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Ajh715

Dry rock vs live rock help

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Ajh715

Hello all,

 

Here in the next month I will be setting up a Red Sea reefer 250, my first mid size tank. All my others have been 30 gallons or less. Since I have been dealing with small tanks, stocking completely live rock has never been an issue. My LFS live rock is actually set up in their tanks already and already are supporting a bioload, and I have a good relationship with the owner (giving business the $$$). Every tank I have established prior (4 other tanks) the rock has been amazing, giving a quick cycle, never any substantial algae that lasts more than 2 weeks or so, and has always supported my bioload 100%. This reefer 250 though, is bigger, and I was planning on setting up with BRS Reefsaver rock (cheaper), and getting marcorock e400 bonding cement, as well as fiberglass rods and epoxy to set up an awesome aquascape. The more I consider it though, I think maybe I should go with my LFS live rock. He sells me the rock at 7 bucks a pound (I think that's a good deal?) and IME always gives me a good experience. The BRS dry rock is cheaper and I can get a cool aquascape going, however by the time I buy the cement, rods, epoxy, and bottle of dr. Tims, the price between live and dead rock will be minimal. Also, I have never dealt with curing and really cycling dead rock, and I will have to look at ugly white rock for months, in addition to all the bad algae outbreaks (I HATE THE LOOK OF ALGAE) that apparently dead rock is prone to. What are yall's thoughts as to what I should go with and give me long term success? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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Ratvan

50/50 mix and ghost feeding to speed up the cycle. See if you can pick up some really cool dry stuff so you can hide it in the scape if the sight of it annoys you. 

 

I'd seed it anyway I could, filter media, old water from changes etc.

 

When you see algae in the dry rock add a CuC after a manual scrub and working out what it is. Add a few more if it keeps appearing

 

I want to move house next year and am planning my dream tank for a long term project. The above is about as far as it's got. 

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TILTON

I did dry rock to try and keep pests down, but in the long run I think it’s inevitable to introduce stuff into the system.  If I started completely over, I would do live rock with a lot of coralline growth.  White rock isn’t very pleasing to the eyes.  I am finally starting to see a little coralline after 5 months.  

 

 

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FISHnChix

On my reefer 250 I decided to go brs dry rock.. 100 percent dry too.. loved working with it. To me it was soooo much better then live bc it let me take my time aquascaping (fyi i suck at it 🤣).. also I didnt want any bad hitchhikers and my last live rock leaked so much phosphate it wasnt worth it to me.. just my two cents 😎

 

As to ugly white rock I added my old snails that had coraline on them and in less than 6 months my rock was covered!! Now I'm battling to keep it off that back wall.. I like my walls super clean though lol

 

Oh and look into reef welder for an alternative to epoxy it's really neat!

 

Happy reefing

 

I attached a couple pictures of my rock . All of the rock is purple with some darker purple spots and some red coraline too

20190424_164306.jpg

20190424_164301.jpg

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Ajh715
4 hours ago, Ratvan said:

50/50 mix and ghost feeding to speed up the cycle. See if you can pick up some really cool dry stuff so you can hide it in the scape if the sight of it annoys you. 

 

I'd seed it anyway I could, filter media, old water from changes etc.

 

When you see algae in the dry rock add a CuC after a manual scrub and working out what it is. Add a few more if it keeps appearing

 

I want to move house next year and am planning my dream tank for a long term project. The above is about as far as it's got. 

Thanks for the advise! my LFS always takes a sponge that is sitting in the sump of his tank and wrings it out making a bunch of dirty water and puts into a bag for me to dump into my tank.. maybe not the best method, but it definitely supplies the cycle with plenty bacteria to feed on, always gives me a quick cycle! 

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Ajh715
2 hours ago, TILTON said:

I did dry rock to try and keep pests down, but in the long run I think it’s inevitable to introduce stuff into the system.  If I started completely over, I would do live rock with a lot of coralline growth.  White rock isn’t very pleasing to the eyes.  I am finally starting to see a little coralline after 5 months.  

 

 

Thanks for the reply! i’ve never actually seen white rock in person but from the pictures it doesn’t seem to look to great... did you battle any substantial algae apart from what’s to be expected during a cycle? 

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Ajh715
2 hours ago, FISHnChix said:

On my reefer 250 I decided to go brs dry rock.. 100 percent dry too.. loved working with it. To me it was soooo much better then live bc it let me take my time aquascaping (fyi i suck at it 🤣).. also I didnt want any bad hitchhikers and my last live rock leaked so much phosphate it wasnt worth it to me.. just my two cents 😎

 

As to ugly white rock I added my old snails that had coraline on them and in less than 6 months my rock was covered!! Now I'm battling to keep it off that back wall.. I like my walls super clean though lol

 

Oh and look into reef welder for an alternative to epoxy it's really neat!

