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Live Rock


    by (JEFF PFOHL) (3 Mar 1995)


Date: 3 Mar 1995
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria


**********BEGIN LIVE ROCK FAQ****************************************

>From Tue Jan 18 14:57:40 1994
~Date: Sun, 16 Jan 1994 00:08:53 -0800
~From: (Michael Brown)

>From Wed Dec 29 10:16:40 1993
~Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 09:41:50 MST
~From: (Doug Davies)
~Subject: Re: Florida live rock info - please!

In rec.aquaria you write:

>I was wondering if anyone out there (I know someone must have) ordered
>Florida live rock through the mail? 
>I was wondering if you felt it was worth it.  I want to buy some soon and

[stuff deleted]


I got some Florida rock back in August.  I've been asked by many
folks about my experience, and I happened to save one of my email
messages.  I will tack it on the end of this message.  The bottom
line is that I have been extremely satisfied with my live rock
>from Exotic Aquaria.  Also, the cost of the rock was only $4 a
pound which was a bargain for what I got.  I have not seen as high
a quality rock for sale in any of the local shops.  Make sure the
you specify that you want rock that is heavily encrusted with
coraline algae (pink, purple, red, etc).

Douglas Davies (software engineer) |
Evans & Sutherland                 | "Never underpay your software engineers"
INTERNET:  |                     -Jurassic Park Moral



~Date: Wed, 29 Sep 93 17:08:41 MDT
~From: ddavies (Doug Davies)
To:, ddavies-at-jaba.sim.ES.COM
~Subject: Re: live rock


Thanks for the reply.  You would not believe the number of folks that have
replied to my post.

> Doug, I read your posting about live rock with great interest.  I currently
> have a 75 gal. marine tank set up.  I would like to add live rock to it but
> have hesitated because of the cost.  The price that you noted seemed pretty
> reasonable.  Where is "Exotic Aquaria" located?  Would you mind sending the 
> phone number?

Exotic Aquaria is located in Miami, Florida.  They have a toll free order
line (800) 622-5877, and a not so toll free question line (305) 654-1171.
They were really good about anwering my questions.

> When you say you "rinsed" the rock, what did you rinse it in?
> Just tap water, or did you have to "declorinate" the rinse water first?

Before the rock came I had my tank set up with the salt at the right specific
gravity and temperature.  I do not use dechlorinators because many of them
have phosphates which can add to algae problems.  I prefer to let my mixed
salt water stand over night with an air stone.  The air stone causes any
chlorine in the water to off gas, and by the next day the chlorine is gone.

When I said that I rinsed the rock, it was in prepared salt water in a 20
gallon rubber maid tub.  The specific gravity of the salt water in the tank
and the salt water I rinsed the rock in was 1.025 which is close to ocean
water.  By rinsing I mean just that, I put each piece of rock in the tub one
by one and just kind of swished them lightly back and forth to remove any
sediment.  I didn't do any scrubbing or vigorous washing.  Then I inspected
them for indesirable beasties such as mantis shrimp and bristle worms.

> Do
> you just let all of the little "growies" on the rock or do you actually scrub
> it?  Is it best to add all the rock you intend to put in the tank at once or
> gradually add a small amount at a time.

Just let them go, only pick undesirables off of the rock (see above).  When
you add new live rock to a tank, it takes several weeks to go through the
ammonia and nitrite cycle.  My ammonia and nitrites never got very high
(ammonia 0.5 ppm).  I have a friend whose ammonia got up to 5 ppm when he
was cycling his live rock, that's 10 times higher than mine.

Anyway, I don't know how cycling live rock will do in an established tank with
fish.  During the cycle time you want as little organic matter, phosphates,
light, and nitrates as possible or you will end up with an algae farm.  An
established fish tank with an undergravel filter will have lots of organic
matter in the filter bed and could have a fair number of nitrates depending
on the fish load.  I have a fish only marine tank with an undergravel filter
that I am going to tear down soon.  It has a high nitrate level and consequently
I have had some difficulty with the algae.

> I have had the tank set up with fish
> only for several years but have little experience in the "reef" setups.  The
> tank currently has an undergravel filter along with a lifeguard setup.  When
> and if the rock goes in the undergravel will conme out and I'll probably add
> a so called wet/dry system.

The ideal thing would be to strip the undergravel filter out of your existing
tank along with most or all of the gravel.  If you decide to leave the gravel
in, at least rinse it to remove most of the organic matter.  Then it might be
a good idea, if you can, to find a place to board your existing fish while
your live rock cycles.  As far as a wet/dry filter is concerned, most people
that are keeping reefs are of the opinion that wet/dry filters only add to
the nitrate problem and are not needed (or desired).  I read several books
and articles and received some good advice from a couple of guys who have been
doing reefs for a while.  I suggest that you get a book on reefs and read

When I decided that I was going to set up a reef, I was in the same situation
that you are, I had an existing fish only tank with an undergravel filter that
I have had for years, and wanted to convert that over.  The more I read and
learned, the more I realized that that was not a good idea, for several
reasons.  Reef tanks don't lend themselves to high fish loads and also many
of the fish that you would normally keep in a fish only tank don't belong
and can cause problems in a reef tank.  So I bagged the idea of converting over
my existing tank and went with a whole new setup.

The popular style of reef tanks is the easiest and cheapest and is known as
the Berlin style of reef keeping, named after the folks in Berlin, Germany
who figured it out.  It does not use a wet/dry filter or an undergravel filter
or any of the other stuff that they used to.  The main components of a Berlin
reef tank are:

	High quality live rock (lots of corraline algae
	A large protein skimmer (a must!)
	Lots of light - this can be either a metal halide with a light
		spectrum temperature of about 5500K or a combination of
		several fluorescent bulbs.

