The Rock dilemma

Forty-Two

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I have a question I’m hoping the community can help answer. I’m in the advanced planning stages for a 200G custom aquarium build. I had an aquarium for years when I was younger - and even had a saltwater aquarium for about 6-8 months before it crashed (this was before the interwebs - so knowledge was hard to come by). Anyhoo - I’m having a rock dilemma in the planning stages.

What is the relative chance of success with 100% man made rock? This is not my choice but is all that I can likely get. I was looking at going 50/50 with dry live rock and live rock - but it appears this isn’t an option. I’m going to check with the LFS’s that are relatively close to me but Im not optimistic based on import restrictions here and searches I’ve done.

Are there ways to increase that chance of success if I can only get something like real reef rock Ie bottled bacteria etc). Any other methods?
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vetteguy53081

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Man made rock offers little to no buffering and until seeded, you experience algae amongst other issues with clarity and any sharp edges and can introduce large amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and phosphate into your tank.
 

Spieg

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Go with live rock if possible. I know it's hard to come by, but maybe look on Craig's list or local reef club to see if anyone is breaking down a tank and willing to sell their rock?
 
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Forty-Two

Forty-Two

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Ya that’s what I’m kind of concerned about - ok I’ll check with my local dealers and see if I can get anything. If not I may have to put the project on hold until I can get some. Thanks for the responses!
 

Cell

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Starting with all man-made, dead rock is quite common these days. Join your local reefing forum, you may be able to find someone near by who will FIF or sell you some live rock.
 
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Forty-Two

Forty-Two

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What about any rock from the ocean? I probably can’t get Rock from a coral reef as that’s largely protected - but I can probably get some type of rock from the ocean as it’s ver close by.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much of a community here - also I don’t speak the local language. There seems to be only 2 reef related fish stores in the entire country. Luckily I found someone who imports fish/corals/does custom tanks and they speak English.
 

Gtinnel

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I started my current tank with all dry rock and I attribute a lot of my early problems to it. It can be done, and often is, but I wouldn't start another tank with only dry rock....unless I had no other choice. So if I were you I'd still start with dry rock just realize it will cause for some issues early on and plan accordingly.
 

PatW

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Man made rock will work. I would add some bacteria cultures (if you can get them). Also, I wonder if man made rock will leach stuff until it is cured. I would toss it into a tub with salt water and a powerhead for a week or two to let it leach out most of what it might leach.

If you have ocean access, you could take man made rock aNd find a spot in the ocean where you can find it again and come back after a few weeks and retrieve it. It should be colonized with at least bacteria by then. Or you could get a little reef rock and use it to see your tank. I really do not like taking rock from a reef. I would rather seed some of my own on a reef.
 

ApoIsland

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What about any rock from the ocean? I probably can’t get Rock from a coral reef as that’s largely protected - but I can probably get some type of rock from the ocean as it’s ver close by.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much of a community here - also I don’t speak the local language. There seems to be only 2 reef related fish stores in the entire country. Luckily I found someone who imports fish/corals/does custom tanks and they speak English.
Yes any rock from the ocean will work. Doesn't have to be a whole lot. One or two the size of your palm will eventually seed the entire tank.

I really like the idea to drop your dry rock in the ocean for a couple weeks.
 

mdb_talon

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As others say live rock is ideal, but sounds like that may be an issue in your location so wou just say dry manmade rock is certainly possible. You want porous "light" rock designed for aquarium so not just a manmade pile of concrete :)

Sounds like you are in planning stages for tank so my advice is decide on and buy that rock asap. Put in container with a powerhead and heater and get it curing as far ahead of thr tank as possible. Ammonia and bottled bacteria can speed it up.
 

Dragonsreef

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Nothing wrong with dry rock if seeded properly. Leave in a tube for 2-3 months with a pump for water circulation and heater. Seed with a variety of bacteria. I recommend the dr tims line up. Refresh, eco balance and one and only with give you all the bacteria needed for a complete eco system. Just make sure to ghost feed to keep the nitrogen cycle active.

You can also seed a lot of dry rock with a small amount of live rock from the ocean as well. But if you just put dry rock in the tank without seeding it will take much longer for the ecosystem to stabilize. You can seed it in the display too if you would like i would just do it without live stock and lights off.
 

ReefBeta

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I started my tank with all man made rock. 8 months in it looks like this now:
PXL_20210418_202909705.jpg
I don't think using dry rock will necessarily be a stopper for success, nor using live rock be automatic success.
Use bacteria products and love sand will also help. My sand bed is about 30% bagged live sand. Also used couple bacteria bottle from bright well.
Live rock is just one of the many many factor for diversity and stability, not essential in my opinion.
 

lpsouth1978

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I used Life Reef rock in my current build and have been quite happy with it. What I did was to put all of my rock in a large Brute with saltwater, heater and wavemaker. I then added bottled bacteria. Not just 1 type, but any I could find. I used Dr. Tims, Biospira, Microbacter, Fritz, etc. The idea was that each bottled back would provide a different strain and source of bacteria, adding to the biodiversity of the rock. I DID NOT add all of these at the same time, but over the course of a couple months.

By the time I was ready to add the rock to the system (a few months) the rock was cured, cycled, and ready to go to work. This is not as good a solution as true live rock, but worked very well for me.
 
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Forty-Two

Forty-Two

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Great advice - thanks all - much appreciated! I think I have some options now and hadn’t considered starting the curing process now before getting the tank/sump
 
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