View Full Version : Next Spring we are planning to build a new garage and Greenhouse attached!!!
09/18/2007, 05:01 PM
Obviously the greenhouse will be for growing and fragging of corals and macro algaes. I am working on the plans as we speak and hope to complete the structure by early summer. As for the contents, well, I'll have a lifetime to fill that area.
I have the garage plans already, but am looking into many options as far as the greenhouse is concerned. Can't wait to use natural sunlight, as well as have the room to do numerous stocks tanks. One thing I am not worried about anymore are HURRICANES!!!! Yippeeee!!
This would be an awesome Reef Club discussion. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. The cool part is that it would be my checkbook and not yours!! How often do you get to do that??
09/19/2007, 09:03 PM
forgive my ignorance but how does a green house work in the winter? ive always thought a sun powered frag tank or something would be cool. just dont know if it would work in our area
09/20/2007, 07:26 AM
The sun hits all areas, it will work in any area. This greenhouse will have a little bit different structure compared to our brothers in the midwestern and southern states. I will not be doing a "hoop-style" greenhouse. Most likely, I will utilize the structure of the garage for the foundation (wood framing, insulated) and large windows, in both the walls and ceiling, with the option for them to open. I understand that "sky-lights" will limit the sun's ability to reach the tanks at all times of the day, but due to the harsh winters that I hear about, I think this is my only option. But I still have a lot of reading to do.
I will still use multiple tiers of shades to control the lighting in the room and over the tanks. I will have the usual exhaust fans and a smallish gas forced air furnace to heat the garage and the greenhouse. I will not use swamp coolers or similar devices, rather, I will have a chiller (or two). As for lighting. The summer months will not be a problem, but during the winter months, I will supplement artificial lighting.
I visited Tropicorium in Romulus, Michigan to see how they did their set up. I plan to visit a few others, hopefully Dr Mac & Sons, to see how their system is set up. Tropicorium has been around a LONG, LONG time. They have a greenhouse structure like I described above, but they used artificial lighting over some of the stonies and clams. Lighting is the least of my concerns at the moment, air control is on the top of the list. My greenhouse will be mostly hobby and part research.
BTW, I do plan to install a 20kW Generac generator for assurance. I am sure a power outage in the middle of the winter would be devastating.
I plan to do a larger scale phytoplankton reactor, rotifers, mangroves, DIY live rock, lots of macro algae, etc... SPS, but they will not dominate the place. Lots of LPS and softies. I am open to fish breeding, but have never tried it before.
09/20/2007, 09:31 AM
do u think there would be issues with how far north we are as far as par goes, im not sure how the sun realy works but i remember something about being farther away from the sun u dont have as much par.
from the sounds of it i guess its not realy a concern for ur set up, but it would be cool to see if corals can thrive with us being so far away from the sun compared to southern states/countries
but from the sounds of it ur just using the garage as more of a hobby area other than a straight up green house, with the benefits of some free light
another thing its gonna be a pain with keeping the glass ice/snow free during our sweet winters
09/20/2007, 12:08 PM
by Turbo5oh do u think there would be issues with how far north we are as far as par goes....but it would be cool to see if corals can thrive with us being so far away from the sun compared to southern states/countries
We aren't further from the sun than anyone else in this world. Now if we lived on Saturn, that's a different story. Some day I may invest in a light meter to measure the par. The sun gives off enough light to grow corn both there and in Alabama. No worries, I will have enough light. Now come winter, I may experience shorter days, which will lead to artificial lighting.
by Turbo5oh but from the sounds of it ur just using the garage as more of a hobby area other than a straight up green house, with the benefits of some free light
Hobby for now. Gotta walk before I can run.
by Turbo5oh another thing its gonna be a pain with keeping the glass ice/snow free during our sweet winters
The heat of the inside should melt the snow ice on the outside. You don't get frozen windows on the side of your house do you?? I see your point, and I don't have a concrete answer, just an assumption. I think it will be fine.
09/20/2007, 12:42 PM
im prolly wrong but i thought there was something about the equator is the closest part of the earth to the sun and the farther u get away from it the further u are from the sun.
but i realy dont know what im talking about, i dont think i really paid attention to that stuff in school
do u know of anybody up this far north that has tried this?
either way it will be a very interesting project, at the very least if nothing works out u will have a really cool fish room
i hope u dont take any offense to my comments, im not that knowledgable about that kind of stuff so im just trying to make it work in my head
09/20/2007, 02:43 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10806707#post10806707 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Turbo5oh
do u know of anybody up this far north that has tried this?