In addition, some folks like to put a PVC matrix under the rock to help the
circulation of water.  This is nothing more than a grid of 3/4" PVC with 1/4"
holes drilled in it, driven by a large power head.  Then usually egg crate
(plastic grid material used in flurescent lighting covers) is placed over
the matrix and the live rock piled on top of that.  I don't have any gravel
or substrate on the bottom of my tank because I didn't want it to gather
organic matter.

The only fish that I have put in my reef so far are herbavours that eat algae
such as an algae blenny (Salarius Fasciatus) and a yellow eyed kole tang.  I
don't feed these fish at all, and they exist fine on the little bit of micro
algae that grows.  I also have at least 1 astrea snail per gallon of water
which helps keep the algae down.

Boy, did I get off on one there... sorry it was so long, there is so much to
learn when getting into a reef tank, but they are so incredible!  My family
and I have really enjoyed ours.  We have several corals now and a clam.  The
clam was expensive but and absolutely fascinating and beautiful beast!

There are probably several things that I did not cover, and I probably raised
more questions than I answered.  If so, I would be glad to answer any new
questions, and would also suggest that you get a good book or two and read
them.  Also, if you don't have the reef keepers FAQs (frequently asked
questions), let me know and I will send them to you.  They are a good source
of information.

Good luck,

Douglas Davies (software engineer) |
Evans & Sutherland                 | "Never underpay your software engineers"
INTERNET:  |                     -Jurassic Park Moral


~From: (Ron Burns)
~Date: 25 Aug 92 15:55:49 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria
~Subject: [M] Live Rock -- Where to get it?  Experiences?  Suggestions?

There have been several postings over the months asking for info and 
suggestions about where to order live rock from.  
Maybe these people are responded to via Email.
Maybe they are ignored.  
I haven't seen any direct responses posted in any case.  
Since I am soon going to order a shipment of live rock, I, too, was going
to ask for guidance.  In an effort to be a little more helpful than just
asking for help, and in an effort to spark more response, and to contribute
to the wonderful exchange of info here on the net, I present the following.

PS    Where DO you recommend ordering live rock from? 
PPS   What effect has Hurricane Andrew had on live rock availability?

	A listing of all FAMA advertisers Selling live rock in their ads.
		From FAMA Sept. 1992     
Sorry if I missed your favorite ad, not responsible for inaccuracies


1)  Coral Solutions.  (602)881-7442    (602)881-7463 FAX
    Indonesian, Caribbean, Mexican.
    No pricing listed.

2)  Conch Republic Aquatics, Inc.  1-800-TO-CONCH  (305)289-1222 FAX
    Macro-Algae coral base rock
    <10 boxes  $1.50 / lb   (few of us order more than 350 lbs at a time)
    Ricordea and Gorgonian Rock
    No pricing listed

3)  Caribbean Creatures  1-800-728-3999   (305)852-3149 FAX
    Purple coralline encrusted live reef rock
    $89.95 / Box   no info on amount in box
4)  Natural Aquariums Unlimited  (216)773-1414   (216)773-1286 FAX
    live rock available   no other info

5)  Reef Rock International  (602)547-1167
    Mexican live rock  Encrusting coralline algae
    #1 grade $124.00 / box
    #2 grade $ 86.00 / box
    #3 grade $ 62.00 / box
        No explanation of grade, or if any of them made it past 3rd grade

6)  Pisces Coral & Fish  (713)272-9938
    Sea of Cortez and Caribbean  Encrusting algaes and corallines
    sizes 2" to 24"
    $1.45 / lb   30 lb minimum   or
    $49.95/box   35-40lb/box

7)  Zoo Tech  1-800-231-9005
    "Weekly live rock specials"   No other info

8)  Reef Displays of the Florida Keys, Inc. (305)743-0070  (305)743-1971 FAX
    Fresh and cured live rock / Caribbean decorative live rock
    no pricing info

9)  Exotic Aquaria, Inc.   1-800-622-5877orders (305)654-1171 (305)652-8125 Fax
    Cured live rock

10) Reef Scapers  (305)745-3686
    Florida live rock
    Plant rock - $40.00 / box
    Reef rock -  $70.00 / box

11) Canine Cutlery and World of Aquatics (215)967-1456  (215)967-4228 Fax
    Live rock
    no other info

12) Brantana Aquatics (407)898-9422  (407)898-9423 Fax
    Live Rock
    Christmas worm $6.00/lb
    Halimeda & Coralline Algae $4.00/lb

13) Exotic, Fresh & Reef Enterprises 1-800-882-7489  (410)381-0457 Fax
    Live Rock Florida keys rock fresh or cured

14) The Reef, Etcetera  (713)981-4648
    Live aquarium reef rock
    2" to 24"

15) C & B Distributors  (305)664-4588   (305)664-5536 Fax
    Live Rock
    Plant Rock
    no other info

16) Cortez Handcaught Marines, Inc.  (310)215-0303  (310)215-1732 Fax
    "tank raised, live rock" ???
    No other info

17) Dolfin International Import/Export (305)731-1750  (301)731-1892 Fax
    Live Rock by the pound cleaned and cured
    no other info

18) Caribbean Connection  (305)681-8120   (305)654-1322 Fax
    Live Rock  /  Plant Rock
    By the pound, from the diver
	no pricing ( "Competitive Priced" )


Well, That's most of 'em, anyway.

All below this point was culled from .aquaria articles

I recently purchased 90 lbs cured live rock from Pisces Coral & Fish in
Huston, Texas. Their prices are

Cured Live Rock: $49.95 for 30  lbs
Cured Cortez Live Rock: ~= about $83 for 30 lbs

They ship by UPS or air freight but it works out the best if you can
purchase close to 100 lbs to use air freight.

The air freight charge by Northwest was about $75 for 90 lbs. And if you
break it up, it still comes out to about

(50 x 3 + 75) / 90 = $2.50/lb

For cured live rock, I think it is pretty good deal.

Pisces Coral&Fish's phone number 713-783-1610
The sales person I worked with was Mark Edwards.

