• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Live Rock?

Aug 31, 2006
I've been setting up and getting ready for an octo for a while now. And one thing that I notice is in most of the tank setups I see, there is a lot of PVC and other things but very little live rock. I'm an experienced aquarist and the rule has always been equal gallon to pounds of rock ratio. With the high ammonia output of the little guys wouldn't it make sense to use a natural way to take care of the ammonia as well as filtration?
I think a lot of people just get a little cheap when it comes to live rock. If you've got a decent wet/dry you can get by without much but there's no question it makes a healthier aquarium.

You can always make your own. It ends upcosting maybe 50 cents a pound andy after a few months you can have some nice live rock. You can find alot about this at about.com/saltwater. One of the main reasons I have 1 pound per gallon(less) is because to much live rock means its harder to find your octopus.

In most peoples experience it seems to be the case that LR is insufficient for keeping up with the ammonia output of cephs.
The one-to-one ratio of tank size in gallons to live rock is what we recommend. That's what I have in my tank. Not all people choose to have this much live rock because of the expense or other reasons. Some start with less with the intention of buying more later.

Yes, you can make your own live rock - but premium purchased live rock has many small holes and a rough surface which greatly increases surface area, enabling more bacteria to be present.

Thales is right, LR is insufficient by itself, but works well combined with other means of filtration.

And besides, it looks good!

Do a search on google for something like "compare live rock". Some types are for the general shape of the rock - like Tonga branch. Tonga is based on ancient staghorn coral heads. Some is "said" to be heavier, like Caribbean and Haitian, which means it is more expensive when you pay by the pound and has less holes for bacteria to grow. Florida live rock depends on the type of base rock "planted" to create the live rock. The biggest difference I see is cured or uncured, and the curing process used.

Research this on ReefCentral.com or Tampa Bay live rock. They will have more information.
I would just see if there is anyone in your area getting out of the hobby and buy their rock.
As to a 'best' rock, that is subject to endless debate. Some is heavy, so is porous, some is something.
Don't trust any of the labels - sometimes rock labeled as "fiji" isn't, and don't trust typing - Tongan rock isn't always branching at all.

My personal favorite is a Vanauatu. Its a large plating kind, normally $2-3 more expensive per pound than Fiji. Fiji is the most common and any LFS isn't going to lie about the kind of rock they have. We're normally really good at identifying it and using suppliers who know their stuff.

I plan on making a loose (meaning lots of open spaces for circulation) wall along the back of my tank with some and probably a channel formation towards the front. As nice as it is to see your octo, i think it would be better to just give him a good home as natural as possible. thats what aquaculture is all about.
shipposhack;80850 said:
Does it matter what kind of live rock you buy? I know Fiji is popular in most places, but I have seen others (Tongan, Carribean, Premium, Ultra) and wondering what is best to get.

I think the "best" is just a matter of opinion. As some have already said, there can be differences in porousness/weight, life on the rock, etc. When it comes down to it, you and your octo have to live with it, so you should try picking rock that you ultimately like. When it comes to whole reef tanks, I'd say it's pretty important to pick rock that has a lot of life on it [which, of course, tends to be more expensive], but a lot of LFS will carry less expensive rock that doesn't have a lot of coralline or other things on it....but it's still considered live.
When picking my rock [and I bought a ton of it for Beaker, my O. Aculeatus] I chose a combo of plate rock and branching, plus some "premium" rock in hopes of getting the coralline to spread....rocks that could easily make sturdy caves for him to hang out in and feel safe when he didn't feel like being in his den.
Well, the choice is ultimately yours! good luck!

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.