Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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thinhthan 04-21-2008 06:10 AM

how can you tell
how can you tell if its real live sand or rock when you are buying it from a person not from a lfs? is it safe to buy live rock and sand from people like craigslist?

bettababy 04-21-2008 04:14 PM

Unless you can see it in person, there is no way to know. I would never buy something like that on Craigslist... too many rip off schemes on there!

If you want quality live rock check with your lfs's and with online wholesalers who deal specifically in marine animals and are known to have a good reputation.

thinhthan 04-21-2008 08:05 PM

well this guy said he would let me look at it in person. he is selling it for $2 a pound

bettababy 04-21-2008 08:27 PM

A few things to look for:

Growth of coraline algae, this is a good thing... it's a pink/purple hard algae that will grow on the rock.

Watch out for aptasia... you don't want any rock if there is even 1 of these anywhere in the tank, unless you have a quarantine tank ready to put the rock into while you try to get rid of it... not easy unless you can add a few peppermint shrimp.

Beware of hair algaes, also.... same problem with getting rid of them, that's not something you want to bring home to your tank.

Lift the rock... if it's good size and lightweight, that's what you want, that means its very porous. If even small pieces are very heavy, that means it is very dense and not good for biological filtration. Even at $2/lb, if it's real dense, its not worth the risk of the problems it can cause by lack of filtration.

Is there anything else growing on it? If so, are you set up to accomidate any polyps or etc that might come with it? (proper lighting, temp, and reef safe animals in your tank)

Also, if your tank is not cycled, beware of any rock with corals or polyps on it, as a cycling tank will usually kill them, which will pollute your tank and make the cycle take longer.

thinhthan 04-21-2008 10:15 PM

thanks alot i decided to be safe ima go to the lfs and pay $4 a pound for it i guess just to be safe

thinhthan 04-21-2008 11:29 PM

what about sand?

bettababy 04-21-2008 11:44 PM

Your lfs should also carry live sand... the best one I'm aware of right now is Aragalive... it's an aragonite sand and bagged wet. When you open the bag, any liquid that's in there should be poured off into a bucket before you put the sand into the tank...
Be sure your spg/salinity is reading between 1.023 - 1.025 and stable for at least a few days before adding rock or sand to a new tank, otherwise you'll kill all of the beneficial organisims that are in/on it... in which case you'd have to get more to get it all seeded, and seeding it all usually takes a few months minumum.

Also watch your temp... 76 - 78 degrees and stable should also be achieved before adding either to your tank... and filtration unit running.

The sand and rock alone in the tank will cycle it. Add rock first, then sand to anchor the base pieces of rock for stable building structures. Expect about 6 - 8 wks for cycling before the tank is ready for animals. Track it closely with your test kits, and remember to check calcium, carbonate hardness, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate... don't miss any cuz they're all extremely important.
Good Luck

thinhthan 04-22-2008 01:49 AM

ok that helped me out alot. and some guy was trying to sell me dense rock, thats not good rock right? i want not dense right?

bettababy 04-22-2008 11:04 AM

There are 2 types if we look at it this way... dense and porous.

Porous rock is lightweight and has much more surface area for beneficial bacteria and other little micro organisms that are good for the aquarium environment.

Dense rock means it is very solid, which means less surface area for that bacteria and micro organisms. That means less filtration, less places for things to crawl in and do their jobs in the aquarium. Because it has less "pores" in it, the rock will weigh more... the other reason dense rock is no good is because you end up paying more for it.

When we buy live rock it's according to weight. If you have 2 rocks, each of them 6 inches across and 4 inches tall.... the porous rock may weight 2 - 3 lbs... but the dense rock of the same size may weigh in at 5 - 6 lbs.... so you pay more for the same size rock and it does less to help out your tank environment.

Make more sense?

thinhthan 04-22-2008 07:16 PM

yes thanks alot will be sure to buy less dense

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