        Some notes and questions about the animals in my reef tank.

        The live rock is from Florida (Noyes Marine Life)

        1) There was some sort of Nudibranch or Sea Slug 
        apparently one on the live rock .... I now have at least
        20 of them of various size groupings. They seem to be algae eaters.

        2) There are about 2 dozen snails of different types, quite an
        array of beautiful shells. 

        3) There were several small patches of hard coral ~1 inch diameter
        when I received the rock.

        4) There are 3 sea slugs of the Aplysia genus 

I've recently had the experience of adding a large quantity of live rock
to my marine tank.
06/01/92 - Ordered 160lbs of Live rock from Florida.  Weather
is bad in Florida, supplier (Pat) hopes to have it to me by Friday.
Very hard to tell what is alive and what is dead.  
A quick check shows at least 7 different varities of Macro algea. 
Only animal life appears to be some dead worms - kinda look like earthworms.

06/07/92 - Rock has what appears to be "white mold" growing on it.  I assume
this is decaying plant matter. 
Find that Moe's MAR S&I has description of many algaes.  List
I have identified so far:

Phaeophyta Dictyopterus - brown algae vaguely treelike, smallish (2"), thin
brown leaves that branch deeply and irregulary.

Phaeophyta Sargassum - brown algae that tends to come in thick clumps.  Has 
small brown pea-shaped attachments (help algae to float?) 

Unidentified algaes:

Something that looks like 1 to 4" branched thin pink pipe cleaners.
Something that looks like dark green fine steel wool pads (kinda).
Something that looks like .6cm to .9cm green disk connected end-to-end.
Some white miniture christmas trees.
Some thin (.2mm) white branched stuff.
Some thicker white (1mm) heavly branched stuff.
Something that looks like a bunch of 1" normal green pipe cleaners.

i have 100 lbs of live rock which i ordered from reef scrapers (look in
FAMA).  70 lbs of plant rock and 30 lbs of decorative rock.  this rock
was uncured and it took about 2 days to get from the ocean to my tank.
it was pretty good plant rock.  it had too much macroalgae growth so
i tried to take as much off as i could before putting it into the tank.
i found a few mantis shrimps and bristle worms which went down my toilet.
i found many brittle starfish, a couple small crabs, a small hermit crab,
some small snails, several chitons, several tube worms and a few anemonies
(the naughty type, i fear).

the decorative rock was a collection of plant rock with a few rocks with
sponges, ricordia and some other soft corals.  i put these in small
established reef tank.  they have not been doing too well.  i think that
the shipping really stressed them out.

overall i was pretty happy with the quality as well as the price ($150 for
100lbs of rock, $55 for aircargo from florida to san fansisco airport).  i
would recommend them to others looking for live rock.  (i have also tried
pisces.  they have more purple coralline algaes but they also have more
boulders: heavy non porous rocks.  there was little macroalgaes but their
prices was very reasonable).  the term live rock is a misnomer.  i think
that it give the impression that there are lots of corals and other things
growing on it.  in reality it is mostly rock with sometimes a tube worm
and algae growing on it.

i noticed that there are places on the rock where there is a white scum, 
it kind of looks like mold.  it even covered some of the non-live rock 
which i added with the live rock.

So, that's it. 
Ron Burns              
Unisys Corporation                                      ...!rosevax!minnow!ron


~From: (David Putzolu)
~Date: 21 Oct 92 19:07:08 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria
~Subject: (M) (R) Summary: Live Rock Ordering Experience

Hi All! Well, I finally received my live rock yesterday, so
here is the summary I promised to a few of you. Feel free to
email or post any further questions, etc.

Let's see, from the beginning... After reading *.aquaria for
a couple of months, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at
reef keeping. After getting most of the necessary hardware
together (lighting, filtration, etc.) I was ready for the
first actual step of creating my own reef: buying the live
rock that would be the basis of the system. A short glance
through FAMA as well as a double check of all the old posts
on *.aquaria gave me the names and prices of alot of places
that sold live rock (see Ron Burns' excellent summary, or
ask me & I will email it to you.) Unfortunately, I was 
unable to find much experiential information about the
quality of the rock these places shipped. A posting to the
net got me two responses saying that Pisces was unreliable,
if not shoddy (boulders were received at time, with little
'live' stuff on them). A third person mentioned that they
had heard from James S. Cho that reefscrapers had good quality
stuff, but they had been unable to contact Reefscrapers since
hurricane Andrew :( . Finally, there was Steve Tyree's posting,
advocating use of completly coralline encrusted Marshal Island
rock - excellent stuff, apparently. Unfortunately, Steve
lives in Southern California and so do his sources of rock.
I was unable to locate any sources of similar rock in NorCal.
I decided that I would just try my luck. From what I could
tell, there seemed to be basically two different price categories
of live rock. The former was generally < $4/pound, the latter
for $4+/pound. Already aware of Pisces being perhaps not so
reliable, I called a place called Caribbean Creatures, prices at
$89.95/box. I was answered with a tired sounding, "hello?"
I said, "Hi, I'm interested in some of your live rock..." hoping
to draw them out a bit to get an idea of their quality, etc. The
response: "Oh, yeah. What about it?" "Well, what shapes and sizes?
Where is it from?" The responses were minimal and not very 
enthusiatic. This fellow did not make me feel very confident in
their quality, so a quick, "thanks for the information. Bye." ended
my conversation with them. I then tried calling a couple of places
in the $4+/pound group, notably Algae Solutions and Exotic Aquaria,
Inc. The response from these folks was MUCH more pleasing. They 
voluntarily volunteered information, were courteous, and did not
seem bothered just talking to me, answering questions. I finally
decided to order from Exotic Aquaria, Inc. The ordering process
went very well. The woman I spoke to asked me what composition of
rock I wanted for my order (in terms of % primarily corralines
and % primarily macro-algaes), what sizes (I chose < 8" for the
majority of it, already having some large base rocks), and what
shipping (Air freight is available for orders of 50 lbs or more).
They accepted my credit card for billing, and said they would
throw in five astrea snails when I asked about them. This was
last Wednesday. Fast forward to yesterday...
Around 8:20AM, my time, EA, inc., called me, informing me of
the flight, airline, and package number, as well as ETA. 
Upon arriving at the airport, I picked up the box. The weight
on Delta's invoice said 40lbs. Hmm. Still, when I picked up the
box, it was quite hefty. Went home & unpacked it. The rock inside
was good stff. Nice shapes, no boulders. Lots of nice purple
corallines, even on the rocks that had macroalgaes. A few small
critters, including several white brittle stars, at least two
very small anemones, several small (1 cm or less) feather dusters,
a small crab (he is cute!), a dead banded shrimp :(, lots of
worms of various sorts, three mantis shrimp of various sizes
(who went to the circulating liquid funeral), a mid-sized clam
(approx 3.5 cm across longwise), a mussel, and plenty of
macroalgaes of various sorts. I really have to emphasize the
coralline encrustation - it was really good. Oh, I forgot:
several small (1cm) chitons and ONE astrea snail. Hmm.
Finally, the billing said they charged me $250. Hmm for the 3rd time.
I called them this morning, and they were helpful about things.
They immediately noticed the misbilling and said they would credit
my card today and mail me a receipt of the crediting today as well.
About the weight of the box, they said they had weighed it at
their place at 65 pounds (including packing, etc.) and that Delta
must have screwed up. I didn't weight the box myself (duh!) but it
sure felt like > 40lbs. when I carried it, so no big deal. They
apologized for the missing astrea, although they claimed that astrea
were generally very small and so I might have missed them. Mmph.
They seemed a bit defensive over the phone, but all-in-all I 
am satisfied with them. The rock is of good size and shape, and
has great encrustation and a fair bit of various critters
in it. I would recommend this place as long as you are "on your
toes," ie, make sure you double check your order. The price
was $4.00/pound, + $5 for the box, +$49 for shipping, for a total
of about $250. 

