comprehensive data feed from numerous sensors including those that monitor humidity, temperature, pH balance and light levels.
In addition, Rik’s aquaponics system is designed to automatically upload data to the cloud via Xively, post emergency SMS alerts as well as stream updates over Facebook and Twitter. Kretzinger says his open source aquaponics system is quite versatile, vertical (optional) and can be set up in both urban and suburban locations.
Interested in learning more? You can check out Rik’s Aquaponic DIY Automation blog here. Readers may also want to browse through some of our previous stories on automated farming including “The Internet of Things, Stalk by Stalk,” “Smart Urban Aquaponics in West Oakland” and “DIY Farming with Atmel and Arduino.”
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