 

Happy reefing

 

I attached a couple pictures of my rock . All of the rock is purple with some darker purple spots and some red coraline too

20190424_164306.jpg

20190424_164301.jpg

Awesome tank! corals look great!! any chance I could get a FTS? your tank looks a lot like what i want to do... Did you use BRS reef saver or was it some other type? Also did you cure your rock or is the BRS stuff clean? Finally, anything you did in particular to accelerate coralline growth besides keeping your prams in check?

 

ill look into the reef welder!

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FISHnChix
11 minutes ago, Ajh715 said:

Awesome tank! corals look great!! any chance I could get a FTS? your tank looks a lot like what i want to do... Did you use BRS reef saver or was it some other type? Also did you cure your rock or is the BRS stuff clean? Finally, anything you did in particular to accelerate coralline growth besides keeping your prams in check?

 

ill look into the reef welder!

Yea used brs reef saver. Thanks for the compliment. Tank is coming along slow and steady. I plan on keeping this one for awhile. There is a few full tanks shots in my thread.  Here is the link check it out. I think I did an ok job and posting info about my start up with dry rock lol. 

 

 

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FISHnChix
20 minutes ago, Ajh715 said:

Also did you cure your rock or is the BRS stuff clean? Finally, anything you did in particular to accelerate coralline growth besides keeping your prams in check?

Sorry forgot to answer this stuff. Been a long week😎.  No I didnt cure anything . Rinsed it off with rodi and straight into the tank. I had zero phosphate and barely had any diatoms.. dunno if that meant it was clean but made me think it was...Cycled with dr Tim's nh3 and biospira.. I dont know what the trick is to growing corlline but I have a theory based off of limited experience. I think higher alk helps its grow like 9ish dkh.. reason being is in my old biocube I saw a HUGE increase in corlline growth once I started dosing 2 part. In my reefer I started dosing as soon as I added coral and started to see an weekly alk drop of about 1 dkh. Hope any of this helps happy reefing!!

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Ajh715
12 minutes ago, FISHnChix said:

Sorry forgot to answer this stuff. Been a long week😎.  No I didnt cure anything . Rinsed it off with rodi and straight into the tank. I had zero phosphate and barely had any diatoms.. dunno if that meant it was clean but made me think it was...Cycled with dr Tim's nh3 and biospira.. I dont know what the trick is to growing corlline but I have a theory based off of limited experience. I think higher alk helps its grow like 9ish dkh.. reason being is in my old biocube I saw a HUGE increase in corlline growth once I started dosing 2 part. In my reefer I started dosing as soon as I added coral and started to see an weekly alk drop of about 1 dkh. Hope any of this helps happy reefing!!

Been reading your build thread since i posted my last response! lot of great stuff in there! most of the equipment you’ve got running is all the stuff i’m going to go for so your thread will definitely be referenced as i start here in a few weeks! Overall are you happy with your reefer? 

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TILTON
52 minutes ago, Ajh715 said:

Thanks for the reply! i’ve never actually seen white rock in person but from the pictures it doesn’t seem to look to great... did you battle any substantial algae apart from what’s to be expected during a cycle? 

No algae on the rocks at all.  I didn’t do anything to them either.  I believe they are BRS.  I don’t really remember.  I had 2 separate tanks running with the same rock and neither had hair algae. 

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FISHnChix
2 minutes ago, Ajh715 said:

Been reading your build thread since i posted my last response! lot of great stuff in there! most of the equipment you’ve got running is all the stuff i’m going to go for so your thread will definitely be referenced as i start here in a few weeks! Overall are you happy with your reefer? 

So this was my dream tank and I thought it would be perfect for the kind of cash it cost me.. after opening it I wasnt super excited about the stand . The stand was a pain in the butt and I had to figure out how to adjust the doors myself bc the instructions for that part sucked. Also the stand seemed cheaper than I expected . The tank , plumbing , and sump are super clean though.. and honestly the stand wasnt as bad as i thought it was at first.. all in all I am happy with it.. and to the high price point.  Once I priced out buying a tank, stand, sump , and plumbing the reefer was actually cheaper..

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FISHnChix

If you want to check out some more new reefer builds @GraniteReefer and @Cutter79 have some nice setups, and of course @HarryPotter has a crazy mature reef in his reefer 350. Check them out!