Hope this helps somebody!

| David M. A. Putzolu               |              |
| Senior Undergraduate              | op disclaimer(opinion : ptr mine)   |
| Computer Science and Psychology   | SG:1.021 PPM: NH3+4+:0 NO3:0 NO2:5  |
| University of California at Davis | 77 Deg. F     CaCO4:400      PO4:0  |


~From: (Patrick L Faith)
~Date: 22 Mar 92 23:03:43 GMT
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria
~Subject: (M) Seed Rock instead of (semi) Live Rock

Well I finished reading the Audubon article "Raiding the Reefs" that
was referenced in the "guilt" thread and basically agreed with everything
in it ( though the Author did have a agenda ).

Anyway I've been working on a way to avoid using large amounts of live
rock by following what some of the large aquariums do.  When they want
to put a big reef exhibit together they buy large boulders from quarries and
build "dead" rock walls using concrete mixes.  They then go get
rock pieces from the ocean and "seed" the concrete walls.
Anyway I'm now using a 5 % "seed" rock to 95 % "dead" rock mix
in building my temperate aquarium reefs. Basically I go to a rockery and
find some large rocks that would look really neat in my tank - buy
them, clean them, then put them in the tank.  I then get live
"seed" rock - small pieces of live rock that are handled in the
same manor as a marine fish ( sufficient oxygen and not exposed to the
air for more than a few minutes ).  There is therefore a big difference
between "seed" rock and what in the trade journals is called "live" 
(semi-live) rock: "seed" rock is transported in water and comes with
all life intact, while semi-"live" rock arives in your aquarium in a
decayed state because it was shipped and processed in open air - wrapped
in wet newspapers. 

There are some big advantages to the "seed" rock concept. First off the
reef looks much more natural(profesional), having some large rock planes
and surfaces using the decorative dead rock.  This contrast to semi-live
rock aquariums that are basically big rock piles. Another advantage
in using seed rock is that invertebrate young(eggs &etc...)come through the
shipping intact, giving you a more diverse life base for to grow on the
decorative rock reef.

Negative points to this approach is that using real Live rock you often
bring in real competitors - such as nudibranchs - that may enjoy eating
your favorite invertebrate.  Another negative point is that it takes a
year to get decent life on large rockery pieces.  The species also tend
not to be as intermixed per rock because of natural selection:
your aquirium conditions and space requirements of the species ( many 
reefers tend to compress species into a smaller region than would
normally occur in nature - i.e. I tend to see a predominate species covering
a square meter of surface in the wild - not 4 types of corals in one square
meter of space)

Overall though, this mix type approach is less expensive per tank, and
gives a more natural look to your aquarium - the main problem is it requires
some patience and a species layout that is determined by your tank conditions.

Legally, I would like the following laws to force higher quality live rock:

  "Live rock" being defined as rock taken from the ocean to be resold for
  use in the aquarium trade. 

   Live rock shall not be exposed to air for more than 1/2 hour during the
   complete process of collecting,handling and shipping.

A simple law like this would increase the price of live rock and force people
to use the "seed" rock concept.  Collectors would also have to maintain
higher quality live rock so that the "seed" will take to the tank - i.e.
reproduction will occur for a diverse amount of species. I have a hard time
seeing a responsible aquarist not wanting a higher quality live rock - it
is currently dificult to buy live rock that does not need to go through a
curing process.


p.s.  I can't cross post to rec.aquaria


~From: kevin-at-modcomp.uucp (Kevin Smith)
~Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1992 14:41:10 GMT
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria
~Subject: Re: (M) Seed Rock instead of (semi) Live Rock (Dustin Lee Laurence) writes:

> (Patrick L Faith) writes:

>[seed rock + base rock stuff]

>I don't see why this wouldn't work for tropical reef tanks as well, and
>Moe claims that it does, but I've heard people who disagree.  Anyone else
>out there tried this technique?

