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Rings, jars and an aquarium underwater in Valencia

Replicas of Olympic rings, Roman jars and the Oceanographic -- the impressive Valencia aquarium building --, have been sunk off the beach to create Valencia's first artificial reef, this week.

Valencia's city council says the three structures are made of "non-invasive" concrete and weigh between 33,000 and 44,000 pounds (15 and 20 tonnes) each. With a length of 295 feet (90 metres) they have been placed on the sand sea floor some 590 feet (180 metres) from the beach at a depth of 13 feet (4 metres).

The council's "Valencia Reefs" project was conceived a couple of years ago and hopes to attract recreational divers. The structures are designed to be colonised by seaweed and other vegetation and attract fish, eventually forming a complete underwater ecosystem.

The project also has scientific and environmental objectives, involving academics from Valencia's Polytechnic University and other biologists and experts. Acting as a 3 year pilot study, it will be used to research how artificial reefs may prevent the loss of sand from the area.