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A deep dive into artificial mini reefs

Deep dive into artificial mini reefs
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 08:06:30-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Artificial Mini Reefs are being installed all over southwest Florida. They are used to attract marine life and filter water from channels. There are about 2,200 out there right now. We caught up with Ocean Habitats, INC., to break down how people can tell if they work or not.

“When you see life like this growing on the unit, that is how you know it is taking off,” David Wolff said.

Wolff is the President and Executive Director at Ocean Habitats, INC. He says fish and shrimp will use them immediately, within an hour to hide in the structure.

“It depends on how salty the water is.” Wolff said. “It can take anywhere from about six months to a year for animals to get on them and have a chance to grow up to full size.”

And when it comes to filtering the water, Wolff says they can tell by the weight of the mini reef. He says they’re 15 IBS when they go in the water, and after about a year, they can weigh anywhere from 75 IBS to 100 IBS. Every location is different, and some artificial mini reefs develop faster than others.

Ocean Habitats, INC has collected research over the years that has them confident that this is a great tool. They conducted experiments where they blocked off floating blooms in an area of water with curtains that draped down to the bottom. They even timed how long it took to clean all the algae out of the water.

“18-thousand gallons a day to one hundred and 2-thousand gallons of day,” Wolff said. “It depended on which species of filter feeders were on the units because they filter different rates.”

Wolff says if everyone decides to have an artificial mini reef under their dock, they would be growing millions and millions of fish and cleaning billions of gallons of water.

“They definitely can’t fix all of our problems, but I’d rather have a few billion gallons of water being filtered then not being filtered right now. I think that’s a positive step for us.”

If you would like more information on artificial mini reefs or if you would like to have one installed, click here.