Man made live rock or real live rock?

Sarah1990

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Man made live rock is a cheaper alternative to real live rock I believe? Is this ok to go for or are hitch hikers beneficial and needed in the tank?
Also if you have live rock will normal sand be fine or should you still go for live sand too?
 

Cell

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Man made rock is fine to use. Some people prefer clean rock over live rock that can introduce unwanted hitchhikers. However, your tank will cycle slower with new rock. Beneficial hitchhikers are not necessary, but are a nice luxury.
 
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Sarah1990

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Man made rock is fine to use. Some people prefer clean rock over live rock that can introduce unwanted hitchhikers. However, your tank will cycle slower with new rock. Beneficial hitchhikers are not necessary, but are a nice luxury.
Thank you. Would you get the beneficial hitch hikers in live sand or just live rock?
 

EMeyer

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When this question is asked, people typically only discuss the bacterial community of the rock. Any reasonably mature live rock will have a pretty good bacterial community. Any dry rock (whether artificial, mined, or real coral skeletons) will have effectively none.

What I dont think gets mentioned enough is the porosity of the rock. Almost all of the manmade and mined rock I've seen appears to be completely non-porous, with only a thin layer of cavities on the surface for bacteria to colonize.

I've broken up a lot of dry mined rock, live man-made rock (cultured in Fiji) and dry pukani. The difference in porousity is huge. Literally like the difference between a sponge and a brick. The point of live rock is to provide surface area for bacterial colonies. For these colonies to filter the water, they have to be in contact with the water. Coral skeletons have a network of cavities throughout. Manmade and mined rock are solid bricks. Based on these observations, I would bet money that 1 cubic inch of dead coral skeleton houses more bacteria than a cubic foot of dry rock.

This is not to say that I think artificial/mined rock hurts a tank somehow. I just think its absurdly ineffective relative to coral skeletons.

These days, if I'm gonna bother taking up space in the tank or sump with it, it had better be 100% dead coral skeleton. I don't care much if its "live", wet, or dry... but I'm done wasting space in my tank with what are effectively non-porous bricks.
 
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Proteus Meep

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Every tank i have set up i have used live rock and dry fine aragonite sand

Yes you can get unwanted hitchhikers but you can also get some real treasures and have a stronger biodiversity right from the start
 

EMeyer

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To be clear, its derived from old dead skeletons of calficying organisms including corals. But its now become limestone, which is almost completely non-porous relative to actual coral skeletons. Chemically the same, physically very very different.
 

reefwiser

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unless you bought live rock before the collection of live rock was banned. You most likely have never used real live rock. A piece of the old live rock was so porous that if you lifted it out of the water it would drain water for ever. The rock to day is not porous at all while bacteria will grow on it. It will not support the network of bacteria and small life forms that makes live rock live rock.
The unwanted animals one gets with live rock will come ever time you place a coral in your tank. I haven’t put a new coral in my tank in 8 months and now I have a ton of starfish showing up in the tank. It’s the life of the sea. The cycle will start again as soon as I place the next coral in the aquarium.
Buy real Live rock that is shipped to you fro Florida direct from the sea it’s the best way to set up an aquarium.
 

Tuan’s Reef

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When this question is asked, people typically only discuss the bacterial community of the rock. Any reasonably mature live rock will have a pretty good bacterial community. Any dry rock (whether artificial, mined, or real coral skeletons) will have effectively none.

What I dont think gets mentioned enough is the porosity of the rock. Almost all of the manmade and mined rock I've seen appears to be completely non-porous, with only a thin layer of cavities on the surface for bacteria to colonize.

I've broken up a lot of dry mined rock, live man-made rock (cultured in Fiji) and dry pukani. The difference in porousity is huge. Literally like the difference between a sponge and a brick. The point of live rock is to provide surface area for bacterial colonies. For these colonies to filter the water, they have to be in contact with the water. Coral skeletons have a network of cavities throughout. Manmade and mined rock are solid bricks. Based on these observations, I would bet money that 1 cubic inch of dead coral skeleton houses more bacteria than a cubic foot of dry rock.

