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Does Sanding the Surface of a Fish Attractor Make a Difference?

We are asked the question about texturing often and the blog provides a good forum to give it a complete and thorough answer. Does texturing the surface of a fish habitat attractor make a difference? And the answer is: Maybe.  It all depends on what materials you are using to make your fish habitat or fish attractor.

At American Fish Tree we get asked about sanding our fish attractors and if it make a difference. However, our answer to question is: No. The American Fish Tree is manufactured with industrial grade black PVC and does not require sanding to be an effective artificial fish habitat or fish attractor.

The origins of the question to sand fish structures goes back to a time when most everyone would go to the local hardware store and buy white PVC piping for making DIY fish habitat structures. However, most people are not aware that typical commercial grades of white PVC (plumbing) pipe are manufactured with anti-fouling bio-inhibitors for the purpose of reducing biological growth.  For the DIY's using white PVC piping for fish habitat and fish attractors sanding the surface is considered a best practice.

However, like all things, competition creates innovation and improvements and the fish habitat and fish attractor industry is not immune.  By engineering and designing our fish habitat and fish attractors with black industrial grade PVC we were able to  accomplished four goals:

  • First, we created a fish habitat and fish attractor structure that would absorb the sun light (heat) and would not be reflective in the water.  The intersecting 4.25" black branch bars create an abundance of shade providing a dark sanctuary space for fish to hide and thrive. A friend once reminded me, fish do not have eyelids and will seek cover and shade over anything else.
  • Second, the black PVC material we selected does not have anti-fouling bio-inhibitor properties so it will promote the growth of aquatic organisms and serve the ecosystem as a foundationary food source.
  • Third, black PVC material is inert and does not pose environmental risks. PVC materials only become hazardous when they are burned.
  • Fourth, offering a Lifetime Guarantee was essential to completing our objective.  After all, who wants to go through all the troubles to produce a $125.00 product, or more, only to have it fail.  Our design is heaviest of all fish attractors with 4" schedule 40 pipe and 4.25" x 80 mil. bars. The thickness of our material ensures the structure will last for an extremely long time and the lifespan estimate for our material approaches 100 years.  

Now back to the query.  Underwater biological growth initiates naturally over any untreated surface, whether smooth or textured, through the formation of biofilm. Biofilm spreads across an untreated surface becoming the foundation for which other aquatic organisms adhere. The only way to stop or prevent the biofilm process from naturally occurring is through the use of anti-fouling bio-inhibitors.  Have you ever wiped your hand across the bottom surface of a boat that has been in the water for a period of time?  You would think the build up would easily wipe off the smooth surface, but it will not. The same biological phenomenon occurs across the surface of an untreated fish attractor, too.  After one month immersed in a lake or pond water at 70 degrees there is no discernible difference in the aquatic growth rates over smooth or textured surfaces without the presence of bio-inhibitors.

Tip:  If you want to get a faster rate of aquatic growth don't sand, but drizzle the fish habitat attractor with maple syrup or anything sweet and sticky instead.  But don't blame me for the mess.

Tight Lines - Let's Go Fishin - FishOn!