Coral reefs are islands of life in the sea, which are home to a tremendous amount of diverse life forms. But these reefs consist of several completely different zones, and only few of the reef inhabitants are at home in all these zones.Almost everyone has specialized in living in a particular habitat, a specific type of biotope. Lighting, currents and many other things are so different between the individual habitats that a characteristic animal community is formed in each case – from bacteria, sponges, crabs, mussels, snails or echinoderms to Acropora corals, or the shark that circles above the reef. Hardly any of the animal species are interchangeable between the habitats, as the reefs are populated by specialists.
The communities of the reefs also show dramatic differences between the individual geographical regions of the world. Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Western Pacific, Caribbean – no reef community is like the other.
Each of these habitats represents a different challenge for its inhabitants – mixed reefs near Indonesia with an overwhelming variety of different life forms, or deep reefs below 30 m, or the magnificent SPS gardens in the shallow waters of the South Seas.
We have put together these biotope types for you and show you how to recreate them authentically and close to nature in an aquarium.
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