Getting to the bottom of things...Literally! Random musing on reef substrates (WARNING! Weird ideas

uniquecorals

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Ok, I might have talked about this a few times, but I’m gonna bring it up again..I mean, it’s my forum, right?

Why don't we ever give more thought to what goes on the BOTTOM of our reefs, huh? It should at least be as interesting as programming our controllers or choosing our LED lights, right?

(I know, you're starting to think..."Here he goes..and why DOES he keep getting speaking invites, anyways?")

I love bare-bottom reefs. I love that you can blast wicked flow through them, and I love that you don’t have to worry about any sand kicking up, detritus accumulating, etc. So, now that I got that out of the way, I can wax poetic about other types of substrates that you can employ in your reef system!

Of course, you can use deep sand (4-5 inches or more), shallow sand (3 inches or less), or you could even use a sprinkling of sand…But hey, that’s been done before, so why not look at some other ideas. We’re reefers, right? We’re supposed to try different stuff!

Okay, how about creating a bottom entirely of rubble? Yeah, RUBBLE! You know, pieces ranging in size from the size of a pea on up to golfball - or bigger- size? Think of how awesome it would be to create a network of little nooks and crannies for your wrasses, Ctenochatus Tangs, Centropyge Angels, and other bottom dwelling fishes to forage among! It’s an entirely biotopic substrate, as I’ve seen these types of “hardbottoms” throughout the South Pacific.


9086rubble.JPG


As an added plus, you can really blast flow through this system, just like a bare bottom tank. Debris accumulation is not really a factor unless you’re overfeeding and under-maintaining, In addition to fostering natural behaviors in your fishes, a “rubble bottom” provides an instant “natural frag plug” for any coral that happens to break off and fall to the bottom. Easy for you to bring to the next frag swap, right? Just pull of a piece of rubble and replace with a new one! Zoanthids love it, but any type of coral can work.

9086rubble_zone_pics_002.jpg


Still kind of bored? I feel you…Do you have high limits on your credit cards, or an abundance of cash burning a hole in your pocket? You DO? Awesome! Then you should consider a bottom composed entirely of Ricordea and Mushroom Corallimorphs. In addition to being spectacularly beautiful, such a bottom could provide extreme interest for displaying your super extensive collection. Although best suited for a nano system because of the horrific costs, it would be a serious conversation starter, huh? Would this not be the coolest-looking “substrate” ever? Discuss..

1inch-orange-ricordea-18.jpg


Okay, since we are leaning towards the exotic, why not push further and branch out to the totally absurd? How about a bottom that changes? Huh? Hear me out: This one is for nano tank owners, again (who says reefers with mega tanks have all the fun, right?)…Obtain about 50 Astrea or Trochus snails, and feel free to glue some frags of zoos, Ricordea, Xeniids, Mushroom Corallimorphs, etc to their shells? Each night (in theory), the little buggers will move around, creating an all-new “substrate” that acts like a kaleidoscope! Okay, the theory is preposterous, and the Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Mullusks will probably hang me from the rafters, but it’s different, right? The point here being to think outside the box…I’ve presented this goofy one at talks all over the world, but no takers yet…Wonder why?

5306855_orig.jpg



Alright, you could be more conventional (is there such a word in this hobby?) and create a bottom composed entirely of Green Star Polyps. I mean, you can’t give the stuff away at frag swaps, so why not DO something with it? grow it in “turfs” and glue it to the bottom of a small tank. You could create a very “Iwagumi” look, just like a freshwater aquarium with Glosstostigma or the grass types of plants you see from time to time. Hmm…interesting!

Or, you could fill the bottom of your tank with Zoanthids…that could work, too, huh?


green star polyps 8.jpg


The bottom line here is that. for the creative reefer, there is more than just sand available to you as a “substrate.” Inject your own little flare into the matter, have some fun, and create something entirely different. And if you are the one mad reefer who does try the “Living Kaleidoscope Bottom” idea and documents it with pics, I may just have to send you frags as a reward. (Ok, really, I’ll probably have to send you frags as a deterrent from future insanity).

Share your substrates with everyone. What crazy ideas have you come up with to spice up the otherwise "pedestrian" bottom of your reef...and why?

Okay, enough of this madness…You’d think I was being overwhelmed by frag glue fumes or something…Surely I must have something more productive to do..I think we have a huge sale coming up soon...hmm..

Until next time…

Stay Wet

Scott Fellman
Unique Corals

 
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trickedout900

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Well Scott I love the rubble bottom concept but your font choice is not very friendly. I was able to get about halfway through it before I started getting sick. Large font is difficult on some people's eyes, though I'm sure small font is difficult for others. Just my 2 cents.
 
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uniquecorals

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Well Scott I love the rubble bottom concept but your font choice is not very friendly. I was able to get about halfway through it before I started getting sick. Large font is difficult on some people's eyes, though I'm sure small font is difficult for others. Just my 2 cents.
Hey Tricked out,

Sorry to hear that you found the font difficult to read...We actually chose the font because people suggested it was the easiest one to read! LOL Oh well, I guess we can't please em all! Perhaps we can have a new contest: "What font should Scott use when posting on R2R?" LOL If it is a problem for a lot of people, of course I'll change it...

Thanks for the feedback!