No offense is ever taken. I enjoy the conversation and hope our other club members will get involved too. Vishnu is studying Astronomy, or something along those lines and could be a big help in answering these questions about the sun in these parts of the arctic north.
As far as other greenhouses in the area, yes there are. But none doing corals. There is one here in Theif River Falls, behind the college the raises plants year round, It's a nursery. I visited his place earlier this year.
And the University of Minnesota has an Ag Division down in Crookston, MN (just 45 min south of here). They also grow plants, but a they do a wider variety than the nursery I mentioned above.
Both green houses are the hoop and plastic method. I asked both oplaces about how it works int he winter and they both said no issues.
As far as PAR goes, I plan to utilize a type of film for shade because the sunlight will be too strong, whether I am here or down in Florida. Corals will not survive direct sunlight because they are not at the depths that one would find them in the wild. The film will be in the form of a light shade and the idea is that one uses layers to help block out percentages of sunlight witht he differen t layers of film.
I am not an expert on any of this, but I will find out soon enough. Plus I have a lot of reading to do as well.
09/20/2007, 03:27 PM
Both of you are partially right about the solar intensity. During the winter months the Sun is a little further away from us due to the Earth's tilt but thats not as significant in reducing the amount of radiation. The main factor is the angle at which the sun's rays hit the surface. If they are not normal then the amount of radiation is spread over a larger area when compared to say the equator where the radiation hitting the surface is almost normal year round. So you might want to employ something to account the changing position of the sun (typically in altitude above your horizon) during the summer and winter months.
Another issue you might want to consider is energy consumption. Typically the rationale behind using solar radiation is to save money on power costs running lights for the coral system. However, up here in the North the cost for heating something like that is going to be a little higher than usual. So I am sure you have thought about this. Best to do the math first before investing on a green house setup.
I dont think you would need the film in winter for the same reasons I discussed above. Do a search for Sun-Powered Reef here on RC. There is a guy in portugal who is using some shading for his open reef tank only during peak summer. His tank is not very deep and his corals are doing just fine with the high PAR. But again like everything there is a catch. It depends what you want to grow and how to acclimate them.
09/20/2007, 04:48 PM
so if the green house part is sealed from the rest of the garage would u think that the sun would keep the green house part warm? or at least warmer then outside.
09/20/2007, 05:27 PM
Although glass is a very poor insulator it might keep the temperatures higher inside the green house than outside due to simple green house effect. But warmer is relative term in this part of the country like we all know. It might be -30F outside...so -20F inside the greenhouse would be considered warmer than outside. The challenge would be to maintain a consistent temperature range during a diurnal cycle to keep your specimens not only alive but to thrive. I will PM you a link to a thread by Steven Pro who is building a more traditional greenhouse in Penn. and the biggest challenge he has found is keeping things warm in the winter. Some people have explored the possibility of using Geothermal heat to keep things heated but the upfront cost of such a system is prohibitive for most mortals. Hope that helps.
09/20/2007, 07:59 PM
I found it. Something like this. A "lean-to greenhouse". Wood frame with polycarbonate panels. It is going to be a derivative of this. (http://www.advancegreenhouses.com/evageline%20straight%20eave%20lean-to.jpg)
I am getting stoked and this is only the beginning.
09/21/2007, 05:40 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10808768#post10808768 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by moonyguy
I will PM you a link to a thread by Steven Pro who is building a more traditional greenhouse in Penn. and the biggest challenge he has found is keeping things warm in the winter. I don't have any problems keeping things warm enough, but I have an unusual set of circumstances, namely a oil and natural gas well.
09/21/2007, 05:54 PM
Thanks Steven. I think having an oil and natural gas well in your backyard is an asset for many things we do :)
09/22/2007, 12:04 AM
Mr Pro....is that your real name?? ha ha ha... I am not worried about keeping it warm, it's the condensation that has me nervous.
09/22/2007, 04:41 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10818683#post10818683 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Mr James
Mr Pro....is that your real name?? ha ha ha... I am not worried about keeping it warm, it's the condensation that has me nervous. I have been rained on inside if I enter first thing in the morning. ;)
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