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Thread: Reef tank Live rock

  1. #1
    ECAS member

    Bupper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Reef tank Live rock


    First i will say new to this site, new to aquariums in general.

    Over the past 3 years i have slowly been researching and building a reef tank. The internet has been a great source of information as well as a great source of frustration and wrong roads with half truths. Reading through it all and with some help from my local fish store the tank is now ready to be water filled and live rock installed.

    And this brings about the a question.

    In pricing and looking around for live rock i see fully cured runs at approx 12 dollars a pound. Never found anywhere local for not cured and therefore have no pricing.

    I see i can get the fake live rock with pigment in it for about 8 dollars a pound. But i did not do all this work to make it a make believe tank.

    I see this thing called base rock around 3 dollars a pound. From what i understand it is mined i believe in Florida inland from what use to be real reef and therefore has same structure and minerals as live from the ocean but has no life on it. ( Maybe i got this all wrong. )

    Now the question. To be cost effective, can i buy a mixture or both fully cured live rock and this base rock, and in time what is living on the live rock will transfer into the base rock making it in time live rock as well?

    Just like planting a tree and watching it grow or seeds in spring for autumn flowers, i do not mind waiting for things to happen as to me the enjoyment i will get from this new hobby is learning about it, building it, and watching it grow. If all i wanted is immediate gratification, i would of just bought one of the box reef aquarium setups for a few thousand.

    Anyhow. Some help would be appreciated in figuring out this live rock thing.

  2. #2

    Staceym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Cornwall, PE
    Welcome to ECAS Bupper! I know many people who have started out using mostly base rock and adding a few pounds of live to seed the tank with success. Depending on the size of your tank, filling it with live rock can bet very expensive! If you don't mind waiting, I would go with the base rock......but disclaimer-I don't have a reef myself :) I do not have a lot of experience with salt water, so hopefully someone with more experience will chime in!
    ..` A woman needs a man like a fish needs a net. ..`

  3. #3
    ECAS member

    nsfishguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Rock is expensive at the stores. You should look around for used rock on kijiji or local reef sites. A lot cheaper. Some good saltwater local sites are,, & You can use mostly dead porous rock and only need a little live rock to get you going. Here is another good reef site but not local

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    ECAS member

    videosilva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Bradford, Ontario, Canada

    Base Rock

    Yes buy base rock. Make sure its decent rock and not just chunks of flat rock or boulders. 50/50 base / live or 80% base and 20 % Live rock will work and be MUCH cheaper. You can even go 90/10 if you like. As long as you have some GOOD live rock covered in coraline and color with some visible live on it eg. spunges.

    The live rock will seed the tank in a mater of a few months, you will see life on the dead rock coloring up and new life on it.

    If money is no object then live rock from the start is obviously the BEST scenario.

    One thing that needs alot of thinking is use sand or not use sand ( bare bottom ). This is a double edged sword and a matter of opinion and preference. A bare Bottom tank looks like something is missing. A tank will CLEAN sand is appealing to the eye A tank with no sand is MUCH easier to maintain ( just pass a fish net around the bottom to pick up debris ). A tank with no sand WILL have less nutrients and junk. A tank with live sand is full of garbage from fish waste , uneaten food etc. etc. A tank with live sand that has not moved around ( cleaning, manually moving the sand around etc.) . If not cleaned or moved around regularly, over time the sand will smell and make you want to puke !

    I went bare bottom but could not stand the look that something was missing. I am currently using sand again.

    Best of luck !
    Last edited by videosilva; 09-14-2017 at 12:55 PM. Reason: time



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