Aquaponics Example

We do not pretend to be aquaponics experts, and if you are considering designing and building an aquaponics system you will quickly learn that your system's water quality is highly important to the quality of your grow operation.

The WaterFeature8 can add affordable, real-time telemetry to your aquaponics system.

Here is a very basic aquaponics process diagram.

What are the most important water quality parameters in an aquaponics system?  Not being aquaponics experts, we wouldn't know.  Fortunately, the internet is full of experts, and they told us these are important:

  • pH

  • Water Temperature

  • Air Temperature

  • Dissolved Oxygen

  • Macro Nutrients

Although the WaterFeature8 is not compatible with any macro nutrient sensors, we can deploy other sensors to help us manage the presence of certain compounds.  For example, we know ammonia is inhibitory to fish, and instead of monitoring directly for ammonia we can use pH as an indicator for the presence of ammonia.  At sufficiently high pH values nitrification occurs and converts ammonia to nitrate.

The next graphic shows what sensors we might deploy in an aquaponics system.

Why did we choose this configuration?

Sump:  pH and RTD.

 

We are monitoring RTD (temperature) for two reasons ... 1) the RTD probe is used to compensate the pH readings for increased accuracy, and 2) the water temperature can be adjusted in this tank before being pumped to the fish tank.

The flow meter (M) is for monitoring the flow rate from the sump pump to the fish tank.

Fish Tank:  DO, pH, RTD.

Here we have selected Dissolved Oxygen, pH, and RTD.

RTD is chosen to compensate the DO and pH sensor values.

pH is selected because fish are typically sensitive to the water pH.

DO is being monitored because certain fish species can be particular about the amount of dissolved oxygen.

 

The flow meter (M) from the fish tank to the grow beds is monitored for the hydraulic application rate to the vegetation.

Grow Beds:  RTD

The great thing about aquaponics is that if you supply enough water, nutrients, and light, the system is pretty self supporting.  Here we deploy an RTD probe to monitor the air temperature around the plants.

The WaterFeature8 can be deployed to simply monitor these water quality values simultaneous and tell you what they are.  If you are ready for the next step, the system can be deployed with a PLC to control certain aspects of the system:  pumping rate, air blowers, water temperature, or pH dosing chemical.  Each WaterFeature8 gives you eight channels of water quality monitoring capability.

What can you do with 8?

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