Helios Labs has designed an automatic fish feeder using Arduino and a 3D printer.
Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (such as raising aquatic animals) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Fish are the power house of any good aquaponics system, as they provide the nutrients for the plants. In an effort to ensure that the creatures are properly fed, the crew over at Helios Labs has come up with a DIY solution. The Makers recently created a 3D-printed fish feeder that hangs from a planter over a tank in an aquaponics system.
The project was programmed with a rather simple code that works by feeding the fish twice a day — once when first plugged in and then again several hours later using a “delay” function. After the fish are fed for the second time, the delay function is called upon again in order to wait until the original starting time, which in their case was 7am.
The unit itself is comprised of a hopper that holds the fish food, as well as 3D-printed auger that is superglued to the gear of a 9g micro servo. In between feedings, the servo, which is controlled by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), is detached as it can only rotate about 180 degrees. The auger was designed to prevent the fish food from accidentally entering the electronics compartment.
“Ideally you should connect the servo to its own 5V power source and power the Arduino via a USB/DC adapter separately. The servo, if powered by the Arduino directly, might overdraw amps and reset the Arduino. This will essentially ruin the timer’s accuracy and require you to reset it,” the team writes.
If any of you have ever owned fish, then you know how easy it can be to forget to feed poor little Nemo from time to time. Good news, Helios Labs says that they will also be creating one for in-home tanks as well. Interested in learning more? Head over to the project’s page here.