Aquaponics device for education

Aquaponics is the growing of Fish and Plants together. The waste from the fish, feeds the plants.

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Aquaponics is an exciting new direction in growing pure, clean food in a more sustainable way. Our program started from making a house-hold equipment to provide fresh vegetables, but then we swift to make an educational device for museums and schools to show beginners how an aquaponics system works. Here are two important parts following:
1.hardsoft part
a. aim to a house-hold equipment ,
b. DIY aquaponics with multiple sensors and real time monitor function
c. to create cheaper sensor
2.educational part
At present, our equipment contain of three educational parts: a. nitrogen cycle, represent by a loop of led, b. structure and mechanism of syphon, c. chemistry detection. For the nitrogen cycle, the led is covered by glue for water-proved. A transparent syphon model would be built for the education of physic. Classic detection of dissolved oxygen, pH, ammonia, nitrate and iron ion would offer chemistry education and help beginners to understand the components in the system.

Here, we add information of the idea we abandoned:

Cheap sensors and  household equipment.

Before we focus on education, we started by making a household device with cheap sensors. However, after lot of researches, we found that the sensors are expensive and too technical and difficult to DIY or hack any of them. 

The expensive sensors include dissolved oxygen sensor, ion sensors such as iron, nitrite, nitrate and ammonia.

Then, we tried to make a automatic device for paper test or test strip. Test paper is far more cheap.®ion=FR

The test paper machine we designed as below: 

/image later/


Automatic feeding system and Artemia

We once thought to add an "artemia farm" to grow artemia, which could be served as food for fish. Artemia used as fish food is common. We designed a mechanical arm with net  for catching artemia, as below.

There were two motor to control the movement of the arm and the up and down of the net. A LED light was added to attract artemia, which is phototaxis.


There was also an water level sensor to detected the water level. And for feedback, a pump should pump water from the fish tank to maintain a certain level.

However, we found it hard to grow artemia itself. We tried but they died after living for less then one week. The reason maybe the absence of food for artemia, yeast. Therefore, we abandon this idea, since it is super complicated to add artemia and yeast, a long food cycle.


Then, we focused on education, and added a LED light to represent four important parts of this system: fish, pump, vegetable and syphon.

Box for electron

The final box file to laser cut for shell of electron part.

postscript - 742.21 kB - 08/10/2017 at 13:38



The final arduino code for all LED, sensors and the screen.

RAR Archive - 1.53 kB - 08/10/2017 at 13:31


  • 4 × Adafruit Neopixel
  • 1 × Nokia 5110 LCD
  • 1 × DH11 room temperature and humidity sensor
  • 1 × Arduino leonardo
  • 1 × a fish tank

View all 8 components

  • 1

    We learned the  basic knowledge concerning how to choose proper plants and the mechanism of aquaponic system in Green Lab at University of Paris VI. we learning by doing following:

    1. We listened to a lecture of aquaponic system, about the details such as species of fishes, metarials of substracts and syphon structure.
    2. Designed the structure and dimention of vegetable box, and made it, srewing and knocking.
    3. Used solidwork to build up a 3D model of syphon.
  • 2

    Automative feeding system_natural ecosystem! We decided to add a tank in our aquaponic system to grow Artemia (sea monkey), which could serve as food (living food) for fish. Basically, their size is small (less then 1 cm), and the amount would relatively large enough to feed fishes. Their would be a net and mechanical arm to catch sea monkey from their tank, and put into the fish tank. This idea could simulate a ecosystem, make the aquaponic system more indeendent, and add more fun and decorative value.

    Cheap and automative sensor For sensors part, we chosed test paper as a method to monitor the ion concentration, incluing NH4-, NO3-, Fe2+/Fe3+, which would be cheap. We would design and build an automative devie using test paper as core component, and a color sensor for detection. This devie would be based on arduino and cheap.

    Education for children

    Except the hardware part of the project, what we want to do is to teach kids know the function and mechanism of the aquaponics system. Because aquaponics is an exciting new direction in growing pure, clean food in a more sustainable way now!

    The two problems are:

    1 The plant is too heavy

    • Plant species
    • Material choices
    • System structure

    2 The water is dirty

    • PH
    • Dissolved oxygen
    • Nutrition(Fe NO3 )
    • Eletronconductivity
    •  Water level
  • 3

    We design the position of the whole recycling system structure. There will be a  syphon/a air pump/a water pump/different kinds of sensors.

    it's syphon!

    it's water pump!

    it's text paper!

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