Live Rock Basics - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-25-2009, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Live Rock Basics

Forgive me if some of this is already in other threads. I want to purchase live rock for my 45 gal tank. I am currently using a Rena canister filter, that I think works pretty good, but everyone is tauting the live rock as being so much better. Plus I would like to buy some fish that I've read like to graze on live rock.

I've found two websites I'm considering purchasing from and am not sure what is better or if these are good deals. One sells a 20-25 lb package of cured Carribean rock (says to re-cure upon arrival) for $120, or the same amount of Fiji live rock for $130. Another site is selling 20 lbs of "fully cured" Fiji live rock for $150. Not sure what the shipping prices are yet.

So here are my questions. Is one type of live rock better than another? And what about getting 20 lbs of live rock, and 20 lbs of base rock (which I assume is the same as "dry rock"). Could I throw all of that into the tank at the same time (after re-curing for a week or so of course)? Finally, would I need any kind of filtration after putting the live rock in the tank. I have read many postings of people having sumps and protein skimmers (which I don't have).

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by AnimalBabe; 08-25-2009 at 09:25 AM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-25-2009, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry to inundate you all, but I've been doing some research since I posted the above and have a few more questions:
1. What types of live rock would you recommend for a 45 gallon that would provide good water circulation/filtration? Now I'm considering getting (as finances allow) 25 lbs of Tonga rock, 25 lbs of Caribbean rock, and 12 lbs of Fiji rock. The Tonga sounds like it is more colorful and just as good for biological filtration as Fiji rock. Correct me if I'm wrong. Also, I assume it's ok to mix different types of rock??
2. Are you more likely to get nasties in your tank off of the Caribbean rock? What I like about this rock is it sounds like it is more open in design so there will be better water circulation and places for fish to swim/hide.
3. My tank is already cycled, so I'd be putting the live rock on top of the sand bed. Is this okay? I read its better to have it raised up, but that's a moot point now I guess.
4. Would a place like PetCo sell something to stick the pieces together, and can they be moved after doing that?

Thanks again so much! I've very new to the whole live rock concept.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-06-2009, 11:42 PM
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This is a great thread with lots of info:

There are a couple of other build threads that I need to hunt down...

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-07-2009, 01:46 AM
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You can mix different kinds of rock. im not sure if petco has it but i do know they sell putty to attach rocks, you can also drill holes in your rock and use zip ties and plastic hangers. i personally have mine stacked. if you have fish like a dragon wrasse your going to want to secure rocks. if your going with the base rock you will have to cure it in a seperate tub or tank with a heater and powerhead which can take awhile. i strongly advise not using a canister filter and going with a high quality skimmer ( read online reviews on brands ) and enough rock. it may be smart to search for a local reefing club in your area or looking on for someone thats breaking down a tank to get rock and other equipment cheap. hope that helps.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-07-2009, 06:47 AM
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This thread missed my attention. Thanks Kymmie for pointing it out to me.

The link above to my 180 build thread will give you a ton of answers to this issue. I spent quite some time explaining my curing process for live (or dry) rock and posting pictures.

Rock from different areas can be mixed. You will find the Caribbean live rock to be higher in density than the Fiji rock, which means you are getting more rock per pound with Fiji. I also think the Fiji rock is more attractive in shapes and texture. As for color, within 5 or 6 months inside your aquarium any rock you purchase will have dramatically different color and life showing than it did at the time of purchase. I would focus more on texture, shape, and size.

Rock from any part of the world is likely to have "nasties" inside of it.-) You will find that dry rock is free of these critters, but any live rock runs risks. These risks are minimal and not the slightest concern, in my humble opinion. I do suggest that you take the time to observe your live rock prior to adding it to the tank. Placing the rock in a curing container, as seen on my 180 thread, can give you ample observation time. This curing time also allows you to test for nitrite and ammonia to ensure the rock is actually cured.

I want to discuss your comments above. You said that your tank is "cycled". What do you mean by this? What is the biological media you have in your tank? Regardless of your answer, I am going to suggest (very strongly) that you remove the biomedia and only use live rock (or dry) and live sand as your form of biological filtration.

By the way, I have personally used Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock to purchase the large majority of my rock for my 180. They are a dry rock provider and the quality is excellent. I do not consider this rock to be "base" rock. Look at the pictures in my thread as this rock has become live over the last several months, and you will see why I continue to recommend this site.

Finally, you need a protein skimmer. You don't have to use a sump, but you do need a skimmer. The skimmer is the single most valuable piece of equipment that you will purchase. For your size aquarium, here are a couple of skimmer options that hang on the tank:
Berlin X2 Venturi Skimmer | Venturi Models | Protein Skimmers | Aquarium -
Super Skimmer with Needle Wheel - Up to 65 Gallon | Venturi Models | Protein Skimmers | Aquarium -

Keep in mind, the protein skimmer should be your most expensive purchase because it is your most important purchase. Each of the skimmers above will handle your tank. The Berlin is capable of upgrading to a 75 gallon tank in the future, should you so desire.
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