Live rock V established rock?

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SlugSnorter

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Was talking to LFS and asked about what they think of live rock in new tanks, they say its good, but its better to use established rock (rock that has been sitting in a very established, healthy system for a while) since it has all the biodiversity, but no risk of harmful hitchhikers. What is the consensus on this?
 

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The older the live rock the better (assuming it is from a clean system). If given the choice of a rock from someone’s established system vs. live rock from a LFS- I’d take the established system.
 

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Was talking to LFS and asked about what they think of live rock in new tanks, they say its good, but its better to use established rock (rock that has been sitting in a very established, healthy system for a while) since it has all the biodiversity, but no risk of harmful hitchhikers. What is the consensus on this?
I've done a lot of research into the microbiome and from what I've gathered there's just no way that any rock that hasn't been in the ocean can have the same bacterial diversity as rock that is from the ocean... Also, according to research performed by Aquabiomics using data gathered from DNA analysis biodiversity actually decreases some over the years rock has been in a tank due to competition between bacterial strains
 
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The older the live rock the better (assuming it is from a clean system). If given the choice of a rock from someone’s established system vs. live rock from a LFS- I’d take the established system.
LFS offered some free rock and media from their huge coral tanks when I setup a new tank. Filled with really heathy SPS and other corals, no aphistasia or nuisance algae after personal inspection of tank and sump.
 

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interesting topic as i just ordered 80 pounds of aquacultured live rock from FL. My first 2 tanks had live rocks that was just cured in water and bacteria from my LFS. I had all kinds of issue with this rock. Never again. Will only use live rocks harvested from the ocean moving forward... Its not cheap but will worth it . Bio diversity on the ocean rocks cannot be replicated in my opinion.

I'll be putting the rocks in a 20g long to weed out as much as unwanted hitch hikers as i can before putting it in my DT.
 
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Playing games with semantics. I think there are more variables than just time in water. My 1 yr old live rock might have 10x the biodiversity of your 5 yr old live rock.

Ask them what duration of time qualifies for "established" rock.
 

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Playing games with semantics. I think there are more variables than just time in water. My 1 yr old live rock might have 10x the biodiversity of your 5 yr old live rock.

Ask them what duration of time qualifies for "established" rock.
I remember when Ron Shimek recommended added "detrivore kits" to older tanks to keep the biodiversity elevated in a DSB. He actually had a recommended number of microorganisms per inch of sand and to check yearly. He was also referring to more than just bacteria.

If you are trying to poison most life entering your tank via dipping or other means....seems counter productive to the term biodiversity.
 

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Live Rock cultivated in the Ocean > "Established" Rock. Is the cost, effort, and risks of using ocean cultivated live rock justified by the potential positive outcome of using it? IMO, it is absolutely justified. I won't ever again start a reef tank with any rock that isn't cultivated in the ocean.
 
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Live Rock cultivated in the Ocean > "Established" Rock. Is the cost, effort, and risks of using ocean cultivated live rock justified by the potential positive outcome of using it? IMO, it is absolutely justified. I won't ever again start a reef tank with any rock that isn't cultivated in the ocean.
What about LR that started from the ocean and has been in a tank for over a couple years? Did it lose its biodiversity or spread it to the other rocks in the system?
 

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What about LR that started from the ocean and has been in a tank for over a couple years? Did it lose its biodiversity or spread it to the other rocks in the system?
Some of the biodiversity is lost due to competition between bacteria
 

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What about LR that started from the ocean and has been in a tank for over a couple years? Did it lose its biodiversity or spread it to the other rocks in the system?
It would still be preferable to get rock fresh from the ocean, but compared to dry rock, the rock that’s been in a tank for a couple years is still light years ahead.

