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Home seaweed farm

Self-sufficiency from aquaria
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
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Suppose you have no garden but want to produce your own food.

Houseplants can be kept in homes without gardens, but are usually not considered edible and require soil. It might be feasible but complicated to grow plants hydroponically. Seaweed, however, is in a sense naturally hydroponic. If you set up a number of marine aquaria indoors and grew seaweed in them rather than fish, it might be practical to grow your own edible seaweed. Its calorific value would be low and it would also be largely devoid of protein, but the mineral content would be very high. It makes more sense to grow seaweed than raise fish for food because the former are at the bottom of the food pyramid. Much of your requirement for nutrients could then be satisfied by buying sea salt rather than buying land vegetables, and you would have more control over their nutritional content than if you bought or grew them. Also, it would generate more oxygen for your home. Ultimately, maybe you could hermetically seal your entire domicile and never go outside again.

nineteenthly, Nov 07 2004

Oyster Mushroom cultivation on toilet rolls http://www.ncbe.rea...BIOLOGY/oyster.html
Complete with pictures! [prufrax, Nov 07 2004]

Loadsa pics of refugia http://images.googl...aulerpa&btnG=Search
[squeak, Feb 21 2007]


       I've grown radishes, lettuces and herbs in a window box before now. Nasturtiums would also probably be growable in this fashion, but I don't like capers so have no need for a cheap substitute.   

       The potted tomato plants trained up the living room wall by being stuck to it with masking tape at regular intervals were perhaps slightly less practical, though the potted peppers and chillis did okay. Aubergines might be persuaded to grow on a windowsill too.   

       You can also grow mushrooms at home without a garden. Either your ordinary field mushrooms in a wooden crate of compost, or oyster mushrooms on damp loo rolls.   

       Unfortunately, household cheeseplants never seem to get big enough to fruit, though my Dad did once make marmalade from the fruits of one of those mini citrus plants you can get. I've also seen recipes for making jam from fuschia fruits.   

       And of course there is always growing beansprouts/alfalfa sprouts/fenugreek sprouts etc.
prufrax, Nov 07 2004

       Thanks for the links, people. I was once a keen consumer of seaweed myself but my SO doesn't like it so it makes it difficult. I'm particularly inspired by the oyster mushrooms as my brother works in a toilet roll factory.
nineteenthly, Nov 07 2004

       UNbleached bod-wad doesn't have dioxins in it and is non-carcinogenic for oyster mushroom production.   

       One anno back mentions sprouts though. Sprout on@!
mensmaximus, Jul 02 2005

       I like it [+]. DIY nori.
jaksplat, Jul 02 2005

       Apparently people do grow their own Spirulina using salt and urine in water, and our water filter has recently turned green, so it can't be that hard.
nineteenthly, Jul 02 2005

       hydroponics is easy dude... water + minerals = faux soil   

       did you never grow watercress on tissue paper soaked in tap water in school?   

       9 years old and i had a hydroponic farm baby!   

       and cress... lots of cress :D
seraphim, Feb 20 2007

       I've got a mate who's into this whole ecosystem-aquaculture thing for which the pseudo-scientific term I have forgotten.   

       What he had is a closed water loop system. In the first area, he has fish and freshwater lobsters <redclaw>, which he feeds vegetable scraps, or if short, shredded potatoes. The fish and yabbies crap in the water. The water+crap is circulated past "nitrating bacteria/algae" - which is grown on high surface area media. This turns the crap into excellent fertiliser, and also clarifies the water. In the last stage, plants <mostly vegies, herbs, etc> are grown in the nutrient rich water, which once depleted is then pumped into the fish/yabbie tank.   

       He has absolutely no algae, etc on the tank walls, it's all clear as day, and the water quality looks great. The fish taste awesome, and more importantly it is completely organic with no additives, except some shell grit or oyster stones from time to time to neutralise some naturally forming acids.   

       Systematically, he puts in food scraps, basically anything the fish and yabbies will eat. plus a tiny ammoutn of water, and some power for the pumps, which if the system is cleverly set up, can be gravity/convection run in a single tank. And gets out fish and yabbie flesh, fresh vegies and herbs. It's awesome.   

       I'm going to try a single-tank type setup sometime this year, with no pumps, only a small aerator.   

       Anyway, just thought you'd be interested.
Custardguts, Feb 20 2007

       //Also, it would generate more oxygen for your home// Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how much seaweed it would take to produce enough oxygen to keep one person alive? I'm guessing it would be a huge amount, but I have no idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 20 2007

       This sounds like a refugium – a filtration system used in many reef aquaria. They use Caulerpa (sp?) algae and others to strip nutrients out of the tank water to keep the main tank nice and clean. It grows like buggery. As a bonus, the algae can be fed to the herbivorous fish in the main tank or in this case, you. Apparently, some kinds of Caulerpa are already cultivated as a food crop in Japan so I can’t see why it couldn’t be done on a small scale.
squeak, Feb 21 2007

       I used to go to school with a kid whose Dad owned the local Chinese Take-Away. I saw him once in the supermarket buying shredded cabbage by the basket load and asked him which dish it would be for.   

       "Crispy seaweed," he nonchalantly replied.   

       My dreams were shattered forever. The next day my brother told me Santa Claus wasn't real, my Dad ran over what he claimed to be the Easter bunny, and my Mother confessed that it had been she that all this time had been replacing the teeth under my pillow with 50p coins. What an awful weekend.
theleopard, Feb 21 2007

       [Custardguts] I set up a system like that a few months ago. I love it. The water smells like a mountain stream and the plants and fish thrive. The //pseudo-scientific term// is aqua(culture) + (hydro)ponics = aquaponics (shudder).   

       [nineteenthly] You'll have to pay attention to the mineral balance. "Sea salt" (I think) is not quite the same as evaporated sea water. Searching for "artificial sea water" might help. Also, the seaweed will use up minerals in proportions different from those in the medium, so you'll have to top them up appropriately.   

       There's a marine fish that farms seaweed in nutrient-poor waters. It carefully weeds its garden and fertilises it with its faeces.   

       If you use sunlight and design things carefully, it could provide excellent solar heating as well, using the thermal mass of the water to advantage.
spidermother, Feb 21 2007

       //If you use sunlight and design things carefully, it could provide excellent solar heating as well, using the thermal mass of the water to advantage.//   

       It may be necessary to design things VERY carefully if that's your plan. Most aquarium fish need to live within closely controlled temperature ranges... more closely controlled than the humans who live with them. I'd assume that seaweed would be quite similar, since it's location on the globe has tight constraints.   

       If you use tidal species, this may be less of a concern though.
ye_river_xiv, May 25 2008


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