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Internet-of-Farming July 5, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics electronics, arduino, Cilantro, DIY aquaponics, IoT aquaponics.
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Just got featured on an international blog showing my aquaponic system and work I have been doing with aquaponic automation in ag related technologies. Getting close to 10,000 views on YouTube.

www.faircompanies.com source

system overview


1. Robert Evans - July 6, 2013

Hello! I ‘m trying to convert my windowfarms.com hydroponics garden into an indoor aquaponics garden and was wondering were you got your little netpots at (the triangular ones that you put in the self made tube.) Also are you using a regular PVC tube from say home depot or lowes and then heat gunning to shape? This would actually be far more ideal.

rik94566 - July 9, 2013


I like window farms. I have been following windowfarms.com for a number of years now. Fun site and lots of neat ideas. I am not in to air pumps on a large scale, but for your use it works. I agree with you the pvc pipe is much more functional and safer overall in the big picture. I know all the issues with pvc as compaired to water bottles being reuse. I know that I can get white pvc certified organic if need be so this make more sense to me. But everyone needs to deal with this issue on their own terms. Home Depot and Lowes list 4″ pvc drain pipe without holes online. But I have been hard pressed to it in any stores in the Bay area of California. I get mine at Horizon Irrigation. Here is the link: horizononline.com‎

I have also found it at my local ACE Hardware Stores, so you can order it there if they do not carry it in stock. It comes in 20 foot lengths. So take your truck. Let me know if you find it and where so others will know where to look for a source.

Hugh Todd - July 31, 2013

I stumbled upon your video on YouTube while researching hydroponics. As a prior user of the Arduino for automation, I am impressed with the direction you are headed. I was particularly intrigued by your vertical garden concept and, like Robert above, was wondering where you sourced the small plant holders. Thanks, Hugh

rik94566 - August 6, 2013

Hugh – Glad you liked it. Close to 50K views. I never thought have this much interest when I committed to the request to be featured. I get the small plant holder from Aerogardens. Nothing tricky here. I try to keep as many things as I can simple and easy for everyone. Automation is more complex that I would like it to be. But given a little more time and effort we can change this as well. It is much easier today than it was 3 years ago when I started this journey.

Hugh Todd - August 6, 2013

Rik, Thanks for the reply, I just found the plant holders on the Aerogarden site thanks to you. Sounds like you are busy. Good luck with the project. – Hugh

2. Benjamin - July 6, 2013

This is incredible. I have been following these systems for a while, but this is very advanced. There is an urban farmers market where I live, but their aquaponics systems is lo-tec. I should suggest some of your ideas to them.

Do you have contact information listed on your website?

rik94566 - July 9, 2013

Benjamin – glad you like the systems. I am always interested talking aquaponics with anyone. You can reach me at rik@AGponics.com

3. Benjamin - July 6, 2013

Another question…

I was speaking with a friend that put in an aquaponics system in their backyard. Ultimately the system failed, I believe they said it was due to bird dropping contamination. Have you had any trouble like this with your system?

rik94566 - July 9, 2013

Benjamin – good question. Bird dropping contamination is very serious issue in aquaponics. Birds being warm blooded can cause e-coli problems. I have not had a problem with them so far. I did have “Yard Long” beans with vertical supports and birds started roosting on the vertical supports to catch insects. As soon as I saw this I pulled the beans out and did not have any dropping reach my beds. As a grower you need to be very aware of this issue. There are strategies that I have to over come this issue if it becomes a problem again. The most effective is to have very good control of your bed water levels and in my mine you can only accomplish this with automation and bed water level sensing with sensors the controls valves. But I have never had birds crash a system.

4. Rey Florendo - July 31, 2013

I would like to make tower hydroponics and is it possible to send the email of the guy who created the tool to create the impression to the four inch pvc pipe.

Thank you.

rik94566 - August 6, 2013

@ rey —
The person that did the original version of the block used a larger one that is shaped a little different than the one I made and currently use. I have had 2 major presentations in the last 3 weeks so been wrapped up in development work in advance of the events. All done now and can finish off my edit of the video of how to construct the block tool. I will post it here and give the link to my youtube channel for reference. Should be within the next week.

5. preston - August 1, 2013

You do very nice work. You test systems are made with great detail.
In the video you talked about using ground source heat to cool the water for you front yard pond. That is a great idea. I did some experimenting with ground source to keep the water chilled that our Icelandic sheep would drink from. It used to be on my farm web site but I have let that go down. I’ll find the source files if you are interested. Funny thing was that it worked better as a de-icer than a chiller. However being from Cal. (So. Cal?) you won’t have to worry much about ice. I am a native of So.Cal and wish I had had a chiller on the Koi pond I built in my parents back yard.
My next project is similar to yours in the sensor/automation aspect. I am building a small kiln for drying wood and want to automate the temp/humidity and be able to monitor it remotely. The temp sensor you are using looks like the one I am considering. I have done a significant amount of Arduino work, and am a software engineer by profession so it all plays well together.


ps – I had a Sheltie too. 😉

rik94566 - August 6, 2013

Preston — I have two Sheltie’s and love having them around. One loves my chives and will mow them down if I leave her alone by the aqua-tubes. I now have my plans together for the heat sink. Being in Northern California I do get colder temps, but nothing like Iceland. Heat is more of an issue in the summertime. So need to have some method to bring the temps down. I am using a DHT-22 temp/humidity sensor. Like it a lot and still learning all the performance features it brings to the mix of sensors. For a kiln I would think that you would need to use some high heat resistant sensors. I have talked about one I found at http://www.adafruit.com that will perform at very high temps and environments. Good luck with your project and let me know how it turns out.

6. Patrick - August 5, 2013

Nice. Can I build a system like you have in the video?

rik94566 - August 6, 2013

Patrick – you sure can. It might take you some time to source the parts (as I do not know what part of the world you live in). It is do able. I am thinking about selling a working plan and parts list for people that are interested. I just need the time. Since the release of the Internet-of-Farming youtube I have been busy locking down resources and development of bigger projects that I had never dreamed of.

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