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Innovative New Coral Nursery Process

Last week we shared with you the images and story from building our coral nursery. You would also have seen Sarah cutting up tin cans for coral holders. This aspect has caused a lot of interest so the blog is all about them.

Sarah cutting cans for coral holders

Up until now a few different ways have been tried to hold the coral in place on the nursery structure. Cable ties, wire, but the most popular and so far the most effective has been to use plastic tubing. Slits are cut in a small length so the coral can be pushed in to one end then more slits in the bottom so the tube can be pushed onto the nursery netting. Those of you who know us well enough here at Master Divers will know how much we hate plastics. Even though coral doesn’t mind the plastic and will grow around it well enough we wanted to try a to find a different way of holding the coral in place. Regardless of whether the coral doesn’t mind it that plastic will slowly release chemicals over time. I’d been thinking about this problem for a while and came up with a few designs that I had imagined would be made out of pliable steel. I put the idea to Elaine and she had a great idea for recycling aluminum drinks cans instead. So I set about hacking up drinks cans and trying out some different designs before arriving at this design.


Normal can...

I started off with just a normal drinks can and first I removed the ring pull from the top. This also was recycled, those of you that have been to our shop know that all the ring pulls we collect are sent off to be made into artificial limbs for Thai children.


Cutting the can.


Next, using metal cutters I cut the top of the can off and with the top removed I could cut down the length of the can, cut the bottom off and set about removing the ruff edges.

The next step.

With the edges removed I rolled the aluminum sheet up in the opposite direction to what it wanted to bend to try to flatten it out a bit. Now I could start cutting out the final shape, first up was the coil that holds the coral. This was nice and easy, it’s about a centimetre in width and I left about a centimetre in the middle to keep it attached to the rest of it.





Next was cutting out the legs at the bottom, each leg is about half a centimetre wide with a bit of a gap in between each. After that I just had to add the slits to the middle strap. The strap raps around dead coral then hopefully the new coral will start to cement itself to the dead stuff.


The next Step



All that was left to do then was finish the coil. First I cut off one side down to about half a centimetre and bent it to about ninety degrees this helps grip the coral. Then I wrapped the other end around it into a tight coil and hold it for a bit, next I bent the ends out to help keep the securing wire in place.



Now all we need to do is find some broken coral and we can start implanting it onto our new coral nursery. The coral is rapped in the coil and secured with a bit of wire, then the legs push through the holes in the netting and bend back around and through another hole. Once the coral is a nice healthy size the legs can be snapped off and the middle band can rap around some dead coral putting the new coral in direct contact with the dead stuff so hopefully will start cementing itself.




This is a new experiment, some of the problems it may have are strength, design and environmental impact. Aluminium cans are very brittle and do degrade so the material might have to change but we wanted to try reusing and recycling first. And the design is something you can help with, if you have any ideas please send them in and we will give them a go and up date you with how it goes on the blog.

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