Growing Kelp In Aquarium: Healthy Solutions For Hydroponic Growers

Kelp is incredible stuff. Did you know you can supplement your diet by growing kelp in an aquarium? This particular seaweed is incredibly healthy, packed with antioxidants that help your body eliminate free radicals. You’d be hard-pressed to find healthier green food. Hence, adding this to any home growing system is a superb choice.

In addition to its free-radical scrubbing, kelp does a lot more for your body. This saltwater green can help combat oxidative stress. Moreover, it may give your cardiovascular system a boost, and it could even aid in preventing cancer. The oceans are full of surprises, and kelp is one you can bring home and grow for yourself. I will help you sort out how to get your kelp aquarium going and share some important facts about growing other seaweeds as well.


Can Kelp Grow In Fresh Water

Although some varieties of seaweed can grow in freshwater, kelp does not. When you set up a tank to grow kelp, you will need a saltwater tank. Though there are many types of kelp, they all need that salt to thrive.

In the wild, kelp tends to grow in areas where there are rocky coastlines. The rocks along the seabed give the kelp strands a good place to hold on. Once anchored, kelp will grow upward in the water, creating habitats for fish, leafy sea dragons, and other oceanic animals.

A Koller Products PanaView 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit from Amazon is a great way to get started growing seaweed and kelp. These compact tanks come with filters and built-in LED lights. Moreover, the crystal clear container will let you see what’s growing inside every step of the way. Learn all about it by clicking here. 

What Is Kelp

There are roughly thirty varieties of Laminariales or kelp. This unusual green and brown growth is not actually a plant or a vegetable. Instead, it is a heterokont.

Heterokonts are distinct because these organisms possess two flagella of different lengths. Also known as stramenopiles, there are over a hundred thousand heterokonts, mostly including kelp and other algae. However, unlike other algae, kelp is multicellular.

However, for easy conversation, you can call these algae a vegetable. Vegetables are technically just the edible parts of plants anyhow, and the term covers most non-animal foods. Although this near-vegetable grows in saltwater, it is green and typically accompanies other foods such as meat and fish on a plate.

A botanist or oceanographer will understand the distinction, but everyone else will just enjoy their meal. The most important part of kelp growing is enhancing flavors and adding to your diet in extremely healthy ways.


Does Kelp Grow Fast

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on land, but in the oceans, kelp is king. Growing kelp in an aquarium is easy because of how incredibly quickly it shoots up. If you plan to start farming kelp, you will very likely be harvesting daily.

Giant kelp is the best example of this phenomenal growth. At an average of eleven or twelve inches per day, Giant Kelp got its name for good reason. Furthermore, in perfect conditions, giant kelp can grow twice that much every day.

The stylish Tetra LED Cube Shaped 3 Gallon Aquarium with Pedestal Base is a great starter for people who are just learning to grow kelp. This tank comes equipped with a Tetra 3i filter for your convenience. Best of all, the light and pedestal make this cubic tank look amazing. Have Amazon ship to your door fast by clicking here. 


What Is A Seaweed Tank

Any aquarium where you are growing kelp or other seaweed is a seaweed tank. However, these tanks do need several important inclusions to work in the long run. Size is mostly a matter of how much seaweed you want to grow so that you can start small with an experimental tank or several of them.

In fact, several smaller tanks would be ideal for trying different types of seaweed to see which you like best. To grow seaweed in a tank, you need a sealed aquarium-style tank. Some tanks meant for terrarium use could work, but manufacturers may not seal them the same.

Choose glass or BPA-free plastic to begin with. Make sure to check your tanks for saltwater capabilities. I recommend reading reviews to see if others have done this successfully.

You will also need a good filter that can handle saltwater. LED lights will help as well, so it’s great if they come as part of the tank setup. The seals, filter, and lights are vital, but your tank will need one other crucial thing to grow seaweed.

