"Live Rock Per Gallon Rule" - Under, Over or Just Right?

BRS

Is this "Live Rock Per Gallon" rule relevant anymore?

  • YES

    Votes: 84 18.1%
  • NO

    Votes: 302 65.1%
  • Yes and No (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 62 13.4%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 16 3.4%

  • Total voters
    464

vlangel

Seahorse whisperer
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
4,041
Reaction score
2,651
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
My sentiments but I have had a 300 gallon display. Going smaller to much time and expense for the bigger displays. Use to think I wanted 500- 1000 gallon display now I am going to be happy with a 65 gallon display smallest saltwater tank I will have owned
I also had somewhat of a bigger tank and downsized to a 56 gallon DT about 4 + years ago. I do still have a 30 gallon fuge and 20 gallon sump hooked up to it but this smaller tank is perfect and I am not wanting the work or expense of a bigger system anymore. The smaller tank is home to 16 fish and I am content with that. I do have a lot of rock to give those fish adequate territory space and I do feed heavily to keep 'hangry' behaviors at a mimimal.
 

Belgian Anthias

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
1,172
Reaction score
542
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Aarschot Belgium
I said no, it's not relevent just as the typewriter is no longer relevent to people. Are there aspects of the typewriter still around? Yes, definitely, we have keyboards that echo the layout of letters on the good old typewriter. And we have the option to print to paper if we want. That's about all that's the same, but there's aspects still relevent. As many others before me have said, there's technological advances in biofiltration. We understand the needs of our marine environments better than ever. We have "hobby grade" test kits that are probably more accurate than they ever have been to tell us if filtration isn't working.

Advances in bacterial strains, efficient export mechanisms (advanced skimmers, advanced algae turf scrubbers) and even advances in sump designs, roller mats, etc all contribute to how much rock a person needs.

I would say if anything we need an equation that calculates x amount of lbs of rock. And the variables that determine it include:
1.) Size of tank
2.) size of sump.
3.) Roller mat yes/ no?
4.) Socks yes / no?
5.) Skimmer yes / no
6. If yes to skimmer rating of skimmer.
7. algae turf scrubber yes / no?
8. If yes to ATS - some size rating of the ats.
9. Refugium yes / no?
10. Number of fish planned?
11. other factors yes / no.

Then, based some convuluted equation, you can say, you should have x lbs of rock. Now, that said, Go with what looks nice for creating the habitat you want (plenty of hiding places.

Any pics of multiple sumps used. Like a live rock sump or a sump dedicated to a couple brightwell bricks and then a sump dedicated to equipment all linked together?
This assumes " live rock" has a certain filtration capacity. Does it? Can it be determined? Compared to base rock?

If it comes to filtration capacity a small biofilter will be many times more efficient and, moreover, the filtration capacity can be adjusted at any time. The tank can easily be conditioned before another fish is introduced and the bioload is increased, anticipating what is coming. This is called "active aquarium management", AAM. One does not need "live rock" for managing a reef aquarium. It may be a source of pollution.
Corals are real "live rock" and will introduce essential diversity with their coral holobiont, as do all other organisms introduced in the tank. So-called "live rock" will for sure introduce competitors for the coral holobiont.

What is best to be introduced first, the coral holobiont or so-called " live rock"?

Advances in bacterial strains? New technology gives us more knowledge about what strains of bacteria are responsible for certain processes, but they are still the same bacteria who did the same work in the past. Nothing has changed, it is still about the balance between producers and reducers and keep DOC as low as possible for healthy corals. One must be aware of a lot of so-called advanced technics are only needed because one is using it. Some are responsible for creating an imbalance which then has to be corrected using another advanced device or technics.
It has been shown modern advanced skimmers are no better for removing DOC as a simple counter-current skimmer from the seventies having the correct size. The most advanced skimmers will only remove +- 30% of DOC and do this very selective. ref: MB CMF De Haes 2017
 

Paul B

10K Club member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 3, 2010
Messages
14,859
Reaction score
46,768
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Long Island NY
I didn't weigh my rock because I collected all of it in the sea but I believe you should have as much rock as you can fit while leaving plenty of room for fish to hide so it should be in a kind of lace work.

Not just for filtration or water conditions but for food and fish health. Many fish like copperbands, randalls gobies, mandarins, 6 line wrasses and the majority of fish we keep need or like to hunt. In a bare tank or something with very little rocks it isn't easy. Except for the copperband I don't have to feed most of my fish as they have plenty of places to find food. Copepods are a very important part of the food chain and even if you have fish that don't eat them, they are important.

Hiding where we can't see the fish is also very important for fish health and IMO one of the reasons for a disease forum. If we can see the fish, they can see us, and they don't like us even if we consider ourselves very good looking. ;Meh

My own tank is loaded with rock but very little of it actually touches the gravel on the bottom. I can see through many places right through to the back and fish can traverse the many tunnels and caves and keep out of sight.
 

Bruce Burnett

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
1,104
Reaction score
780
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I didn't weigh my rock because I collected all of it in the sea but I believe you should have as much rock as you can fit while leaving plenty of room for fish to hide so it should be in a kind of lace work.

Not just for filtration or water conditions but for food and fish health. Many fish like copperbands, randalls gobies, mandarins, 6 line wrasses and the majority of fish we keep need or like to hunt. In a bare tank or something with very little rocks it isn't easy. Except for the copperband I don't have to feed most of my fish as they have plenty of places to find food. Copepods are a very important part of the food chain and even if you have fish that don't eat them, they are important.

