Including Terrestrial Components

Mangroves occur on nearly all tropical shores, often growing into the water and supporting themselves on prop roots. Thickets of mangrove roots provide shelter for many kinds of fishes and invertebrates, often including species found on a nearby reef. Mangrove roots also possess their own characteristic encrusting

Making Your Aquarium Look Real 59

Making Your Aquarium Look Real 59

organisms. Sea grasses such as Thalassia, or turtle grass, grow in shallow silted areas and create another kind of habitat from which the saltwater enthusiast can draw inspiration.

Mangroves are easy to grow from their cigarlike floating seeds. You will be able to keep a single mangrove in the same aquarium for only a few years because they grow to be small trees. You can also use mature mangrove prop roots, with their characteristic arching shape, to suggest this habitat, or combine them with small living mangroves for the green foliage. Many saltwater dealers carry mangrove seeds or can order them for you.

Turtle grass requires very bright illumination and a deep layer of silty sand in which to grow, and thus poses special challenges in the home aquarium. It is therefore seldom imported by dealers, although it's easy for collectors to obtain. If you attempt the living seagrass model design on page 178, your dealer can probably order turtle grass for you. An easy alternative exists in the form of plastic reproductions of the freshwater plant, Vallisneria, which closely resembles turtle grass.

0 0

Post a comment