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Old 09-17-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
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Fully automated aquarium, Ideas, Help...

Hi all,
New to this forum, any aquarium forum in fact.
Being a sailor I was stupid enough to get myself a Juwel Rio 240. The problem is that Iím away from home about 30 days at a time, and sometimes my girlfriend is away for work also, so the aquarium will be left alone for several weeks at a time. First thought is to sell the **** thing again and forget that it ever existed, but why not try to make it completely self-maintained?
I have lots of experience keeping and maintaining aquariums before I started sailing, but no experience with automated setups. I have an idea on how to do it, but before I get my hands dirty, I would like to hear some other ideas or inputs.
Here is my imaginary setup:
I live in Bruxelles, Belgium. As far as I know the tap water is not very suitable for aquariums, at least not for the fish I intend to keep, so a osmosis apparatus is needed. I want to store the osmosis water (about 30Ė40 liters) for about 2 days, while it is circulated and minerals are mixed back in. From there it will be pumped to the aquarium every 2 days or so. In the aquarium I will make an internal overflow in the left back corner, where the overflowing water will be pumped to the drain using 2 pumps triggered by 2 float switches. I want to keep the critical things double if possible, so that if one system fails the other will still work. I donít dare to imagine pumping about 130 liters of water on my living room floor every week it is left unattended. Feeding and lights are easy to automate, so no problem there.
I'm attaching a plan I made for myself, while being bored at sea... Can't wait to get home again, and start this thing
Anyway, you guys can have a look at my plan below. Comments are welcome.
Click image for larger version

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Now for the BIG problem. Wiring everything together. Here I'm asking (begging) for some help, as I have very limited experience with these things. I have (tried to) put a diagram together, showing how I imagine the wiring of all the electronics, but I have no idea if I am on the right track or completely wrong...
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Do you guys think that this will work? Any ideas on how to improve or make it correctly?Any help is much appreciated.
Jakup
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:51 AM   #2
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I cant help with the diagrams and such but I can tell you to look for a similar project on the planted tank forum. He leaves his tank with no water changes for 3 months at a time and doesnt feed for that long as well. He has the tank designed to clean and feed itself!
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:27 AM   #3
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Tank you for the tip but I can't seem to find the topic you mention. I did see some problems with my wiring already (got some advice from our engineers), so it will be a bit different (simpler). Hopefully I will be ablo to start this thing in about 10 days or so. If interested, I could keep you guys updated.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:04 PM   #4
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Would thinking of some contraption like a automatic toilet flusher be a good idea? Like set a timer to flush out some water out to the drain or out door lawn and automatically fill in new water (RO) into the tank?
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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Back at sea, and the project is set on hold for another month.
I don't know how I would implement a toilet flusher into my aquarium... Not sure that I would like that anyway
Anyway, the system is up and running, sort off... I did not receive all the ordered things before leaving home, so I quickly made up a temporary solution.
First problem I ran into, was the auto dosing of tracing elements to toe RO water. Moisture seemed to be the problem, so it just got stuck in the system. I fixed this problem by splitting the waste water and using some of it together with the RO water. This gave me a hardness of 6 dH which is pretty good, i guess. This water is collected in a bucket and is ready for use when it is needed. So the water supply is taken care off. 3 Times every week, a timer starts a pump in the bucket and pumps it into the aquarium, where excess water escapes trough a overflow and goes down the drain. For safety measures I have installed a float valve and a shut off valve on the osmosis system, and a float valve (from a toilet , since the parts I ordered did not arrive) on the hose going into the aquarium. So everything is up and running and has been working flawless for the last 10 days or so. My girlfriend is keeping a sharp eye on the everything while I'm away, and probably will find any small fault to argue that we get rid of the thing again...
I don't know how I will continue this project, but I have been looking into using a Arduino board to control things like lights, temperature, PH, dosing of fertilizers, controlling CO2, changing of water and so on.
Some pics of the overflow, I don't have pictures of the of the rest of the setup... :
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and one of my aquarium...
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If anybody here has experience with the Arduino boards, please tell or link to your story.
Hans Jakup
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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Good automated fertilizing system i made from this page that i found in internet: https://sites.google.com/site/yourcr...he-aquarium-ii . It is simple solution with peristaltic pumps. Works about month already without any problems.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensen View Post
Back at sea, and the project is set on hold for another month.
I don't know how I would implement a toilet flusher into my aquarium... Not sure that I would like that anyway
Anyway, the system is up and running, sort off... I did not receive all the ordered things before leaving home, so I quickly made up a temporary solution.
First problem I ran into, was the auto dosing of tracing elements to toe RO water. Moisture seemed to be the problem, so it just got stuck in the system. I fixed this problem by splitting the waste water and using some of it together with the RO water. This gave me a hardness of 6 dH which is pretty good, i guess. This water is collected in a bucket and is ready for use when it is needed. So the water supply is taken care off. 3 Times every week, a timer starts a pump in the bucket and pumps it into the aquarium, where excess water escapes trough a overflow and goes down the drain. For safety measures I have installed a float valve and a shut off valve on the osmosis system, and a float valve (from a toilet , since the parts I ordered did not arrive) on the hose going into the aquarium. So everything is up and running and has been working flawless for the last 10 days or so. My girlfriend is keeping a sharp eye on the everything while I'm away, and probably will find any small fault to argue that we get rid of the thing again...
I don't know how I will continue this project, but I have been looking into using a Arduino board to control things like lights, temperature, PH, dosing of fertilizers, controlling CO2, changing of water and so on.
Some pics of the overflow, I don't have pictures of the of the rest of the setup... :

and one of my aquarium...

If anybody here has experience with the Arduino boards, please tell or link to your story.
Hans Jakup
What did u use as substrate,
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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First I would like to say your tank is lovely really really nice now I don't know if this helps but I leave my tank for 2 months at a time I use a sump with 3 1 meter socks 50microns 25micron and 5 micron the 50 in the 25 and 25 in the 5 then after that lots and lots of bio balls and after that carbon and bionitratex my nitrates never go past 10ppn even after 2 months but I do a 50% water change just to freshen things up hope this helps
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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A lot has happened in the last year.
Completely discarded the setup I had, and built everything around the Arduino micro controllers.
This allows me to monitor pH and dose CO2 accordantly.
Temperature is monitored and controlled by the Arduino.
Lightning is also controlled by the Arduino, though dimming will be part of a future project.
Automatic feeding when I'm at sea, or when I can't be bothered.
RO water collected in a reservoir and pumped to the aquarium at set intervals.
Water level in the aquarium is monitored at all times, to prevent overflow, and just in case, a float valve is connected to the inlet from the reservoir.
Overflow is rebuilt, using smaller pipes.
Data is uploaded to google docs at set intervals, so I can read critical values when at sea, and instruct my better half what do do about problems, if they appear

Jakup

Some pics of the electronics...
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:41 PM   #10
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I was just getting ready to suggest a controller, but you beat me there. If you have internet connectivity through the arduino, you could set up 2 pumps and plumbing to even do water changes when you are at sea. It would require nothing more than running an in tabk pump for a duration of time (to empty water from tank) and then simply kicking on another pump (in the newly made water) to fill the tank back up. Im looking into this for my 125
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