I’ve added another aquarium to my line-up of super exciting remote fish watching portals. Fishcam #3 is located in my neural engineering lab at the University of Florida. My fellow grad student and office-mate, Alex, is the official keeper of the aquarium. So if you see dead things floating in there, I’ve got nothing to do with it.
You won’t be seeing much action in this tank since in was just setup yesterday. I’m not that familiar with saltwater aquariums and I’m not sure how long the setup process takes. Maybe you’ll see fish in a few weeks.
Unlike my other two fishcams, these one isn’t streaming video. The fishcam server in my lab is behind a firewall and a proxy server of which I have no control. Until I can bride our network management guy to open up a port for my server, it’ll be just one new image a minute.
No, that’s not an alien pod in my aquarium. A friend gave me a couple lilly bulbs for my fish tank. So mark your calendars everyone, they’re supposed to sprout in 20 days. My friend also gave me an automatic fish feeder. The plan is to add a button to this fish cam page and allow visitors to feed my fish. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that though. I’m about six projects deep at the moments.
The critics have spoken… and they like my fish! The nice people at Earthcam have listed my fishcam as one of their Top Ten Cams. Which is really saying something since there are a ton of webcams in their index. I’m #3 on the top ten list, right between the “Peregrine Nest Cam” and the “Sea of Galilee” cam.
kas te räägite inglise keelt?
I noticed I was getting a ton of hits on fishcam today. It turns out that the Estonian news outlet of “Eesti Päevaleht Online” has put a link to my website in one of its articles. Is there anyone out there who can translate it or even tell me what the article is about? Here’s the link: http://www.epl.ee/artikkel_319800.html
Just post any information you have as a comment.
I got a bigger aquarium for my birthday (thanks Beth)! I’m in the middle of setting it up which will take a few days. I’m using the plants out of my fishcam tank in case you’re wondering where they went. My plan is to put a lot more plants in this bigger tank. So, hopefully in a few days “new and improved” fishcam will be up and running.
‘Anonymous from the UK’ asked about my fishcam setup. I plan on describing it in more detail on my projects page soon but for now, I’ll just give you a quick summary of the hardware and software I use for this streaming video.
First the hardware: Everything is run from a computer I have in my living room. This computer (2.9 GHz Celeron) is also hooked to my enterainment system and functions as a PVR, file server, print server, MP3 player, DVD player and game machine. It’s been a good little work-horse. The two cameras I have looking at my aquaruim work in slightly different ways. One is a traditional USB webcam (old Intel model) that plugs into my computer through a long USB cable. The other is a little camera that has an RCA style output (puchased from Supercircuits). I have it plugged into a PCI video capture card (ATI TV Wonder VE…. it’s a piece of crap, don’t buy one). One camera is help in place by a tripod and the other is stuck to the top of a soup can (cream of mushroom, I believe). The fishtank itself is only 3 gallons (11 liters). The aquarium light is set on an automatic timer I bought from a hardware store.
Now for the software: Since I have a dynamic IP address, I’m registered with No-IP and use their DNS update client tool to keep my IP linked to a static domain. The video streaming is taken care of with WebcamXP. It’s the nicest video streaming tool I’ve used so far, plenty of options and ways to customize it. I’ve had a few incarnation of “Fishcam” and this one is by far the nicest. I’m using a blog template and free weblogs tools from Blogger to manage the updating and user comments. I would have to say that it’s made keeping a webpage fun again.
Ok, I hope I’ve given enough information for any other budding fishcam’ers to get started.
A few last tips:
1. If you can, try to find a webcam that uses a CCD image sensor. Most cameras now have a CMOS sensor which are cheaper but the colors appear washed out. Also a CMOS camera can’t handle low light conditions well either. You’ll probably have to go on ebay to get one. I use an Intel CS330 webcam which I highly recommend.
2. Find an automatic timer for the aquarium light. It’s light only so many hours of the day, no one wants to watch a dark tank!
3. Make sure the camera is anchored well. One bump of the webcam and “Jason’s Fishcam” turns into “The Streaming Video of the Wall Beside Jason’s Fishcam.”
4. Make sure your fish have some color to them!
5. If your webcam server is stuck behind a firewall or proxy server, check out this post on how to get around that problem.
Congratulations 188.8.131.52 from Vancouver, Canada! You are the 1000th visitor to Jason’s Fishcam! Sorry, there aren’t any prizes associated with being #1000, just the novelty of it. I’m really surprised how fast I racked up that many hits. Now if I could just increase my ranking in google… I’m not even in the top 1000 search results for the keyword “fishcam”.
Two cameras, of course! I found another webcam in my big “box ‘o computer goodies” and hooked it up last night instead of studying for my anatomy exam. So now you have two views of my wonderful aquarium. After my exam on wednesday, I may put the night-vision thing back up again. I’m starting to get some hits from europe… I’m guessing all they are seeing is darkness since the aquarium light is off at that particular time.
Now you can finally see that my Betta is blue! This camera is tiny… I got it from one of those places that sells stuff for law enforcement. Happy viewing!
I ordered a color camera yesterday. This B&W is tough to watch!