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CrayolaViolence
11/18/2016, 04:57 PM
I'm curious as to what methods are utilized to keep water and corals warm by people in colder climates for outdoor green houses. I'm specially interested in greenhouses that don't use electricity but harness the power of the sun. Is there even a logistical way to keep the water warm enough to maintain corals and or macro algae without having to knit them all little wool coats?

Thanks in advance---and yes, I'm kicking around the idea of an outdoor greenhouse for macro algae. Just need to figure out a way to do it and not use electricity and run up the light bill.

thoms_here
11/21/2016, 12:00 AM
If you want to know someone that does/did it on a large (and very successful) scale, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5RaN76b0Fg His name is Dick Perrin and he owned (owns?) Tropicorium in Romulus, Michigan.

I first started going there around 1992-93 when he went big in his greenhouses. I don't know about him now, but in the mid nineties he was one of the most sought out speakers at Macna etc. and was one of the pioneers of propagating corals. I used to take my reef club down there often. In 1994 I flew in Julian Sprung for a long weekend for a presentation for our club and he really wanted to go there as well, so we took him for a private tour for most of a day and he was very impressed.

As of about 15 years ago, (the last time I was there) I think he was still using home made air lifts as "pumps" for recirculation, large plastic lined wooden "vats" (for lack of a better word) that were around a foot deep, gravel bottoms, a lot of carbon to keep the water clear and supplemental halide lighting, and lots of fish. He also had most of (if not all) of the water running through a large "Rainbow Lifegard" filter system. As I remember at the time there was not a ton of protein skimming going on (but It's been a long time so I might and probably am wrong). It was THE most simple set up imaginable for me anyways. And I am sure he had way to heat everything properly also.

When I googled him for this post I noticed his web address was gone. I was just on there a few months ago and it was up and fine. He still has a Facebook account but I didn't take a look at it. I do know that he got very busted in Florida for illegal wildlife trafficking. https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/michigan-aquarium-store-operators-plead-guilty-illegal-trafficking-marine-life-0 but I have no idea whats going on now.

Anyway, off subject I know but it would be a great place to visit if your thinking about doing it with about as little start up cost as I can think of. Having been there myself, it definitely would be the place that I would want to see in person if possible. It's in the same general area as the Detroit Metro airport and easy to get to. Either way there are quite a few youtube videos to check out if you want.

Good luck on your future endeavors no matter what they be! And message me if I can answer anymore questions.

Thom

jayball
11/21/2016, 10:37 AM
Not sure if you have seen this yet, Sunlit SPS farm in Aus.:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2500838

I know he uses evaporative cooling towers but there is 20 pages of Q&A plus awesome acro showoff pictures to go through.

badguitarist
11/23/2016, 12:07 AM
To put it simply, year round there is no way to do it without using an energy source to heat in winter and cool in summer. Gas (propane or natural) will be cheaper to heat with than electricity. Whether this venture is for profit or just for fun, the cost of heating and cooling is something that must be accounted for as part of your operational costs.

The sun will keep tanks warm all day but if the sun isn't out then there goes your free heat. however once the sun goes down you will need to heat the air in the greenhouse to keep temps stable

CrayolaViolence
11/23/2016, 05:11 AM
To put it simply, year round there is no way to do it without using an energy source to heat in winter and cool in summer. Gas (propane or natural) will be cheaper to heat with than electricity. Whether this venture is for profit or just for fun, the cost of heating and cooling is something that must be accounted for as part of your operational costs.

The sun will keep tanks warm all day but if the sun isn't out then there goes your free heat. however once the sun goes down you will need to heat the air in the greenhouse to keep temps stable

I was hoping there would be a way to trap the heat and holding it in with insulation for at least 10 hours of dark. Water as a whole takes time to cool and heat up, so it would seem if you had a large enough water volume and a way to slow down heating and cooling and trap or expel both during the day, you would need minimal if any, electric back up.

I'm located in the south so our winters are generally mild in comparison to other places, however our summers you need gills to breathe. Evaporative cooling would not work. I'd probably have to use some type of cooling method that involved large water volume and slow water movement.

The hope was to be able to do this without electricity. One, cost, two, location, three, safety (i.e. less likely to get electrocuted if the ground is wet or you get a leak etc.)

But I'm thinking, due to my climate, it may be nearly impossible to accomplish that. I'm hoping I can find more info about off grid green houses or have other people chime in. One innovative way I saw to heat ponds and or gardens was by using compost. But that in itself has it's dangers. (Can you spell spontaneous combustion? I knew you could.)
I'm still not sure of a way to cool the green house in the height of summer without electricity. Like I said, still hoping to find more info.

JamesHolt
11/23/2016, 06:00 PM
The last time I went to The Reef Farm their tanks used 1000watt heaters, tanks are insulated and have covers for winter..
They have a chiller on one set of tanks for summer, and use shade cloth to reduce the light.. you could talk to them to get more details..
They don't try to heat or cool the air just the water, their greenhouse has fans for airflow in the summer(they have the big louver boxes I am guessing there are fans in them)
Probably could do a solar collector for the water heating if your storage was big and insulated enough,, small cooling tower for summer use..
I have been wanting to try this myself, just need to get this house purchase thingy done first, no use in setting one up here and tearing it down in a few months..

CrayolaViolence
11/24/2016, 08:21 AM
Yes, they use a lot of electricity. Which is what I'm trying to avoid. Bill is high enough with seven fully operational tanks in the house.

SantaMonica
12/06/2016, 08:05 PM
Try geothermal.

FamilyTank
01/02/2017, 09:09 AM
+1, on the geothermal. Concrete base for heat sink and sit tanks right on the concrete. To save some money on set up, for your hoops. I went around asking people for their old used trampolines. Disassemble them and you have 2 - 14foot hoops. I did cut the legs apart and weld 3 foot extensions on each for add'l height.