Actually floating Reef, not on acrylic columns

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Afterburner

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I was wondering if anyone has actually made a rock structure in their tank that is hollow and actually floats. I am thinking about making something that I can grow corals on that would be suspended mid water column by being hollow, and connected to a heavy rock on the bottom by fishing line. My reasoning for this is that if I make what people call a floating reef, it is really just rock on clear columns. I worry that coraline growth on the columns would defeat the purpose over time or result in a lot of cleaning. With my proposal, the rock structure would also sway in the current giving it a really cool animation. Think of it as something that looks like those floating mountains in the movie Avatar, but they would be constantly moving though. My plan is to eventually get some blown glass that is in unique shapes, but start my proof of concept using a small bottle that will be hung upside down so I can add or remove water from it to get different buoyancy for different affects (also to reduce that size of the anchor rock). I also figure that over time as the corals grow on the float, I will need to add buoyancy to keep it from sinking, so I could just use an air line to get a couple of bubble in it as needed.
One of the reasons I am thinking about this is because my tank is so grown out that it is hard to find places to put new frags and this option will be easy to transport to other tanks, move around or trade with friends when they grow out.

Has anyone done something like this and can comment or provide pics?

Here is a picture of a candidate bottle that has been in my tank for a couple of years, I just wish I had put it in upside down so it would be easier for this project. Of course it may be easier to just start over with a different bottle or use blown glass.

IMG_0025 copy.jpg
 
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Tamberav

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MAybe create a a structure using something light like the canned foaming stuff? I seen people use that stuff for backgrounds before.

As far as columns go. I always saw people attach the floating rock to sides or back of the tank so there are no rods visible even if they grow coralline.
 
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MAybe create a a structure using something light like the canned foaming stuff? I seen people use that stuff for backgrounds before.

As far as columns go. I always saw people attach the floating rock to sides or back of the tank so there are no rods visible even if they grow coralline.
I want the swaying in the current, so basically I can have SPS that moves like LPS. I am now thinking about designing and 3d printing the hollow structure so I can make some really cool structures.
 

Tonycass12

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Like Tamberav says making a bracket or building from the back wall. Or you can make a small portion of the structure make contact with the bottom and fix that to a big acrylic sheet so you can build out from that like the one in the link.
 

Tonycass12

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I want the swaying in the current, so basically I can have SPS that moves like LPS. I am now thinking about designing and 3d printing the hollow structure so I can make some really cool structures.
All I can think of is something getting loose and hitting the glass.
 
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Thank you for your comments, but my original post asks "if anyone has tried this" not "what is the current state of the art" or "can you come up with reasons this won't work".

Please, I am looking for someone with experiences that have actually tried to do this.

Since I am impatient, I went ahead and designed a prototype that I will print in PTEG and should be done in about 7 hours. I am sure it will take a few design/print cycles to get it right and aesthetically pleasing.
 

JNalley

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Plastic or Pumice will be your friend... But to be fair, they're going to get blown around by your flow, especially if they're on something like fishing line holding them to the bottom. This thread has the best example of a "floating" reef IMO. There are a few out there like this, I just remember seeing this one recently.

Edit: The other problem you'll likely run into if you "want your SPS to sway like LPS" is once they grow, they're likely to bring the whole thing down simply because of weight, or worse yet, flip upside down from being top-heavy.

 
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Lost in the Sauce

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Thank you for your comments, but my original post asks "if anyone has tried this" not "what is the current state of the art" or "can you come up with reasons this won't work".

Please, I am looking for someone with experiences that have actually tried to do this.

Since I am impatient, I went ahead and designed a prototype that I will print in PTEG and should be done in about 7 hours. I am sure it will take a few design/print cycles to get it right and aesthetically pleasing.
If you bring up a concept and people want to discuss it, what's the problem?

Feasibility is a huge thing with what you are disgussing.

You realize all of these responses that are not on Your exact topic are keeping the thread up and bumped and visible for the people that may actually have them, right?

I would also seriously reconsider blown glass in your tank. Talk to a glass blower and ask him what kind of metals they work with.. You don't want any of that in your water.
 

Reefing102

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Just to put it out there, there are freshwater decorations that float using fishing line. I have seen them and used them in a retail environment and the fishing line grew film algae just as good as any other item in the tank so the fishing line was visible unless cleaned regularly. I don’t have any pics but just speaking from experience
 
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areefer01

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Since I am impatient, I went ahead and designed a prototype that I will print in PTEG and should be done in about 7 hours. I am sure it will take a few design/print cycles to get it right and aesthetically pleasing.

