Fertilizing A Planted Aquarium Using Air Freshener Hardware

Keeping live plants in an aquarium happy can be quite a chore. One of the frequent rituals is adding fertilizer, which is called dosing. [Majstor76] came up with a creative way to automatically dose using an air freshener. He got rid of the canister that holds the scent and re-purposed a hand soap pump to move the nutrient-rich liquid. After the break you can see that there’s no shortage of power to actuate the pump and the powered air freshener base has a delay circuit, allowing for a few different time-release options. As long as the volumetric output is fairly consistent we figure you can dilute your fertilizer to fine-tune the dose.


[Thanks Chris]

34 thoughts on “Fertilizing A Planted Aquarium Using Air Freshener Hardware

  1. “Aquarium? Only if it is full of water. Don’t you mean Terrarium or Vivarium?

    Posted at 3:26 pm on Jan 21st, 2011 by DCinNM”

    No, he means aquarium. A heavily planted aquarium is a beautiful thing, not to mention much healthier for the fish. The plants lock up a lot of the nitrates in the water as well as oxygenating the water to make for a healthier environment for the animals inside.

  2. A soap bottle? Doesn’t soap like that kill fish?

    Speaking of killing, would it kill you to turn the Rod Stewart down for a second while you make the video? Just cause you’re living in 1988 doesn’t mean I want to.

    Oh and, no arduino, no care.

  3. As a fish keeper and member of an fish club I would strongly recommend against the use of any container that has contained soap. Soap residue damages the natural slime coating of fish and allows illnesses to make it’s way through. As well, if there are enough fish to plants and gravel, the plants will get enough nutrients to thrive. For light support you can utilize a shop light – one warm and one cool colored bulb. In addition to the utilization of shop lights and gravel and fish, live fish food such as Daphnia (Water Fleas) and tubiflex worms will introduce plenty of nutrients to keep fish highly colored and the plants growing hardily. If the planted tank does not have fish, the output of the fish bearing tank (minus detrus) a very fine infusion of carbon dioxide gas canister will sustain the plants; however make sure that the surface of the tank is not disturbed by the infusion of gas as surface disruption will counteract the infusion of carbon dioxide.

  4. Winter and Summer?? More Water in Summer…

    Add this, and (A) and (B) in the potting soil. So the System only works, if the water to low.

    | |
    (B)-150Ohm-| | 470Ohm
    | | |
    | 5,6KOhm |
    | |——(C)—| (C)
    | / | /
    |———(B)| |–(B)|
    | \ \

    Relay = for the control of the Air Fresher.

  5. Turning stinkbombs into plowshares.
    Like clean aquariums, bathrooms smell not.
    Alcohol and aldahydes and esters are hazmat stuff.
    The freshest air on this planet is billions of years old.

  6. Ups:


  7. Hello, im author of the hack. First, im sorry for R.Stewart ;).And thanks for this beeing hack-a-day.
    Problem with dosers is that they are expensive, peristaltic pump which are used in aquarium hobby are 40$ and up and thats why this hack. There are different levels of hobby and on some higer levels fertilizing aquarium is mandatory or youll grow alge , not plants.
    If have a Q about device, post here, tnx

  8. What’s so hard about keeping plants in an aquarium? And seriously… fertilizer? Who does that? That’s what fish poo is for. In other words, I agree with Sam.

    I don’t understand the whole term ‘planted aquarium’. In my world, there is no other kind.

  9. i dont get it is it a Aquarium? Or Terrarium aquarium whit plants and vis when you put the fertilizer in it are you killing not the vis
    i have never here that pepole put that in there aquarium but i can be rong

  10. Ascii schematic FAIL :-)

    This is a brilliant idea, could also be used to regularly add small amounts of anti-ich treatment to an aquarium…

    FWIW this happens to everyone sooner or later, there is no specific fix and changing the water too often just stresses the fish more.

    I did wonder about using a slow water change mechanism so that the water is mixed with 0.1% treatment then circulated through a salvaged germicidal lamp housing (via glass tube) before entering the tank to kill any bugs therein..

  11. @zeropointmodule:

    We have one aquarium with four newts, and some fifty newt larvae at some point. To have an easy way to take water from the parent’s tank (cyclops as food for the newtlets requires a water change afterwards) I just positioned a plastic jerrycan behind the tank, with a small pump and a siphon. The pump sends water to the jerrycan, the siphon is the other half of the circuit. A tap valve in the bottom of the jerrycan allows you to take water, and you add back fresh water via the filler cap.

    The advantage is that you don’t have to disturb the main tank (only the water level will change a bit between tapping and replenishing), and any fresh water is slowly mixed in (not really necessary, newts are very tolerant there, but it doesn’t hurt).

    You could easily expand this setup to have the pump routed through the steriliser, and a widget like this that drips treatment into the jerrycan at the right rate.

  12. And what, lets say, if you have few fish and lots of plants + lots o light and co2? What kind of poo fish have to produce to have enough for plants? Farmer dont depend on dog to shit in crops and lots of people are ferilizing aquariums.

  13. @majstor76:

    you can easily make a doser from a syringe, a small motor with reducing gearbox and a long-enough bolt with a nut. You couple the nut to the gearbox output shaft in such a way that it can turn but not move axially; the bolt presses against the syringe’s plunger and hey presto, every time you turn on the motor, some amount of whatever is in the syringe gets squeezed out. Because of the reducing gear and the further reduction because of the thread lead, the amount can be determined sufficiently precise by simple timing.

  14. @stoneshop Yea, i know most of these diy designs for pumps. In aquarium hobby ive seen maybe 10 or so. Ive seen your version but with mechanical timer instead of motor. Some of these designs work, some dont, some are not precise… Some designs are more costly that buying a pump :). This particular dosing pump version in this post is good: cheap and precise, thats what i aim in my designs

  15. Seems a few otherwise experienced aquarists have never encountered a high-tech planted tank.

    These tanks have more (sometimes *much* more) light than an average tank. Which allows you to get spectacular growth with easy aquatic plants, and also grow more challenging kinds of plants that would otherwise be impossible.

    Of course, all that light makes plants hungry. They need extra CO2 and frequent fertilization, much more than fish can produce. Let either run out and the algae moves in, so they require some extra care. Autodosers make that care easier.

    High-tech planted tanks can be absolutely stunning. Look up some pictures of Takashi Amano’s tanks for some examples. Whether it’s worth the extra effort is a personal choice. I have high and low tech tanks, and love them both.

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