Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Fish Tank Nitrate Sensor – David Lee

Fish Tank Nitrate Sensor – David Lee


– [Man 1] Hello. I’d like to introduce you
to my automated nitrogen aquarium testing kit. Now, what this does is it tells you
how much nitrate is in your aquarium water. Now, why do we care about this?
Nitrate is a byproduct of the breakdown of fish waste, and it is, in high levels,
very toxic to fish and is a common cause of death in aquariums. Now, how does this
work? What we do here is we actually will sample a dose of aquarium water, determine
the color of that aquarium water and then, from that color, determine how
much nitrate is in the water. Now, a very quick demonstration of what this
does. Right now, I’m substituting the commercial test kit, that will be used in
future models, for standard colored water. Now, what we do, we take a sample.
Okay, and while we’re waiting for this… Now, who would want this? Pet stores would
be very interested in this because every day in a pet store that sells fish, you
have to test the water for nitrate. You have to keep a very close eye on it.
Now, that gets tedious in large aquarium settings because you have multiple
tanks, you have to do it over and over. This though can, on a regular basis, tell
you very easily through these two LEDs, that tell you, based on a threshold, do
you have too much nitrate in your water and do you need to take action. This can
tell you if action is necessary without user input. All you have to do, press
a button, or it can, in future models, be set to operate on a timed schedule.
Now, we have determined our nitrate level here. We’ve determined that it is 208
parts per million, which is very high and unacceptable. Thus, the system through
this red LED is giving the user a graphic warning, that there is too much nitrate in
the water, and that action is required. We’re now flushing the system
to set up for the next test. This would also be useful to home aquarium
users who, in large aquariums that require lots of maintenance, or for people that
don’t have the time every day in order to actually take care of their aquarium as
they’d like to. This lets them still keep track of what’s going on. Now, the
system is now ready for another reading, and we can give it something that we know
will be safe. This should be…this is a much lower nitrate level. And if I just
hold that in there, and we’re ready to go. Now, what else needs to be done for this?
Now, obviously, you can see that we aren’t actually dosing anything to actually use
the commercially available nitrate test kits. What will be done in the future
is we will add a second dose, two more dosing pumps in order to actually
dose this and we will then have direct nitrate readings. Now, we are
taking…we take 30 readings in order to get a good average of our nitrate level, with the color sensor, in
order to help eliminate some of the errors. We’re just about ready. And you can see that this is…for
some that might be considered high, but for most aquariums, 12 parts per
million is well within tolerable range, and you can see our graphic
has told us that we’re good to go. And, once again, we’re flushing the
system. All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time. – [Man 2] Go for it. – All right. So, discussing the
hardware we’ve got going on here. What we have here is, we have a little
peristaltic pump that’s meant for dosing. It’s very good for very small, very
precise dosing and it also is low-maintenance because it’s
never in direct contact with the fluid. Bring it up through here. All right. Then,
what we’ve got here is we’ve got a little $7 RGB color sensor, just off of Adafruit.
A cheap little thing and it just gives you RGB values and also clarity,
[inaudible]…It can give you a lot of information, and it has a built-in LED for
it, to determine what color things are. Now, what we’re doing to get the color,
right now we have these syringes here. Each of these syringes because it is a
binary test kit, these standard aquarium nitrate test kits, what we do is we
first would dose the first chemical. Mix back here. We have some little
vibrator motors that help mix the fluid. Then we… – Let’s see those real fast. – They’re not hooked up right now, but
they’re just little…these are what you’d find in your cell phone. – Okay. So, this clear
chamber’s the mixing chamber. – Yes. – So fresh water? – Fresh aquarium water
comes in through here… – One sec. Guys, can we just…one
second before you…could we…? Okay. So, fresh water
comes in through here? – Yes. – Right. From the aquarium. – From the aquarium, yes. – Comes into your mixing chamber and
then, once it’s in the mixing chamber the chemicals… – Are dosed. Right now we’ve got syringes,
but in the future, we would have their own separate dosing pumps in order to automate
the process. Right now this is counted as one shot, and it’s done. Dosing pumps
would allow us to have multiple shots. Now, we’ve also, as we already discussed,
we got the sensor there that tells you what color it is, which is how these test
kits work. You just compare it to this color chart, and that tells you
how much nitrate’s in your water. Up here we’ve got a solenoid,
little tiny 12-volt DC solenoid. This just gives us a nice seal and
makes sure that the chamber is isolated, so we don’t end up having backflow, things
like that. When we’re taking a sample, we open the solenoid to allow it…so
this doesn’t turn into a pressure vessel. Then, when we’re ready to…also same
thing, just whenever we’re moving water with the pump we have the solenoid open.
When we close it, we’ve got a sealed system. – Awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *