The Alternative Reef purple ceramic products in the flesh
The Alternative Reef displayed purple, black, and even a purple/black mix of their popular ceramic products at MACNA 2013. This includes frag discs, plugs, magnetic shelf rocks and frag stations. But they also had some really nice larger ceramic aquascaping pieces on display as well. The benefit of color is no longer having to be patient for coralline to cover and hide the stark white ceramic in your display. This is a great idea!
From a frag supply perspective, the variety of plugs and discs from The Alternative Reef was impressive. Two notable ones were their Premium Plugs and their ‘Big Un’s’. The Premium Plugs take the good things of your average frag plug, and add some natural dimension and texture around the surface. The Big Un’s are like a bigger brother, where you have a premium plug perfectly mated with a larger ceramic rock it slides into. The texture, dimension, and color selection will really spice up the propagation side of the hobby! The premium colored versions are slightly more expensive, therefore the number of plugs per package will be slightly less for the same price as the regular ceramic versions. Right now, some of the color options are just a feeler to see the reactions at MACNA, which has been very favorable so far.
The magnetic shelves and frag stations in purple and purple/black are beautiful in person. It’s a wonder anyone would still consider an eggcrate/magnet based rack in their display after seeing the ceramic racks. The ceramic racks would enhance your tank’s aquascape while affording you space to grow out coral prunings for friends or frag swaps. They also had some very large custom ceramic pieces on display. One of the pieces slid onto an arcylic rod with acrylic base. Ceramic rock is very popular in Europe, as it allows for a much more creative aquascape and helps the hobbyist avoid introducing nuisance algae and invertebrates. It’d be great to see this trend stateside as well.