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Reef Ball Pictures from West Palm Beach

All Photos From A Single Dive Off West Palm Beach

This represents one year's worth of growth off of West Palm Beach. Note the sponges and soft corals are in excess of 18 inches. By this time, hard corals have only achieved about 1 inch of growth. Of interest, the French angelfish pictured (We call her Vicky because she has a V notched out of her tail) has been a documented resident on the reef for over 9 months. Also note the two snapper and porkfish. On this dive, we counted over 30 species of fish including Snook, Lane Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Grey Snapper, Porkfish, Atlantic Spadefish, Sharpnosed Puffers, Porcupine Puffers, Neon Gobies, French Angelfish, Grey Angelfish, Blue Angelfish, Queen Angelfish, Sand Gobies, Porgys, Jewfish, Grouper, Grunts, Hogfish, Spanish Hogfish (juv.), Parrotfish, Wrasse, and many species of juvenile fish. Crustecean spotted were lobsters, banded coral shrimp, crabs, camelback cleaning shrimp, arrow crabs and hermit crabs. Other invertebrate included sea squirts, scallops, tube worms, Christmas tree worms, feathery hydroids, finger corals (hard), and numerous species of soft corals and sponges.

Lobster This is one of seven lobster noted on a this West Palm monitoring dive. She was full of bright orange/red eggs and had moved a few feet away between two Reef Balls(tm) from her other six male suitors.
Soft Coral This soft coral represents about one year's growth. One can tell the difference between sponges and corals because corals have the extended polyps (they look like little hands).
Snook You can see a nice sized snook (with the black line down its back) and several Atlantic spadefish enjoying the inside protection of this five month old Pallet Ball(tm). We counted 5 snook and 4 spadefish around the group of three newer modules.
This is the shape of the holes in the walls of Reef Balls (tm), note that they are designed to create a vortex (the water swirls as it moves through the hole) which brings nutrients to the hole's inhabitants. This is just five months after deployment and you can see (if you look past the arrow crab) a camel cleaning shrimp, a black sea squirt, a Grey sea squirt, a scallop and several species of sponges in just this one hole.
Sponges Can you tell that these are sponges? Soft corals have polyps but they can be retracted making them look like sponges. The trick is to look for the holes where the seawater is filtered through the sponges. Some types of sponges grow very quickly (this is one year of growth) and offer tiny fish (and baby lobsters) a place to hide and feed.
Neon Gobies These little blue fish, called neon gobies, have set up a "cleaning station" in this Reef Ball(tm). Other larger fish (the Snook and Atlantic Spadefish in the background) let the neon gobies clean parasites off of their scales and around their mouths. Their bright colors alert the larger fish of their services so they don't get eaten. Neon gobies are the smallest adult marine fish at just a little over an inch when full grown, however they lay some of the largest eggs for marine fish and can actually be bred in an aquarium.
Banded Coral Shrimp If you look closely, you will see a banded coral shrimp. They, too, offer cleaning services to fish and usually travel as a mated pair. Look for their distinctive long white antennae to spot them back in a hole.
All 6 Reef Ball Sizes Although this picture is not very clear, it represents all six sizes of Reef Balls. From largest to smallest: Reef Ball(tm), Pallet Ball(tm), Bay Ball(tm), Lo-Pro Ball(tm), Oyster Ball(tm) and Model Ball(tm).
Photos were taken by Todd Barber off West Palm Beach in a single 1/2 hour dive on our test reef consisting of 9 total modules (3 one year old, 3 five months old, and 3 one day old at the time the video was taken).

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