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Keeping algae in check with a DIY pond monitor

Arduino TeamApril 12th, 2022

For element14 member christophesky, his garden’s pond acts as a meeting point for a wide variety of animals, including frogs, birds, and insects. However, sudden algae blooms can turn the once-clean pond into a toxin-filled pool that is harmful to its visitors, which is what caused Christopher to think of a solution as part of element14’s Just Encase Design Challenge. His idea was to float a comprehensive monitoring system on top of the water, capable of taking regular readings and letting him know what needs to be changed.

At a basic level, the pond will contain a MKR WAN 1300 with several sensors that take measurements periodically. From here, a second MKR WAN 1300 in Christopher’s greenhouse receives the data and passes it along to a home server/dashboard for easy viewing and analysis. In terms of data collection, the sender MKR WAN board is connected to sensors for measuring parameters such as total dissolved solids, pH, and water temperature, all of which can tell a lot about the pond’s health and susceptibility to algae blooms in the near future. 

After rigging together a ring of PVC pipes for buoyancy and attaching the watertight sensor housing, Christopher gave his device the name “Floaty McTest Face” and placed it on the pond to begin collecting valuable data. As seen in his dashboard, everything was displayed just as intended.

You can read more about the project, which was named the contest runner-up, here in its blog post.