Hiding where we can't see the fish is also very important for fish health and IMO one of the reasons for a disease forum. If we can see the fish, they can see us, and they don't like us even if we consider ourselves very good looking. ;Meh

My own tank is loaded with rock but very little of it actually touches the gravel on the bottom. I can see through many places right through to the back and fish can traverse the many tunnels and caves and keep out of sight.
I agree when you have enough rock it can be hard to see the fish. They are more comfortable and less aggressive behavior. I have found if you keep your tank in an active room the fish come out more. When strangers come into the room they hide. So it depends on what you want for a display a tank full of Acropora frags with few fish, a mixed coral tank, a fish only or a tank with mixed corals not just frags and some fish. See a lot of displays with frags and people seem proud to have hundreds of frags in their display, they get bored watching them grow into colonies. I know some grow their frags out to sell more frags. My last conversation with my son was he was bored because his coral has grown and no more room for new corals or fish and not much maintenance. Told him that means success, start another tank..
 

Flzak

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
odense
I go for about 10% of net water. I know the skimmers are getting better and better to export nutriens but in my opinion you need a certan amount of surface for nitrasfing bacteria to help brake down nutriens as well
 

ReefRxSWFL

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
259
Reaction score
278
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Southwest FL
Couldn’t agree more.

The use of imitation ‘live’ rock without adding any true live rock from an established tank or from someone like TBS is what I believe is the missing equation for most new tanks. I also believe this leads to the ugly stage that everyone now says is normal. When I started this hobby you used under gravel filters and got a culture from the LFS of their gravel to seed the bacteria in your tank - worked like a charm. When I went to reefs it was all true live rock.

After a 10 year hiatus from the hobby when I came back it was all imitation ‘live’ rock. I used 80lbs of the imitation stuff and got 10lbs of established rock from a friends tank. I never had the ‘normal’ ugly stage. So regardless of how much rock you use it’s the biodiversity that is missing when people are starting their tanks - ask Ryan from BRS and what he missed about the WWC method.

I just don’t think adding in ammonia and ‘feeding’ your tank gets you to a proper cycle and it likely contributes to the ‘normal’ ugly stage. Also god forbid you add fish when cycling lol. I did all of these things and was told I’d get hitchhikers on the live rock and the fish would die and I’d still go through a ‘normal’ ugly stage. None of that happened.

Just my opinion.
 

ReefRxSWFL

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
259
Reaction score
278
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Southwest FL
Couldn’t agree more.

The use of imitation ‘live’ rock without adding any true live rock from an established tank or from someone like TBS is what I believe is the missing equation for most new tanks. I also believe this leads to the ugly stage that everyone now says is normal. When I started this hobby you used under gravel filters and got a culture from the LFS of their gravel to seed the bacteria in your tank - worked like a charm. When I went to reefs it was all true live rock.

After a 10 year hiatus from the hobby when I came back it was all imitation ‘live’ rock. I used 80lbs of the imitation stuff and got 10lbs of established rock from a friends tank. I never had the ‘normal’ ugly stage. So regardless of how much rock you use it’s the biodiversity that is missing when people are starting their tanks - ask Ryan from BRS and what he missed about the WWC method.

I just don’t think adding in ammonia and ‘feeding’ your tank gets you to a proper cycle and it likely contributes to the ‘normal’ ugly stage. Also god forbid you add fish when cycling lol. I did all of these things and was told I’d get hitchhikers on the live rock and the fish would die and I’d still go through a ‘normal’ ugly stage. None of that happened.

Just my opinion.
last weekend, i threw together a tank with an Acrylic 25 Gallon Cube from out in my garage with a small Eshoppes sump with a Red Solo Cup of sand from my 150 display and one piece of Pukani from the sump ( about 12x8 inches ) no skimmer, no other filtration, a large pair of clowns, 2 montipora colonies, 1 Pavona colony and 1 small mushroom rock, and have been running the Kessil 360 at 100% power 50% color for 12 hours a day since Sarurday. Have full polyp extension, and have not even had a haze on the inside of the acrylic. A tank, a light, a sump, a pump = instant tank with one eatablished live rock and some established substrate.
 

guysmiley

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
68
Reaction score
36
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
just started the build on a 200g system:cool: i ordered 60kg of

CaribSea Geo-Marine Florida Crushed Coral​

its up to 5.5ml grain size so the surface area is huge for bacteria, i will also be using bio blocks in sump so even more surface area, my goal is to have less rock allowing more flow and no dead spots in tank ,combining this with roller filer decent skimmer and possibly an algae scrubber i think il have a pretty clean system. so yea the need for live rock really isnt relevant in todays reef tanks
 

Toys For Kids Drive

Untitled-2 copy.jpg

BRS

What prizes are you most excited to possibly win?

  • CADE Aquarium

    Votes: 68 55.7%
  • Turbo's Aquatics GC

    Votes: 12 9.8%
  • Tunze Pumps

    Votes: 30 24.6%
  • SBB Corals GC

    Votes: 18 14.8%
  • AquaticLife Light

    Votes: 13 10.7%
  • Orphek Light

    Votes: 38 31.1%
  • Living Reef Orlando GC

    Votes: 20 16.4%
  • Southwest Aquaculture GC

    Votes: 8 6.6%
  • Top Shelf Aquatics GC

    Votes: 29 23.8%
  • Avast Marine GC

    Votes: 15 12.3%
  • Noopsyche Light and GC

    Votes: 18 14.8%
  • Aquatic Reef Design GC

    Votes: 10 8.2%
  • Tropic Marin Lab Test Kit

    Votes: 14 11.5%
  • Reef Diaper Kits

    Votes: 8 6.6%
Innovative Marine
Top