Starting with the primary question of the title, what exactly is this Live Rock?
The Rock of the ocean which gets introduced into a saltwater fish tank or aquarium is called Live Rock. Along with sand, it also confers multiple marine benefits to the species living in the aquarium and if you’re an aspiring fish keeping hobbyist, there are lot many things that you should know about the Live Rock.
What is Live Rock?
Live Rock has been misunderstood as a rock which is alive for centuries. It’s not because the rock speaks or does things, but the reason behind it being called as the live rock is because many macroscopic, as well as microscopic marine species, live on it and in it. This rock is formed by the deposits of Calcium Carbonate from the dead skeletons of corals and other calcareous marine animals.
According to J.Charles Delbeek, there are many types of Live Rock (Refer his article, “Your First Reef Aquarium, 1994) where he referred this live rock as “Reef Rock“. He said that these rocks are pieces of coral elements from the reef’s outside which might have fallen into the ocean after being broken and then they are covered by algae, sponges and other coralline encrusting species.
On the other hand, there is the “Inshore Rock“, another type of rock which is from reef’s inside. This rock is relatively denser with clams, macroalgae, mussels, shrimps, crabs et.al. According to Delbeek, Live Rock is more desirable because of its ability to stabilize the tank with a faster pace.
Then there is the Dead Base Rock, which doesn’t have any growth on it. This rock is devoid of any l life and is not exposed to the light. If you’re into fish keeping, it’s recommended to know other forms of advanced live rock and build your system base slowly after the rock is cured with corals on the top of it.
What is Importance of Live Rock in Freshwater Aquarium or Salwater Fish Tank?
Live Rock has become the primary biological filter or nitrification base for saltwater fish tanks. Sometimes, they also enhance the look and provide shelter for microscopic inhabitants. By introducing the live rock into the aquarium, many bacteria, invertebrates, and algae start forming which contributes to the quality of salt water in the fish tank more than a trickle filter.
This leads to the deletion of waste products like nitrates, phosphates, and ammonia with many fates. They are assimilated by photosynthetic corals and algae that are growing on the live rock, and the nitrate that is being produced will be absorbed by the algae.
Why You Need Live Rock in Saltwater Aquarium?
In the business of fish keeping, the Live Rock has replaced the traditional dry filters for years now. The filters are not always functional especially when they become old, and the bio balls that are attached to the filters might lead to dangerous situations because of the dysfunctionality, affecting the marine life of the tank. Therefore, Live Rock has an impeccable filtering mechanism that is required biologically.
Once after introducing them into the aquarium, they start gaining beneficial bacteria and algae hosting the aerobic and anaerobic bacterial reactions that are needed for processing the nitric waste of the fish tank. Through this process, the Live Rock turns into a nitrification base and helps in maintaining the pH values of the water by releasing calcium constantly.
How Much Live Rock Do I Need in My Aquarium?
Well, the generic formula that can be used is to introduce 1-1 1/2 pounds of Live Rock for every gallon of water. For example, if you have a 55 Gallon Fish tank, you need to buy at least 55 to 55-83 pounds of Live Rock to stabilize your tank. While this formula is adequate to make things work, there are few other key factors that you have to consider to calculate how much live rock you need in fish tank:
- Differing density of the Live Rock
- Objectives of the Live Rock
- Water-Change Method and Regimen
- Potential use of other rock in the tank
- Light Levels
- Number of marine species et.al.
How to Add Live Rock in 55 Gallon Fish Tank or Any Size?
Live Rock can’t just be introduced into the tank in the way we add the marine species. One has to take many precautions while adding the rock after making sure that it is pre-cured. Also, it is important to cure the rock all over again before placing it in the aquarium of coral, fish.
In case you miss this, the rock dies during the transit. The simple way of adding the rock is to add it with live sand and wait for 14-28 days until there is no ammonia present in the water test.
How to cure the Live Rock in Fish Tank?
Curing Live Rock is important before placing it in the tank and to do this, make sure you wear gloves to avoid infection or accidental cuts.
- Place the rock in a 30-50 gallon garbage plastic can. Add bottom drains to speed the water changes through draining.
- Cover the rock with saltwater of specific gravity around 1.021.
- Now, get a heater and maintain the temperature of 80 degrees for speedy dying off.
- Provide constant movement with an air stone or power head and keep the area dimly lit to prevent excessive algae.
- Change the water entirely, twice in a week and start scrubbing the rock in between with a toothbrush or nylon brush to remove the dead deposits or white film.
- Keep performing water tests for ammonia and nitrate levels until the water gets stabilized with zero ammonia in it.
Benefits of Live Rock in Saltwater Aquarium and Freshwater Aquarium
Below are few advantages of live rock in saltwater as well as freshwater fish tank:
- Live Rock provides large quantities of nitrifying and as well as denitrifying bacteria for a better quality of water.
- Due to this, the time invested in the cycling of the tank reduces.
- Live Rock stabilizes the pH values of the water by leaching calcium into the salt water.
- Through Live Rock, you can also accommodate new marine species like the hitchhikers, snails, corals, and pods.
- They give you a wild and as well as a visually pleasing outlook resembling the actual aquatic life.
- By stacking them correctly, they make hiding spots for critters and other week fish bringing their natural behavior out.
- They also provide differences in the lighting levels and water flow making the tank a bit different than the domestic ones. Also, the fish feels safe and less stressful by hiding in the hiding spots which altogether improves the mechanism of your tank’s aquatic life.
Live Rock – Shape and Weight
The shape of the live rock appears to be like a slab rock or a branch rock and therefore, they also provide a great outlook to your aquarium. You can place decorative and ornamentation corals on it and also use it to build overhangs, arches, caves in the fish tank through aquascape.
The Live rock are collected by Island divers of the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean and they usually sit for weeks on islands in large piles and then are classified according to their type and size before being shipped.
The live rock you receive after ordering it is less than what it is supposed to be because of the packing materials. However, the actual live rock weight is different, and it is to be parcelled carefully. So approach an efficient seller whom you can trust.
Conclusion About Live Rock Information
This is all about live rock. We have tried our best to provide you all the right information like what is live rock, what is purpose of live rock, importance of live rock and advantages of live rock in saltwater or freshwater aquarium. Please share this article and also write your views in comment section below.