Live Rock or not?

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Markc, 22 May 2013.

  1. Markc

    Markc

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    Hi Guys,

    Looking for some advice. New tank is arriving on the 1st of June. With the assistance of Matthew of Nemos Janitor, (Highly Recommended, great guys to do business with) and I have everything on track except I can't decide what to do about the rock for the tank.

    I need about 150 kg so this is not going to be a cheap exercise and have blown the budget a while ago.

    I like live rock because of the good biodiversity. I hate the thought of all the other unknowns that come with the live rock, that may give long term problems. I will of course have live rock in the sump but do I take what comes and go for live rock in the tank as well, or go with "dead" rock in the tank?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. ADVdiver

    ADVdiver

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    Hi Mark well we are looking forward to the move getting some gym time in :thumbup:
    here is my opinion on the matter between dead and live. Pro's and cons

    Live rock
    Pro's
    Natural growth with vairious calcarious algae
    Bacteria in place already
    Denitrification with in core of the rock.
    Seeded with life.

    Con's
    Pest (crabs, mantis shrimp, snails, slugs, nudibranc's, aptaisia, bubble algae and who know's what else)
    Uncured rock will take longer to establish the aquarium.
    Seeded with life

    Dry rock Pro's
    Natural form
    Bacteria will come and so will denitrification
    Covers very quickly with natural growth
    No pests no unwanted's and we recycling the damage thats already been done and not stripping more from the ocean

    Con's
    No exsisting life on the rock
    No bacteria


    So having said that I would prefer to use the dry rock as i would have full controll over what is in the aquarium and nothing stays white for long in a marine aquarium. Give me a shout in the morning if you would like to discuss more. I have both available one more so than the other.
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Dry rock
    some other cons
    Will take longer to get full of life, Needs something to seed it, or somehow to get the liveforms into the tank and on and into the rock.

    Dead live rock, that is dry, depending on what was in the rock before being dried, all those dead organisms needs to decompose and this could even take longer to cycle. The rock is most likely phosphate loaded and you will have algae for much longer.

    Bio-rock - man made rock.
    No unwanted critters, no bacteria, no phosphates. And cheaper per kilogram. Sounds like the best option. But Bio-rock per volume is heavier than real live rock. So although cheaper per kg, you could end up paying more for the same volume. And it is just not that porous.
     
  5. DeanT

    DeanT Dean

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    Y not setup up and live rock drum, stick in some live rock to assist, and load the rest with base rock.
    This will start the process of converting the base rock in the meantime before the system arrives.


    I started with base rock, and it did take quiet sometime to convert and lots of bacteria dosing to establish the system
     
  6. Express Reef

    Express Reef

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    Got 100kg live rock that`s been cycling for almost 2moths in a kiddies pool, @R75p/kg... mix of Tonga & Fiji and got 15kg bio rock already seeded @R60p/kg if interested you can pm me... was going to post a for sale thread the weekend...
     
  7. ADVdiver

    ADVdiver

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    @RiaanP having setup many aquariums i can agree with some points you make:yeahdude: but given the choice between artifical, live or dry the option I would choose would be artificial but it does not have the bacterial filtration benifits of marine rock as its not as nature made it bristle worms cant even burrow into it and normally just sit on the out side.
    Now if you look at live rock to dry, marine rock the selling point to me with live rock would be the bacterial bennifits only as on live rock the bacteria both aerobic and anerobic are present, having said that this aerobic and anerobic bacteria grow as needed in the aquarium all it needs is a surface area to do so. The problem i have with live rock is that the cons far out weigh the pro's if i could find live rock without any of the con's and it is and will always be free of them then yes live rock would be the best.
    But Live rock is seed with who knows what until it come's out. Then you fight the battle with traping the crabs that are eating your coral or catching your small fish or big one's for that matter, then getting a fish to eat the aptasia or targeting them or sourcing an emerald crab to eat the bubble algae or harlequin shrimp to eat the starfish, or treating with a pig dewormer to kill the flat worm or wrasses to eat them, i can litterally go on for hours, if there is a phosphate issue you will have it with both live( from the curing process or dry rock so would your preffer dealing with multiple issues or just one. Bacteria come's in a bottle and even grows naturally who put it in your DSB the rock will grow what it needs as your aquarium needs it in terms of bacteria. I would take any phosphate level over the cons of live rock and that is how i have justified the point that i would preffer to have full controll over what goes into an aquarium than not knowing and then having to deal with these issue's in a few weeks, months etc. There are many ways to do the same thing for me its about the end result and the pleasure it was getting there plus minding afte 50+ aquariums and having been involed in far more thos is the conclusion i have arrived at.

