Glück Auf is loosely translated as "good luck to us all".

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Arduino Rasp Pi Environment Controller

I have already purchased a Raspberry Pi and a USB driven Velleman kit that I plan to use to control eight relays to turn pumps, lights and heaters on and off based upon schedules and sensor readings. While I was trying to find a simple way to connect various environmental sensors, I stumbled across this open-source project that uses Arduino to accomplish almost everything I had hoped to accomplish with my aquaponic greenhouse automation.

Source: Open-Source project at

An Arduino and Raspberry Pi based Environment Controller. Main Components: MEGA 2560, SSD-1963 Touchscreen, DHT-11 Humidity Sensor, LM35 Temperature Sensor, a Light Dependent Resistor, and a Phidgets P1130_0 - pH/ORP Adapter with cheap BNC pH probe (electrode) off eBay (see wiki for full parts list)

Also includes a Python Script and a PHP webpage for controlling the Arduino remotely (developed for Raspberry Pi - but should work on any linux machine or a windows machine with some modification to the code)

Displays a graph of all sensor data (customizable)

Arduino Rasp Pi Environment Controller Web Site



Complete Touchscreen User Interface
Water Timers and Light Timers
Manual Control of Relays
Set Water Pump and Light Schedules

The following is meant for running on a Raspberry Pi: Includes a Python Script to recieve serial messages from arduino and stores the variables in seperate files Includes a PHP Web Page for monitoring realtime sensor values, remote control of relays/light settings/water settings/system settings, view realtime graph and upload firmware remotely!

Survey Study of and Stocking Densities for Tilapia-Shrimp Polycultures 10NSR3

Source: Oregon State University

Ecological Basis for Tilapia-Shrimp Polyculture In nature, tilapia are omnivores. Young tilapia graze on algal and bacteria films scraping most hard surfaces with tongue and teeth. As they grow they also become effective filter feeders of phytoplankton and predators of zooplankton. Larger tilapia are less effective filter feeders but begin to graze heavily on macrophytic algae and aquatic plants. In extensive farming situations, tilapia filter feed on algae, prey of zooplankton and scrape films from any hard surfaces in the pond. In intensive farms, most nutrition is derived from pelleted feeds, although fish will continue to spend time scraping algal and bacterial films from all surfaces.

In nature, shrimp feed first on phytoplankton and then zooplankton during larval stages. As juveniles and adults they are omnivores and detritovores. Their natural behavior is to search the bottom substrates for decaying plant and animal material. They also constantly pick up sand grains and pieces of organic matter and graze off the algae and bacteria, drop the grain or particle and go onto the next item. In farmed settings shrimp feed on pellets and natural productivity in the pond. Research by Samocha et al. (1998), has demonstrated that shrimp can be reared in systems with little water exchange, taking advantage of the natural abilities of shrimp to thrive in conditions with high bacterial loading so long as dissolved oxygen levels and other water quality factors are maintained.

There are several variations on tilapia-shrimp polyculture: simultaneous, sequential, and crop rotation. In the simultaneous instance the fish and shrimp are grown together in a pond or raceway, in the sequential case the water is moved from one growing unit to another, and the crop rotation alternates tilapia and shrimp. There appear to be distinct advantages with each of these systems.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My First Aquaponic Garden

I built the Aquaponics system inside our greenhouse between late November and late January. I included clay media grow beds and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) channels in my design so that I can try growing various plants with and without media. All water is pumped up from a 100 gallon stock tank that is buried in the ground. I added a small quantity of weak ammonia solution to the water to start the process of building up the bacteria that are required to convert the ammonia from fish waste to nitrites and then to nitrates which are vital nutrients for the plants. And finally, I planted a few lettuce, tomato and cucumber plants from our heirloom and organic seed collection.

In the future, I plan to add one or more grow beds with traditional planting soil and possibly rafts, aeroponics trays, and/or vertical towers for further experimentation and comparison. My primary goal is to learn as much as possible about the various modern farming techniques and produce as much fresh vegetables and protein as possible.

More details will be added later.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quinoa production in a greenhouse

According to a recent blog post at the Guardian,

The appetite for [quinoa] has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

NASA tested hydroponic cultivation of several varieties of Quinoa in controlled greenhouse environments.
See: Quinoa: Candidate Crop for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems

Quinoa responded well to controlled environment production practices with large increases in seed production, maintenance of short canopy stature, and increased harvest index, as compared with the field.