Yes, and it works to varied success.  My base rock, which is limestone
I believe and other various rocks have been seeded by the things I have
collected, tubeworms, plants, etc.  It's a slow process but kind of exciting
to see what will pop up next out of the new rock.

Kevin Smith !uunet!modcomp!glsdev!kevin


~From: (Patrick L Faith)
~Date: 10 Apr 92 03:48:48 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria,sci.aquaria,alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: Source for Live Rock or Seed Rock

> Source for Live Rock or Seed Rock
>So... I would appreciate hearing from any and all of you about your
>experiences buying live rock.  Topics include: mail order vs. local purchase,
>Sea of Cortez vs Florida rock, live rock vs. seed rock, etc.  When I page

Well ... we had a discussion on "seed" in alt.aquaria and sci.aquaria, and
I got a lot of mail about where I got seed rock.                           

Seed rock ( rock that is packaged in water, goes through no decay process, 
and is used to seed lifeless rocks through reproduction ) is very hard to
get from my experience and those that responded to my recent posts.
I've gotten all my seed rock through personal collection, or asking my 
collector friends for it.  I don't know anyone that will collect and ship
seed rock currently.  There seems to be a demand for seed rock,
since it can have small corals and delicate inverts on it that wont die
through the shipping process.  But there does not appear enough demand to
make the handling of the rock worth the collectors effort - i.e. treating
the rock in the same way you would treat a live coral.

p.s. of those that posted "seed" rock was always prefered to "live" rock,
though some have received live rock that did not have to be cured much.


~From: steve-at-celia.UUCP (Steve Tyree)
~Date: 1 Sep 92 21:14:33 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [M][R] Improving Captive Reef Base Rock

 Last night I purchased some very interesting live rock. The store
personal where not the ones who bought the rock wholesale and did not
know the rocks origin. The rock is heavily encrusted with many
different colors of coralline algae. Some growths have a height close
to 1/2 inch. One species even glows a luminescent red under actinic
lighting. Its the heaviest encrusted rock I have ever seen locally.
The main exciting part of these rocks is that the base rock which
is covered with corallines is thin and smooth. Almost like thin
shelves. This form of wafer rock can be used to cover less encrust-
ed rock or as a base for corals. However, it is a bit difficult to 
construct a base reef with this rock.
 In the future though these shelve rocks will make very good rocks to
use as a floor cover in my reef tray system. These 1/2 inch thick rocks
will be put on the bottom of reef trays to use as a planulae settlement
area and to inhibit the growth of microalgae. Microalgae growth has been
the biggest problem trying to raise coral planulae in a separate tray
system. These wafer coralline encrusted rocks may be the key factor in 
trying to raise or develope coral planulae into spat and juvenile coral.
I would definitely encourage the developement of more of this types of
rocks in the future. A rock grower might put shale wafers into a captive
reef or in a reef farming quadrant. They make excellent bottom covers
for captive farming trays.

 Steve Tyree - Reef Breeder


~From: steve-at-celia.UUCP (Steve Tyree)
~Date: 22 Oct 92 20:30:47 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria
~Subject: Re: (M) (R) Non-live rock OK with live rock?

In article <> (David Putzolu) writes:
->One last thing... when I talked to EA, Inc., this morning, and
->metioned that I had some non-live rock at the base of my tank, 
->they recommended against it. The rock is stuff I bought at a
->fish store in Sacramento. It had some lichen on it, which I
->cleaned off, and has been sitting in my tank for about a month.
->It is fairly clean now, and I was wondering if I should not
->keep this stuff in my tank, and just stick to 100% live rock.
->Any comments from the experts out there? Thanks!

 All the dead base rock has been removed from my reef. It will only collect
detritus. Any exposed areas will have hair algae growing on them eventually.
Its better to start off with less rock of higher quality and slowly add more
when appropiate funding is available. The rock you add later must be fully
cured to be save for your reef or be 100 percent coralline encrusted. The
emphasis on corallines will become more apparent as time goes on. Heres 
some hints - Many species of coral larvae only settle on coralline algaes,
my reef now has juvenile corals developing on the high quality Marshall Is-
land rock. These spat corals came on the rock. Since than I have been taking
a very close look at other coralline encrusted rocks offered for sale in
retail stores and have seen juvenile corals of many different types. These
corallines are most important for coral development. Its time we treated
coralline live rock just like coral. Take a closer look.....

 Steve Tyree - Reef Breeder


~From: (Tom Kong)
~Date: 5 Jan 93 23:23:39 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria
~Subject: liverocks

A few months ago I mentioned on the net that I visited fellow
netter James Cho's tank and was very impressed by the quality
of the live rocks he got from Reef Scrapers.  Then hurricane
Andrew came and I was unable to get in touch with Reef Scrapers.

Finally in November I got hold of them and order some premium
rocks and some plant rocks (their prices have gone up by $10 per box).
I sold one box of plant rock and one box of premium to a coworker,
and kept one box of premium for myself.  Because of the bad weather 
in Florida, it took almost a month before my shipment arrived. 

Things didn't survive the journey too well (it took a day and
a half to get to San Jose airport).  The first bad sign was that
all the boxes were dripping wet.  It turned out that the rocks
took some pounding during shipment, and the styrofoam boxes
all cracked, and the plastic bags inside bursted from the abrasion.
The second bad sign was seeing how dry the rocks were when I
opened the box and also how foul they smelled.

I removed as much macroalgae as possible before dropping the rocks
into the tank.  I also removed as many big worms as I could find.
>From the box I found two small urchins, and a tiny brittle star,
and that was all.  All the rocks had a ton of silt deposit on them,
I suspect the hurricane was responsible.

