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Live rock importance


Dec 30, 2005
I was wondering, is having live rock in with your octopus absolutely neccesary?

If so, does the live rock that you buy from the stores require a certain tempature to stay alive since its from tropical waters?


Live Rock is really your best source of filtration for a marine tank setup. Not to mention it just adds to the natural appearance. There are people who run saltwater aquariums without live rock, but you just can't replace the living creatures and bacteria that help break down and to some degree even eliminate waste in your tank. Pods, brittle stars, worms, etc.

Considering the amount of filtration you need for a ceph-tank, I wouldn't attempt to go without, personally. A lot of people even remove the bio-balls from their wet/dry filters and replace it with live rock rubble, because unlike the bio-balls, the junk that builds up eventually gets removed by the worms and other detritus eating creatures.

That's just my personal take on the subject though. I have 4 display tanks going right now. 2 of them are completely live rock. 2 of them are mostly base rock. The 2 with live rock are thriving, whereas the 2 without it, are not nearly as pretty or healthy. That's enough to sway me toward buying much more live rock for the other 2 tanks!

As for the temperature, I'm not sure what you're asking. I would imagine rock from tropical regions would do better in tropical temperatures considering the types of organisms that are going to be included with the rock and the environment they originate in.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt though, there are much more advanced aquarists here who I'm sure will have some good feedback for you.
I pretty much agree with two differences.
The bacteria responsible for denitrification will colonize any suface in the tank. Bio balls, bale or live rock has lots of surface area for colonization, which is one of the reasons they are used.
Worms and detritus eating creatures will not eliminate the need for cleaning your bio balls or rock if you are using rock in place of bio balls. The 'junk' cannot be broken down infinitely, this is one of the misconceptions that came along with the deep sand bed craze from a few years ago. While worms and other critters will process some detritus, they cannot process it all. Many people who have relied on them to do what they can't do have ended up with problems - some have not.

All that said, LR is not absolutely necessary, but most find it a cheap easy way to help filter a tank. If you are asking about filtration for cephs, I would say the most important thing would be a good skimmer and water changes. :biggrin2:

I am not sure what you mean about temperature...are you going to store the rock before use, or use it in a cold water tank?
the general agreement on how much live rock is aprox 1 pound of rock to 1 gal of water.
It's a nice start, and lets you add more later as you aquascape your tank, or that beautifull mushroom rock just HAS to come home with you.
In my 150, I have well over 265 pounds of live rock (I just added more! lol). It also has 5 Inches of sand (I am one of those deep sand bed people) skimmer, wet/dry and tons of water movement.
I have found that the rock does an amazing job of filtration, and the deep sand bed is wonderfull when stocked properly. I have aprox 22 nassarius snails, sand sifting gobys, a red linkia, and whatever else decided to live in the sand. Oh, my hermits clean the sand up pretty darn well too!
Now, as to what Thales mentioned about the deep sand bed.. that is ABSOLUTLY correct. You can't just leave it. I Vac it twice a month. And if I see any build up, or discoloration underneath (yes... I check under the tank too! lol), then I go ahead and target that area for extra cleaning.
Ok, sorry.. I digressed... I love live rock.
It lets me keep more critters than I probably should.. or at least it HELPS in letting me keep more than I should.
But it is only one part of the entire filtration mechanism.
Each part is important to the entire machine working at its greatest potential.

Oh, and I think you are concerned for the organisms that are already on the rock in terms of temp. I really wouldn't be too concerned. They will addapt to the temp you decide to keep, and if not, will be replaced by others that do not have a prob.

Hope this helps. :smile:
gravesly;95072 said:
I Vac it twice a month.

I'm getting a bit off topic--but this almost certainly kills off any and all anaerobic nitrifying bacteria, rendering the 6" DSB no more useful for nitrate reduction than a shallow sand bed.
DHyslop;95075 said:
I'm getting a bit off topic--but this almost certainly kills off any and all anaerobic nitrifying bacteria, rendering the 6" DSB no more useful for nitrate reduction than a shallow sand bed.

Oh, all vacing is surface only. Unless I see a problem from underneath.
And as far as I can tell, it works as well as I could expect it to.
And don't get me wrong, I completely agree that deep vacing rends it useless. I supose I should have been more specific. I assumed, and well.. there ya go. lol
Moving a bit off topic but still in the clean up arena, what do you use to vacuum your substrate. I hate the stuff and would prefer bare bottom or LR but have lost this battle on all but one tank (LR bottom). I keep experimenting with vacuums (DIY and commercial) but have not been satisfied with anything I have tried.
The best thing I have found is to 'storm' the tank (stir up the muck) and run a canister filter with DE and a micron filter because the gravel vacs well, suck. :biggrin2: I usually do about 1/2 the ceph system twice a year - it has about 1/2 an inch of sand in the main tank.
Yeah, that is about what I do with my Magnum HOT unit, but I put hoses on the input and outlet and use the return to stir up the urchin droppings as well (sometimes I actually use the gravel attachment) then let it run for a day or so with the paper filter but I was hoping you had found a gravel cleaner that really DID suck :razz: , was nice and small and could be used in saltwater. I found that the little cheap stick worked pretty well for about two uses (the fine print says FW only) in the 2' tanks but monthly replacement is not acceptable and it took forever to clean a small area.

I have experimented with several smaller cannisters but the pumps don't even draw water in the horse tank (3' deep). Fortunately my 4' tall tank (only 30 gallons) is the one with LR substrate and has a bottom draining, sealed cannister filtration setup and is my favorite tank for substrate cleaning (I don't :wink: ) but it is a royal pain to clean the acrylic.
thank you for all of your responses!
oh and gravesly you hit the jack pot on what I meant about the temp, I just was worried the organisms that hitchiked with my rock wouldnt die since I am running a cold water tank, so thank you.
btw I am using an all in one filter+a skimmer for my filtration since i cant afford a wet/dry filter atm is that enough for a ceph?
thanks again!

You could get dead rock like the kind you get at Marcorocks.com and tie them together and dump them neer some rock in one of the bays around you, then after a few months pull it out and you will have cool water live rock.

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