Kelp and other types of seaweed are found in many ethnic foods, but they are also in everyday foods people take for granted. For example, carrageenan is an extract from red seaweed and it is used as a thickening agent in store-bought chocolate milk. If you would like to start your own kelp and edible seaweed farm, you will need the following aquarium supplies.
Very Large Tanks
Kelp and edible red, green and blue seaweeds can grow a foot or more in height. If you buy short, small tanks, your plants will be exposed to the air and to sunlight; then they will die and spoil. Buy the largest tanks you can get. Since edible seaweeds are also marine life forms, just think of this as investing in saltwater tanks for saltwater fish. Then you can get tanks that are the correct size.
Because you are essentially growing plant and algae life, you do not need to filter the water. However, you do need to keep the water moving around your sea plants in order to keep them healthy and help them procreate. The air pumps help mimic the ocean waves that the plants would normally encounter in the wild and use to gather nutrients.
Special Dirt and Sand
Kelp and other types of edible seaweeds do not just grow with whatever sand and rocks you throw into the tank. Depending on what you hope to grow in each of your tanks, you will need to invest in special types of sea floor dirt and regional sands. If you cannot obtain these through your local aquarium dealer, try a zoo or an online dealer who can direct you to a supplier or have the dirt and sand you need.
Salt or Saline
Each tank will require a specific salinity to maintain your different types of seaweed. Most pet stores can help you with salt and/or premixed saline for saltwater tanks. You will also need to maintain different temperatures, as some seaweed grows in cooler waters while others grow in tropical waters. In addition to salt or saline for your tanks, pick up tank thermometers and saltwater testing kits to monitor the levels of salt in your tanks.
A Book on Sea Agriculture
Make sure this book references what to do in the event that some of your seaweed is not looking its best. There are not that many sea farmers in the U.S., and unless you have an oceanographer on speed dial, you will need something to consult. If you have already completed a lot of research at the library on sea farming, then you know what books you need to keep on your shelf during this endeavor.
Talk to experts like Congressional Aquarium for more information.