Aquarium Controller Starring Arduino Gets A Long Video Description

There’s an old saying that the cobbler’s children have no shoes. Sometimes we feel that way because we stay busy designing things for other people or for demos that we don’t have time to just build something we want. [Blue Blade Fish] wanted to build an Arduino-based aquarium controller. He’s detailed the system in (so far) 14 videos and it looks solid.

This isn’t just a simple controller, either. It is a modular design with an Arduino Mega and a lot of I/O for a serious fish tank. There are controls for heaters, fans, lights, wave makers and even top-off valves. The system can simulate moonlight at night and has an LCD display and keys. There’s also an Ethernet port and a Raspberry Pi component that creates a web interface, data storage, and configures the system. Even fail safes have been designed into the system, so you don’t boil or freeze expensive fishes. No wonder it took 14 videos!

We really liked the moonlight which has 32 LEDs with custom switching and a shift register. In front of the LEDs is — surprise — a picture of the moon. We wondered how it would be with a 3D-printed lilthophane which might diffuse the LEDs more. Because of the shift register, it is simple to control all the lights with just a few pins.

Apparently, giving fish an idea of the ambient lighting outside is important to people who keep fish. Because of the safeguards, a bad software bug isn’t going to boil his fish. Despite the looks, apparently neither will this upcycled fish tank.

4 thoughts on “Aquarium Controller Starring Arduino Gets A Long Video Description

    1. Salt water gets everywhere, and destroys everything. Manual is for WHEN a relay fails, that is can never drain the tank and kill all the fish. If you have ever talked to anyone with a salt water tank containing tropical fish, you learn that most things that can fail, do fail. They would prefer to add a physical tube to the tank to drain it, instead of having that function automatic.

      1. When I drain water (water change) I use a ‘U’ tube and even if I am not there it will not drain below that level. A full drain of the tank would need to transfer the fish to another tank. There are also many ruggedized sensors for use but usually at a premium cost. I have been toying with an auto top off for a tank and am looking at a dip tube with pressure sensor, will prob try on a secondary tank

  1. hey crew – first – honored to be here.
    second – yea – manual is not the same as failsafe – failsafe systems are in place where reasonable(be they software limiting the top-off duration. or hardware redundancy such as with heaters, etc) but manual override is important in case the automatic systems fail – at least at that point you can continue to operate in manual mode. I have seen automatic systems that replace manual mode, and in those situations if you have a hardware glitch, you are out of luck.

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