Fish farming accounts for more than half of the world’s seafood. Though commercial fishing is still viable and profitable, fish farming seems to be where it’s at these days. Yet the future of the industry remains in doubt as long as water quality issues linger. Enter a new type of solar-powered sensor that could very possibly save the day.
One of the biggest problems fish farmers now face are ponds being polluted by agricultural fertilizers, according to a recent story published by the Phys.org website. Though the story’s focus is on aquaculture in the Middle East, its principles apply worldwide.
Agricultural fertilizers provide nutrients that algae thrive on. As such, algae blooms can gain a foothold in polluted ponds where they strip the water of oxygen and kill the fish. The best defense fish farmers have is monitoring water quality so that action can be taken before it is too late.
Deploying Water Quality Sensors
It is normal for fish farmers to visit each of their ponds to test water on a daily basis. But manual testing is terribly inefficient and time-consuming. As such, fish farmers are hoping that a new kind of solar-powered sensor can do the job remotely.
A sensor is essentially any piece of equipment capable of monitoring some sort of signal and either recording data from that signal or sending it to a central location. Sensors can be anything from acoustic devices to infrared tracking systems. Sensor technology can be built to fit almost any application by custom sensor engineers like Rock West Solutions in California.
As for the fish farming research, the anticipated sensor now being developed and is capable of monitoring water quality and sending data to a centralized location via Bluetooth. The sensors monitor temperature, pH, salinity, and ammonia levels.
Effective and Easy to Use
Developing such a sensor has its challenges. For example, researchers want something that is both effective and easy to use. They do not want to end up with a sensor that requires fish farmers to have extensive scientific knowledge to deploy. What they came up with is ingenious.
Researchers created a sensor cube that is ready to go out of the box. It requires nothing more of fish farmers than taking it out of the package and throwing it in the water. The sensors automatically right themselves and begin monitoring as they float just half submerged under the surface.
The sensors have been designed in a cube shape in order to facilitate monitoring several things at once. As such, researchers have created a multi-functional device that reduces the total number of sensors required to properly monitor water quality while increasing overall sensor capability.
For example, while the sensor is monitoring water quality it can also monitor air pollution. Having five faces to work with gives researchers plenty of other choices for monitoring.
Connection through the IoT
If all that isn’t impressive enough, consider how data from the sensors is collected and analyzed. It is all possible thanks to the internet of things (IoT). If you are not familiar with the term, the IoT is essentially that entire collection of devices that are interconnected through the internet.
The water quality sensors rely on Bluetooth to send data over short distances where it is collected by servers. Those servers transmit data to a central location via the IoT. All of this enables remote monitoring so that fish farmers do not have to constantly visit their ponds and test them.
The fish farming industry is now worth billions of dollars annually. Farmers are hoping that new sensor technology keeps it that way.