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Mangroves in my Aquarium

February 26, 2013

I have had two hobbies in my life that have captured my interest and consumed the most of my leisure time like no others: firearms and aquariums.

Ever since I was a kid I have been catching tadpoles, turtles or whatever else swims and keeping them in whatever I could find that would hold water. As an adult, I transitioned into tropical fish and reef keeping. My keeping of aquariums has waned some the last several years. Since 2006, I’ve transferred jobs, moved 1000 miles and spent a year in Iraq, none of which is conducive to maintaining the delicate balance a reef aquarium requires.

This past October, I was poking around in a backwater area in the Ponce Inlet, south of Daytona, Florida. Washed up on the shore were hundreds of mangrove seed pods, propagules, from the Red Mangrove Trees, Rhizophora mangle, that grow in the area. This variety produces the characteristic aerial prop roots that give this tree the nickname “walking tree”.

I had no idea if they would grow, but I gathered 8 of them, put them in a styrofoam drink cup. Later, I wrapped them in a paper towel, soaked it with the seawater from the cup and then sealed them in a larger zip-lock bag for travel home.

They were in that bag for a bit more than 2 weeks before I returned home and got an aquarium set up to put them in. Two of them were long to be put into the substrate and still stick out of the water. The remaining 6 I put in the filter. And, as you can see, they grew. I’ve cataloged 2 months worth of periodic pictures and will continue to post updates.

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