The Disadvantages of Artificial Coral Reefs

There are many clear advantages to artificial reefs, such as providing shelter for animals and promoting aquaculture. But what some may not know is that there are also several negative effects from poorly made artificial reefs.

Toxic Materials

The use of toxic materials is a common mistake when building an artificial coral reef. This greatly pollutes the habitat and nullifies any benefit artificial reefs have to wildlife.

Damage to Nests

Artificial reefs often do not reach the weight requirement necessary to keep them in one place. They are known to float along the sea floor, damaging wildlife and often disturbing or destroying nests.

Ocean Dumping

Many times, artificial reefs will be chained to light buoys or not be sufficiently chained at all. In addition, some of these reefs are poorly constructed. Both of these factors greatly increase the amount of ocean dumping each year.

Vessel Collision

There are a number of artificial reefs being placed and mounted without any sort of marker on the surface of the water. This prevents boats and fishing vessels from avoiding them and they can do damage to the vessels and the surrounding real reefs.


Cleaned and sanitized military tanks have been used to construct artificial reefs. Some worry that toxicity due to firing heavy artillery could damage the environment, but those that are sanitized properly make suitable reefs.