    I would rather have full control to what goes in. Than have a pretty good idea i am going to encounter some of these problems in the months to come.

    @DeanT thats basically what he will have the seeded live rock in the sump and whatever @Markc desides in the tank.

    It would still need to cycle so after the 4 weeks the result will be the same only thing that will differ is if the tank has or does not have any of the cons ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  8. Albert Terego

    Albert Terego

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    Surely if you place seeded live rock in the sump you are negating the benefits of using artificial rock in the display? Also when addign corals to the tank they are usually on pieces of live rock so you still run the risk of introducing unwanted pests anyway. It does not take kg's of rock to get unwanted hitchhikers - even a small piece can do it. Also most/many of the critters in live rock will spread to the display via spores/eggs etc. If copepods can populate artificial rock in the display from live rock in the sump why not anything else?

    Everyone has their own view.

    Me, I like the look of live rock and also considering we want to in most cases) (or try to to the best of our ability) recreate a natural environment for me live rock ids the way to go. "Artificial" rock can be like using plastic plants or corals - however if chosen correctly (shapes etc.) it can be very difficult to visually distinguish between live rock and artificial rock.

    That said I have a mix of live rock (6kg) and Caribsea primo Reef Rock (20kg) in my tank.
     
  9. Markc

    Markc Thread Starter

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    Thanks Guys

    This is exactly what I wanted! Now I know exactly why I did not know what to do. I am tending towards @ADVdiver. It will take a longer and not be as good looking in the short term but I like the idea of not having silica diatoms. (I really hate them with a passion). I have always been told, mostly by my wife, that I am too impatient and these boxes teach you lot's of that, so time to take it slow. I can always add a lot of worms etc. later (LOL) buy some LR for the main tank.;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  10. ADVdiver

    ADVdiver

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    When adding corals they should be carefully be inspected and cleaned and dipped. These issues with introducing these guys will then show themselves in this process. If a lazy approach is taken you only have yourself to blame for it and this sit's better with me as i then only have myself to blame for them and its not a case of dam where did that come from or I did not put that in there where did it come from.

    I say limit as many problems from the start and focus on as few issues one at a time this will lay a foundation for a promising aquarium.:thumbup:
     
  11. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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  12. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    my 2c, no need for LR i use based carib sea primo reef and it works great.
    i have added some characteristic pieces of LR like branching tonga and that has seeded everything nicely...

    i dont really waste money on rock that will be covered with corals and not see
     
  13. Markc

    Markc Thread Starter

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    Thanks Dallas and Albert, I am going to have a pair of quarantine tanks and can nuke rock etc before it goes into the tank. Everything will have 21 days in isolation, will get one of those magnifying glasses and then perhaps put in something like a worm trap with shrimp as bait. I can also zap any silica PITA and test for Phosphate leaching.
     
  14. Albert Terego

    Albert Terego

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    Part of the fun in this hobby for me is the addition of live rock and then seeing what critters grow from it. various algaes, copepods, tiny feather dusters, sponges, micro brittlestars, tunicates, various polychates etc.).

    Using sterile base/artificial rock you are not going to experience this (but you will also not experience the negatives of using live rock either).

    That why I will always use at least some live rock, (preferably uncured) when starting up a new tank. Seeing things growing and living that I did not specifically add is what I enjoy.
     
