Why did you choose all dry rock to start your reef tank?

Why did you choose all dry rock to start your reef tank?

  • Specific aquascape in mind (i.e. NSA)

    Votes: 52 34.7%
  • Cost

    Votes: 68 45.3%
  • Easy to acquire dry rock

    Votes: 62 41.3%
  • Avoid hitchhikers

    Votes: 79 52.7%
  • Other

    Votes: 14 9.3%

  • Total voters
    150

Mikeltee

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Red Sea Reef Mature Kit (not using the NoPox) and after that finished added Microbacter 7.

Anything else came in on the livestock.

To this day I've never fed anything directly to the coral - I feed the fish and they feed the coral.
That's insane that they would suggest adding NoPox to the mix! Do they want you to get dinos? I briefly glanced at the instructions and it makes one seem that it feeds the nitrifying bacteria.
 

Widdlyscudds

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As a relatively new reefer I can say that live rock is prohibitive in several ways, for one it's insanely expensive compared to dry rock, its not always available locally or if it is the quality and source can be questionable and having been through one tank and onto a second being proactive about pests is never a bad thing, I don't doubt the validity of starting with live rock but I feel like it's easier to start with dry and add some live rock later down the line to help give a tank a kick in the right direction. Plus having a completely custom scape that isn't just a bunch of rock piled on top of each other makes a massive difference for aesthetics. I personally hate the "wall of rock couldn't add a coral if you tried" look. temperance is a virtue
 

Paul B

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I chose dry rock because when I SCUBA dove in 1971 to collect rock in Hawaii they wouldn't allow me to carry all that stinking rock on the plane so I had to bleach it in my hotel room. :confused-face:

I am not quite as stupid now and would never start a tank with dry rock. Over the years I added local New York rock just for the bio diversity and bacteria.

That tank is still running with no problems.

 

PotatoPig

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I started a little over a year ago with dry rock in part because I had hopes of doing this cheaply , a concept that crashed into the steep learning curve running these tanks…

Though at the time the decision was partly made not knowing availability of things like TBS, partly due to hassle of getting live rock, and partly due to easier aquascaping.

TBH - not sure I’d do it much differently in a do-over. I’ve had a couple rounds of algae - one solved by adding more snails, one went away when the amphipod population grew enough to eat it faster than it could grow, and the other due to accidentally running almost no nutrients, solved by feeding more. I’m not sure ocean live rock would have saved any of those.

Some weird biodiversity would be nice, but a lot has come in on snails, crabs and frags, including pods, worms, Bristleworms, bonus snails, tunicates, sponges, feather dusters and more.
 
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zaga

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Yes and no. I’ve done full dry start up twice now so feel like I’ve walked that path enough. I’m actually going to start up a new system soon. This time I’ll be pre aquascaping with dry, then mariculturing the rock myself in local waters for six months. It will likely be a macro algae / softie setup.
That is really cool. I am guessing you have a location with really clean water?
 
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zaga

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I’m planning on setting up a new tank and in two minds on going for live rock or sticking with dry rock.

Live rock, plus live sand and premium live rock or just the plain old box-o-rocks and a bag of sand.

Cost is a factor, but many claim benefits going the live route, pretty much setting up an insta tank with zero ugly phase but doesn’t mean you can cram the tank full from day one.

Then again going the live rock route, will probably mean spending a good couple of weeks with a pair of tweezers and a flash light hunting for unwelcome hitchhikers followed by “what’s this in my tank threads”..

As for aqua scaping, pile-o-rocks, nsa or hnsa, you not really gonna see any of it when the corals start growing and filling up.
When setting up tanks, I have always done about 50% live rock and the other 50% dry rock. Going all live rock is a waste of money unless you need to transfer fish and coral ASAP.

Even with all live rock, you will still have an ugly phase. I am curious though how this phase compares to going all dry rock.
 
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zaga

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As a life-long hobbyist and someone who was in the aquatic industry for many years, I have not-nor would I-ever start a system without "real" live rock.
I agree. Other than wanting to start a reef with just dry rocks to observe its progression, I would never start one without any live rock. Even having a just a piece of live rock among pounds of dry rock would be beneficial long term.
 
