Lets talk about 'Live rock"

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by MnFish1, Feb 23, 2019.

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  1. Live rock is rock that comes covered with creatures (like it was just taken from the ocean)

    20 vote(s)
    45.5%
  2. Live rock is rock has been soaked in a tub to remove most of the critters

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Live rock is rock that has been in a cycled aquarium and contains beneficial bacteria

    6 vote(s)
    13.6%
  4. All of the above

    15 vote(s)
    34.1%
  5. None of the above - comment:)

    3 vote(s)
    6.8%
  1. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    So in reading a couple threads recently - people talk about 'live rock' yet seem to mean completely different things. What do you think best describes what the term 'live rock' means? To me there are many different kinds of 'live rock'

    1. Live rock taken directly from the ocean - shipped overnight - containing many creatures, algae, etc. (this is my definition that I think of when I think of 'live rock'
    2. Rock as in number 1 that has been soaked sometimes for weeks until all of the dead things have decomposed - the ammonia from which would have probably killed most for the living things on the rock in the first place. But contains beneficial bacteria
    3. Rock that has been 'cleaned' all living things removed - and put in tank to cycle.

    The reason for the poll is there is a debate about whether 'dry rock' or 'live rock' is best for starting a tank. The way I see it - there is no real difference between 'dry rock' and the rocks in #2 and #3 above (or at least I can't see the reason) - What are everyone's thoughs>?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019

  2. Mortie31

    Mortie31 Valuable Member R2R Supporter UK Reef Club Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I’d love live rock as described in 1) unfortunately here in the UK by the time it gets to us it’s not the best, and needs cleaning up unfortunately
     
  3. Instigate

    Instigate Valuable Member Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I chose all of the above, I think if it has the bacteria needed to run a tank it's live rock. Of course there are different types and qualities of live rock.
     
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  4. A sea K

    A sea K Active Member

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    IMO live rock is simply "live" from the living bacteria that colonizes it. Doesnt matter the make up of the rock (gulf, fiji, tonga, etc) or what kind of other fauna it may or may not come with. Without the bacteria it will not serve its intended purpose for the general majority and that purpose is a living bacterial filter.
     
  5. Retro Reefer

    Retro Reefer Older than dirt! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Well the meaning has changed over the years.. now days people assume that if artificial reef rock or dry rock has living bacteria on it they can call it live rock. I’m old school and remember getting fresh Hawaiian rock right out of the ocean when it was still legal, now that’s what I call Live Rock! With my current build I’m using ocean aquacultured rock that’s covered with organisms.

    9291AB7B-0480-4D37-A609-F7B45ACE9FB1.jpeg
     
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  6. hotashes

    hotashes Well-Known Member UK Reef Club Member Build Thread Contributor

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  7. cracker

    cracker Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I'd say generally speaking Live rock has the beni's already built up.
    However this is IMOP completely different than live rock fresh from the sea. I'll take the fresh every time
     
  8. nezw0001

    nezw0001 Member R2R Secret Santa

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    After starting two tanks with dry rock i have developed a theory that the rock needs to have beneficial critters and/or other stuff to prevent all the bad algae blooms. I started my first tank with real live rock and really didn't experience all these stupid bad algae blooms ie bubble algae, cyano, bryopsis, etc. The tanks i started with dry rock went through one outbreak after another until the surface of the rocks was coated with stuff (i don't know what but the rock isn't white anymore) and now the algae outbreaks have stopped. Keep in mind this is independent of N and P readings as i have very high N and P now, no pest algae and great coral color and growth.
     
  9. Jay Z

    Jay Z Active Member R2R Supporter

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    If it looks like what Retro Reefer posted, thats what I look for when buying live rock. I consider anything else ornamental.
     
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  10. saf1

    saf1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    Live is nothing more than previously cured and cycled rock with the bacteria and other micro fauna established. That can happen several different ways such as taking dry rock and cycling it or buying any of the aqua cultured rocks that are shipped. Then there is the local fish store stuff or something you might buy off someone getting out of the hobby, ebay, or something similar.

    There is a clear line though when one talks about buying "real" aqua cultured rock sold such from KP or TBS. Those are man made then stored in farms in a leased area of the ocean then packaged up and sold. Of those TBS is the closest thing on the planet to "live" because it is shipped fully submerged in water air freight next day for pickup by hobbyist. There is zero die off.

    That is live. The rest usually has a cycle of some sort. I've used "live" from harbor aquatics years ago when it was sold from Fiji and shipped over night in news papers. Still have some of that rock today. Then there is the current tank that has 150 lbs of dry pukani - about as dead as it can be...cycled and up and running for almost a year now maturing. Each day it looks better but it is nothing like I would have had by TBS or KP.

