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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-09-2015 10:02 AM
megamax42 Sorry about the long overdue update! I will post pictures once I get some of the wires cleaned up but here's some of the components I either added or updated:


Moved out the shrimp for a crowntail betta.

LCD Touch Screen

Ditched the nearly 40 individual wires I was using to connect the LCD to the Arduino in favor of the shield, which fixed all my glitches and even the SD slot started working. This allowed me to upload high resolution images for backgrounds without the need to render individual icons, saving tons of memory on the arduino, and improving overall flow of program. The background is currently a picture of the Betta, with 4 icons. A droplet (water change pumps), a light (lights obviously), a thermometer (temperatures), and a picture of the filter (for the flow sensor). Each icon opens a sub-menu with various controls and data output.

External U-Vessel

Because the system requires a temperature sensor, heater, two airline tubes, a water sensor, and the two filter hoses, I wanted to keep the equipment out of the tank, since it is only a 5 gallon after all. So I designed a U-tube made from PVC that is mounted behind the tank. I have a siphon pulled from the tank into this U-tube so it is constantly being filled if the water levels aren't the same. Then I place the heater, sensors, and hoses into the other side of the U-tube. At the bottom of the tube I have substrate that not only acts as a filter as the water passes over it, but also prevents foreign matter from entering the filter inlet tube, where it could damage the flow sensor impeller. So the inlet hose to the filter is sucking water out of the external u-vessel, where it then passes through the inline flow sensor, into the filter (zoomed 501) and then back into the aquarium.

The PVC tube is 1.25" (if I remember correctly), and gets a pretty good flow going through it with the filter running, causing all filtered water to pass over temp sensors, water sensors, the heater, and water change pump hoses. This results in a very well mixed system.

The current problem I'm experiencing is the siphon flow rate isn't enough to keep up with the filter flow rate, and as a result I am experiencing about 1-2 inches of draw-down in the u-vessel relative to the tank water level. To remedy this I plan to increase the siphon tube diameter.

Temp Sensors

There are currently 2 temp sensors, one in the Arduino and circuitry drawer, and one in the external u-vessel. I also plan to add a third to the LED array heatsink (but really just for fun, because it never gets hot). In the temp sub-menu I can change between Celsius and Fahrenheit, and there is a status light that turns green if:

78 F < Tank Water Temp < 82 F

Circuit Enclosure Temp < 110 F

and red for anything out of those ranges.

Water Sensors

I purchased 3 water level sensors. One is for the u-vessel (which once I get the larger siphon tube, will be on the same water level as the tank), and I will use this sensor for maintaining adequate water levels, sending commands to the pumps if necessary.

Pumps/Storage Containers

I purchased 2 peristaltic pumps and two 1-gallon containers. One container/pump is fresh water with dechlorinator and fertilizers such as trace minerals and excel. The other container/pump is for waste water, and routinely removes water from the tank. The pump tube-to-aquarium interface is at the u-vessel, where the tubes are routed into the water. The pump tube-to-container interface consists of a hole drilled in the container lid, with a rubber grommet installed. The pump hose fits snug enough that it pulls a vacuum on the container. To remedy this I installed two simple air locks you might find while home-brewing. This prevents a vacuum from being pulled in the container, while still keeping it generally sealed off to the atmosphere.

The submenu for the pumps currently consists of a slider to control volume to add/remove and a "fill" button, which when pressed will both add fresh water and remove old water to the amount specified by the slider. I intend to have manual controls available, but to have this system automated based on a feedback control system from the water level sensors.

Flow Meter

The flow meter is installed inline with the hoses to the zoomed 501 filter. I measured the flow rate with a very dirty filter when I overhauled the system. I then thoroughly cleaned the filter, and measured the flow rate. Using a very rough linear approximation I was then able to generate a filter performance equation, allowing me to output the health status of the filter based on the flow rate. The submenu for the flow rate allows me to change between liters per hour and gallons per hour. I intend on collecting a bunch of data over the next few months in order to generate a much more accurate filter performance approximation.

Auto Feeder

I purchased a high torque electric motor and designed a conventional autofeeder using an archimedes screw and a hopper, similar to how your freezer might get ice to the dispenser. I modeled this autofeeder in autocad and I am now waiting for permission from my university to print it.

Lights/Clock Module/Misc Components

Haven't changed the light or real time clock module at all.

Bought 8 relays, two of which are currently being used to control the peristaltic pumps. I plan to wire other relays to the heater and filter, granting me the ability to turn those on and off, although that will be the extent of my control of these components.