Personally, I will never use anything but live rock fresh from the ocean again. I’ve set up probably 15 tanks over the years with live rock either from the ocean or from long established tanks (that was originally from the ocean), and in my most recent tank I used dry rock for the first time (seeded with some maricultured live rock), and it is just the worst. It’s an algae magnet, it absorbs phosphates, its not very porous, and I’ve had nonstop issues with nutrient levels. I will never use dry rock again. I like all of the microfauna that comes on live rock, it’s half the fun of having a reef tank, the paranoia about hitchhikers is wildly overstated and exaggerated. We see people new to the hobby here all the time that are terrified of hitchhikers in their tanks because of all the fear mongering about hitchhikers, and it’s unfortunate, a lot of people leave the hobby because they used dry rock and had endless problems with it. I always tell people, using or at least seeding with some real live rock is the absolute best thing you can do for your tank, it’s probably the number one thing you can do to ensure the health and longevity of your tank.
 
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What about LR that started from the ocean and has been in a tank for over a couple years? Did it lose its biodiversity or spread it to the other rocks in the system?
There are too many possible variables to definitively answer that question. I think under the best of circumstances, it would not contain the original diversity of population it once had. Many recommend adding a little rock every once in a while to maintain that diversity.
 

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Ryan at BRS did a whole series and tests on this topic. He used 8 identical systems and tested biodiversity using 8 different methods (live rock, live sand, dry rock, etc.) results were a little surprising but highly recommend checking it out. He used the FL Keys live rock in one example as well. It is on their YouTube channel and FB page. Best of luck.
 

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I've done a lot of research into the microbiome and from what I've gathered there's just no way that any rock that hasn't been in the ocean can have the same bacterial diversity as rock that is from the ocean... Also, according to research performed by Aquabiomics using data gathered from DNA analysis biodiversity actually decreases some over the years rock has been in a tank due to competition between bacterial strains
I believe that may be true, in a completely stagnant system. Every frag plug and coral skeleton added to the established biome is bringing in sources for new diversity.
 
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I'd argue that "established rock" from people's tanks or the fish store is MORE likely to harbor unwanted guests. Fresh real live rock is the best IMO.
 

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Just because it has more diversity doesn't mean it's necessarily all good. There are bad bacteria in the ocean plus countless viruses and other proteins. Is it better than dry rock...sure if you're willing to deal with hitchhikers. Will it result it quicker maturity yeah I believe it will. That said if I had a choice between established aquarium rock with sponges and life from a healthy looking tank that's at least 1-3 years old, I'd take that over ocean live rock every time.

I'm not replicating ocean in my tank. I'm creating a stable environment in a very artificial system.
 

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Playing games with semantics. I think there are more variables than just time in water. My 1 yr old live rock might have 10x the biodiversity of your 5 yr old live rock.

Ask them what duration of time qualifies for "established" rock.
All established Rock is live rock, but all live rock is not established Rock.
To what slug said; what makes it established over live?
 
AquaSD

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All established Rock is live rock, but all live rock is not established Rock.
To what slug said; what makes it established over live?
What is the definition of established rock?

Or is that what you are asking?
 

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Just because it has more diversity doesn't mean it's necessarily all good. There are bad bacteria in the ocean plus countless viruses and other proteins. Is it better than dry rock...sure if you're willing to deal with hitchhikers. Will it result it quicker maturity yeah I believe it will. That said if I had a choice between established aquarium rock with sponges and life from a healthy looking tank that's at least 1-3 years old, I'd take that over ocean live rock every time.

I'm not replicating ocean in my tank. I'm creating a stable environment in a very artificial system.
There are certainly risks to using real live rock and extra effort needed to reduce them. It kind of sounds like you are choosing the best possible circumstance to advocate for using "established" rock. How often is rock from an "established aquarium with sponges and life from a healthy looking tank that's at least 1-3 years old" actually available? From what I've seen, "established" rock that is actually available is just some rock of unknown origin that is sitting in a vat of circulating water.

We all know we can't recreate the ocean and its processes. We can use the tools it provides though. I really think live rock is one of them.
 
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