Author Topic: Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.  (Read 855 times)

Offline OKCPrepper

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Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.
« on: April 12, 2013, 03:31:03 AM »
Has anyone here had experience or seen any information on growing sea Kelp in an Aquarium environment? I can see a need from both a personal health aspect as well as a supplement for animal feed. I am one of those guys that spends a lot of time thinking about what will we do when we run out of those stored items. How can we be sustainable in a variety of areas.

I am setting up a small salt water tank to experiment with growing Spirulina in, why not Kelp too? I have done an internet search and found a little information on the subject, thought it would be a good topic for discussion here. Any comments?

Thanks.

Offline rikkrack

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Re: Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2013, 08:15:33 AM »
 :popcorn:

 Interested as well. Not sure you will get the height needed. I believe it grows fast and tall.
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Offline OKCPrepper

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Re: Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 06:28:44 AM »
What limited information I have found so far online is we need lots of water flow / circulation. Part of my challenge is I am off grid where I intend to use this system long term, so it looks like I would be needing to set up a small solar system with storage battery to give it a 24 hours of circulation. I suppose the nighttime flow could be reduced or cycled on a timer / controller and tailored to the amount of storage capacity.

I have several of those 275 gallon totes, I was thinking about one of those with the top cut off, that would be 3-4 feet tall. Biggest problem so far is where to buy some starter plants. All the sites I have found so far as selling Kelp products, but no live plants. If I lived in the NE, probably could go out in the ocean and grab a handful. Not too many oceans here in the center of Oklahoma.

I think I will take a trip to the Aquarium store where I used to by my salt water fish and plants, maybe he might have a source,

Offline rikkrack

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Re: Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2013, 06:36:59 AM »
You may see if a fellow TSP member could send you some for the price of shipping. I have no idea if it would survive the trip. Just a thought. Or maybe a local zoo if they have an aquarium area?
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Offline Joe in TN

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Re: Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2013, 01:26:39 PM »
Great idea, but not practical.  It can be done, but the inputs will outweigh the outputs by at least 10 times.  First, are you talking about kelp like what's in the ocean in the cooler areas in the United States?  Or, are you talking about sea weed that you find in tropical waters?

If it's the coldwater variety you will need a chiller in an aquatic system to keep the water the right temperature.  The bigger the system, the bigger the chiller.  To keep a 275g system in the low sixty degree zone you're talking about chiller that's gonna cost you at least $1,000.  That baby is gonna suck a lot of juice as well.  Then add in the appropriate lighting...at least another $1,000 and the cost of replacing bulbs annually.  LED would be an option, up front costs would be at least $2,000 but then bulbs would not need to be replaced for 5+ years.  We haven't even scraped the top in terms of start-up costs yet either.  Substrate, pumps, salt, test kits, water supplements and oh yeah...you're not going to be using well water on this system.  You will need to be using RO/DI water.

If you're talking about the tropical variety, think red gracilaria variety, you're talking about better lighting, which means more heat during the warm months...thus the need for a chiller about 5-6 months of the year.  More expensive than the cold water variety of kelp, but better nutritionally for us (red gracilaria is called "ogo" in Hawaii and eaten in sushi, poke and other dishes).

I've been into saltwater aquariums, and large systems, for almost 12 years now.  I worked part time harvesting sea weeds when I lived in Hawaii.  I love doing stuff myself and anything to do with farming, self efficiency, etc...  I have built systems that did not use any form of mechanical filtration, instead using attached tanks (rubbermaid feed tanks) with deep sand beds, various sea weeds and live rock.  For what it took to build these systems you will never get enough out of them to make it worth your while.  Electricity requirements alone will kill you. 

Chalk this one up to a "need" that you will have to trade for with the systems that you have that produce in excess for you.

Joe

Offline OKCPrepper

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Re: Growing Kelp in an Aquarium.
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 09:29:50 PM »
Thanks for the information Joe, not what I was hoping for, but if it's not practical then it's best to find out before making an investment in time and money.