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zaga

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@Gtinnel Where did you get bacteria from? bottle or just add corals slowly? I Started with a Sterile tank I used life rock and still struggle with algea 3 years later. Nutrients have been stable for 2 years. Tried various brightwell products with little success Was thinking I need to start again and seed with some live rock.
Did you seed with live rock at any point? CuC? did you see with pods? and what type of algae?

Even with live rock you will still have some algae. I have a tang, astrea and turbo snails, and pods to keep them in check.
 
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zaga

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I started a little over a year ago with dry rock in part because I had hopes of doing this cheaply , a concept that crashed into the steep learning curve running these tanks…

Though at the time the decision was partly made not knowing availability of things like TBS, partly due to hassle of getting live rock, and partly due to easier aquascaping.

TBH - not sure I’d do it much differently in a do-over. I’ve had a couple rounds of algae - one solved by adding more snails, one went away when the amphipod population grew enough to eat it faster than it could grow, and the other due to accidentally running almost no nutrients, solved by feeding more. I’m not sure ocean live rock would have saved any of those.

Some weird biodiversity would be nice, but a lot has come in on snails, crabs and frags, including pods, worms, Bristleworms, bonus snails, tunicates, sponges, feather dusters and more.
That's awesome. Success stories like this makes me want to setup a dry rock tank just to observe it. Did you seed the tank with bacteria initially?
 

Troylee

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Because Brs told me too! Whoops wrong thread. :zany-face: Haha! Some dry is fine but live rock is where it’s at! As sterile as anybody wants to keep their reef from pests it’s just not an option dry rock or not if you add live stock!
 
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zaga

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The rock in my reef started as dry rock but it has been moved from tank to tank over the past 10 years. I remember it being difficult at first but after it has spent years in water I always try to use it when I set up a new tank. I also put a bunch of dry rock in my sump of my main tank after I have the setup of the new tank to at least try to seed the rock a bit.
Yah I try to do this also when I have the space. I also want to grab some live rock from other places to keep diversifying the bacteria in the tank.
 

Reefer Matt

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I used both types in different tanks. Live rock is much easier to cycle and establish a tank. Both types of tanks will be fine after a year or two when the dry rock becomes established live rock. I think people over think it and try to sterilize their tanks, then wonder why they get problems. If money is an issue, I suggest getting some of both types of rock.
 
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zaga

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Love TBS...same here...once added, huge difference in tank and Rock seeding.

I was fortunate to get a rare cup coral on one of my Live Rocks from TBS.

It's one of my favorites, because, nobody has them for sale...like anywhere...and it's grown and been amazing.
20240109_211137.jpg
That's really cool. I love hitchhikers lol.
 
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zaga

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Hard to justify the shipping for a 20 gallon tank worth of love rock. If this was my old 150 heck yes. My best hope now it to slowly gather rubble from seeded tanks or eventually drive out to tbs and beg to buy the sludge off the bottom of their tanks
Rock and rubble from a seeded tank is the way to go long term and economically.
 
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zaga

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I chose dry rock because when I SCUBA dove in 1971 to collect rock in Hawaii they wouldn't allow me to carry all that stinking rock on the plane so I had to bleach it in my hotel room. :confused-face:

I am not quite as stupid now and would never start a tank with dry rock. Over the years I added local New York rock just for the bio diversity and bacteria.

That tank is still running with no problems.

Reef looks great! And to have a story alongside your reef must be nice.
 

mook1178

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I am in the process of acquiring everything to start my tank and I think about this daily. I want the biodiversity in bacteria from the ocean, but the cost of live rock is nuts! So I have thought about getting dry rock for the DT and 10-20 lbs of live rock for the sump. That way I get the bacteria and keep nasty hitchhikers in the sump.
 

Caring for your picky eaters: What do you feed your finicky fish?

  • Live foods

    Votes: 46 29.5%
  • Frozen meaty foods

    Votes: 119 76.3%
  • Soft pellets

    Votes: 33 21.2%
  • Masstick (or comparable)

    Votes: 13 8.3%
  • Other

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