[Coral-List] tank experiments with corals

Charles Delbeek delbeek at waquarium.org
Thu Jun 28 17:29:56 EDT 2007

Aloha Monika,

Depending on your experimental design, there may be ways to do this 
simply and make it work. If incoming seawater temperature is steady and 
reliable, you can use this to supply your holding tanks with water. 
Setting up the tanks outside in full sunlight as open systems will work 
only if you can keep water temps from getting too high. You can then 
adjust temperature by adjusting the flow rate of the incoming water i.e. 
decreasing it will cause an increase in temperature and increasing a 
drop in temperature, but obviously not any lower than the incoming water 
temperature (hence the importance of the incoming water temp). Another 
way to control temperature would be to build raceways within the ground 
by digging trenches and lining them with plastic liners such as those 
used for ponds. The ground will then act as an insulator and may help 
keep the temperatures a bit lower. For light levels you can use shade 
cloth over a framework above the tank/raceways in layers to achieve 
whatever level you want. Depending on the ambient light levels where 
your corals came from, you most likely will need to use some shade cloth 
anyway, and this will also help with keeping temperatures from getting 
too high.

We grow south Pacific and Hawaiian corals in outdoor tanks in full 
sunlight here in Hawaii. Our water comes from a saltwater well that is 
25 m deep. The temperature of this water is a constant 24 oC, by varying 
the incoming flow rate to each tank I can control temperature fairly 
well. In the winter, tank water temps can get as low as 20 oC at night 
and in the summer over 32 oC during the day. We have been growing corals 
in this manner for over 25 years and have supplied over 5500 fragments 
of south Pacific corals to public aquariums and coral researchers around 
the world since 1992.

I really have no idea if the above will work in your situation as I have 
no idea what your facility is like, where it is located relative to the 
ocean, what the year round climate is like etc etc ... if you would like 
further help with your project design please don't hesitate to contact 
me off list.


J. Charles Delbeek
Aquarium Biologist III
Waikiki Aquarium
University of Hawaii
2777 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI, 96815

(808) 923-9741 VOICE
(808) 923-1771 FAX

>> Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 15:40:02 +0200
>> From: Monika Wilhelm <monika.wilhelm at uni-rostock.de>
>> Subject: [Coral-List] tank experiments with corals
>> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov, coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Dear all,
>> as part of my master thesis on Reunion Island, I want to carry out tank
>> experiments with corals under  high temperature and light stress
>> conditions.
>> Facilities here are rather basic, so I'm seeking your advice on
>> maintaining corals for 1-2 month with low budget equipment.
>> I'm facing the following problems:
>> There is an opportunity to work with tanks supplied with running
>> seawater, but we can't afford the right equipment to heat up the water
>> in an open system. We have thought about working in closed systems
>> instead, but this doesn't seem trivial either. Another problem is an
>> artificial light source, which again needs to be cheap yet spectrally
>> close to natural sunlight.
>> I would welcome any advice from people who have some experience with
>> maintaining corals, especially concerning equipments and ways to keep
>> costs low.
>> Thanks a lot in advance.
>> Kind regards,
>> Monika
>> Monika Wilhelm
>> Graduate Biology Student
>> University of Rostock/ Laboratoire d'Ecologie marine
>> Germany/ Reunion Island (France)
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