For virtually all of my aquarium career, mangrove trees have been a niche of the saltwater hobby that we’ve admired at arm’s length, but not anymore. As you may have seen from the early videos from the Reef Builders Studio we started sprucing up the place with houseplants before we even had any tanks setup, and we knew that mangrove trees would find a dedicated place in this temple of reefing.
Roughly 18 months ago we received a handful of Rhizophora mangrove pods hand delivered by Julian Sprung and have been moving them from tank to tank until we could finally develop a permanent display for them. From the beginning I knew that I wanted to try to do everything right for these plants so that they could develop into majestic trees the likes of which we’ve seen along the tropical coastlines of reef areas all over the world – that means very bright light, nutritious substrate, reasonable humidity etc.
Besides some little experiments that we did to test the growth rates of mangrove pods in freshwater planters, we haven’t really been able to truly create a legit display for them until now. Now that my trees have a place to grow with powerful lighting from the Philips CoralCare Gen2 and Eco-Lamps Spectra SP-200, roots in nutritious Refugite sand, and a semi enclosed cube aquarium to maintain some humidity the trees are finally thriving, and boy do they look amazing!
We still have some ways to go – more like a long time to wait – until these young treelets really start to branch out and drop down their signature areal roots but there’s plenty of reef life to enjoy in the submerged area in the meantime. This is the most ‘lagoon’ reef tank we’ve ever created and it includes a really eclectic mix of corals, clams, and fish which look really great under the daylight spectrum the trees enjoy. We hope you enjoy this enriching video and find it inspiring or learn something from it and make sure to subscribe so you never miss a video!