Marine Reef Habitat
My name is Gerardo Ramos; I am an entrepreneur with a passion for marine biology, aquaculture, and marine life. For the last 20 years I have been involved in the marine aquarium business. For many years I had my own tropical fish store in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Today my focus is on marine aquaculture. I am the first coral farmer in Massachusetts.
For the last two years I have been re-planting the reefs around Puerto Rico. The trip to Puerto Rico is a yearly event where we teach the local people the importance of the reef and how to re-populate the reefs. This initial reef restoration is showing incredible success.
Here is a link to the news article about us in the Republican Newspaper.
The world’s reefs are in danger and are being decimated by climate change, pollution, costal development; destructive fishing practices, coral mining as well as over collection.
Coral is collected by local fisherman for jewelry and reef aquarium hobbyist. Many fishermen are lured in by fast money and harvest marine life using poisons and physically destructive methods of harvesting coral.
We can stop this practice by eliminating the demand. Sound coral aquaculture farming and marine life breeding programs can be the first small step in reversing the manmade damage to our reefs.
My vision is to grow coral in a greenhouse where coral can be reproduced to supply the demand and for re-introduction back to our damaged reefs.
Our mission is twofold, first is to provide the hobbyist with greenhouse grown coral. By growing coral and marine fish in a greenhouse, we can take a huge step in slowing the over collection issue.
This is our first step in reducing damage to our reefs and planet.
The second part of our plan is to replant the reefs damaged by this overharvesting, anchor damage from boats as well as damage from storms and pollution.
While our initial goal is to slow the collection of coral and marine fish from the wild, ultimately our goal is to restore reefs worldwide. We will accomplish this by setting aside 25% of what we grow to be grown into colonies that will be replanted on damaged reefs.
Our passion is for the worlds reefs and for our propagation program to work it is imperative to give back to the reefs that give us so much.
Your contributions will be used for the purchase of a greenhouse and equipment necessary to grow 150,000 coral fragments. There will be separate tanks for growing species from all over the world.
Marine Reef Habitat on PBS
Station WGBY, Making it Here
What We Do:
We start out by ordering coral that is collected from the wild. We make one purchase and propagate coral using a process called fragmentation. We take a colony and cut small fragments from the colony. We then grow these fragments into colonies which can be re-fragmented and grown into new colonies.
Blank prepared for coral fragment
New Coral Fragment Attached to Blank
Three Month Old Coral Fragment
Six Month Old Colony from 2 Polyp Fragment
What We Need:
$21,500 for 50' X 60' greenhouse
$19,751.49 for solar electricity, complete system and installation
$3,572.58 for concrete slab for greenhouse
$3,574.19 for radiant heating system and installation
$4,181.82 for 3 filter 5,000 gallon filtration systems,
$9,925.27 for 8 energy efficient water pumps
$1,522.88 for 3 controllers to control each system water parameters
$2,058.62 for 3 fiberglass tanks for 800 gal. sumps
$5,086.80 for 3 polyethylene tanks for fish breading and husbandry.
$1,358.75 for sump tank
$2,528.84 for 3 smaller round polyethylene tank for fish husbandry
$2035.00 for a industrial grade reverse osmosis water filtration system
$2,999.99 for 3 commercial protein skimmers
$3,295.21 for 3 1 1/2 hp, chiller 3
$ 8,200.00 for lumber for tanks, shade cloth aquaculture safe paint and misc supplies
$3,998.79 for backup generator to prevent coral loss during possible power outages
6,000.00 for LED lighting to supplement in the winter months.
The greenhouse will be powered and heated by solar panels. Solar heating and electricity generation costs more to set up but it will eliminate the heating and electricity costs allowing us to produce coral economically with no carbon footprint.
We need to place the greenhouse on a concrete slab which will have radiant heating system in the slab. While we will depend on solar energy we will not be off the grid, we need back up to assure the health and safety of our coral.
We will build the tanks and set up the plumbing and filtration systems ourselves saving thousands of dollars on commercially produced tanks.
Our goal is to produce coral economically as possible; this is why we choose a greenhouse. We will only need lighting for a couple of hours a day in the winter. Coral needs light to survive and we can reproduce natural lighting conditions in a greenhouse.
We cannot do this without your help!
With this campaign I am asking for your help on my coral preservation project. I am bringing my project to crowd funding as the banks have turned down my proposals. The banks do not see this profitable venture.
Our reefs are in danger, many say the situation is critical. Global warming is raising the oceans temperature, causing bleaching of coral. Silt and fertilizer run off is burying coral or causing algae blooms that cover the coral and deprive it of the sunlight it needs to survive. Boats running into reefs or anchor damage and destructive fishing practices threaten the reefs daily.
The area where we can step in to start the reversal of the trend of destruction is with the over collection aspect. Many have suggested that making the import of coral illegal as a way to stop the over collection. This is not an answer it would create a bigger problem. Prices for coral will rise due to demand and in turn fuel the black market. Local fisherman will poach the coral and use more destructive methods of harvesting as they need to collect as much coral as possible quickly so they don't get caught.
The only viable solution is aqua cultured coral. In time we can supply the demand, therefore reducing the demand for wild coral. When harvesting wild coral is not profitable the collection will stop.
This is our first step towards this goal of stopping over collection and the destructive harvesting methods used.
Please consider helping with this vital campaign, a healthy reef system is important for our oceans health.
Please share our campaign with friends and like us on Facebook.
Thank you for taking the time to view our project and we are grateful for your support.
We have four contribution levels; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. All supporters will have thier names proudly displayed on the wall of the greenhouse and on the web site. We will also thank each contributer on our Facebook page.