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IT’S OFFICIAL – Maker Faire 2014 – we will be there with a booth to show case Tower unit March 24, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in adafruit, agponic MD, agponicMD, agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, indoor aquaponics, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, One-wire, PRODUCTS, sensor, Stainless Steel Temp Probe, Tower Pocket Block, Tower Tubes, Yourduino.
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I’ve been accepted to exhibit at @MakerFaire Bay Area on May 17 & 18, 2014 http://makerfaire.com/

#20475 – internet of farming arduino-based aquaponics

Will be able to show case a number of new leading edge things that I have been developing.

Here are just a few of them:

Design of a “Radial Flow Filter” for the tower unit system ( will be blogging and doing a Youtube video about it shortly”

Venturi DIY design that will replace air pumps on my systems.

Aquaponic Fog Unit that I have just completed and in testing mode now.

Have fully working Tower unit with totally enabled  IoT features that show case the latest developments in this technology as related to aquaponics.




1. Kathie - March 28, 2014

I just stumbled across your YouTube video. Simply amazing. I believe your knowledge and expertise, and the technology you have developed will make a huge impact on agriculture. In my opinion, aquaponics is the answer to a sustainable food supply for third world countries. Congratulations on being accepted to the Maker’s Faire. I am sure your inventions will be very well received!

I have been trying to get an aquaponic system set up and I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet and have Sylvia Bernstein’s books and DVD’s. One question I have is about using pea gravel. I keep reading that it is difficult to keep ph levels in the correct range when using rock or gravel. Have you found that to be true? If that hasn’t been a problem, I would like to know your source of pea gravel. I also live in N. CA and might be able to use the same source.

BTW, I have lots of unused acreage and would love to have you set up a system on my land!


rik94566 - April 1, 2014

Kathie –

Thanks for watching my video interview. I agree with you about aquaponics being a big part of the future in agriculture. I hope so as I plan on being a part of it. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to build your knowledge of aquaponics and gain a understanding of how it works. I personally know Sylvia Bernstein – she was my 500th connection on LinkedIN and if you look at the pictures just before Section 4 you will see my 100 gallon unit. I like her book and it is very good resource for you to have. Now to answer your question regarding the gravel and pH. Well I am not really using pea gravel. The gravel I use is a finer cut of pea gravel more like what you would buy as aquarium gravel in a pet store. I is basically the fines filtered out of pea gravel. I found pea gravel to be to course and hard on hands when working with it. The gravel I am using is very easy on your hands when working with it and has a higher SSA (specific surface area) than pea gravel. When I first start in aquaponics all the experts said this was a bad idea and that doing what I was going to do will lead to algae problems in my gravel since I would be flooding the total beds over the gravel. Most, at the time recommend to keep water level a 1 or 2 below the gravel level so algae and mold would not build on the upper surface. Well that is a myth as I have had no problem with any type growth on the upper gravel surface at all. I think that is more of a problem with some of the other very porous media types. As for pH control, again a myth… Once I lock in my pH I can hold it. My problem is that the local city water is at a pH of 7.8 to 8.0 and every time I add water it causes my pH level to move to the basic side of the spectrum. Once you learn how to deal with that then you would be OK with the gravel. I think sometimes sellers of media knock gravel because they really can’t make any sales with it as you can get it cheaper and in bulk and it never is used up or needs to be treated. I get my gravel from the Pleasanton\Livermore gravel pits in Northern California. So I am sure you could do the same for a very reasonable cost if you live near by or make a trip with a truck for a pick-up. Hope this helps you in your efforts to do aquaponics.

BTW – would like to learn more about your unused acreage and where it is located as I am looking to start to scale first of next year.

Kathie - April 2, 2014

Well, I typed my response; the power “blipped” and I lost it. So, I will begin again!

Thank you so much for your informative reply concerning the gravel. I am happy to know that I can use something besides the “approved” growing media. Based on what you said, I believe I will be happier using the gravel media you suggest. It will simply be a matter of transport logistics.

Yes, I have learned a lot from Sylvia’s materials. I find her teaching style to be very “user friendly.” In addition, her materials seem to cover the topic in more detail than many other resources. I am still in the learning stages but will probably use her book and DVD’s as my main reference when I set up my system.

I live off of Hwy 50, approximately 40 miles east of Sacramento. I am at the 2,800 elevation. If you have ever visited the Apple Hill farms above Placerville, you have been in my neighborhood. We can have frost here as early as mid October and as late as mid-May; thus, a greenhouse is required for year round growing. I have two small 10 x 12 small greenhouses, which I considered converting to aquaponics, but I decided they aren’t large enough to meet my needs. I am now looking to purchase a larger greenhouse but am still unsure what size it will be: I am going to to design my system before I purchase. I am also considering supplemental heat sources and, if possible, would like to install a passive heating system. Since we lose power periodically, I would my like the pumps and “life support” systems to run on solar. I am going at the project slowly. I have had many people tell me to just “jump in with both feet and correct problems as you go” but that seems impractical to me.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question. I appreciate it very much.

I hope you will be posting about your experience at the Maker’s Faire. I believe everyone will be very impressed with your work!

Take Care,


2. brian - May 6, 2014

where will your exhibit be? Will it be in the Homegrown village or somewhere else? I would really like to meet you. I am starting out with hydroponics and would really like to move towards aqua.



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