View Full Version : question about greenhouse corals?
i am building a new house and i am contemplating whether or not to do a green house propagation system or a basement sytem. there is no argument that natural sunlight cant be beat. i live in sunny colorado so sun is no problem. my concern is do corals grown in natural sunlight have a hard time acclimating to artificial lighting? my lfs buys everything i propagate now because my propagated species are so well acclimated. i love growing corals and selling them. i am not trying to make a living at this. so far i am able to sell enough to pay for my expenses i just want to do it on a larger level.
in addition, do you have any pictures or more references on air lift technology to move water and create flow. i have read your book several times but i am one of those type of people that needs pictures to understand things. i like the idea of inexpensive less energy water movement. the system will probably be in the 1000-2000 gal range. sorry so long. it is great to be able to communicate with an experienced reef farmer.....
02/22/2003, 07:02 PM
Cheers, TLC... good to hear from you!
...i am building a new house and i am contemplating whether or not to do a green house propagation system or a basement sytem.
Its hard to argue against natural sunlight from any perspective. It is less expensive to utilize (even recouping the cost of glazing/atriums/skylights, GH, etc) in the short run (1-2 years) over the cost of artificial lamps and ongoing operational expenses (lamp replacement, electricity, etc). Corals, other invertebrates, and fishes of course grow faster and maintain much better pigmentation. Faster healing of imposed cuts in coral culture or wounds on animals from agression (UV) too. We could talk at much greater length, but rest assured... only use artificial if you simply must, and know that your bottom line profits will be weak at best if you go artificial.
...my concern is do corals grown in natural sunlight have a hard time acclimating to artificial lighting?
Don't believe that hype, my friend. Complete bunk. For all of the staggering differences in lamp spectrums by brand and even by lamp as the age, etc is enormous. The sun is no different, no better, and no worse than what we all go through growing corals under various artificial lamps. Further more, there are issues of light penetration (water clarity) and depth of coral in the tank where grown and where they are going that have much bigger impacts on coral acclimation to a new (dealer) lighting system. Again... no worries at all. A moot point. Use a lux meter if you feel better to grow corals under any kind of light at similar intensity for a gross ballpark if you prefer.
...my lfs buys everything i propagate now because my propagated species are so well acclimated. i love growing corals and selling them. i am not trying to make a living at this.
Understood... but its not a charity either. Beyond the home aquarium (pure-non-profit activities)... concerns like water pumps, chillers and artificial lights are big issues (they suck) to be reduced or avoided to make your project/business run more efficiently/successfully.
...in addition, do you have any pictures or more references on air lift technology to move water and create flow. i have read your book several times but i am one of those type of people that needs pictures to understand things. i like the idea of inexpensive less energy water movement.
Hmmm... I will have to dig for them, my friend. Having just finished my new book... my filing cabninets with slides look like a tornado hit them :D Still... the airlift is a simple and ancient technology. Its just like an air lift on old undergravel filters... just on a larger scale with more air and bigger (PVC) pipes. I wonder if there is any address of it in the excellent book by Escobal "Aquatic Systems Engineering"?
...the system will probably be in the 1000-2000 gal range. sorry so long. it is great to be able to communicate with an experienced reef farmer.....
No worries. It is an honor and a pleasure. We should chat more about it as you evolve. Do try to make it to one of the marine conferences where we can chat at length. Perhaps MACNA in September. Not an event to be missed by serious aquarists and professionals.
With kind regards,
i appreciate your comments. i have had much success with my 350 gal system. i am ready to expand. i will keep you informed as this project becomes a reality
02/22/2003, 07:55 PM
Excellent! Best to you in your endeavors :)
02/22/2003, 11:27 PM
Ok I just had a thoguht and tell me if im crazy ok.
Is it possiable to use the available sunlight outside in solar panels and use the panels to power the lights for a inside tank? Would the cost of the panels outweigh the cost of the power just a thought. I know this has prolly been discussed b4 but just an idea.
02/22/2003, 11:42 PM
Stang- good to keep the wheels turnin'... no crime in brainstorming at all. :) Always a good thing
In this case, though, it is overthought.
In the right climate, I'm sure you could recoup the cost over time... but a long time for most. And it is still nowehere near the savings of simply using natural sunlight... not to mention all of the benefits of sunlight lost (quality of light, disease reduction <from UV in shallow water>, etc). It really is a no brainer. Aquarists that have kept corals under natural sunlight are blown away and don't speculate on artificial light. They never want to go back :D Until you'ver tried it... I realize it may be hard to appreciate. Too bad everyone can't have a coral greenouse in their backyard!
Keep on keepin' on :)
02/22/2003, 11:53 PM
on a small scale it may be possible to run your lights and system on solar energy. on a large scale the cost is staggering. i enquired several months ago about what it would cost to run a proposed system.
3600 watts of light
2000 watts of heating
800 watts of pumps
800 watts of misc devices
the cost was about 50,000 for the equipment and installation. not to mention you will have replace the batteries every 8-10 yrs. i could take that same amount of money put it in an investment and that investment would more than pay for my electric bill....
some states like california actualy help pay for your solar sytem. my state does not....
