Is Live Rock more beneficial in the sump versus the main display?

BRS

Do you think that live rock is more beneficial in sump than it is in the main display tank?

  • In the sump

    Votes: 59 13.2%
  • In the display

    Votes: 185 41.4%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 59 13.2%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 144 32.2%

  • Total voters
    447

leepink23

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Help me out today! Recently (a few months ago) in an anticipated tank move I started moving live rock from my main display to the sump in order to be able to catch fish easier, move coral etc. Since then my tank has stabilized much more it seems and algae is almost non-existent. This after I also removed my skimmer and algae scrubber months ago as well. I am thinking that the more water flowing through the sump cover more of the surface area of the rock resulting in a more stable environment. Let's talk about it today!

Do you think that live rock is more beneficial in sump than it is in the main display tank?

image via @devocole
A113F6AA-554A-4697-8272-E208F954423D.jpeg
I have 2 bare bottom lowboy loaded with live rock in the sump. It’s been the most stable system I have ever had.
 

threebuoys

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The best location depends a lot on what purpose you use live rock. For me, the main benefit is for building the aquascape in the display tank.

While live rock is the primary biological filter media for most reef tanks, I rely on foam in the sump to provide surface area for bacteria to grow. Cubic inch wise, foam provides considerably more surface area than live rock. Another advantage of foam in the sump is that all water flowing through the sump can be forced through the foam before returning to the display tank while it cannot be forced to flow through rock. Scientific studies have shown that 30 ppi foam is one of the most effective material for biologic filtration available.

If you cultivate other aquatic life on live rock, then the best place for it would be driven by what kind of life you are supporting. I've seen copepods active on the foam in my sump, but I've not aggressively tried to cultivate them.

I started with three 3 inch thick 12" x 12" pieces of foam in one section in the sump for a 125 gallon tank. I'm down to 1 piece now with no noticeable change in effectiveness. Water flow was slowed significantly with 3 pieces. I use filter socks and skimmer in front of the foam, so very little detritus makes it to the foam. I do have a lot of rock in the display that obviously provides surface area for bacteria, but it's all rock I picked up off the beach. I've been very satisfied with the foam and I believe it adds considerably to the stability of the tank.

Another benefit, when starting a new tank, foam in the sump is considerably cheaper than a large quantity of live rock in the display.
 

Elazar

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Help me out today! Recently (a few months ago) in an anticipated tank move I started moving live rock from my main display to the sump in order to be able to catch fish easier, move coral etc. Since then my tank has stabilized much more it seems and algae is almost non-existent. This after I also removed my skimmer and algae scrubber months ago as well. I am thinking that the more water flowing through the sump cover more of the surface area of the rock resulting in a more stable environment. Let's talk about it today!

Do you think that live rock is more beneficial in sump than it is in the main display tank?

image via @devocole
A113F6AA-554A-4697-8272-E208F954423D.jpeg
I say other because it is needed in both. Tank and sump
 

Elazar

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I'm not sure. I would think that there is a lot of stuff in the rocks that benefits from light.

That being said, I do have rock rubble in my bubble barrier and a few bags of matrix in the sump.
There are two types of live rock. The deep live rock can be in sump. The one that comes from shadows should go in tank directly
 

rhostam

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Okay, this is something I haven't thought about until today. But this did create a question for me:

I am looking to set up a new tank (gets installed tomorrow, finally!). I want to use the purple-coated rocks in this new (display) tank. But I also wanted to retire or convert my existing tank into something else. I wanted to use the existing rock to help seed my new tank, but since that started dry it is still mostly white (9 mos later) I didn't want to put it in the new tank.

I forgot about rock in sumps even though I read and see it all of the time. Could I put my existing rock into my sump for the purpose of helping accelerate the cycling process? Will it be a problem (compete somehow) with the purple spore-laden rock I plan to put in the display? This would certainly make it easier for me to retire my original tank.

Given where I'm at in my journey I'm glad this came up!
 

Twigg

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Okay, this is something I haven't thought about until today. But this did create a question for me:

I am looking to set up a new tank (gets installed tomorrow, finally!). I want to use the purple-coated rocks in this new (display) tank. But I also wanted to retire or convert my existing tank into something else. I wanted to use the existing rock to help seed my new tank, but since that started dry it is still mostly white (9 mos later) I didn't want to put it in the new tank.

I forgot about rock in sumps even though I read and see it all of the time. Could I put my existing rock into my sump for the purpose of helping accelerate the cycling process? Will it be a problem (compete somehow) with the purple spore-laden rock I plan to put in the display? This would certainly make it easier for me to retire my original tank.

Given where I'm at in my journey I'm glad this came up!
It’s cycled rock. Your new tank would love that rock in the sump. Depending on size, it will help cycle the new setup quicker.
 