The next several days the water was cloudy and smelled terrible, the protein 
skimmer went crazy.  I did 30% water changes every day for two days.  After 
a week the water cleared up, and stopped smelling bad.  I was ready to put my
corals back into the tank, but stopped after I realized NH4 was
at 5ppm.  Another week later, NH4 dropped to zero, and NO2 climbed
to 0.1ppm.  I got impatient  enough to drop a hammer coral and a frogspawn
coral in the tank.  Both reacted positively and looked good.  The
rocks started to show lots of new macroalgae growth.  The decorative
rocks (with riccordia, and some colonial polyps) were doing great
and looked really good.  I later moved some of the rocks to a different

Now, about one month since I got the rocks, things are going great!
Both tanks used to have tons of hair algae, and now have almost no
microalgae, all the corals inflate to amazing sizes.  My elegance is 
now 12" diameter instead of about 5" a year ago, my goniopora stopped 
dying and is now growing back to 8" diameter.  There is a decent
growth in all the macroalgae that came with the rock.  

Overall the quality of the rocks weren't as good as James Cho's rocks
>from before the hurricane as there were far fewer interesting creatures 
on them (unless you think big worms or mantis shrimps are interesting).  
I was impressed by how well the rocks help purified the water, and how 
the decorative rocks came back despite their look and smell when they 
first arrived.  

I'm one happy customer.



~From: (Dave Sheehy)
~Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1993 01:49:43 GMT
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [M][R] Mail order live/base rock experiences

Tom McCain ( wrote:
: Can anyone tell me of any source that you've had good luck mail
: ordering reef rock from?  I'm interested in base and live coralline
: encrusted rock.  I've seen a few (Reef Displays) advertise in FAMA but
: I sort of hate to order sight unseen.  I'd also be interested in
: wholesale pricing with large orders.  Suggestions?  Thanks a lot!

I've had good luck with Exotic Aquaria's rock. The rock was about 50% covered
with coralline algae. The rock I got also had substantial populations of
non-Caulerpa macro-algaes. I also got a couple of urchins and brittle stars
too (along with bristle worms and a mantis shrimp or two that I flushed). The
urchins turned out to be a bummer because they eat the coralline algae off the
live rock. The brittle stars grew from 3" in diameter to 6-8" in diameter and
have spawned in the reef. I've seen 2 little baby brittle stars about 1/2" in
diameter. All in all I'm very happy with it.

I was able to get a discount (I don't remember how much but it wasn't a whole
lot, maybe 10%) because 3 of us went together and bought 200 lbs of rock.
Apparently there's a break in the Air Freight fee structure at that point 
(at least that's the story from Exotic Aquaria).

: --tom

Dave Sheehy


~From: (David Matthew Putzolu)
~Date: 9 Jan 93 03:14:19 GMT
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [M][R] Mail order live/base rock experiences

In article  Dave Sheehy, writes:
>Tom McCain ( wrote:
>> Can anyone tell me of any source that you've had good luck mail
>> ordering reef rock from? 

>I've had good luck with Exotic Aquaria's rock.
I'll second that. I ordered from Exotic Aquaria over three months ago and
the rock I got from them still amazes me. Just today I discovered two sea
urchins & a chiton that I hadn't seen before. The rock is very well
encrusted with corallines, caulerpas, and other sorts of algaes. There
was (and is) a large amount of small livestock. I'd recommend Exotic
Aquaria wholeheartedly.

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and
 bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against
 tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson


~From: (David Packer)
~Date: 21 Jan 93 17:32:26 GMT
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria,sci.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [M] HELP!  What happened to my Cowfish...

In my experience,  I have found that adding live rock
to an already established, non-live-rock or non-reef
setup is a big NONO. Unless you take the measures to
kill everything that could be a parasite on the live
rock(which usually results in dead rock).

I once(sniff :( ), had a beautiful Powder Blue Tang.
In my 40G tank, (I have a reef also).  He was the 
BFIT (BIG FISH IN TANK).  He really made the tank
lively and used to play and seemed to get along really
well with my foxface.

I put a piece of live rock in the tank, thinking that
it would make the tank more "homey" for the fish. My
blue tang got really sick and died about 5 weeks later.
(Of black ich). My other fish broke out with various
other strains of ich. So I treated the tank which
stressed out the remaining 4 fish but killed the live
rock and the ich. Now the rest of the fish are depressed,
or maybe it's just me......



~From: (Anthony Tse)
~Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 15:08:28 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria
~Subject: LR collection and formation

    During the LR collection in FL war, the question of how fast can
nature produce LR to replace what we take came up over and over again.
I was going over old magazine yesterday and I think I found an answer.
One point that everyone missed was corals are not the only thing
building rock in a reef.  There were two articles in FAMA that discussed
the formation of reef.  One is by Dr. C. W. Emmens, I don't remember
what's the other one.  Anyway, one article started out saying "coral
reef" is really misleading since coral only play part of the role in
reef formation.  Other stuff such as calcareous algae (Halimdia) (sp?),
coraline algae, skeleton of billions of protozoa, skeleton of crabs,
snails, sand dollar, etc also play a part.  Then he describe how
calcareous algae etc fill in the void between coral branch while
coraline algae cement the pieces together (crush coral in my tank
is also being cemented together into clumps).  The rate of calcium
carbonate formation was estimated to be between (.5 - 1.8) kg per meter
square per year.  If we take the middle number, that's approx
2 lb / 10 ft^2 / year.  300 tons ~= 600,000 lbs, so we need
3,000,000 ft^2 to produce the rock we take.  1 square mile ~= 28 million
ft^2, so we need .108 square miles of average reef to produce the rock we
take.  Taken into account not all calcium carbonate formation turn into
reef (some turn into sand), 300 tons is still nothing in the scale of



~From: (Anthony Tse)
~Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1993 03:49:42 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [M] Do you really need 2.5lbs/gallon LR?(was: Q: Cost of setting up 200 gal reef)

In article <> (kevin.e.millheim) writes:
>1) One more time...whats a good ratio of LR to Gallons and what is
>the minimum to start with realistically?  My tank is ~94G (60x18x20).