Apt name for being impatient. Just remember one only has so many pounds of fuel before you reach bingo and have to eject...

Never the less as you navigate your journey remember about structure support and coral growth. Some of what you may want to achieve can be done using a base foundation then branching out attaching rocks split to meet your visual cues. Then use a mixture of corals (soft, lps, and SPS) to do the rest of the work. This will take a bit of time as you allow the corals to do their work spreading, growing, and maturing.

If you haven't done so already you will want to look at some actual reefs in the ocean to see what Mother Nature has done. What corals and fish live there. Then scale down to your aquarium size. Flow will be key and also factored in how to do it tied back to your vision. You don't want a power head visible in your floating structure obviously.

Also don't forget about fish, sleeping quarters, retreats, and natural foods. Small space aquascape, or this negative space fad, may not be a good thing for reefs. Most scuba divers will tell you this.

I like where you are going and why. The trick as you are starting to see is how to make it happen in the home aquarium that is both safe and practical while providing the necessary means of the animals health inside. Only thing I can probably recommend which you probably already know is treat it like cutting a piece of wood.

Measure twice, cut once. In short - take this one slow because there are some things that can make this miserable for you. Hope you are having a great Friday and have a great weekend!
 

Tonycass12

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Thank you for your comments, but my original post asks "if anyone has tried this" not "what is the current state of the art" or "can you come up with reasons this won't work".

Please, I am looking for someone with experiences that have actually tried to do this.

Since I am impatient, I went ahead and designed a prototype that I will print in PTEG and should be done in about 7 hours. I am sure it will take a few design/print cycles to get it right and aesthetically pleasing.
So you don't want opinions you just want reinforcement on your idea. Ok, go for it and we can see how it turns out! Sorry to have gotten your thread off track.
 
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OK, sorry for the earlier comments.

I had a meeting, so I started the print job while I was gone, but this is what my first pass of the floater will look like. I think I should have made it a bit taller for more buoyancy and more corals on it. I do plan to trim back corals as they grow out also. I also will probably have more than one fishing line to keep it from running too far away. I obviously will have to adjust my power heads to get the right performance. Luckily I have a relatively low flow tank even with a high load SPS. They seem to do fine even without a high flow, just grow a bit slower which is fine with me.
1643402083024.png
 

AnotherReefHobbyist

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OK, sorry for the earlier comments.

I had a meeting, so I started the print job while I was gone, but this is what my first pass of the floater will look like. I think I should have made it a bit taller for more buoyancy and more corals on it. I do plan to trim back corals as they grow out also. I also will probably have more than one fishing line to keep it from running too far away. I obviously will have to adjust my power heads to get the right performance. Luckily I have a relatively low flow tank even with a high load SPS. They seem to do fine even without a high flow, just grow a bit slower which is fine with me.
1643402083024.png
will the plastic itself float, or will you load up that void with something like Styrofoam?
 
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I plan to add air under it, so I can adjust the amount of buoyancy to get the affect I want, and can add when corals grow out. That is what I think I made it not tall enough, but it is easy to print another one. What gave me this idea is a Xenia in my display fuge that I broke off the wall and it eventually attached in the middle of one of my gorgonian and is growing nicely. It sort of looks like it is floating in the center of my tank. Pardon the baby Bengaii's (I have 35 from my last brood).
1643404264582.png
 
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Looks awesome! I would worry about air leaking out or slipping out if the structure gets tipped, maybe put a small amount of Styrofoam that could hold the structure just below where you want it and then do air for the rest?
I already thought about that, and the next one I print will have the top inch or so printed as an empty chamber (10% fill for grid pattern). I will test with this one to see if it needs to be more than an inch or not. Printer say 16 more minutes, but I have to go, so I will look at it later when I get home and send a pic before I deploy it (probably tomorrow).
 

J1a

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Perhaps you can seal up the bottom opening as well, so that the trapped air will not some how escape from the cavity. In addition, the bottom surface will be perfect for attaching some sun corals if that's something you like.

If your plan is to anchor the floating structure with a fishing line, a higher buoyancy will make it less likely to drift about in the aquarium.
 

AnotherReefHobbyist

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I already thought about that, and the next one I print will have the top inch or so printed as an empty chamber (10% fill for grid pattern). I will test with this one to see if it needs to be more than an inch or not. Printer say 16 more minutes, but I have to go, so I will look at it later when I get home and send a pic before I deploy it (probably tomorrow).
That sounds like a great idea!
 
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