Tie Fore Reef

The greatest abundance and diversity of life can be found on the fore reef, although many of the species found here can also be found elsewhere — in the lagoon zone, for example. The type of reef tank most often constructed by aquarium hobbyists is based upon conditions found on the fore reef. Although most of the commonly available aquarium species from this zone are from the Indo-Pacific, aquar-ists wishing to duplicate a Keys fore-reef habitat do have some interesting invertebrates from which to choose.

If the fore reef is especially rich in species diversity, it also offers a profusion of microhabitats. The fore reef begins just beyond the wave-tossed reef crest, at a depth of about 30 feet. There may be a broad, gently sloping fore-reef terrace, of varying width, terminating in a rather steep escarpment that may plunge to 90 feet or so. Sand may accumulate,

174 Natural Reef Aquariums forming a "moat" at the base of the escarpment, and wave with bright green tentacles that are spherical, about Vi6 inch action may cut channels into the reef that then fill with in diameter. Occasionally, bright orange specimens are seen, sand, reaching back like fingers, subdividing the face of the Given bright light and excellent water quality, this species escarpment. Beyond the moat, the reef slope gradually dips will reproduce in the aquarium, although it is sometimes toward the abyss. Each of these microhabitats has its own reported as being difficult to keep.

characteristic fauna, the distribution of which is often determined by the ability of certain

Palythoa Grandis Reef Tank Pix

corals to grow with the available light at a given depth. Thus, the branching acroporid corals tend to dominate shallower areas of the reef terrace, while more massive or platelike corals are found on the escarpment.

Among the cnidarians to be found on the fore reef are Florida

Pink-tipped Anemones, Curley- Florida False Coral (Ricordea florida)

cue Anemones, Flower Anemones, sea fans, and gorgonians such as Pseudopterogorgia, PI ex-aura, and Briareum. There are other cnidarians in this zone, as well, that are legally collected for the aquarium trade. These include false corals and zoanthids. FALSE CORALS (Order Coral-limorpharia).The scientific name for this group of polyps means Deep-water sea mat (Palythoa grandis) "coral-shaped animals," but they

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