How 3D Printing Is Helping Resolve Problems in the Reef Tank

By  //  October 2, 2021

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How 3D printing is helping resolve problems in the saltwater/reef tank can be answered with one word… PET. That’s right, pet-friendly plastic which is also called PVC. PVC can be applied to virtually any surface in a reef tank. The beauty of this is that the printout from a dye sublimation photo printer is full color and very vibrant. 

How to Print PVC sand onto PVC Rock:

So how do you get the PVC “sand” printed onto your PVC “rock”? The best way is with a dye sublimation printer. This is a photo printer that uses ink cartridges in the same manner that ink printers in computers do. What it does is create a dye out of photo paper or plastic which then has a negative charge applied to it.

This charge then works to electrocute the positively charged coat of sand onto the PVC resin which in turn creates a solid and uniform film on your rock.

Sand is commonly referred to as “black sand” or “blue sand”. It provides the reef tank with a highly reflective surface which is very useful for encouraging the growth of both the coral naturally and of food for corals. As the corals grow the “black sand” is used to help form the body of the reef tank.

This body then hardens over time to become a solid block which will prevent any water from penetrating and causing damage to the sensitive underwater ecosystem. 

One of the most common challenges facing hobbyists is designing, creating, and maintaining saltwater aquariums. This can be accomplished by building a custom-made reef tank with many features customized to meet the requirements of each owner.

This typically requires the use of specialized and/or imported aquarium parts that are difficult to source on a local store shelf. If a saltwater tank owner does not have access to these parts, he or she may be forced to improvise with components such as PVC pipes, hinges, tubing, paintbrushes, or acrylic paint intended for use in saltwater aquariums.

One example of how 3D printing is helping resolve problems in the saltwater/reef tank is how a homeowner is able to obtain a patent on their unique reef tank designs.

In order to obtain such a patent, an individual must demonstrate to a patent agent that the design is not only unique but also original and a significant advance over other similar designs. The patent office generally approves of such designs and considers them to be eligible for filing. 

Once approved, the homeowner receives a number of benefits including: free legal counsel; the potential to gain monetary damages for attorney’s fees if a lawsuit is filed; and, in some instances, the right to sell the new design to others who seek to profit from re-designing similar reef tanks.

With the many benefits of patenting a unique saltwater/reef tank design, it is encouraging to know that more individuals are turning to this resource as a way to obtain a sense of satisfaction from designing their own unique saltwater/reef tanks. Now we are going to conclude with one of the most demanding and popular products:

1. Coral Frag Sand Stands – patent-pending:

Coral Frag Sand stands are put on the edge of the flower gardens. You can find coral sand stands from different flower styles, like the choice between the 2 types of flowers on the floral and the choice between different shapes of the sand stand. Coral flowers can be customized with pretty, different colors. With the use of material, the coral sand can become any color you want it to be.

2. Mushroom/soft coral cage:

The Mushroom coral cage is completely self-supporting and requires no additional support to be usable. It is also the most stable cage we have built and capable of supporting heavy loads, such as 2-inch cast bronze weights. The Mushroom cage is constructed with 80-gal. corrugated polypropylene.

3. Coral Plug Rock Holders – patent pending 

Coral Plug Rock Holders are specially designed and made to hold coral plugs, therefore, do not limit coral growth to one particular part of the reef. When placed on the reef, these works of art grow a plug which will be used as a barrier to the incoming tide water.