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Ajh715
2 hours ago, TILTON said:

No algae on the rocks at all.  I didn’t do anything to them either.  I believe they are BRS.  I don’t really remember.  I had 2 separate tanks running with the same rock and neither had hair algae. 

no algae is the big thing for me... i can deal with slow corraline growth but i’ve had one tank get over run with algae and nothing i did seemed to work... eventually tore the tank down because it looked so bad and began to take the enjoyment of a clean looking tank away

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Ajh715
2 hours ago, FISHnChix said:

So this was my dream tank and I thought it would be perfect for the kind of cash it cost me.. after opening it I wasnt super excited about the stand . The stand was a pain in the butt and I had to figure out how to adjust the doors myself bc the instructions for that part sucked. Also the stand seemed cheaper than I expected . The tank , plumbing , and sump are super clean though.. and honestly the stand wasnt as bad as i thought it was at first.. all in all I am happy with it.. and to the high price point.  Once I priced out buying a tank, stand, sump , and plumbing the reefer was actually cheaper..

yeah that’s what it seems like to me. every tank i have had had been a aio style so i’m really excited to be able to have the benefits of the equipment to add to ever time while being hidden. and the extra water volume is a bonus to me 😂 the last few IM tanks i have had i actually built stands out of ikea cabinets so i’m sure the reefer stand is at least what i expect. overall i’m excited for a clean aqua scape and room to stock and grow the tank out! 

2 hours ago, FISHnChix said:

If you want to check out some more new reefer builds @GraniteReefer and @Cutter79 have some nice setups, and of course @HarryPotter has a crazy mature reef in his reefer 350. Check them out!

definitely going to be reading into these tonight and tomorrow! thanks for the feedback!!!

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Ajh715

two last things i wanted to ask, in your build i saw one of the power strips you have placed in the stand that is much like the one that comes with the red sea max tanks... did you get that strip separately or did that come with the reefer? also, i’ve heard mp-10 pumps have issues with the thickness of the reefer glass, i’ve got one laying around, how did yours work out on your reefer?

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Clown79

I love liverock. The biodiversity that comes with it is beneficial.

 

I've not had any bad hitchhikers, I've set up all my tanks with liverock or a portion of dry and live.

My favorite dry rock is caribsea liferock. Its clean, its not white, safe to use even in an established tank. They come in cool shapes too.

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FISHnChix
6 hours ago, Ajh715 said:

two last things i wanted to ask, in your build i saw one of the power strips you have placed in the stand that is much like the one that comes with the red sea max tanks... did you get that strip separately or did that come with the reefer? also, i’ve heard mp-10 pumps have issues with the thickness of the reefer glass, i’ve got one laying around, how did yours work out on your reefer?

Those are American dj powers strips i got for like 30 bucks each on Amazon. 

 

The reefer is pretty bare bones you get tank, stand, leveling mats, sump, plumbing and that's it unless you get the deluxe versions then you get some AI lights too.. if you look at like the first page of my journal you can see me leak testing and the bottom is bare that's how it comes.. 

 

The reefer models come with different size glass . On the 250 the sides are thinner than the front glass and I didn't have a problem with the mp10 on the sides . The back glass is thinner than the front too it's kinda weird.. not sure if the mp would work on the back but my guess is that it would.. on the front glass there is no way it would work bc it's too thick

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jfalkartist
17 hours ago, Ajh715 said:

The more I consider it though, I think maybe I should go with my LFS live rock. He sells me the rock at 7 bucks a pound (I think that's a good deal?) and IME always gives me a good experience. 

Live rock where I live is $5.50 - $6.00 a pound...but that's for uncured rock.  If you are paying $7.00 a pound for already cured, that is a good deal imo.

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Ajh715
29 minutes ago, jfalkartist said:

Live rock where I live is $5.50 - $6.00 a pound...but that's for uncured rock.  If you are paying $7.00 a pound for already cured, that is a good deal imo.

yeah this stuff stays in their established tanks, fills them up in a bucket of water and i drive home-no die off. never have had to actually cycle before it’s all leveled out in days with his stuff 

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Clown79
2 minutes ago, Ajh715 said:

yeah this stuff stays in their established tanks, fills them up in a bucket of water and i drive home-no die off. never have had to actually cycle before it’s all leveled out in days with his stuff 

I'd go that route. 

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Reef Rocker

I've only ever used live rock. There is so much more to it than just bacteria and coraline. Everyone has to make the best choice for themselves, so I won't tell anyone what they should do. There is enough info out there. And many people seem to have great success starting with dry rock. But for me, I think the dead white rock is ugly, sterile, and causes issues on it's own.  Coming back into the hobby after a long hiatus, the first thing that shocked me was all the white rock. It still weirds me out. I really miss my Marshall rock from back in the day. Amazing stuff. The tank I'm planning right now will only use fresh live rock. I can see using a mix of dry rock for a base plus good live rock on top in a larger tank to save money. We used to use lesser-quality live rock as base rock back in the day (last century lol).

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