Live Rock and Saltwater Aquariums

Saltwater aquarium 101

Live Rock

What Is Live Rock?

Live rock, is rock harvested from the Ocean for the use in saltwater aquariums. The term live rock can be a little misleading, it’s not suggesting that the rock itself is alive but providing habitat for many living organisms. These living organisms add biodiversity of your saltwater aquarium and can also help the aquarium become more stable over time. Live rock does not only offer many forms of micro and macroscopic marine life, its also has impressive biological filtration qualities.

Additionally, live rock  is made up of calcium carbonate which can have a stabilizing effect on the aquarium’s water chemistry. The presents of calcium carbonate is particularly helpful buffing the aquarium’s PH and is building block of life for many invertebrates and corals.

Live Rock Role In The Saltwater Aquarium.

Saltwater aquariums need a working biological filter to be sustainable. Biological filtration is made up of nitrifying bacteria that breaks down the bio-load of the aquarium’s livestock. When doing so, the biological filtration makes the water less toxic for marine fish, Invertebrates and coral. How effective your beneficial bacteria is, depends on the surface area in a aquarium. Live rock offers a huge amount of surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow and thrive.

Follow the link for more information on biological filtration.

Live Rock Hitchhikers.

When adding live rock to a aquarium most hobbyist hope for beneficial bacteria, decorative algae, sponges and even corals. One of the draw backs from using live rock is the possibility of adding pest to your aquarium. 

The list that below includes some common live rock hitchhikers hobbyists have found on their live rock. 

  • Sponge
  • Feather Duster
  • Coralline Algae
  • Cup Coral
  • Tube Coral
  • Watercress Algae
  • Anemones
  • Bristle Worms
  • Shrimps
  • Crabs
  • Snails
  • Copepods
  • Isopods
  • Limpet Snail
  • Flatworm
  • Asterina Starfish

Curing Live Rock.

Curing Live Rock

Uncured live rock should never be directly added to an established saltwater aquarium. Before adding rock to your display tank it should be cured in a system that is designed especially for that purpose. The excessive Ammonia and Nitrite that will be produced by placing uncured live rock in your aquarium will endanger your livestock.

Curing systems can simply be anything that holds water. I prefer using rubbermaid livestock for a curing system. Other equipment need is a powerhead and a water test kit. Much the same as cycling a saltwater aquarium, when ammonia and nitrates levels reach zero the live rock is fully cured and ready to be added to your aquarium.

Dry Rock.

With dry rock, what you see is what you get. When hobbyist buys dry rock there is no chance of introducing pest to your saltwater aquarium. On top of that, you get to watch your tank mature as the rock will change from white to purple as beneficial bacteria and algae grow.

Using dry rock is a slower process of establishing your aquarium but it much better than taking the chance of inducing pest to your saltwater aquarium.

Artificial Live Rock.

Recently artificial live rock has gained in popularity in recent years. This man made rock is composed of the same building blocks which coral and live rock are composed of, calcium carbonate. This offer the best of everything to the saltwater aquarium hobby and your aquarium. The benefits that follow are;

  • Reduces environmental impact.
  • looks and acts like premium live rock.
  • Zero risk of introducing pest into the aquarium.

Artificial live rock is a 100% natural eco friendly live rock alternative for the saltwater aquarium hobbyist and cost about the same. I strongly recommend taking a look at artificial live rock and see if its right for your setup.

 Live Rock For Sale.


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I Appreciate You!

I just wanted to wrap things up by saying that I’m here for you. I want you to succeed as you begin with your saltwater aquarium efforts. Feel free to contact me. I will do my best to respond to your emails and answer any questions you my have about getting started with  your saltwater aquarium.

Thank you so much for your support and I would love for you to drop me a line on my Facebook Page. I look forward to meeting you.

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