I bought an ethernet module for the arduino as well, which I'll use to broadcast data to a website I can view anywhere with an internet connection. It will be a SCADA type interface, allowing both inputs and outputs.
01-04-2013 05:20 PM
megamax42 I'm getting close to finishing a drawing program with the ability to change the color. I accomplished this by using Henning Karlsens "Touch Example: Quickdraw" as a base, then looking at HK's "Touch Example: Buttontest" to learn how to make buttons and highlighting the ring around them. Still has a couple bugs but it's fairly close.

My next goal will be creating a menu with a pen icon to access the drawing program, and maybe a finger icon to access the touch calibration program.

The reason I'm playing around with these programs is to get the basis for programming menu-like functions, buttons and to display data. Then I'll move onto bigger/better things

Oh, and you guys get to see my horrible handwriting
01-01-2013 12:01 AM
megamax42 The tank looks great! And I thought my vals outgrew the 40 gallon fast, I bet they fill that tank up quick.

I've been trying to program the LCD for the past couple hours. Fortunately I got a second arduino to use for my paludarium so I could use that and not worry about the LEDs flashing on and off each time I had to re-upload.

I'm making very slow progress though, it isn't a very intuitive system and has a lack of instructions, and when I do find a tutorial it usually contradicts something else I've already looked at. Here's what I have managed to get so far:

10-01-2012 04:43 AM
Originally Posted by megamax42 View Post
Ahh, I totally forgot to reference you as the inventor of this idea!!!
All the credit definitely goes to jointbeaker for the hood. (genius by the way)
Glad to see your still on the forums and found this thread!
How has your hood held up?
I ended up not using it, or the tank it was intended for.

My first Chi has all sorts of algae right now. Here's probably the best picture I have of it right now:

09-22-2012 02:15 AM
Originally Posted by jointbeaker View Post
I'm happy to see that at least someone liked my idea for a Chi lid.

*subscribed to see progress.

Ahh, I totally forgot to reference you as the inventor of this idea!!!
All the credit definitely goes to jointbeaker for the hood. (genius by the way)
Glad to see your still on the forums and found this thread!
How has your hood held up?
09-22-2012 01:55 AM
Originally Posted by megamax42 View Post
I'm happy to see that at least someone liked my idea for a Chi lid.

*subscribed to see progress.
09-22-2012 12:10 AM
megamax42 Bought a 3.2" LCD touchscreen for the project yesterday, I got it from here:

Also the arduino arrived in the mail. In about 30 minutes I'm gonna go to radio shack to get the appropriate wires and a couple test LEDs/Resistors and hopefully I will have the LED's controlled from the Arduino by tonight. Unfortunately the LCD screen and temperature sensors won't be here for a while because they're coming from Hong Kong.

A couple pics of the arduino:

09-20-2012 12:42 AM
megamax42 Got some more arduino supplies:

09-19-2012 04:36 AM
megamax42 Just bought the arduino. For right now it will be controlling only the led's but eventually I hope to have it hooked up to multiple temperature sensors, a fertilizer auto-doser, water replacement, automatic feeding, and a pH sensor.

09-14-2012 05:24 AM
megamax42 Tonight I finished making the heatsink and soldering the LED's
They're VERY bright, I briefly held it over the tank and they look great.
I'll try to get a video of it tomorrow.
All that's left to do is build an enclosure; the very last picture is my inspiration, although it will be smaller in height, stained darker and no light sticking out the top.

09-12-2012 03:28 PM
megamax42 Called up a computer store yesterday and asked if they had any trash/scrap heatsinks laying around. They were very cool and let me poke through their box of oddballs and take these two for free. Initially I was looking for both the LED and the driver, however since CPU heatsinks are so small I decided to build a heatsink for the LEDs. As for the driver I'll probably use the heatsink on the left, because the driver fits the copper surface area perfectly.

09-11-2012 04:58 AM
megamax42 Ballast went out on the shrimp tank light the other week, instead of fixing it though I think I'm gonna test the waters of diy led's with a small fw build, a little practice for the jbj 24 cube. A little expensive for such a small tank, but the plan is to eventually add an arduino and diy auto-dosing system, nerd out with it, so a modular system was the goal.

Got most of my supplies today

04-21-2012 07:02 PM
megamax42 I ended up taking out the four leafed clovers (Marsilea quadrifolia) because they were almost at a complete standstill as far as new growth goes and wouldn't stay planted.

04-13-2012 03:22 PM
GMYukonon24s Your welcome I just like the plants in the background. I have some like that in my tall tank.
04-12-2012 03:09 AM
Originally Posted by Mablisboa View Post
Can't beat that huh!!! Lol... They are so cute tho!! I wonder if they'd grow good in a low light tank... :/
Hmm, not sure, the usual care guides for them say high light, however a day after I put them in they were already growing faster than anything else in the tank.

Originally Posted by GMYukonon24s View Post
Beautiful pictures
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