Hobbyist coral farming may help save reefs

Keeping a salt water aquarium can help save the world’s coral reefs.

Basement coral farms may save reefs

In upstate New York, famous for its snowy winters and far from any tropical ocean, Steve Lowes is growing coral reefs in his basement.

The 41-year-old English-born Lowes is raising dozens of coral species for his Web-based coral business, Reef Encounters, and is one of a growing breed of coral farmer who have found a niche supporting the booming hobby of keeping aquariums, which in 2005 was a$6.9 billion market.

And in the process, they are also helping scientists learn more about coral and are raising public awareness about a threatened species.

“It brings the ecosystem to life for people in a very effective way that’s much more persuasive than reading about it in a book or looking at photographs,” Lowes said.

Want to try it yourself? Check out the Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation website for information about how to get started with your own zero impact reef aquarium.

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