The EcoReef Project
How to build your miniature EcoReef Here’s your step-by-step guide and video to help you build and set up your very own miniature fish breeding tank.
EcoReef Small Fish Breeding Caves EcoReef Baby Fish Protector Caves EcoReef Small Catfish Breeding Caverns Shrimp Breeding Plant Anchors EcoReef Mini Reefs are a combination of twigs, rocks and/or rubble bound together with recycled plastic to form a natural maze where baby fish can be safeguarded from natural dangers and from being eaten by larger fish. Egg laying fish and live-birth fish species spawn in huge numbers however, most eggs and baby fish do not survive when exposed to larger hungry fish. EcoReef Small Fish Breeding Caves can substantially increase the rate of survival. EcoReefs can be used as aquatic plant anchors to create a natural environment for small fish and to increase breeding numbers as well as creating a safe haven for a variety of aquatic life forms. EcoReef Mini Reefs are ideal for domestic aquarium use, so let’s go ahead and learn how to make our own. (Remember please that fish are live creatures so please take care and accept advice from the experts at your local aquarium shop about water quality, Ph balance, parts per million etc. Our focus is on breeding MORE FISH and if we take care we can breed hundreds if not thousands) First, we’ll go through what we need to collect to build our own Mini Reefs. Step 1 – Rescue some plastic bottles from landfill We will need a variety of empty soda bottles as shown. They don’t have to be pristine. Just walk down the beach or around the local park and you’ll find heaps. Step 2 – Scour the neighborhood for twigs Then we’ll need to gather a bunch of twisted twigs and branches. The twigs need to be aged because we need to avoid tannins that can seep out of new branches and hurt our fish. They should also be as gnarled and twisted as you can find – dry roots are great. Step 3 – Collect a few rocks & stones We should collect a variety of small rocks and stones. It’s better to use rough stones rather than smooth river rocks to allow aquatic growth to attach themselves to. Step 4 – Any old strong rope will do We need natural rope like Sisal as a tether if we intend to use our mini reefs anywhere where they can be washed away into our waterways. However, Sisal does break down quickly so be aware and allow for it. Avoid any old ropes that have been stored with oily gizmos as they can be deadly. Step 5 – You’ll find these tools in the shed on the top shelf! Which tools do we need to put our mini reefs together?Simple – gloves, goggles and mask for safety and a heat gun to melt and harden our plastic so it can last for decades. Now that we’re all set up, let’s go to the production stage. Step 6 - First things first – Cut ‘em up and don’t waste a thing We cut the tops and bottoms off our soda bottles. (Remember to save all the bits left over to be recycled) Step 7 – Push comes to shove Then we take our twigs and a rock and squeeze them into our bottle nice and tight with parts of the twigs sticking out of the ends. There’s a reason for this which you will see as we go. Step 8 – Hot! hot! hot! Now we start up our handy heat gun (take care not to burn your fingers) and we set about making a creative sculpture out of our EcoReef. Now here’s where it gets a little tricky as we need to ensure that our little fish have a safe haven. We need to concentrate the heat in specific areas – Firstly to create passageways, we melt holes in loose spots so there’s space on both sides. Secondly, we heat the sharp edges of our cave so the whole thing becomes nice and comfortable. There we go! All done and dusted! Step 9 – H2O straight out of the tap We’re all ready to fill our tank with clean water. Step 10 – Yep! These “weeds” are worth saving We push a few healthy aquatic plants into the cavities Step 11 – There’s an ‘artiste’ in all of us And then we place them artistically in our newly created breeding tank which we leave to age for a day or so before we trot off to the nearest aquarium store for a few beautiful native fish as well as asking them for all their good advice. Now! - Remember the ends of our twigs hanging out? They are designed to dig into the dirt so roots can do what they do best and that is to nurture the plants which in turn nurture our fish and all up create a little living paradise That’s it! Step 12 – Sit back, relax, have fun, show off Now we lay back and enjoy every minute watching nature as she grows our plants and nurtures our fish until the little babies raise their cute little heads. Have fun and please remember to keep us informed as you go so we can all share in your fun! Do feel free to contact us with your thoughts, queries and ideas
We’re working on instructions for a number of other EcoReef Formats such as Mangrove Protector EcoReefs ‘Corral’ Reefs for control of weed infestations Land Reefs and a number of others Please be patient, we’ll bring them to you asap.
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