This is not to say that I think artificial/mined rock hurts a tank somehow. I just think its absurdly ineffective relative to coral skeletons.

These days, if I'm gonna bother taking up space in the tank or sump with it, it had better be 100% dead coral skeleton. I don't care much if its "live", wet, or dry... but I'm done wasting space in my tank with what are effectively non-porous bricks.
I regret not starting with live rock . I cycled my tank with real reef rock manmade and you are absolutely right . The rock is incredibly dense and none porous. It’s useless really. I know better next time.
 

Proteus Meep

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What I dont think gets mentioned enough is the porosity of the rock. Almost all of the manmade and mined rock I've seen appears to be completely non-porous, with only a thin layer of cavities on the surface for bacteria to colonize.
Agreed, even some of the better human made rock that when cut open show many cavities inside realistically only the surface can become colonised as none if the internal cavities are conected by tunnels etc to the outside surface...i think that's where the supplementation with bio bricks etc is a useful addition to ensure an adequate surface area to make up for the shortfall especially in tanks with a larger bioload
 

LOVEROCK

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Agreed, even some of the better human made rock that when cut open show many cavities inside realistically only the surface can become colonised as none if the internal cavities are conected by tunnels etc to the outside surface...i think that's where the supplementation with bio bricks etc is a useful addition to ensure an adequate surface area to make up for the shortfall especially in tanks with a larger bioload
have you used bio brick your self ? i added a new one to sump recently how do u like it ?
 

Proteus Meep

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have you used bio brick your self ? i added a new one to sump recently how do u like it ?
Never used it myself as i have only ever used live rock so not really felt any need to employ its properties, excellent option for extra bacterial surface area though
 
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saf1

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What is your budget? I've used live rock in 2000 which we used to be able to get overnight from Fiji. Actually it was 2 day air back then and shipped in wet news paper. Great stuff. Still have some today.

With my recent upgrade I planned to use TBS but with 2 in college at the time I couldn't really do that due to the overall cost. Big mistake in my opinion hind sight being 20/20 and all. Instead I went with 150 LBS of dry Pukani. Great rock but takes a while to mature and leaches phosphate.

Enter TBS. This is by far the best rock on the planet that you can buy in my opinion. Richard is a stand up guy and if you look around there are plenty of images of what you will get. If you want reef ready display quality rocks this is the best solution again in my opinion. Yes, there will be hitch hikers both good and bad but at the end of the day does it matter?

Dry rock becomes live. You introduce frags, fish, or move a tank like I did and start with no pests but end up with them regardless of how hard you try not to. You may get a gorilla crab, I did with my rock from Fiji, just capture it and move on. It is possible to do with a bit of patience. Mantis shrimp, again possible but may also frustrate one I guess. My point is the good will out weigh the bad because it is both beautiful rock, healthy rock, already bacteria rock, and the foundation you need for a thriving system. Oh, and environmentally friendly - there, forgot to add that.

To put this into perspective my 210 upgrade I cycled the tank in Feb 2018 using a fishless method. It completed the cycle on March 25th 2019. This is when I could add 4 ppm of ammonia and it would process it to 0 consistently under 24 hours. I waited until April 2018 to move over my 40 breeder into it, turning on lights, skimmer, etc. Here we are 16 months later and I am only now comfortable with saying my rock is just starting to mature. 16 months later and it is still leaching phosphate too should say. Measure .08 and 30 days later it will be about .19. Interesting, yeah?

So if your budget will allow it I'd say call Richard/TBS or email and work out a package. It really is that good. I wish I did but alas not properly planning my childrens college means I am paying monthly so TBS had to wait another day :D
 

Tuan’s Reef

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When fall comes around I plan to setup my QT tank again. Going with some real TBS rock this time . I plan to just let it cycle it out for the entire winter months before putting it my display.
 
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saf1

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TBS doesn't require a cycle. Air freight over night fully submerged. You add it and are done. That simple.
 

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