Bottled bacteria vs live rock

BRS

jda

10K Club member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 25, 2013
Messages
10,871
Reaction score
16,668
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Boulder, CO
My current tank, along with some moves, has been up for 20+ years and I have never had any nitrates. Don't worry about this. If I can offer a suggestion, read up on nitrogen and how corals cannot use nitrate directly, have to convert it at quite some cost and use ammonia/ammonium to get nitrogen more efficiently. Also, how anoxic bacteria deep in sand and rock turn no3 into nitrogen gas which fully completes the nitrogen cycle. This can really get you ahead of the game in the hobby were most people do not know all of this.
 
Nutramar Foods

mindme

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Messages
1,145
Reaction score
1,217
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Generic question but wanted to see if there are any really successful reef tanks out there that started completely from all dead/dry rock with bottled bacteria.
My tank is coming up on the 1 year mark but I'm seeing seeing minimal coral growth and my alk rises even without dosing.

From a similar thread on this forum, it looks like folks in similar situations have added live rock from KP and started to see a big improvement.

My question then is, was my use of microbacter 7 to cycle my tank not enough bacteria? Should I add some other bottled bacteria to get me the "live rock" effect?
My concern with getting live rock is all the pests that hitch hike onto the rock. Plus, my tank is small, 32g so trying to find a pest free live rock seems like overkill if I can solve it from a bottled bacteria.

Not sure what you consider "really successful" but all my tanks started with dry rock.

Seems like most of the people who have trouble with dry rock are people who go barebottom. And what they are really missing is just all the extra surface area for bacteria to grow IMO.

90% of what people say about bacteria and how they "cure" their rocks is a waste of time and money IMO. If you want diverse bacteria...buy coral. It will come in on the coral just like live rock. It's on the snails you buy also etc. Basically anything that comes from the ocean has the same bacteria as live rock.

So as far as bacteria goes, that's not why I would buy live rock. Yeah, the rock will be seeded so you will be cycled immediately outside any die off, but that's quite a bit more price to pay than the bottle, and increased risks of pests.

Long term I don't think it's the advantage some people say when it comes to bacteria.

Where live rock is great is all the other life you get on them. The risk is pests. I once bought a hand size piece of live rock about 10 years ago to "seed" my tank. It had a mantis shrimp in it. I managed to get it out luckily because it was such a small rock and he stayed in it, but I was kind of shocked that I would get that pest in such a small rock.

I'm looking at using live rock for my 25g cube I'm in the process of redoing not for bacteria, but for all that other life. Much of that life you just simply can't buy separately. The bacteria and being cycled is just a bonus.
 

tharbin

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
1,964
Reaction score
12,329
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Arizona
It's not at all about the simple denitrifying bacteria that everyone focuses on at the beginning of a cycle that determines the success of your tank. That's true no matter what bottled bacteria marketers tell you. The real source of success when starting with or adding real live rock is the diversity of life it contains. Not just nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, but a host of other organisms, including other bacteria, that help process nutrients and/or become part of the food web.
You can get there with dry rock, but it will take a long time. AND... it will not be sped up by adding bottled bacteria. I would add live rock (or even corals) anytime before some unknown bottle of "bacteria".
+1, truth.
 
www.dinkinsaquaticgardens.com

Miami Reef

Clam Fanatic
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 8, 2017
Messages
6,456
Reaction score
10,530
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Miami
that's quite a bit more price to pay than the bottle, and increased risks of pests.
Buying corals comes with most of all the pests in the hobby, so you aren’t avoiding much by opting for dry rock. If you aren’t quarantining, you are depending on luck.

I don’t agree that bare bottom is the problem here.
 

mindme

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Messages
1,145
Reaction score
1,217
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Buying corals comes with most of all the pests in the hobby, so you aren’t avoiding much by opting for dry rock. If you aren’t quarantining, you are depending on luck.

I don’t agree that bare bottom is the problem here.

The only pest I've had in my 180g is velvet/ich. The velvet came in on a fish, and I'm not sure how the ich got in as I QT'd every fish coming in and went fallow for 72 days. I suspect it must have come from a snail or something, or maybe I just didn't QT well enough. So far it's been manageable thankfully.

So I QT all fish....now.

I dip corals, but I should probably QT them along with snails. I'm just not going to if I'm being honest. Don't disagree.

My 29g anemone tank has never had a pest. I started with dry rock and live sand, bottled bacteria, put a RBTA in after 2 weeks. No problems. Almost 2 years later and 1 RBTA has turned into 3. I just let the hair algae grow in that tank and harvest it for nutrient control. The only filter it has is a HOB skimmer. I rarely do water changes.

But opinions are always changing. Maybe I'll see some great benefits with my 25g that I'm leaning towards live rock on, but I've just not had the issues people are talking about when it comes to dry rock and bacteria. I use dry rock, sand and bacteria in a bottle. I 100% insta tank and have for the past 12 years.

Seems like the main people who have problems are barebottom tanks, but that's just what I hear, I don't do barebottom.
 
BRS

Have you ever had problems with zoanthids "melting" in your tank?

  • YES but only with certain zoanthids

    Votes: 80 40.4%
  • YES with a lot of different zoanthid types

    Votes: 46 23.2%
  • No not at all

    Votes: 47 23.7%
  • I don't keep zoanthids

    Votes: 23 11.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 1.0%
Top