By Bob Goemans
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Fishy Bizness 

Bob Goemans corresponds with Jeff Halcomb (Trinity, N.C.)

Jeff Halcomb (Trinity, N.C.) writes...

Hi Bob,

As always thank you so much for you're past help. I have been reading about live rock and have some questions.

1. With so many people selling live rock it makes it difficult for me to know who to buy from. I would rather pay more for good rock than buy the cheap stuff. Who do you think is the best source for live rock?

2. Will it be OK to cure the rock in the tank, as it will be a new setup? Should the lights be on during curing?

3. I will also follow your past advice and have 2 inches of sand in the main tank and a plenum system in the sump. Which should go in the main tank first, the 2 inches of sand or the rock?

4. My tank will be 60 x 24 x 30. How much rock would you recommend? What other types of rock and how much would go well with the branching rock you previously recommended?

5. What is the best way to rid the pests from the rock? I was thinking about curing the rock in the tank but this may not be a good idea, as I want to keep the 'bad critters' out. What do you think?

Thanks again for your help. I really trust your advice.

Jeff Halcomb

Trinity, N.C.

Bob replies...

Hi Jeff,

As for a source of live rock, the best would be a local shop because you get to choose exactly what you prefer! As for those ads seen on the web and in magazines, their supply is constantly and quickly changing, and you may get only what they have at the time of order, and maybe not exactly what you truly wanted. Yet, some are willing to send you an up-to-date web photo of what they currently have, making it somewhat easier to get what you really want. You'll have to search them out. But still prefer my local dealers if at all possible.

Curing live rock in the show tank is 'absolutely' the wrong way to go! That only dumps all its nutrients into your tank's water, making it the perfect place for unwanted algae to occur! Curing it separately in a plastic garbage container is the best way to go (unlighted), or at a minimum, select rock, preferably branching rock, from the local source that has had it for a week or two.

In a tank with a shallow bed, either the sand or rock can go in first, as the rock will be touching the bottom of tank either way. However, when its rock first, a lot of sand can wind up on the rock during its placement, making for a mess where it has to be blown off, making water clarity quite turbid and difficult to see through. I would prefer the sand be added first to an empty tank, then a towel laid over the sand and the water then poured gently onto it and the aquarium half filled. Remove the towel and then add the rock, and placed as desired.

As mentioned in a past letter, I prefer branching rock over that what is brick-like in shape. I find it allows for better water flow throughout the aquarium and at the same time provides better places to more securely place various shaped corals. And somewhere near one pound per gallon would be my goal, as less branching rock is needed because its shape will cover more area then brick-shaped rock.

As for riding the un-wantables from the rock before placing in the aquarium, this is how it's explained in my new Microcosm book, 'Marine Fish Health & Feeding Handbook;'

"Since club soda is saturated with dissolved carbon dioxide, and these animals are aerobic, they can't survive in an oxygen-deprived, carbon dioxide-rich medium and will crawl out of the rock as fast as they can in order to seek out a more hospitable environment. A five-minute soak, completely submerged, should be sufficient to ensure the eradication of these undesirables. If you are processing a large quantity of rock, be sure to replace the club soda as it begins to lose its fizz, since this indicates the concentration of carbon dioxide is diminishing and may be losing potency. Of course, if you are stocking a large aquarium with many pounds of live rock, it might be more practical to bubble carbon dioxide from a cylinder into a plastic garbage can filled with saltwater and the rock placed in it."

Keep in mind this does not overly harm its bacteria, and the fact that branching rock usually does not contain too many undesirables as its not as porous as other type rock.

Keep me posted



Live Rock - Curing; Live Rock

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