    2 lb of FL rock per gallon of tank size is the rule of thumb.
I have never used less, but I have used more.  If you use less,
chances are, you will be building a smaller reef structure (eg,
laying all the rock on the tank bottom instead of building a wall)
in such a way that will limit the number of corals you can actually
place on your reef, so unless you go overboard on skimping, things
should find a way of working itself out.  I probably won't go
lower then 1 lb per gallon.  For more expensive rock, you can probably
use less, I'll know better once I get my hand on some MI or Tonga rock.
Keep in mine if you want to add rock later, you'll either have to have
another tank to cycle the new rock, or buy cured rock locally which
will cost you big buck.

>3) Should I use any substrate or set the rock on a bare bottom? If
>no substrate, what do people do (beneath the tank since its clear)
>to make the bottom look attractive?

     I use substrate in one tank, and no substrate in another.
I don't think a thin substrate will hurt anything, but no substrate
is probably a safer bet.  You can always grow stuff on the bottom
glass.  Coralline algae is great.  Some people use green star polyps
and grow a lawn.

>4) What different types of LR can be used? (translation: can I use
>some cheaper type at the inner bottom where it is less visible?)

     The major reason for using good rock is to prevent algae.  So
you want to make sure all the rock that expose to light are good
rock.  You can probably get away with cheaper rock on the bottom.
If you use less then 2 lb per gallon to start, then pretty much
all your rock will be exposed to light.

>5) What is the stacking technique/style with regards to visual (lifelike)
>correctness? Since one can request certain shapes/sizes; what determines
>a good choice?

     I just pile my up carefully, one of the reason why I like big
boulders.  I think most people prefer smaller pieces for more surface
area.  I just get more rock.

>6) What is the proper stacking technique with regard to safety of the
>tank inhabitants? Do you connect the rocks mechanically or just stack
>them and rely on gravity? How near the water surface can the rock
>go without being a problem?

    You'll find out when you start stacking:)  The rest, will depend on
what kind of coral you want to keep.  For acropora, I pile my rock
way up.  For a show tank, probably 8" below water so you have
room to for a few big pieces of big corals.  I build mine in such
a way that I roughtly have two platforms, lower platform up front,
higher platform in the back.

>7) What is the proper stacking technique with regard to being able to
>keep the thing clean? How much are people actually able to clean
>their tanks with LR in?

    Ask Steve, he got a great system for keeping his tank clean at all

    What you forgot to ask is how to place corals.  When you start
packing your tank, it is important to place your corals so that they
don't move or fall.  Corals are meant to grow upward, not sidweay,
most people place their corals on the side becasue it's hard to
stand a big piece of top heavy coral upright with a .5 in^2 base under
constant water current.  What I've done is to drill two small holes
on the base of the (stony) corals and tie them to a rock with
fishing lines.  It's a bitch, but sure beat finding a basketball size
branching hammer coral upside down on the bottom of your tank
when you get home from work (happened to me twice already, and the
hammer is tied to a 10 lb rock now).



~From: (Patti Beadles)
~Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1993 18:37:21 GMT
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [M] Do you really need 2.5lbs/gallon LR?(was: Q: Cost of setting up 200 gal reef)

Julian Sprung's recommendation for live rock is 1/3 of the tank
capacity should be rock, judged visually.  Pounds per gallon is a
guideline at best, since rock density varies quite a bit.  (Mexican
rock is heavy, Florida rock is sort of medium weight, and Hawaiian
rock is light, in my experience.)
Patti Beadles  503/696-4358 | I don't speak for Intel, nor vice-versa. | | If it wasn't for the last minute,
or just yell, "Hey, Patti!" |             I'd never get anything done!


~From: (Doug Davies)
~Date: 15 Sep 1993 16:19:08 -0600
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
~Subject: [M][R] Live Rock (LONG)

Since I made a request of the net about a month ago for information about live
rock, I've had several folks send me information and offer suggestions (much
appreciated).  It seems that most everyone recommended Exotic Aquaria as the
place to get good live rock... so I did.

Also, since so many people have asked me for information about what I found out
and if I had placed an order, I thought I would publish a chronicle explaining
my experience (which was very good)!  This is long...

Monday 8/30
10:00A	Called Exotic Aquaria to place order, they were very helpful!  I was
	told that they air freight a minimum of 50 lbs of live rock.  Ordered
	50 lbs of coralline live rock and 12 Astrea snails.  They took my
	phone number an indicated that they would let me know when they would
	be able to fill the order.

2:00P	JoAnn from Exotic Aquaria called and left a message indicating that
	they would be shipping the live rock the next day (Tuesday) and gave
	all of the information including the flight times, connections, and
	arrival time.  Oh no!  That was faster than I expected and I'm not
	ready (stayed up 'til 2:00A getting tank ready and running).

Tuesday 8/31
10:00A	Called JoAnn at Exotic Aquaria to verify delivery and ask some
	questions.  She was very pleasant and didn't seemed put out by my
	questions.  When I asked about the order she indicated that they
	had shipped the rock and that they had thrown in about 25 astrea
	snails (only charged me for 12).

6:30P	American Airlines freight counter called and indicated that my "fish"
	(as they called it) were in.

7:30P	After retrieving package from American Airlines and arriving home
	I anxiously opened the box.  It was well packed with styrofoam
	insulation around all sides and the live rock and snail separately
	double bagged with heavy gauge plastic.

	While opening the bags I turned my head in anticipation of an acrid
	rotting smell... pleasant surprise, very little odor.  Pulled out
	rock pieces, rinsed, and inspected them.  Very little debris at all,
	just a small amount of sediment, rinse water was not cloudy at all.
	Could not find any dead material on the rocks, looked like they had
	been rinsed quite well, and sizes were a nice assortment.  Most of
	the rocks averaged about 50% of their surface covered by various
	shades of coralline algae, with a couple of pieces almost completely
	covered with coralline algae.  Some macro algae on approximately 1/3
	of the rocks that seemed to be in good shape and healthy.  One of the
	macro algaes looks like bright green pipe cleaners (1-2 inches long
	and 1/4 inch in diameter), anybody have an idea what these are?

