SmartThings and an Aquarium.....lets see if the reliability is enough!

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(Stuart Buchanan) #1

A little story to tell, I recently moved house (well not that recently, 2 years ago) in this new house the only place to put my fish tank is very near a radiator. now to cut a story short my little fellas got cooked, being near a radiator caused my aquarium heater to go haywire. i think because the radiator heats one side of the tank and that warm water wasn’t moving in sufficient enough amount towards the heater temp sensor. so the heater was heating fully the other side of the tank and the combination was tipping the water at its hottest at just over 30 deg C and my little fellas just gave up, i think mainly due to the varied temperature peaks and troughs during the day of over 7-8 deg C.

My fish tank had been sitting there empty since then whilst i was mourning the loss…or being lazy…you choose. i choose the former :slightly_smiling: so this fortnight or so ago i resurrected the tank, and i also purchased another heater just in case the old heater was faulty and i thought i would use a Fibaro Universal Sensor with a DS18B20 waterproof temp sensor to track the temp of the tank. and i let it run for a few days and i could see the same wildly fluctuating temp variations of 7-8 deg C which is really bad for tropical fish. so thinking on i thought why not ST pimp my fishtank to better manage the heating and also automate some functions… so the end result is i am using 4 DS18B20 waterproof sensors daisy-chained off the Fibaro UBS which are placed in approx every quarter of the 6’ tank. I take an average of all the sensors to ascertain the tank temperature.

the heater is plugged into a ST zigbee plug (thought would be safer than Zwave as i do get the occasional misfire with zwave (i.e ST sends the command to switch of, but this sometimes is not processed due to Mesh instability, fixed by Zwave repair…usually happens after adding a new device)

anyway ST switches on the Heater when the average Tank Temp hits 23 deg or below and the heater plug switches off when it hits 25 deg C or above, this leaves a 2 deg C Temp Variation, which is still good.

As a Failsafe i also turn on the house central heating if the tank temp heat drops below 22 deg C and turn off the house Central heating if the tank Temp Hits 26 deg C. i also send notifications if any of these threshold are hit…I also send SMS Notifications via Openhab using my routers cellular backup circuit if the Internet and/or hub are down, this ST backup piece was important to me as Fish arent cheap.

What i have found is that if i or the family are in the house and the heating is on, the tank heater rarely if ever comes on. which is great as this amounts to keeping Tropical fish with no heating costs.

I also have a cheapo Everspring Plug i bought from Amazon for £28 which i plugged the tank light into…this is controlled by a timed rules machine rule. and today i have just put in a 5ft RGB Combined Strip Light and air block on the bottom of the tank which i hacked to pieces and replaced the controller with a Fibaro RGBW controller. this BTW looks awesome for mood lighting rather than a tank that isn’t lit up when the main tank light isn’t on (which is only on 3 hrs per day to limit Algea growth), the blue, Purple and Red colours look especially good…i’m just trying to figure out what colours of light still encourage Algae growth and which inhibit it, so maybe i can choose a light colour to display for extended periods to make the tank look good but still limit the algae growth.

Now to see how long the little blighters last, just picked up the first batch today and they are making themselves at home. we will see what the reliability is :slightly_smiling:

anyway just though i would share my latest project i have been working on.


#2

that is very brave - I would think majority of us wouldnt couple any life to the reliability of ST …


(Matt) #3

Do I smell a fish fry?


(Brian Diehl) #4

I think at the bottom you should add a counter to how many fish get harmed in the making of this project.


(Stuart Buchanan) #5

So far without ST = Dead Fish. With ST I’ve been monitoring the water temps for a week all good so far.

