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Old 07/22/2010, 08:50 AM   #1
tblake
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Lightbulb DIY Rock - BioRock style

So I saw the website BioRock. He uses solar panels to electrify a frame with 4 volts or so. The minerals in the water plate the frame. After a base coat, he affixes coral frags on the frame. With the continued electric current in the frame (steel rebar), the coating continues to thicken (~2 inches/year) and the corals even grow faster and are more resistant to temperature fluxuation.
So my plan is to make up a tub (plastic of course) of water with lime, baking soda and epsom salts in a high concentration and electrify a frame (steel mesh or something similar) with a 12 volt battery charger. Not sure what kind of gases this produces so I'll keep it all outside on the back porch.
From what I read, higher voltage will add the coating faster but at a reduced strength. With 4 volts getting a strength greater than that of standard concrete, I think I can afford to lose some strength for speed in my home aquarium. The higher concentration of minerals should also allow for a faster paced plating process.
The end result if all works well is custom rock quickly. No cure wait time as in concrete based rocks. To be sure about that, after the plating process, I'll put the rock in some saltwater and monitor the pH levels for a bit.
Any additional thoughts?


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Old 07/22/2010, 09:19 AM   #2
der_wille_zur_macht
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tblake View Post
No cure wait time as in concrete based rocks.
Perhaps not, but what sort of "grow" rate are you expecting, when his only gives ~2" per year? Seems like "it's quicker than concrete rocks" isn't a valid advantage.

Quote:
Any additional thoughts?
How are you going to deal with the metal that's embedded in the rock, to keep it from polluting the aquarium?


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Old 07/22/2010, 02:08 PM   #3
kcress
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The gas, by the way, is poisonous Chlorine.


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Old 07/22/2010, 03:50 PM   #4
danderson8019
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Do you have any links or pictures, seem interesting


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Old 07/23/2010, 01:48 PM   #5
tblake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by der_wille_zur_macht View Post
Perhaps not, but what sort of "grow" rate are you expecting, when his only gives ~2" per year? Seems like "it's quicker than concrete rocks" isn't a valid advantage.
Not sure what to expect. I'm sure some chemist could work out the theoretical growth rate. My hope is to see that kind of growth in a week or two. Probably a bit of a fantasy. I'm planning on just trying it to see what happens. Then I can base future construction on those results. The logical side of me says that if it was that easy, the LFS's would be flooded with cheap custom base rock.

Quote:
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How are you going to deal with the metal that's embedded in the rock, to keep it from polluting the aquarium?
Steel mesh. I didn't think iron was hazardous. If I'm wrong, the expensive alternative would be carbon rods. Would also negate speed benefits (if there are any as questioned above. Wolf Hilbertz, who's work I'm basing this on, used steel rebar. He also had the benefit of the entire ocean because as we all know the solution to pollution is dilution.

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The gas, by the way, is poisonous Chlorine.
Oh. How very fragrant. Outside to be safe then it is.

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Do you have any links or pictures, seem interesting
All I have is research from www.biorock.net and related Googling. Hopefully this weekend the experimentation can begin.


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Old 07/26/2010, 07:17 AM   #6
tblake
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Yesterday's experiment showed that after all day on the charger, only a thin film easily scraped by a fingernail. If I'm going to get inches in weeks, that's much too slow. I either need a better charger or find a purpose for 50 lbs of dolomite lime.


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