View Full Version : setting up a coral farm (planning stages)
07/15/2004, 06:56 PM
Anthony i just wanted to have ya look at this idea and let me know what ya think (still in the very early planning stages as i still have 2 years of grad school left)
I used to work at a muscle farm in Carlsbad CA (north san diego county). There is a guy there whose name i cant remember... he is a prof. at either UCSD or scripps.. and he is activly breeding abalone (the setup is that the power plant there has a lagoon which they use to cool the reactors... and therefore pull a huge amount of seawater into this lagoon which they have constructed...) but anyway.. they have these huge fiberglass vats that are ~ 5' wide and 40' long and ~30" deep so roughly 3,500 gallons each)
my family happens to be in the greenhouse business so we have some extra greenhouses which a can take over (would be dedicated to coral specifically, so no worries about pestacides)
I was thinking of setting up 2 of these vats in a 400ft2 greenhouse...
so i guess my question is what kinda problems do you think i would run into... i see flow in these tanks might be problematic...
what do you think???
My uncle seems very interested in this (they are his greenhouses)
i think he can write off most of the equipment as a business expense :-D he currently has a 100,000gpd RO at one of the businesses but i think something more along the lines of 1,000 to 5000gpd would be sufficent
What sort of pumping do you think would be required for this?
07/15/2004, 08:49 PM
The large vat is interesting, but ultimately a bad idea unless you are willing to do massive culture of one species more or less per tank ;)
Thats being a bit strict, but truthfully... the one thing that aquarists grossly underestimate when making the jump from hobby culture to real (profit-making) coral farming on a large scale is that it is poor husbandry to mix species.
One of my favorite analogies: theres a very good reason why Ag farmers dont raise bulls, chickens and pumpkins all onthe same acre of land!
Real aquaculture/farming is tweaked and tuned for optimal growth (exploitation) of a species and its needs. That precludes the mixing of competitive species. Business people that get into coral farming understand this from go... hobbyists are resistent to understanding and appreciating it, and they suffer (profits/success, etc) long term for it.
With home aquaria, the effects of "garden style" reef keeping with crowded and unnatural mixes of species show the effects in just a year or two, the same.
My strong advice is to use smaller pools and at least group species by family and close kin. Resist the temptation to keep/grow too many different species. Youll do better for it.
Best of luck on your journey! I'm excited for you :)
07/15/2004, 10:41 PM
so how broadly can you mix? like 1 vat of all acros or similar relation?
and perhaps another of procilliapora? or how specific would you reccomend... all tenuis in 1 vat, and another or humulis or someting along those lines?
07/15/2004, 11:06 PM
in a perfect world, one species per vat.
Even that doesn't insure you optimal farming as not all species are tolerant of their own kind... some will fight (allelopathy) everything that is not a clone (of the same genetic profile/origin)!
Its hard to give you a rule of thumb without knowing your goals/purpose... how do profitability and pride/pleasure/charity rank on a scale (rhetorical question here)?
By preference/opinion is and has always been categorically monospecific culture. Maximum growth/health and productivity tip the scale for me. I'll take it at the expense of diversity. Thats just me though.
For a compromise... I'd recommend that you at least keep corals seperate by family (Acroporids, Pocilloporids, etc).
Even thats too much play likely though... among Acroporids you will see some ugly battles between Acropora and Montipora, for example.
Heehee... this does come back to the question: are you going to be a coral farmer or a hobbyist? :D In many ways they have nothing to do with each other. The presentation I gave at IMAC 2004 (and will give in Louisville next weekend) speaks directly to this ("Coral Farming for Profit"). I'll probably do this presentation at other clubs this year if they want it.
07/16/2004, 05:55 PM
it would strictly be for profit, maybe pick out 4 or maybe a few more varietys and some species and go with that... variety is not required...
we grow chrysanthemums... you get like 10 choices... lol white, red, yelloe, red wellow center... etc... we sell the ones with the biggest profit margin, or that go with th elargest volume
07/16/2004, 05:58 PM
exactly my friend... farming is farming, whether its corals, plants or hooved animals. And coral farming is in many ways very different from the hobby.
You're on a good path :)
08/24/2004, 01:43 AM
To add to this.
Anthony , do you suggest that that each individual vessel has it's own circulation system , or can this be centralised.
This is what I would like to do , makes for more stable conditions and one large circulation pump can be used to supply all.
Heat is also a MAJOR concern for me , and obviously the more water there is the less it will tend to drift and it will be much easier to cool. A sunken sump is one of the options I am considering.
08/25/2004, 01:08 AM
for inexpensive circulation... you can use airlifts powerd by a single, large air blower (Spencer Vortex ot GAST type, eg) for a large part of your circulation needs (see more on this in message board threads and in BOCP1)
As for water pumps though... keep these to a minimum in commercial farming efforts. They impart heat, are expensive to run and operate, etc.
And re: centralized circulation... I'm not sure what you mean here, bud. The air blower above is one pump that serves all vessels. But any "centralized" water pump implies central filtration and that is the problem (mixing species) that we want to avoid as described above.
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