    Live = bacteria and micro fauna.
    How that happens is how it is cycled.
    TBS / KP = from ocean
    TBS is about the freshest you can buy = live.

    Good luck.
     
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  11. malacoda

    malacoda Active Member Partner Member 2019

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    I'll take no. 1 any day of the week.

    I used TBS for my 24g a few years ago. Had no cycle whatsover. No algae blooms. And loved the experience of seeing and watching all the critters--big and small, good and bad. (Worst pests I encountered were a couple of poly-clad flatworms. No big deal and rather cool to see/experience.)

    I'll also be going with aquacultured for the 65g that is being delivered this week. Just haven't quite decided where from yet.

    Granted I've never tried dry rock. But given the many, many posts I've seen regarding algae blooms, the 'ugly' phase, and phosphate leaching from dry rock, I'd rather deal with potential hitchhikers of aquacultured rock. IMHO they at least provide intrigue and excitement.
     
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  12. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I actually chose all of the above as well - when I wrote the poll - but its interesting to see everyone's opinions.

    See the quote below. But yes - here is a question - If you leave a piece of "dead rock" in the ocean for a month (lets say) - does it become "live rock".

    Yes - As someone else posted here my first 'reef tank' I ordered from Florida - it came overnight wrapped in Newspaper (wet) covered with Coraline algae, macroalgae and so many living things it was crazy - I t in the tank as it was. A funny and true story - I went to the tank in the middle of the night once - with a flashlight - and there was an at least 2 foot 'worm' of some kind swimming around in the water - it was fluorescent blue. Never saw it again. a 55 gallon tank run by a magnum canister filter.
     
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  13. jda

    jda Valuable Member

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    I want live rock from the ocean that has been cured with no surface life. I want the phosphate free & porous structure, bacteria, sponges, pods, coralline and that is about all. I do not want any corals, crabs, algae, gorgs, etc.

    Rock shipped out of water that gets cured outside of the tank will meet these criterion for me - the cycle will kill almost all of the bad stuff that I do not want. I do not want stuff shipped in water since most of the live stuff on the exterior will die in a year anyway and I don't want to risk any isopods, mantis, crabs, algae, bobbits, etc.

    When it was available, I just purchased Marshall Island, Fiji, Tonga "boat rock."

    Edit: without a coral QT, the first plug from your first frag can introduce bryopsis, aiptasia and every other nasty pest that you could ever think about. Starting with dry rock, or the curing process, is no sure bet to be pest free. This is a pipe dream.
     
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  14. Gregg @ ADP

    Gregg @ ADP Well-Known Member

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    If I don’t have to worry about a mythrax crab or mantis shrimp sneaking in on it, it’s not really live rock.
     
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  15. Lukas75

    Lukas75 Active Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I'm patient and quarantine everything wet. I don't mind starting with dry rock and allowing it to go through the ugly phases until it is established to avoid the pests that come in.

    That having been said there is something to be said for the true live rock, the stuff that is fresh or relatively fresh from the ocean. I started when I lived in Florida in the old days when keys rock was legal and all we had. If you're not worried about the pests, are willing to shell out the extra $$ then go for it. A FOWLR tank started with the real stuff is truly something to behold.
     
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  16. Wolf89

    Wolf89 Active Member

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    Agree. I started with live rock in my first tank ever, and I've never had any algae blooms or anything
     
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  17. Lukas75

    Lukas75 Active Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I apologize for somehow managing to post the same thing three times. Is there a way to delete the last two that I'm missing?
     
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  18. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I have come to the conclusion that this 'ammonia cycling' for weeks that people do causes part of the 'uglies' phase people talk about. The more of the rock that's covered by 'living stuff' the less place for the 'ugly stuff'. Im sure this is heresy
     
  19. Lukas75

    Lukas75 Active Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I have a system that is currently in the set-up phase and after watching the WWC-BRS series I'm going to try the method of not turning the lights on for two months and adding coraline from my other tank. It seems that the algae like the ammonia better than nitrate so that makes sense. Hopefully leaving the lights off during the ammonia phase will help this. I figure it's not that different from what I was planning already so it's worth a shot.
     
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  20. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    There used to be rock called 'base rock' - which was rock taken from the ocean and then cured (in vats of saltwater - with changes) in the dark such that everything that was 'alive' died - and what was left was 'rock' supposedly with bacteria. You used that to 'build' the base of your reef (it cost less) - then on top of that you put 'live rock' which had all of the other 'stuff' on it (so it looked like a reef')
     
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