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Aquascaping on a grand scale

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jun 10, 2014 08:30 AM
A big allure of planted and reef aquariums is the art and science of aquascaping our glass boxes. But what if you had a nearly unlimited canvas? The non-profit organization Coral Guardian partners with Oceanscape to restore wild coral reefs through imaginative and inspiring reefscaping.
Aquascaping on a grand scale

The appropriately named "Coral Arch" artificial reef.


Left: 32 electrically charged "pagodas" with over 1,000 transplanted corals form the shape of a manta ray from aerial view.
Right: The “Submerged Memorial" is a coral garden in the shape of the number 9 in Holiver’s memory, an ocean lover.

Functional Living Works of Art

On desolate tropical seafloors devoid of any hard structure, you first need to build a solid foundation on which to transplant corals onto.  These artificial reef structures often look mundane; Plop some rocks or concrete on the seafloor and call it a day.


Coral Guardian and Oceanscape show us that this needn't be the case.  Oceanscape is an enterprise whose primary mission is to design, fabricate, and install artificial reef structures which not only serve as functional foundations for reef rehabilitation but also beautiful reefscapes in and of themselves.  How cool is it that a company like this exists!?

Advanced Aquarist recently published an article about Coral Guardian transplanting 1,000 corals for the Manta Reef Restoration Project at Gili Island that was made possible with funding from various governmental and private entities (including aquarium manufacturer and Advanced Aquarist sponsor Red Sea).  The article highlighted the mission and build process of the project, but it failed to highlight the artistry of what Coral Guardian and Oceanscape are doing there.

Using rock attached to a steel frame, the creative team was able to design artificial reefs unlike any we've seen.  "[The] steel skeleton is [...] connected to a solar electrical source which will accelerate the calcium production by electrolyse, both protecting the steel from corrosion and a necessity to coral growth." Science plus art equals magnificent reef restoration!

Here is a video of these impressive artificial reefs.  If you think they look beautiful now, imagine what they'll look like in five years fully blanketed in reef life!

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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