Mini Pearl

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Marked not sure as our current 55 gallon tank doesn't have sump. That being said, we are still newbies and experimenting with setups. Currently putting together 75gal hexagon tank that will have sump and this thread gives much to consider as we were going to order live rock for new set up. Our current tank we have live rock in display. HOB skimmer with chaeto growing (like mad) and plastic bio cubes in cannister pump for extra bacteria growth. We have lots of pods throughout rock's. Good coral growth. But recently more algae growth since placing new AI 32s on tank. I am blaming lights for this and not my excessive feeding And current tank only 8 months along but we are very pleased so far and these forums have been great help!! Thank you to all that participate!!
 

jeffrey holloway

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I run bare bottom tanks, a 150g & a 65g, both with live rock in the DT and sumps. I also have about 40lbs. of ECO Miracle Mud in the 150g sump, and 20 lbs. in the 65g sump. I lean toward the more bio the better.
 

HJ99

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I have both so voted other although I'm only 2 months in so I don't know that you could call it live rock yet ? DT is aquascaped and I put the leftovers in the Refugium and a couple pieces in the return section. I should take pics but the fuge is covered with all sorts of algae from the Amazon grow light. Definitely none of which I hope ends up in the display. DT has colored up sort of nice with green and red/purple. The foxface and lawnmower are enjoying picking as well as the snails. Amazingly, the 2 big pieces in the return only get dim room light from a CFL in the basement and are as white as the day I put them in. Interesting the difference the lighting makes.
 

LRT

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I'll let you know what im finding soon as im moving most of my rock up top with minimal in sumps.
Im leaning towards im not sure it matters as long as you can provide proper aeration, water flow around rock, top water movement and light for critters that need it.
I feel like all that is going to be alot easier to achieve that up top with all the real estate ill have now.
Prior to its all mostly been in sumps. Without all those pre requisites met in sump I found i had more of an issues keeping rock clean in long run in sump.
 

devocole

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Cool to see my sump highlighted in a thread. Its the only picture I've ever posted. I have a good amount of live rock in my display as well. In my sump I have live rock everywhere there is room. I use it to start quarantine tanks, give to other people, mount coral to. The more surface area, the more life and processing of nutrients. It isn't useful if detritus filled however. The sump has 2 cor 20's runing at 75%. There are 3 different flow areas in the sump. The high flow area has rock under the macro algae, the medium flow area is the display refugium in the centre. The very low flow is to the right, barely moving. I figure it will promote differences that can only be beneficial. Tried a bio brick back in the day. I believe they just get clogged up and detritus filled. I'm more on the Dr. Tim's team. A whole bunch of those plastic bioballs would be ideal for a big system. Live rock is ideal. But in a future large build. I would rely on the surface area of alot of plastic bioballs, taking care to keep them detritus free.
Cheers.
Devon
 

shneerf

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Why does no one consider sand? Sand is basically live rock, but broken up into magnitudes more surface area than one puny rock can ever hope to accomplish. I don't do biological media either, sand has way more surface area than that too.
 

Birthisel

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WVNed said it first and many have agreed, the live rock goes anywhere and the more flow the better.
At sea the water moves as a huge mass so everything is usually extremely well circulated, with flow extending into the rock itself, which is why the porosity of the rock is important, not too large not too small, 0.1 to 1 mm pores seem like the right size for supporting the microbes inside the rock which can remove excess nitrate pollution (algae food). Since most coral colonies in nature are growing on a live rock base, it's obvious there is interaction, some of which will be surprising to us once more research has been done. Lighting is beneficial to the interesting roc surface organisms no doubt and these are often beautiful, but the internal life can be much more abundant since there may be so much more surface area for the biofilm colonies to grow.
Such research was only recently (this century) started in the terrestrial world, where the microbial biodiversity of soil is now compared to the richest rainforests. Genetic analysis (DNA tests for species IDs), and DNA microarrays (for metabolic testing) are the basic first steps, and lots of effort in this century has shown what are the limits and requirements of the microbes and how they operate, etc. on land. These studies have shown amazing things about plant communities, such as the fact that the biomass in your backyard weighs in the ton plus range, that plants extract and share nutrients that the different species provide for the overall benefit to the ecosystem.
We need to remember the life in the reef has been evolving for 600 million years, and we are just now waking up to what is there. Live rock and flow are huge factors for a natural balance in a diverse reef aquarium.
 

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stephnjeph

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Personally, I do both display and sump in all of my tanks and have very clean and stable tanks that have been growing beautifully since '96.
 

tehmadreefer

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Beside rock in the DT I always ensure I have rock down below as well. l Wouldn’t run a tank any other way.
 

Neil Fox

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To be honest with you, 50 pounds of Pond Matrix in the sump will be more beneficial than 500 pounds of rock, but rock looks cool and it gives you a place to glue corals to. Better in the display.
 
BRS

Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

  • YES and it was just fine

    Votes: 322 59.1%
  • YES but it was difficult

    Votes: 99 18.2%
  • NO

    Votes: 113 20.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 11 2.0%

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