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Coral Vue Hydros

Base/dry rock question


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So its been quite some time since I have kept a reef tank. I will admit I needed a lot of refreshing to get my knowledge back to where it once was, but this site along with some other have been really helpful refreshing my memory and slowly but surely everything is coming back to me.


One thing that has eluded me thus far has to do with cycling and dry rock or base rock. No matter how hard I search I can not find the info I seek, everything always comes back to "then I added a small piece of live rock to seed the tank!". I originally used live rock to cycle my first tank and never really read much about using dry rock or base rock to start a tank.


My questions are as follows:


1. I really want to start my new tank and get back into this hobby as clean and perfect as possible, this includes NO PESTS!. To accommodate this I want to use ONLY dry rock that I can buy online or at a LFS so that I can pick out the exact pieces I want and come up with a perfect aqua scape before filling the tank. As far as cycling goes, is it possible to use live sand (the kind in a bag with water in it) and just dry rock to cycle a tank?


2. How will using the above mentioned method affect the production of all the little critters like pods ect (heres where my 2 years away from the hobby hurt, I used to know all about this stuff!). I cant for the life of me remmeber how pods are introduced to a tank outside of using live rock.


3. Am I better off just doing all dry rock and then adding 1 small SMALL piece of live rock? I only hesitate to use liverock because my LFS has a pretty depressing looking tank where they keep their liverock and it just looks like their rock would be CRAWLING with pests.


4. Is there anything I need to know about using dry rock vs live rock? So far I've read some stuff about rinsing the dry rock before hand in RO/DI and also some stuff about phosphates being a problem in some types of dry rock


5. Where can I get the best deal or quality dry rock? I really want to get a lot of large, shelf like pieces to build a sort of bonsai look with my scape that allows me to build shelves of rock to place corals. I have a Red Sea 130 so space is limited to a degree.



Thank you in advanced for any and all advice :D I know this is a total newbie question but back when I first started it was acceptable to use a raw shrimp to cycle a tank and in my research recently, that apparently is a big no no these days so I feel a little out of the loop :(

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1. Yes. That is possible, although live sand is more of a waste of money than live rock is in my opinion. If it were me personally I would just use quality dry rock (I recommend Marcorocks. Not affiliated) and dry sand with just a piece or two of live rock (doesn't even need to be big ones) from the LFS.


2. Well the bacteria will grow. By the end of the cycle everything in the tank will be "live" no mater how you start it. If you're just talking about larger things like planktons and pods then the answer is maybe but probably not. Those types of things will come into your tank on coral frags, though so no worries there and you can always add things like that to your tank if you want to.


3. Yes, I believe so personally. It's possible to cycle your tank without any live rock if you want to for the same amount of money (buy a product like Microbacter7...but why bother with chemicals and additives when they're not needed?). As for your LFS, just ask them about it. Most keep rock in a separate tank where they don't need as strong light and stuff. That is common. If you're uncomfortable with it I would just ask them about it.


4. If you buy a decent dry rock (like marcorocks or people here recommend BRS) you should just need to rinse it in RO water before using it. Some of the benefits to this rock is that it is very very porous which is great, it is easy to work with (break/flatten/glue) because it can be manipulated without being wet first. You have far more aquascaping abilities imo as well.

The benefits to live rock are that it tends to look a little better in the beginning before dry rock has a chance to color up and it will definitely boost your bioload capacity in the very short-term.

The disadvantages include difficulty of manipulation, potential pests, and often boring pieces of rock.


5. I talked to Marco at marco rocks a few times via email before I placed my last order and he is very accommodating. He will basically send you whatever you want. People here (someone else) will have more information about BRS I guess and whether you can make requests like that.


In the end, all the rock you get at any local LFS is 90% of the time crap. True live rock is covered in all sorts of awsomeness. The rock (that just has some bacteria on it) from the LFS is nothing compared to true live rock.


The only place I know of where you can order true live rock is Tampabay SaltWater (TBS). That stuff is freaking amazing. It is just covered in all kinds of goodies. Of course, you take the risk of getting some pests as well.


As for the shrimp, I used one for my tank. I have no idea why that would be a bad thing. I've seen people here say it's outdated and you should just use ammonia but I'm not a fan of using chemicals like that and the shrimp is recommended on most other forums I frequent. I'm not sure what the people here's reasons are that they disagree with that or think it is bad.

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