Scott
 

buddythelion

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Still kind of bored? I feel you…Do you have high limits on your credit cards, or an abundance of cash burning a hole in your pocket? You DO? Awesome! Then you should consider a bottom composed entirely of Ricordea and Mushroom Corallimorphs. In addition to being spectacularly beautiful, such a bottom could provide extreme interest for displaying your super extensive collection. Although best suited for a nano system because of the horrific costs, it would be a serious conversation starter, huh? Would this not be the coolest-looking “substrate” ever? Discuss..

1inch-orange-ricordea-18.jpg
Just watch me... This has been a goal of mine for a long long time. If not a whole sand bed then at least a valley!!!
 

Railcar79

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I am working on covering my substrate in favia and acans. Expensive, yes, but one of these days it will look amazing
 

trickedout900

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Hey Tricked out,

Sorry to hear that you found the font difficult to read...We actually chose the font because people suggested it was the easiest one to read! LOL Oh well, I guess we can't please em all! Perhaps we can have a new contest: "What font should Scott use when posting on R2R?" LOL If it is a problem for a lot of people, of course I'll change it...

Thanks for the feedback!

Scott
I totally get what you mean Scott it is hard to please everyone. My eyes just screw with me so I had to close the thread but I discovered the font doesn't work on the phone app so I finished reading it on the phone. Anyways I love the concept you threw out and recently fragged some gsp for the bare bottom.I'm going for a grass bottom reef....Lol.
 
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uniquecorals

uniquecorals

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I totally get what you mean Scott it is hard to please everyone. My eyes just screw with me so I had to close the thread but I discovered the font doesn't work on the phone app so I finished reading it on the phone. Anyways I love the concept you threw out and recently fragged some gsp for the bare bottom.I'm going for a grass bottom reef....Lol.
Cool on that "Grass Bottom"...it will look really cool when it grows out...A la Amano style!

-Scott
 

Davesgt

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Hey Scott I now its off topic but I was wanting to know a little about your Concierge services. This idea of catering to exactly what the individuals taste is pretty awesome, especially knowing that you have some amazing corals that never make it to the site.
 

FL_Reefer

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I think it's great you brought this up. I'm actually planing an 40 gallon breeder for my bedroom and was planing on going with a ''top of the reef '' look. No substrate or rubble just flat rock covering the entire bottom and building up from there. Great thread! Thinking outside the ''glass box'', get it, lol
 
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uniquecorals

uniquecorals

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Hey Scott I now its off topic but I was wanting to know a little about your Concierge services. This idea of catering to exactly what the individuals taste is pretty awesome, especially knowing that you have some amazing corals that never make it to the site.
Well, Dave, it's really a way of sort of being your "personal shoppers" for corals in our inventory. We receive a lot of calls looking for certain pieces or "...The stuff you don't have listed on the website..." and it make us think that there is that sort of niche, which there is. We've been doing this for a while now, and it's been great for the customers who utilize it. I'll be up front and tell you that it's not really designed for the customer who's looking for a few Acro frags and maybe an Acan frag or two. We are happy to answer questions and provide whatever assistance you need for that as part of our regular service.

The Concierge is designed for the customer who is looking for specific types of pieces, and who is more focused on getting the coral(s) he or she wants, with price truly being the secondary consideration. The idea is to not be pretentious at all; rather, it's just a different level of attention that some people desire. In lieu of our standard 10% discount at $250, Concierge customers will enjoy pricing on higher end corals that is discounted already. Lets face it, most of these pieces will be more expensive than are typical on our website, but they will not be elevated just to reflect the addition of the service. We will take the time to research, photograph, and recommend corals that fit the needs of the Concierge customer, and send them to him/her for consideration. Many of our Concierge customers give us a budget, and simply say, "I like _________. Find me great pieces that reflect my taste." And that's what we do. Others are looking for corals to fill a specific concept aquarium, etc., and are willing to pay a bit more for some of these truly unusual pieces.

As a note- anyone can utilize this service. It's not just designed for the wealthy, detached customer. The main difference between using our website and utilizing the Concierge is that we are offering to search our entire inventory for the pieces our clients want, without the standard discounts that we normally offer, which reflects the time and effort that goes into this process.

I hope this answers some of your questions! Again, it's not designed to be an exclusive club. It's simply a way for people to get exactly what they want with a more personalized service than the website alone can deliver.

Let me know if you have any further questions!

Scott
 
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uniquecorals

uniquecorals

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I think it's great you brought this up. I'm actually planing an 40 gallon breeder for my bedroom and was planing on going with a ''top of the reef '' look. No substrate or rubble just flat rock covering the entire bottom and building up from there. Great thread! Thinking outside the ''glass box'', get it, lol
I've seen some tanks like that, and they are seriously cool! Go for it!

-Scott
 

CastAway

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I'm in the midst of a new build and considered the rubble idea, because, this does seem more common than sand in what diving I've done. It might trap a little detritus however. BB is nice!
 

Davesgt

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Thanks Scott I appreciate the clarification. It sounds like it might be good for me to utilize this service when I set up my species only tank (acanthophyllia) I've seen some nice ones you have had I can only imagine what others you have.
 

Nano sapiens

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As far as rubble goes, now we're talking the first 'Berlin' systems, with sand coming later on. Detritus removal would be a bit more of a challenge, but a handheld powerhead would do the trick every so often to stir things up.

Small black or dark brown Lava rock rubble would be cool and different. Keeping it stirred up fairly often would help to keep it's color by limiting coralline algae growing on it.
 

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