Most of us in this hobby, dare I say occasional obsession, strive to keep a small slice of nature in our home. From the smallest pico tank to the largest in-wall exhibit that literally had a house built around it, there is one common theme: the desire to keep some portion, large or small, of the natural coral reef in an easily viewable glass box. Whether you have an ever-entertaining goby/pistol shrimp (symbiotic) pair in your nano, or enough Acropora coral to put the pyramids of Giza to shame, the thrill of seeing many of the animals we keep, as well as many we never see or can even hope to keep, in all their glory on the reef never ceases to amaze and inspire.

This month’s Reef Slides segment is dedicated to pictures of our favorite aquarium critters in their natural environment… the ocean!! Few of us will have the opportunity to actually see the creatures we keep in their coral reef home. The few people that do are often very aware of their good fortune, and are thankfully anxious and willing to share their experiences with the rest of us.

You will see everything here from the most commonly kept clownfish to creatures that may be completely unknown to you. Might I suggest you keep the slideshow interval pace longer, so as to have the opportunity to see and appreciate the multitude of creatures visible in some of these photographs.

We asked each diver for additional information about where they dove and at what depth:

Rick83 – Pictures were taken during two separate boat dives at Molasses Reef and French Reef in Key Largo at John Pennekamp State Park off of Florida. Where we saw some of the nicest coral growth, our water depth was between twenty and thirty feet .

Denadai – Pictures were taken during a seven day live-aboard boat trip from Hurghada off the coast of Egypt to Sharm El Sheikh on Sinai’s southern tip in the Red Sea. Four to five dives per day plus one night dive, averaging 45 minutes each, and ranging from five to fourty meters. The most beautiful reefs were found in the shallow areas.

Edr42 - The Australian reef photos were largely taken at Wheeler Reef and Davies Reef, with some from Orpheus Island as well. Most of the photos were taken between 10 and 30 meters. Some snorkeling pictures were taken between one and 15 meters. Live-aboard trips consisted of four dives (three daytime, one nighttime) and lasted about 40 minutes each.

Daniloronchi – All these Red Sea pictures were taken while snorkeling off the coast of Marsa Alam on Egypt’s coast. Locations in particular included Abu Dabbab Bay, Sharm El Loly, and Wadi Gimal. Each excursion lasted approximately 90 minutes.

warriorss08 – These pictures were taken in the Cayman Islands between 50-60 feet, with the picture of the royal grammas at 110 feet! Three or four shore dives per day lasted about 35-40 minutes each.

Ron Leversee – Pictures were taken off Kona, Hawaii.

CleveYank – Pictures were at Molokini, the wall. This 150,000 to 146,000 year old huge volcanic vent has produced a ring in the middle of the ocean floor near the shoreline of Kihei on the island of Maui. It stands upright with the wall going from the ocean floor to 260 and 300 feet in a half moon crescent. Our dive was limited to 70 feet to allow for good bottom time on the subsequent dive. Photos were taken in a surging current!

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Many thanks to SDguy for his assistance with this project.
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