However and i do have a non ST failsafe, I will update the thread if the failsafe is activated because of an ST failure. Likewise I will update a fish counter…but I won’t update for single deaths of new fish as some shops don’t quarantine them properly b4 sale to maximise profits


#6

You’re braver than I am…

@btk


(Stuart Buchanan) #7

He he, Well we will see. I reckon with my programming I have it covered. I’m not relying on scheduling at all other than lighting and the scheduling for this is non ST…so we shall see


#8

The only thing I’ve been brave enough to use in my aquarium is the Aeon power strip for the lighting. I have two banks of T5s that are staggered, those are plugged into 2 of the switchable outlets of the power strip. The other 2 outlets are for the filters, I’ve mapped my minimote with Rule Machine so that I can press button 1 and it turns off the filters for 5 minutes while feeding and then resumes normal function when the time expires.

My light timers are controlled by Tasker, I’ve given up on the ST scheduler for daily timers.


(Stuart Buchanan) #9

So a bit more reading up, it seems blue lighting inhibits algea growth the most, which is awesome as it looks the best IMHO as it really contrasts the reds in the tank. And as a bonus an hour of blue lighting tonight really seems to have charged up the Neon Tetra’s neon blue streaks. I’ve never seen them looking so vivid


#10

Do you keep live plants?


(Brian Diehl) #11

What other kind of plants would you keep?


(Stuart Buchanan) #12

Plastic ones…I’m guilty of that. I used to keep live plants but to keep them growing the lighting needs to be on 8 to 9 hours per day. and I couldn’t keep on top of the algea and cleaning. I had every type of algea eater inc yomato shrimps but it was too much to keep on top of TBH so last time I spent a small fortune on a full set of plastic plants… Not the cheapo obvious plastic ones, but the looks like real and sways in tank as made from fine plastic


(Brian Diehl) #13

I guess that’s better than dead plants… which is where my mind was going for the opposite of live plants.
I forgot about plastic!


(The fish is still dead.) #14

I think you mean “Betta”.

…I’ll see myself out.


(Kyle ) #15

SENYE has an API and is a great bit of kit on its own . . . worth looking into if you have any coding knowledge or know someone who does or someone on here who would help you could come up with some cool integration that would help the whole community. i gave up before i started as i got rid of my jellyfish aquarium.


(Stuart Buchanan) #16

@AutomateEverything I saw the Seneye, stupid implementation IMHO USB and windows only…and if you want to remove the need for Windows PC attached then they will spot you £150 for a Wifi Bridge… total rip off. I dont know if i could be bothered trying to figure out what command the Windows App sends to try and get a raspeberry pi to do the same (i have seen the USB bridging with Rasp Pi, but still need a dedicated always on PC)

if i was going down that route, i would think it would be easier and cheaper to build your own using GPIO on Raspberry PI, and then for the same price could get a Nitrate Ion-Selective Electrode to monitor for nitrates rather than the method seneye do which requires consumables. if i was going to go the effort to reverse engineer the seneye wifi bridge, i may aswell plumb the money down on my own custom type.


(Kyle ) #17

£250 to monitor an aquarium isnt much when you consider how much ££££ you will have invested in a proper marine aquarium (thousands to tens of) . . . i thought it was a reasonable bit of kit, but obviously no good for monitoring a bowl aquarium. all relative.


(Stuart Buchanan) #18

I agree but i just don’t like the method to detect nitrates, you then need to buy consumables from the company etc… this is a project that’s crying out for a RPI or Particle Photon to do the same at a fraction of the cost that’s all i’m saying, especially if i need to go to the time and effort of coding the ST integration. and for that price could get a proper nitrate sensor that is not dependent on consumables, but that is only my opinion :slight_smile:


(Kyle ) #19

110% room for a nice home hack / cheaper option :slight_smile:


(Stuart Buchanan) #20

Quick update… i have been having numerous Z-Wave issues over the last week or so, i am happy though and so are my fish, non have died so far, although ST has missed my non ST fail-safes kicked in and saved the fish getting a chilling or heating.

on the plus side my heater has only been on very sporadically, my central heating heats the tank fine and the fish are happy. but if it was just an ST solution my fish would be dead by now…