Picture of Build an Artificial Reef
Some reefs are erroneously constructed from car tires (a bad idea due to the toxicity of rubber disintegrating in salt water), and some are built using broken-down cars, old boats and scrap metal.  Our goal was to ensure that fish and other marine animals, such as crabs, octopus, and eels, looking for a place to live and reproduce had the best environment available.  The reef project chose cinder block because the block was much easier to handle than cars and other heavy industrial items and the Calcium content of concrete bolsters the growth of various plant and invertebrate life forms.  Also, logistically it made more sense because block is readily available.  The fish habitats are formed into an “igloo” and “caterpillar” shapes  which offer the best environment to live, breed and find protection. 

Step 1: Choose Location

Picture of Choose Location

The very first step is to choose a low current location that is conducive to undersea life, reproduction and feeding.

In 1985, a 60-foot tuna-fishing vessel of Mexican origin was anchored close to the beach in Playa Hermosa. A fire broke out aboard causing considerable damage and the boat sank. In 2002, fishermen living in Playa Hermosa knew the location of boat and helped discover the wreck and the remains of the fishing vessel. The wreck has a N-S direction. To the south is a drum with nets and ropes completely covered with vegetation and corals, at the center is the engine and various mechanical parts of the arms. At the other end, the north, one can see a metal cube of about 100 cubic feet that is most likely a fuel tank. The wreck lies about 400 meters west from the beach, facing the parking lot of the first entrance to Playa Hermosa. It sits at a depth roughly 20 to 30 feet depending on the tide. 12 fish habitats consisting of the igloo block structure are located around the wreck..

While the CondoFish project in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica obtained full government approval for the project, this may or may not be relevant in other international locations. Costa Rica is a very ecologically conscious country and anything regarding natural resources or wildlife requires approval and constant surveillance.

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scubaru5 years ago
This is awesome, I am a certified scuba diver (PADI) and would love to do this in a local river nearby.
SurvivalGardener (author)  scubaru5 years ago
You should come down and dive the Reef!
blkhawk5 years ago
Great job! Thank you for helping the environment.
Wasagi5 years ago
This is amazing!
yokozuna5 years ago
Fantastic, five stars.
Skai5 years ago
oh the beautiful fish on your site! they must be so happy! awesome job :) say, what do you think about putting something like this in an artificial pond in New England? just wondering
Nice job guys, lets just say theres some people who care about the planet. To says its that easy and cheap to make a home for many, absolutely brilliant, well done :) :)
canida5 years ago
This is excellent! I'd love to follow the time course in photos as fish colonize your artificial reef. Will they be posted on your site?
SurvivalGardener (author)  canida5 years ago
Yes, the adrian stacey gallery is right after we got the fish condos built. The http://condofish.wordpress.com/media/galleries/new-life-2010/ gallery is the most recent we have some new pics and a video that should be going up in the next day or so. I'll continue to add photos for 2010, then make one for 2011.
This is awesome! Anything to help fish has my support!
SurvivalGardener (author)  VanillaXtiffy5 years ago
Well, anytime you want to come dive it, you're welcome. And donations are accepted via our website via a Paypal link on the sidebar of our site. Thanks for your support! And come check out the site and look around. Thad http://condofish.com
masoon6 months ago

This is so cool, please put some more pics of this as it grows.

josuchav9 months ago

Are you extracting those tiger fish? I saw a picture that looks like you have one in there.

jimwi1 year ago
Have you got any update pics. Would love to see how the reef is going.
have u thought of doing a under water type of camera tethered to a small buoy thats set up 4 solar charging an wifi?
SurvivalGardener (author)  astral_mage1 year ago
Excellent idea! No we haven't. But I'll consider that on the next project like this. I'm not sure how long it would last though. If stuff isn't tied down or locked to something...it'll get taken. The project is on it's own now but still a fun local spot to view an abundant amount of marine life.
thepelton4 years ago
I'm glad you did that "One year later" shot. Did I give you the idea?
SurvivalGardener (author)  thepelton4 years ago
Was that you? Then yes......I remember someone asking for it.......

Pura Vida
De Nada. Buena Suerte.
pdasarathan3 years ago
cool nice work .. its also cheep
thingy4 years ago
How much do you charge for rent? The area looks nice and i'd love to be in a condo. I hate cutting my seaweed lawn.


Bob the Pistol Shrimp
ytashi4 years ago
ok now i'm definately going to raise funds and contact our local fisheries and environmental department to organise this.. <3 swing by malaysia to scuba dive n enjoy nature at its best guys!
SurvivalGardener (author) 4 years ago
They've become more more common in the Condofish project. Hadn't seen them at all until a few months ago. They are cute!
build524 years ago
I love the squid he's so cute.
tubbles4 years ago
A lot of reef building/preservation projects encouraging coral growth use certain types of wire mesh. As I understand it, polyps and algae etc get caught on it, then it builds up over time and eventually forms the beginnings of a reef. It allows reasonable freedom over shape and other factors, and is good to get tourist funding. I think DAN did an article a while back.

Bear in mind, this probably only applies to the faster-growing types of coral.

PADI rescue diver, BSAC sports diver
jlumagod4 years ago
hello condofish please allow me to ask for your email add?
SurvivalGardener (author)  jlumagod4 years ago
Please visit our website. It's in the contact section.
jlumagod4 years ago
wow its really amazing.... i like it very much.. :) more fish will be survived with your idea... really
kibukun5 years ago
Oh sure toss them in and scare the fish off why don't ya?
SurvivalGardener (author)  kibukun5 years ago
You'd eat your words if you dove down with us and saw all the fish and the new growth since we "tossed" those bricks in. Pura Vida
I know I was just going to suggest a small crane or scuba vehicle to hoist them in. You might get the fish to move in earlier. Also it's good if you're setting it down in a tight spot where you can't toss them in or they'll roll/ slide of the slope you're setting it on. I believe fish mostly like cliff sides (underwater cliffs of course) don't they?
SurvivalGardener (author)  kibukun5 years ago
We have 12 structures built and not enough money for a crane or even where to find one around here. The project is not on a slope and so far so good. Thanks
I'm sorry, you didn't get what I meant... I mean like a small winch that you can build on the boat. The Instructable way!
SurvivalGardener (author)  kibukun5 years ago
Sure you could, but then you'll have to move all the blocks along the sea floor during construction which might defeat the purpose of being so careful in the original drop. Plus, they don't drop that fast once they're in the water anyway. Back to the original point of scaring away the fish....do you think is would be better to put all of the block down there using a more time intensive winch process, or all at once over a period of only 10-15min.
Well, actually if you use a double winch routine you can get all or half the blocks down there all at the same time. Cutting the time from an hour of hand moving them to just lowering all these blocks in half the time. I think you also might be able to lower it already built. Making less time. I'd propose a catamaran double winch setup lowering a plywood platform that you can lower down the blocks with.
SurvivalGardener (author)  kibukun5 years ago
Not trying to be difficult, but I don't see the advantage over just dropping them in on a bare seafloor?
just suggesting a more quicker way in case you'd ever need it.
very cool...may not apply to the majority of people, but nice to see....that picture with a fishy enjoying the new house is neat
That's Renny the Pufferfish. Check out more pics of him and his intersting life story @ http://condofish.wordpress.com/media/galleries/renny-pufferton-resident/ haha
wow, even more cool pictures...thumbs up to the photographer(s)
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