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Is Live Rock Needed?


O. vulgaris
Aug 26, 2003
I have a quick question (or more...), would it be ok to get a different kind of rock instead of live rock? My aquarium book said that some places supply lava rock (the man made stuff without all of those pesky metals). I was also wondering what kind of dead rock (or deed rock in the tank forum :P ) I could get because I'm kinda on a tight budget.
also, if I get some live sand and sprinkle it on my "base substrate" would that be enough to seed whatever rock I have? I guess what I'm trying to ask is how can I get around getting live rock?
Thanks a lot!
To live rock or not to live rock

I don't know dude, the list of advantages of l.r. is so long, and it does your tank so much good, it is hard to live without it. Imagine it is like your house. The house is artificial, but does it have trees, a lawn, and maybe some nice flowers. It just wouldn't be the same without that stuff. In the same way, if you are going to keep an octopus, isn't it humane to give them what they would feel comfy in? Well, anyway, these are just my opinions, but from experience, I say get yourself some quality l.r., just shop around, you CAN get it to a reasonable price, and then make absolutely certain that your source is reliable. I can't recommend it enough!
it is enough to use a base rock in your tank... you could use tufa, ocean or some other safe kind of marine rock and add a couple of bits of live rock to 'seed' the dead rock, if you see what i mean? Wouldn't be long before the stuff starts to colonise the base rock... you could also use food grade quailty plastic pipes and stuff to make an interesting habitat...
Interesting analogy there, Taeloci, all you need is just a bit of live rock with the rest being dead. It won't take long for the rest to become live and you'll soon have pretty algae .
Hmmm, yah, I always like to use analogies like that whenever I think about questions, so thanks a lot!
I read a long time ago that someone else bought "dirt cheap base/dead rock and used extremely good quality live rock to seed it so all of the other rock would eventually become live rock within a couple of weeks" so maybe I'll end up doing that.
Thanks again for your help!
I've had good luck with using lava rock as base material, and covering it with small chunks of live rock. It takes longer than weeks, but eventually it works out well... the only thing with the lava rock is that since it comes from volcanic (kinda obvious) strata, and is usually exposed prior to collection, it is going to harbour one hell of a lot of odd dusts and dirts...so you have to boil it or rinse it repeatedly to get the junk out of aalllllll those nooks and crannies...whereas live rock was scoured for you , by the ocean. Nice of mother earth, huh? :lol:
Actually I read (Salt Water Aquariums for dummies) that the live rock that you can buy is man made so you don't have to worry about the minerals (I haven't seen this in my aquarium stores though so I have no idea on how it's going to turn out) but it's also some what expensive.
I'll probably end up going with some dead rock, some base rock, and maybe a couple of pounds of the better live rock, along with some pvc piping (maybe I'll be creative and make a big maze for him/her).
Hi Lotus,

I have that book, too, and what the author is saying is that live rock is often "cultured". People don't go out and chip off parts of natural reefs - that's illegal. They take pieces of reef rock or coral rubble that's no longer part of the reefs, and place it in proximity to reefs so that it becomes covered with algae and inhabited by all those little creatures we love. In that sense it's artificial, but it's not really man made - you might consider it farmed.

I'm familiar with lava rock for gardening, but I've never seen it sold in an LFS - doesn't mean it isn't. Or maybe there are different kinds of lava rock. Yes, I would think that lava rock is far too sharp for an octo, but in the example given by Greg above, he seems to cover it with live rock.

I've now seen (and bought) live rock from many different locations (Fiji, Marshall Islands, Florida, etc.) and have been told by LFSs that today almost all of it is aquacultured, no matter where it comes from.


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