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  • Writer's pictureTingbin Tang

RISH: Robot for The Aquarium

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

A lot of people have fish as their pets. Fish are very quiet, clean and pretty. It helps people to calm just by watching the fish glide through the water. They do not need to be groomed, but they do need the owners to maintain a proper environment in the aquarium. Like many other pets, some fish owners also have a strong emotional connection with their fish. The fish are their companion. People will talk to their fish; they will look into each other’s eyes. When the owner come closer, the fish will cheer and happy. However, there is no such a product in the market to help the owner to keep in touch and interact with the fish yet. Till one of my students, Jesus Gonzalez Jr. designed this product, Rish.

Of course, at the beginning of this project, Jesus has done research on the fish market, and interviewed fish owners. Fish owners like to have fish in their house for many reasons, they do not need to be walked, they won’t make the room a mess, instead, they make a beautiful addition to the room. The fish owners may tell that the fish are so good-natured and sensitive, they have personalities, you can feel their happiness and sadness if you really pay attention to them. The fish are actually social animals, and they will converse with one another through a range of low-frequency sounds to communicate courtship, alarm, or submission. Of course the pet owners can not hear their voices but they can feel it.

The challenges for the fish owners are to maintain the water quality and the environment of the aquarium. For example, to maintain the correct range of pH Levels and temperature. Some new owners aren’t magically given full knowledge of the nitrogen cycle, and the need to monitor the water chemistry in their aquarium. As a result, they often are unaware of the need to test their water, and fail to take steps to deal with harmful toxins. When the tank is first set up, it should be allowed to run for a day or two. Before adding the fish, the pH, hardness, ammonia, and nitrite levels should be tested for a baseline record. During the startup cycle it is important to test the ammonia and nitrites often.

The number one mistake made by fish owners is overfeeding their fish. Fish are opportunistic and will seek food at all times. Just because they appear hungry, doesn’t mean they need to be fed all the time. Feed them no more than is completely consumed in five minutes. During startup feed fish no more than once per day, and during critical times when ammonia or nitrite levels are high, withhold feeding for a day or two.

With these problems been addressed, Jesus started to design his solutions. At first, he has explored with some freehand sketching. With these sketches, he explored the possible ways of the robot fish, and how to set the mechanism of the robot fish to be intelligent to solve the problems.


He also played with rapid modelling to explore the shapes of different designs. Foam models provides a quick and inexpensive way to prototype the design. It helps us to reveal ergonomic flaws in the design that cannot be detected in CAD, as well as giving us a realistic preview of the scale of the designs concepts. Several concepts have been made and evaluated.

Rish comes with a physical robotic fish, which can be placed in the aquarium, it will swim like a real fish and be part of the aquarium environment, keep the fish accompanied. Rish robot uses a rechargeable battery pack. Live feedback is provided by Pet Rish via the Rish app. And it is 100% water proof. By utilizing Biomimicry, the way fish move in the water is efficient and perfect for the robot to blend in. Simple magnetic pulses can allow the tail (silicone) to move left and right.

Rish comes with an app as well, which can be run on both Apple and Android software. The application works coherently with Pet Rish. The app is designed to be simple, efficient and fun. Through the app, fish owners can interact with the fish, can observe how the fish doing even when far away from home. Owners can even take photo from far away and share to their friends.

The apps goal is to help you maintain a healthy aquarium while building a bond with fish pet. Pet Rish is a robotic fish that lives in the aquarium, it is given commands via the Rish app. Pet Rish is designed with an internal PH level testing feature, dual front cameras, thermometer and a deployment feature for feeding to make caring for your pets personal and fun.

After programming and put fish food inside Rish, Rish can even works like a nanny. It will release the right amount of food according to the time frame that has been set by the owners. If the owner has no experience, this app will also give suggestions based on the type of fish in the aquarium.

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