Live Rock vs Base Rock

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by tekkengal, 3 Jan 2014.

  1. tekkengal

    tekkengal Moderator

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    Hi All,

    I was reading through a thread on Reef Sanctuary regarding the various types of rock (http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/fish-diseases-treatments/61875-what-live-rock-anyway.html) and came across something that stood out for me regarding base rock which essentially says that base rock will not become live rock (contrary to my understanding):

    "...can base or dead rock turn into LIVE rock in the aquarium?


    GREAT EXPECTATIONS

    If the aquarist expects live rock to do the full function of nitrification and denitrification then the rock must be alive in the sense that there are still living organisms (e.g., worms, etc.) inside of the rock AND that the rock will perform denitrification. Such live rock has not been stripped of life. nor cured to kill what's inside (e.g., by freezing, boiling, baking, or chemically treated), nor transported dry (but wrapped in at least moist paper).

    Probably the biggest error for new aquarists is the thought that if dead, home made, or base rock is placed next to live rock in the marine aquarium, that these will turn into live rock. NOT.

    No matter how long dead, home made, or base rock sits next to live rock in our aquarium, the lifeforms that live inside of live rock will not move over to the dead or base rock. Those rocks will never become LIVE rocks! Why? Because the organisms that make homes for the denitrifying bacteria inside the true live rock don't reproduce in our aquariums [​IMG] These worms and other special lifeforms responsible for the rock giving homes for denitrification bacteria, will not spread. They cannot move to other rock and they cannot reproduce/multiply in the aquarium. In fact, this is one reason why some aquarists claim that live rock should be replaced every 5 to 10 years. The lifeforms inside the rock will die off of their own accord, and the help the live rock gave at removing nitrates will diminish as the rock ages. Some claim that once coralline algae covers over the crevices and these worm holes, that the rock will loose its ability to handle nitrates, too. Makes sense. So maybe don't be in such a rush to cultivate a lot of coralline if you need the denitrification! [​IMG]"

    Which makes sense in a way but now with the additives like Special Blend etc, would this still apply?

    What are your views/thoughts?
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2014
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  3. Bflynn

    Bflynn

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    This does not sound right! I am almost sure that denitrifying bacteria can reproduce in our aquariums just like any other bacteria good or bad, if their needs are met.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2014
  4. Nico123

    Nico123

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    Rubbish.

    Of course they multiply. I've had more than one tank that I started with dry rock and one dead fish that was running fine after years. If your bacteria did not multiply your system will keep on crashing. That is the reason why you add little stock at a time so that the backteria can multiply and accomodate more waste.
     
  5. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

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    sounds like a lot of rubbish to me.. why wouldn't those organisms multiply in our tanks... I'm not an expert but if what that article says is true our tanks should crash well before five years because I don't think single cell organisms and bacteria can even live that long
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    One reason could be that man made rock is not as porous as real live rock. So deep inside is too dense for some of the higher organisms to invade. The sponges and what else not that lives deep inside.

    Coraline algae would eventually seal a live rock with a solid outer layer. But only where the lights do shine. Not from below and not that much from the sides. Top layer could be cleared by a urchin or two.

    Another problem is long term settlement into the rock. Eventually clogging the narrow passages and holes. But this would happen to any form of rock.
     
  7. tekkengal

    tekkengal Thread Starter Moderator

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    Thanks Riaan! That makes sense. I suppose the denitrifying bacteria would seed the rock in the same way a DSB will eventually start to grow bacteria?
     
  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    yes it will

    But remember, base rock will always have a lot less surface area available for bacteria to house than real rocks. Also, as they tend to be more dense they are heavier. So check it out carefully. So 50KG base rock, will be less than 50KG real rock by volume alone. Might need double the base rock to make up the same volume as liverock.

    So you think you score, but you might end up paying more for same volume of base rock than for liverock.

    Advantage of base rock is that it can be pest free, if starting dry. and some pieces generally have a flat bottom so they can provide a good stable platform to place your rock structure on. I do have a lot of base rock pieces, just for that.
     
  9. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    I disagree with some parts of that comment, he/she has mentioned worms a few times, claiming they don't reproduce, um, well, I have bristleworms, tube worms, fan worms, spaghetti worms etc. etc. They've all managed to multiply and spread somehow? Bacteria as well, from what I understand it does not reside solely within the rock, it is everywhere, in the water, on the glass, on your pumps, skimmer etc. So to say the bacteria/worms/life will not migrate to a piece of rock is incorrect as far as I am concerned. I bought a huge drum load of dry rock that had been sitting in someone's garage for months, today it is practically indiscernible from store bought live rock, pick it up and look under it, full of sponges and other growths. From my practical experience, life in all forms will absolutely migrate to other rock in the aquarium. But that doesn't make it "live rock"....does it? What counts is what is deep inside the rock?

    Man made base rock, is it sufficient to provide denitrification on the levels that ocean rock does? No idea.
     
  10. Nico123

    Nico123

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    I agree. I don't think anyone realy knows. As long as it works for you I suppose it's fine.
     
  11. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    I moved 2 big base rock pieces that I got since I started last night. They were "glued" to each other by some black sponge. And you need to be so careful to pick it up, so many sharp pointy things that hurts as hell.

    But they are base rock, really not porous, and heavy pieces. But works wonders as a base.
     
  12. tekkengal

    tekkengal Thread Starter Moderator

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    Yeah, was not too interested in the "macro" type life as it can come from other sources, my main concern was the bacterial element. :)

    My main concern is how does denitriying bacteria transfer from one rock to another as it lives in the anaerobic area of the rock (very low flow, very little oxygen), how do they go star trekking from one rock to another as they will come into contact with an environment more oxygenated that they cannot survive in?

    After Riaan posted (as I associate him as the DSB master) a DSB becomes live with a similar type of bacteria so in theory the rock should also become live by the by the same token.

    At least that is the way it makes sense to me apart from some sort of witchcraft :p
     
  13. BlackSpark

    BlackSpark

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    *hires JZ's sangoma and sends to Tekk's house to get the base rock to become live rock*
     
  14. tekkengal

    tekkengal Thread Starter Moderator

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    As long as the sign language interpreter does not give the bacteria directions on how to do that...:whistling:
     
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