Seaweed anchors on rocks, so you will need an appropriate rock for anchoring. Skip the fish tank rocks and funky, smooth glass pieces that fish aquariums favor. Bright colors are nice but not necessary. After all that, you need the saltwater and the kelp or other seaweed.

Koller Products AquaView 360 Aquarium is ideal for small spaces. The cylinder shape makes it extremely easy to see what is going on inside while your kelp grows. This tank comes with an energy-efficient LED and a filter so that you can use it right out of the box. Get yours from Amazon when you click here. 

A Seaweed Tank Can Also Be

Enterprising seaweed farmers in inland locations use other types of tanks as well. Large, above-ground vat-style tanks are popular. You can set these indoors under grow lights or place them outdoors for direct sun exposure.

The advantage to larger vat-tanks is that they house a lot more seaweed but can also be broken down and relocated if you ever move. You will need larger filters and generally bigger versions of everything for this method. However, you can also grow larger seaweed for a more bountiful harvest.


How To Start A Seaweed Farm

You could start a seaweed farm in the ocean, however, that means dealing with pollution, boat costs, and more. Instead, grow kelp in aquariums at home for a fantastic side hustle, business, or personal sustainable living setup. I’ll walk you through how to set up a home-seaweed farm.

First, you are going to need tanks. It is vital to set up a space-efficient productive farm. You can do this with aquaponics tanks and grow lights.  By creating stacked rows of tanks and lights, you can farm a huge amount of seaweed in a much smaller space.

For this, you will need good shelving, tanks, lights, excellent filters, rocks that are heavy enough not to move, water pumps for circulation, salt, water seaweed, and good ventilation.

A Different Seaweed Farm Method

If you have space for a large pond, or you happen to have an unused, swimming pool you can farm seaweed the way people do in Fiji. This method uses wooden stakes, rope, and raffia. Additionally, you will need snorkeling masks, cane knives, saltwater, and basic tools to set up.

Begin by setting your wooden stakes and running lines between them. The seaweed will attach to these lines instead of rocks. Thanks to the calmer weather inland, the seaweed won’t get swept off in currents.

Once you’ve filled the tanks, installed the filters, and set up lamps if necessary, you’re mostly done. Place the stakes in parallel rows and space your seaweed seeds evenly along the lines with about a foot of space between them. Then you simply let the seaweed grow.


How To Grow Wakame Seaweed

Undaria pinnatifida or Wakame seaweed is a superb choice for growing. Unlike growing kelp in an aquarium, choosing this even-more-nutritious seaweed will offer you a lot of positive health benefits in a small, two-tablespoon serving.

Like other seaweeds, you will need an anchor point, tank with the right water, pumps and filters. However, this variety prefers a slightly different salinity and temperature. You will need to keep Undaria pinnatifida cool for germination and growth to occur.

Wakame prefers salinity levels of 27–33 ppt, so it is more freshwater friendly than kelp. Cooler water, around fifty-three degrees Fahrenheit or twelve Celsius, is great for this seaweed. Sadly, temps between sixty-eight and seventy-three Fahrenheit are high enough to kill the sporophytes or at least reduce germination.

Moreover, it grows well in just one to three meters of water. Thus Wakame is a superb choice for above-ground tanks or smaller growers. You can use the stake and rope method easily for this sought-after sushi and salad ingredient.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to grow just one aquarium of kelp or start a whole seaweed farm, these incredible greens are a smart addition to in-house farming. It’s hard to argue with a plant that might prevent you from getting cancer. Plus some kelp is used for weight loss and even lowering blood pressure.

Too many people forget about aquarium growing. Standard soil gardeners seldom consider hydroponics, and hydro growers tend to shy away from salt water for a good reason. However, kelp and other seaweeds are outstanding and oft ignored food sources.

Keeping a few kelp tanks as part of your regular diet is a great way to supplement those vital antioxidants. Likewise, if you grow medicinal plants like mullein or lavender, kelp can be part of that garden as well.

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