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Thread: Live Rock

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  1. #1

    Post Live Rock

    0 Not allowed!
    Just though I would write something up on Live Rock as we have had a few 'newbies' show up lately.


    Live Rock is an essential part of all aspects of marine aquariums - Whether it is a reef set up, FO (Fish only) or FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock).

    Generally, live rock is the base structure for reef and FOWLR aquariums, providing a food source and shelter for your organisms and to provide a porous environment for essential bacteria. In fish only aquariums, live rock is generally found in the sump.

    Live rock can come from four sources:

    Dead base rock - dead coral rock placed into an aquarium with added ammonia to build up the essential bacteria

    Oceanic Rock - 'Live' rock taken straight from a reef environment. This will contain the greatest quantity of higher life forms and the essential bacteria

    Aqua-culture - Dead base rock which has been added to an aquarium with Live rock. This rock will have different marine algaes and some life forms such as copepods, in addition to bacteria

    Mari-culture - Dead base rock which has been placed in the ocean. This rock contains the essential bacteria, and has an abundance of higher life forms. In essence, similar to oceanic live rock.

    All of these different sources of Live Rock have different environmental and economic implications, as well as a cost factor for the average hobbyists. I will not go into these implications simply due to the fact that I feel that it is not my place to encourage or discourage people from buying from certain sources.

    When people talk about live rock, they generally talk about the calcium skeletons of thousands of generations of SPS and LPS corals, covered in an abundance of life from copepods and amphipods, to worms, corals and even the occasional fish or octopus.

    However, it is imperative to understand that the term Live Rock does not refer to different algaes or critters, but simply to the essential bacterial life contained within. For example, dead base rock placed into an aquarium and left to cycle with added ammonia, will become 'Live' but will not have any higher life forms than bacteria or lower algaes such as diatoms, cyano or possibly hair algae. However, it is fundamentally 'live' rock.

    Rock taken out of the ocean is 'live' in the sense that it contains the essential bacterial life, but also has the added benefit of higher life forms such a copepods, worms and snails etc and different algaes such as coralline.

    What people need to understand, is the importance of live rock to marine aquariums. The various species of bacteria which shelters within the rock eliminates dangerous ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The rock also provided shelter for detritivores so that they are not predated on by your fish. These detritivores consume fish waste and are very beneficial to your aquarium. In essence, your rock is the 'filter' of your aquarium. Any any money which your would spend on a canister filter, should instead be invested in live rock.

    As you can see, I have only discussed the basic principles of live rock. However, one must do their own research into what would work best for their aquarium. What so-called 'newbies' must understand, is that live rock is the basis on which your aquarium survives. It is also the filter which means that there is no need for expensive filtration equipment - EXCEPT FOR PROTEIN SKIMMERS

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Nice post unleashed! Another thing that complicates this issue is that LR vendors have not agreed on the nomenclature. So different vendors would probably call the same batch of rock by a different name.

    Great Job on the post though!
    40g SW

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Great post unleashed. Very helpful and informative for those endeavoring to begin a marine aquarium.
    Considering a Marine Aquarium? A Breakdown of the Components, Live Rock, Cycling a Marine Tank

    "The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The WILLINGNESS to learn is a choice." - Unknown

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Nice write up, should be very helpfut for the hobby newcomers.

  5. #5

    Default New Live Rock

    0 Not allowed!
    Not sure if this is the best place to post this question but since you mentioned live rock.........My 55g has been up and running for 8 months and seems stable for now. I have 3 fish - Maroon Clown, Green Chromis and Coral Beauty. I have never had any live rock but would like to add some if possible. What type and how much and how fast ?

  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    type is up to you, most common is fiji but theres plenty of others, Jakarta is well liked also
    if its cured rock, you could add the full amount, which should be about 55lbs-150lbs all at once. if its uncured rock, you have to let it sit in a spare tank or buckets for a month

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    I'm one of the newbies that you are referring to, and I appreciate all the good feedback i got to my post. I'm not trying to be a pest by any means, just trying to get some good information. It just seems like everyone I have spoken to has a different outlook on how i should setup my tank. I have Dead Base Rock, quite a bit of it. I got my setup from a friend of mine, he gave me pretty much what he said would be enough to start up an aquarium. I have a bunch of dead coral, how could i convert this into active live rock?

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    i'm no expert, but i add pieces of LR to my system with no problem. all i do before hand is rince it thoroughly with SW. i have 2 clowns, 4 chromis, 2 goby's, a bunch of hermits, a newly added blue star, a bubble anemone & some small frags of coral. also u can add your dead coral & in about 4-6 weeks it will be seeded & it will be 'Live' but as it was said before, it will not have some of the little "noonoos" as we call it that your 'ocean live rock' would have, but it's almost as good as.
    i think the bottom line is there are so many different ways of doing things that you have to find the best way for you. just keep watching your levels and when u do add things - do it slowly!
    "It's better to burn out than fade away!!!

  9. #9

    Thumbs up

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by deep_blu
    i think the bottom line is there are so many different ways of doing things that you have to find the best way for you. just keep watching your levels and when u do add things - do it slowly!

    Very well put! I agree 100%

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    But on the topic of LR, does anyone have a good "recipe" for DIY LR? quite keen to try it!
    "It's better to burn out than fade away!!!

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