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Aquarium Monitoring/Control System

10205 Views 38 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  FischAutoTechGarten
Hey everyone!

Been a few years since I have had a planted tank and decided it was time to get back into it. In the mean time I have been progressing as an electrical engineer and working long hours. Needing an outlet and hobby I wanted to try my hand at planted tanks again! So I thought I would blend the two together a little bit. My wife and I are currently out on a field assignment and moving back home here in the next few months. Figured I would get my tank and everything once I got back home as to not disturb the bacteria/fish/plants. In the mean time I decided to go forward with designing and building a little aquarium monitoring system!

My plan is to turn this into a short weekly journal about my overall progress, issues I have run into, solutions I have found, and questions for everyone.

So Ill start off where I began the process, keep in mind I am an electrical engineer and not a mechanical/process. I created a crude P&ID (Process and Instrumentation Diagram) to begin with as an overall layout for the project. You can see that attached as a PDF. I appreciate any comments or thoughts on the overall layout. Ill give a short description of each system as it stands now.

I had an Arduino Uno laying around from a Christmas gift to my wife that she opted not to use, so I am now putting that to use as a control system. I am planning on bringing in a pH, ORP, Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature and Conductivity probes purchased from Atlas Scientific into the Arduino through a Tentacle Shield (see attached photos of my work in progress with the pH sensor, Tentacle Shield and a small LCD screen). Ideally I will also have an Atlas Scientific flow meter for the outlet of the filter to maybe warn of filter cleaning time, etc. This will be the monitoring part of the tank, I am hoping to use accrued data after a few months of operation to implement a control scheme with hiccups I may have to manually fix during the time and data from the probes. Ill get more into the electronics part of the project next week. Mostly just excited not to have to do the drop color pH tests anymore :)

Second is the CO2 injection system, which we are all familiar with. I am planning on buying a nice GLA system once moving back. Ideally at some point Ill be able to incorporate the solenoid into my control system and make my own pH controller or tank system controller.

Third, dosing pumps. I plan on having at a minimum two dosing pumps shown in the P&ID. These will be Macros and Micros using the PPS Pro Method at the moment. Simply chose this since it seemed most suited to a dosing pump application, but still considering EI as well. Let me know what you prefer :) I think before this gets implemented I will add a small top off dosing pump as well, but not sure on how I will supply the treated water consistently for this at the moment. Hoping to have an RO system at this point.

Fourth, but not least, the tank system basics. Currently slated to be an Aquamaxx 12 gallon (hoping for bigger), a Hydor professional canister filter, Hydor inline heater, and Finnex Planted+ 24/7.

That is all I have for this week, let me know what you think. Next week will be related to control cabinet design, terminal block layout, specifications, etc based on the P&ID.

Have a good week!


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