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Arag-Alive sand with dry rock


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I'm new to this hobby and very excited about starting. I've spent all my free time researching so I would know what I'm doing. However I have a question. I haven't bought anything yet but plan on going with the jbj 12 gallon deluxe. I know small tanks are harder for beginners but I'm trying to keep the cost of all this as low as I can (which isn't very low :D ). Alright so I originally planned on using live sand and live rock, the rock being about $90 for 16 lbs. I did the math and can save $50 by using dry rock. How much longer will the cycle be with only the live sand? And is there a place I can order just a few lbs of live rock? The only fish store is an hour away which is fine but their live rock is $8 a pound.

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The bagged live sand really isn't live, so that isn't going to help you. You can't really beat the pros of having live rock it provides more than just bacteria; all sorts of worms, micro flora/fauna and all sorts of other things that make your tank a healthy environment.


In the long run $50 isn't alot of money in this hobby, I understand the need to do things on the cheap, but atleast doing some live rock as opposed to none would be a better option.

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Bagged "live" sand has little life besides bacteria. Using only bagged dry sand will mean most of the higher organisms like worms, crustaceans, etc. will not be present when seeding the dry rock.


So, it's more effective to just get a small amount of live rock (even as small as rubble) to seed dry rock and sand. Any sand, both bagged and even dry sand, will quickly become live sand when you have live rock. If you really wanted to be sure, you could get a cup of sand from an established tank. Also, you don't have to pay for the extra weight of water in bagged live sand.


Sealifeinc.net is a good source for getting small amounts of high quality (in terms of biodiversity) rock. However, you should check with local reefers that are willing to spare a pound or less of rock.

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I do like the look of the dry rock from BRS and the fact that I can aquascape the rocks easier. Mabye I'll call the pet store and see what I can get for live rock/sand from their tanks. Or mabye I'll just go back to all live rock, I can't decide right now.

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IMO "Live sand" is a waste of money. In my 40 build I used 35 pounds of dry rock and 5 pounds of live rock. The tank cycled in 2 weeks. Just get a couple of pounds to seed with and it will work fine.

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