02/24/2003, 12:42 AM
Cheese and rice I had no clue it would be that high. I thought maybe a few thoousand but dang........
Oh well back to the drawing board
02/26/2003, 12:37 PM
AWESOME Thread guys!
Originally posted by Anthony Calfo
Its hard to argue against natural sunlight from any perspective.
Allow me to play the devils advocate here Bro! While I agree with you that I think that natural sunlight is by far much more effecient I will say that Im a tad (just a tad) bit upset with coloration (pigments in corals) differences but of course there are sooo many variables at play here im sure right?!?! Not to put the blame solely on natural sunlight but of course Im comparing it to bulbs like 10k ushios and 20k radiums. However on the flip side I will say that some corals I am noting more coloration on in natural sunlight.....Your thoughts Sir Calfo?
02/26/2003, 12:56 PM
If I may jump in this thread with a question of my own......
Is there enough sunlight in the state of Michigan (southern MI, right on the border of Indiana) to grow corals in a greenhouse without the help of any artificial light?
02/26/2003, 01:27 PM
Scubadude... good point. But you are still a kook :D Heehee... most of the/your disappointment in coral coloration/pigmentation under sunlight (in greenhouses or homes through windows, light tubes, skylights, etc) is due to corruption of the light through the glazing, brah. The quality of sunlight hasn't changed for...ahhh... a few million years... billions... I dunno :) Not to the extent that it would influence this argument. And not especially for someone (ahem!) living under Florida sun. Rose corals in 3 feet of water in your tanks and rose corals in 3 feet of water in wild seagrass beds in your backyard are getting the same light. It is the artifact of glazing that enhances or corrupts said light... and that is the challenge for coral farmers.
Especially when most all glazings for agriculture (GH plastics, lexan, etc) and habitation (glass and acrylics for sunrooms, solariums, skylights, etc) is specifically designed for reducing UV (Yikes!). Even when you've sought a glazing that admits mucho UV... the light is still altered.
For you especially, my friend, making this endeavor a full time vocation... let me suggest that you cut a section out of your glazing (a window swatch) and experiment quarterly (or somewhere therabouts) with new glazing samples all the time. "For every day, a better way" :) You will obviously keep a reliable coral species under this swatch... and more of it elsewhere in the greenhouse under normal glazing... and see the subtle or not so subtle changes. I used to use pink or rose Montipora. Very hardy... and yet very fincky about color (see picture on front of my BOCP1).
Most anyone/anylight can keep rose/pink tips on said Montipora... but the sweet-spot on the bat is when you can keep it nose to toes solid pink/rose. There are hundreds of corals you could use as test species, of course. Just one suggested species.
Hmmm...where were we. Oh, yes. The short answer :D
Brad- you can easily grow coral most anywhere in the world... certainly in Michigan. The coral farming pioneer Dick Perrin is in Romulus (Tropicorium). I'm in Pittsburgh PA. I have consulted coral farmers all over the world including successful farmers at much higher latitudes: Ireland, Nova Scotia and Canada for starters.
Even though we are not in the tropics... we don't need tropical sun for these corals in shallow tanks. Buy a lux meter... read the field/reef studies and sleep comfortably. So many of the coral we keep come from 15, 30... even 80 foot under water on a reef. Lux/PAR readings in 2 foot of water under a Michigan sun are just fine for a great many corals my friend.
Best regards to all! Keep on farming... I'm getting too old for it :p
02/28/2003, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by Anthony Calfo
Scubadude... good point. But you are still a kook :D Heehee... most of the/your disappointment in coral coloration/pigmentation under sunlight.....................................................
Best regards to all! Keep on farming... I'm getting too old for it :p
Very interesting! I will definately experiment with uninhibited full sunlight exposure, maybe just plumb a tank inline with the GH tank(s) but put it outside of the GH and have a ball valve for quick bypass? I have heard that rain water is very low in TDS to some degree it could possibly work as a topoff tank, then there is bird crap, and debris floating in the air, but I take it that is a minimal concern.
Your getting to old for it !?!? LMAO! Ok I may be a kook but your a bum :bum: :p
02/28/2003, 12:44 PM
Hey, Rocky :p
My fault, bud... I fear I was not clear enough in the ramble. Ha!
I did not mean to suggest keeping tanks in open sun (uninhibited/no-glazing). That would indeed be too challenging.
What I meant to say was for you to cut a window out of your plastic or whatever glazing you are using (glass, acrylic/lexan, etc)in the greenhouse and swap different types of other glazing in its place over a small area (over one tank or part of one large tank). Use the mfg specs on total light transmission and UV admission for each material as a starting point (seek over 90% on both counts and filter down as necessary).
The gist of it is that three different glazings can all have the same rating of X% admission, but still let through three very different qualities of light as far as coral farming is concerned.
I'm simply wondering if the glazing you are using (the specific brand) is perhaps not an impediment. Other issues like water clarity are a big deal of course... especially in aquaculture with high bio-loads and/or if you are growing any measurable amounts of algae in the systems with poor coral pigmentation. If you are not using ozone for water clarity in a commercial operation, then you need to be changing carbon weekly at most... some farmers do a small amount even more frequently than weekly to maintain water clarity.
And you are still a kook :p Gotta love that :D
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.