The red mangrove tree, Rhizophora mangle, is a common sight around saltwater aquariums, reef tanks and local fish stores where fresh seed pods are sold and kept. What is not a common sight is for a mangrove tree to be doing especially well and growing because aquarists treat this noble plant like a piece of house ivy.
Central American Lowlands -- Estuary/Mangrove Biotope
Mangroves take the nutrients necessary for their growth from the aquarium water. This means that we have a means of exporting phosphates and nitrates. Macro algae do the same, but they easily set those nutrients free when they are eaten by fish or die and dissolve. With mangroves this is different, at least if the aquarist succeeds in preventing the mangrove leaves from falling into the water and dissolving there. While many mangrove species export excess salt by depositing it on the surface of their leaves for the rain to wash away, some mangrove species deposit excess salt inside of their oldest leaves, which then will turn yellow and drop down. This is a natural process, but in the reef tank we just have to make sure that the leaves will not dissolve in the aquarium water and release nutrients back into the aquarium water.
Aquarium Plants: Red Mangroves - Doctors Foster and Smith
The propagules as well as the seeds can be used in a reef tank. The seeds grow into a plant with a thin stem that can perfectly adjust its growth form to the light conditions on top of the aquarium, but they seem to be a bit more sensitive if the halide lamps emit too much heat. Propagules seem to be hardier, but they are also larger and in a very small reef tank they might look unsuitably large, while a mangrove plant that has grown from a seed may have a more natural tree-shape, giving the scene a more natural appearance. A few years ago I was able to get mangrove propagules and seeds from Florida and the Philippines. In my experience it was much more difficult to keep the seeds in place. Even when it was securely fixed between the rocks, some fish came nibbling around on the seeds. In contrast to this, propagules can easily be put between some lime rocks. In my case, the propagules and seeds grew nicely during the first few weeks, but then about one half of the mangroves grownfrom seeds died. This may have been caused by planting them too near to the 1000 watt halide lamps, which emit a lot of heat. All in all, the survival rate has been much better among the mangroves grown from propagules, though today I still have some mangroves grown from seeds.
aquarium components an all together mangrove brackish tank by rolf.