Photograph by Blane Perun

Coral Farm HVAC

The next concern was which material to use for covering the walls. As I stated previously I had a small system in an enclosed room, for about 6 years. I controlled the humidity by closing sliding glass doors, I learned that even green board eventually broke down in this environment and I needed something a bit more durable. After seeing a few facilities in dire need of repair after a few years, I decided to turn to commercial applications such as zoo’s and laboratories for my answer.

After a week or two, and three or four dozen emails, I came up with a product called FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Panel) Both Home Depot and Lowe’s carry this item, and its use spans far into the commercial sector. Unfortunately it was very cost prohibitive at $26 dollars per sheet, this small farm would need in excess of 25 sheets, and if you were going to put anything together on a large scale it could really bust the bank. Despite cost, the paneling is great, its highly reflective of white, resists water and each panel in glued to the wall and sealed with plastic channels. I new there had to be some cost effective alternative to this product so my search continued.

As luck would have it within two months I read about a product called Poly board, which was a FRP knock off without the Fiberglass composite. Instead this paneling had a Polymer substitute, and was much more malleable, but still chemical and water resistant. Finding a distributor of this PB was difficult, but oddly enough selected Lowe’s distributed the board on a National level, the closest was about 1 hour away and I saved about 12 dollars per panel so the trip was well worth the wait and travel. These two shots show the poly board being installed.

The last item on the agenda before hardware, would be heating in which I turned to the expertise of Modine. For a heating source I chose a ceiling mount natural gas vented heater. Modine has been manufacturing GH climate hardware for years and is considered very reliable in the industry. Going with a vented heater as opposed to a vent less open flame model, you can pick up at Home Depot is essential. In this application as well as most closed rooms, or additions vent less heaters output Carbon Dioxide at a small rate, but large enough to impact the actual PH in your system.

The drop shows up as actual PH, and would need to be re oxygenated in another room not effected by the heater to reach the potential PH. Here are two shots of the unit, the front and controls in back. The front has positionable louvers, and comes standard with a fan and manifold. Mounting the unit was very simple, and a gas line was branched off of the main line and fed directly into the heater. No special fittings were needed to install the heater, and a normal household thermostat can be used to control its functions.

Blane Perun

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Whale in Ocean