From garden eels to soles, you can keep fish from the sand slope biotope.
Scott W. Michael |
Are you looking for something different? Want a tank that’s not like those of most other marine aquarists? Why not try duplicating the sand flat and slope biotopes that surround the coral reef? Sand slope tanks may not be as aesthetically appealing as an aquarium that duplicates a more complex and colorful coral-rich reef habitat, but what makes a sand slope tank interesting are the fascinating fish that live on the sandy expanses that surround reefs.
Garden eels (family Heterocongridae) are amazing creatures that spend their entire lives (once they settle out of the plankton) living in burrows in the sand.
To burrow, a garden eel will shove its rigid tail tip into the substrate and flex its muscular body to drive it deep into the sand. The garden eel will undulate its dorsal fin, causing the disturbed substrate to be carried away by the current. Mucus exuded by numerous secretory cells in the eel’s skin helps cement the grains of substrate together, reinforcing the burrow walls.
Want to read the full story? Pick up the June 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.
Give us your opinion on