  15. Wizard$

    Wizard$

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    But surely dry rock becomes "live rock" over time? I started my Nano with liverock, which sped up the process, but came with cons such as bubble and other minor algae, aiptasia and other critters. But the big pro I had no GHA outbreak. I am also planning to setup a larger tank, and I am also leaning towards dry rock in DT with liverock in sump, but I am concerned about the GHA potential of starting up a tank in this way.
     
  16. Albert Terego

    Albert Terego

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    It will only become live in the sense that it will be colonised by bacteria (assuming no seeding from other live rock/sand)

    Spontaneous generation of other life forms is "impossible" - you are not going to get micro bristle stars for instance if you do not specifically add them via some other means.

    At some point in the future though unless you sterilise everything you add you are going to introduce other life (incl. algaes)
     
  17. Markc

    Markc Thread Starter

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    Hi Albert, I agree, and a lot of those little guys are what make tanks interesting and why I did not know exactly what to do. Everything is give and take. We all like to think that it is best to keep everything as close to nature as possible but when I stopped keeping tanks in the late 1990's I told everyone that it was hard keeping a bit of sea happy in Johannesburg and it is actually a bit crazy.

    If you look how much more technology we have at our disposal now days the change in a decade is amazing. We had the following in my old tank, DSB, Skimmer, some bio balls. Only MH lights and we were very impressed by this "high tech" stuff.

    We had 3 or 4 files filled with photostats of good articles as reference. Now we have the luxury of MASA, internet etc and I have had to catch up with everything that has happened.

    What has happened is awesome, I love it, Bio-pellets, ULNS, Zeo and other great bacteria sources, better and more reliable test kits and equipment.

    Anyway, I consider myself a new kid on the block, lots to learn. But I have really enjoyed the trip. My wife asks me what I am doing on the internet all the time (;) and I tell her I am cramming for my first year marine biology exam, it does feel like that some times. The thing I do not want is to stuff it up and kill something that is my responsibility because I did not plan properly or was to stupid to ask first or thought something was too expensive to buy.

    I have been very impressed by everyone I have talked to or met in the MASA group. Everyone has been helpful and they are are all careful, helpful intelligent people who only want the best for the hobby.

    Again thank you all for the input.
     
  18. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

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    @Markc ya its amazing how much we learn through this hobby. I remember how much I hated chemistry in school and yet now I look like a scientist in a lab testing water parameters and calculating how much I need to add of something.

    as a beginner I would always like to use live rock in my tanks because you just get to learn so much more .. and while the tank is cycling there is so much going on that you can even forget about the fish and corals you were planning to add later. I think the more experienced reefers will say that starting up with artificial dead rock is better simply because they have been through the process of dealing with all the critters we don't want on out tanks one too many times and they are just over it .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  19. Albert Terego

    Albert Terego

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    Thanks, it's only a pleasure.

    No-one here or on any other forums is going to give you bad advice on purpose - you'll very rarely see any advice given that is blatantly incorrect. There are many ways to do things - some work better for some people than others so the best that you can do for yourself is ask the questions, evaluate the responses, consult other sources and then make up your own mind.

    At the end of the day everyone here wants to see everyone else have a nice tank that they are enjoying - the path to that ideal will be different for everyone.
     
  20. shan

    shan

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    because in think what is said in post #3 that dead LR could have lots of phosphates could be correct, i have taken some dead LR, with just a very few smaller pieces of proper fresh LR and am currently cooking them in a dark corner (no light) in a bucket with a heater and some water movement. I have read on Reef Central and on nano-reef that cooking will help remove the PO4 and many other nasties and will truly seed your dead LR with bacteria - fast (well 8 weeks). I am also using bacteria in a bottle.

    so if you want to use dead LR, cook it.

    just to note, the reason i am using dead LR is (1) because i had some and (2) did not want to rip up more of the reefs.
     
  21. the fish

    the fish

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    cooking LR or deadrock can be fatal be very careful when doing that. if that is the only way to go do it outside on a braai or something away from the house and not inside your house. there has been reports of people either ending up dying or getting extremely ill from boiling the LR
     
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