Whenever I dive, I look for subjects to shoot that might offer aquarists some inspiration for their captive reefs; I hope that you are inspired by this collection of crazy-looking reef structures!
My first is a ‘coral on coral’ concoction, where a piece of tabulate acropora fell from the reef crest, landed right-side-up, and became overgrown by what appears to be seriatopora. There’s some great shade and cover for the less light-dependent species and shelter for shy fish.
The columnar construction pictured above would suit a tall thin tank with a small shoal of cardinals to swim around it. It might be difficult to reach the substrate below or to attach corals to the bottom of the column once the top grows, so I’d recommend seeding it with slow-growing species.
This one is a bit of a cheat – it’s actually a lifeboat davit on a shipwreck, but can you imagine creating a similar structure in an aquarium? I can envision a structure built from PVC pipe with small pieces of live rock attached, or even artificial pieces made specifically for the project. Divers optional.
This looks to me like a piece of dead Millepora (fire coral) covered in a few pieces of live Millepora, that happens to be close to a small Seriatopora. Is it me or is there something reminiscent of the ‘touching finger tips’ from the Sistine Chapel ceiling?
My last offering is a very improbable-looking composition that seems to defy gravity. I imagine that as the sponge and the dendronepthya grow, they will present a larger and larger surface area, until a strong current snaps it all off. The photo below shows the same structure from another angle.