	While rinsing rock caught 2 brittle stars (2 inch and 4 inch diameter),
	a couple of small bristle worms (flush), one small crab (1 inch - went
	into my marine fish only tank), one mantis shrimp (flush,  swirl),
	and a couple of "good" worms which I kept.  Also, all 25 astrea snails
	(now that's what I call a baker's dozen) were accounted for and healthy.

	Placed rock in tank (30 gallon long) and arranged to provide nice
	appearance and caves.  After a while noticed 5 small feather dusters,
	2 small anemones, and various and sundry encrusting hard corals and

		50 lbs live rock ($4/lb)		$200.00
		12 astrea snails (25 delivered)		$ 24.00
		Packing charge				$ 10.00
		Shipping (American Airlines)		$ 55.25

		Total cost				$289.25

Wednesday 9/1
	There is no detectable odor at all around the tank, and the protein
	skimmer has been running all night with only a small amount of fairly
	benign scum.  Water column and surface are clean.  Everything looks
	very healthy and the snails are cruising all over the place.  Only one
	small patch on one rock shows any sign of decay.  Salinity is 1.025.

	Saw the large brittle star cruising around and also saw a small crab
	which I will have to catch and toss later.  Leaving the lights off for
	a couple of weeks to keep the micro algae down.  The lights do go on
	for a few minutes in the morning and evening (can't resist taking a
	look, and a flash light just doesn't do the job *grin*).

Friday 9/3
	There are a couple of patches on a couple of rocks with a white film
	(decay) that looks like it was once a sponge of some sort.  The ammonia
	level is 0.3 ppm, water quality is good, and protein skimmer seems to
	be able to keep up with decay, etc.  Siphoned and scrubbed the film off
	and did a 10% water change.

	Found approximately 2 dozen small feather dusters of varying sizes and
	colors.  Also, a small (1 inch) nudibranch or flat worm that has a
	mottled appearance with the same color as the pink coralline algae.  It
	has what appear like two sets of antennae, two out the front and two
	above the head, and its underside is spotted.  Anybody have an idea as
	to what this beasty is?  Also, several things which look like small sea
	squirts (may be sponges).

Sunday 9/5
	The two patches of white film don't appear to be getting any larger.
	The ammonia level is 0.5 ppm.  Again, siphoned and scrubbed off the
	film (did not remove rock from tank) and did a 10% water change.  Life
	forms and macro algaes on the rock are really starting to perk up.

Tuesday 9/7
	The ammonia level is 0.4 ppm (dropping after only a week).  Siphoned
	and scrubbed and did a 20% water change (had to lower water level to
	make modifications to my overflow box).  Everything looks really good.
	Can't detect any micro algae growing on the glass or rock.  Noticed
	about a half a dozen small rock anemonies - they will have to go soon!

Thursday 9/9
	The ammonia level is 0.2 ppm, and nitrite level isn't registering yet.
	Did a 10% water change.  White film patches are almost gone.

Saturday 9/11
	The ammonia level is 0.1 ppm, and nitrite level is <0.1 ppm.  Did a
	10% water change.  White film patches are gone.  Found what appear to
	be clusters of eggs (snail?) on several rocks; they are greyish purple
	(almost black), and I've noticed several small snails (2-3mm) cruising
	around.  Various worms, polyps, copepods, sponges, small anemones, and
	dozens of feather dusters are inhabiting the rocks.  Haven't started
	the light cycle yet, and haven't noticed any micro algae.

Monday 9/13
	The ammonia level is 0.0 ppm (gone), and the nitrite level is 0.0 ppm.
	I was expecting a larger/longer nitrite cycle.  Turned the lights on
	for 4 hours, and plan on increasing the time interval a couple of
	hours a week.

Tuesday 9/14
	Bought a Salarius Fasciatus (Algae Blenny), to control any algae that
	might crop up, none thus far.  It is an interesting beast!

Tank Setup
* 30 gallon tank (long profile).
* Custom built oak/walnut stand & hood.
* DIY counter current protein skimmer (3"x24" chamber) driven by Tetra Luft G
	(great pump for small protein skimmer) & CoralLife airstone.  Water
	pumped directly out of corner overflow to protein skimmer using a 302
	power head; gravity return (no sump).  Ball valve on input really makes
	it easy to adjust water column height, also large skimmer cup is nice
	(don't have to empty as often).
* PCV matrix covered with egg crate and powered by a 802 power head (bare
	bottom), which gives good water flow through rock.
* 4 - 48" fluorescent bulb lighting system driven by electronic ballasts.
	Bulbs are actinic, daylight, ultralume, & aquarium/plant, which give a
	nice color balance and intensity.

The upshot is that my experience with Exotic Aquaria was very good and I would
highly recommend them to anyone.  The rock was healthy, exactly what I expected,
and cycled much faster (and at a lower ammonia level) than I thought it would.

Now I'm looking forward to slowly populating my tank with inverts, clams, etc.
Do any of you have any suggestions/favorites?

Douglas Davies (software engineer) |
Evans & Sutherland                 | "Never underpay your software engineers"
INTERNET:  |                     -Jurassic Park Moral


~Date: Thu, 6 Jan 94 09:23:45 EST
Original-From: aluxs!alsun41!kem (Kevin Milheim)
To: cbnewsi!att!!mika
~Subject: Re: Live rock


Thanks for the report (if you haven't, you might want to post 
this to *.aquaria- this is nice to know stuff!).

For my reference, what could have you done if RS/airlines
refused to give you the $47 airfare? (I assume one could do
some convincing bluffing-but what if they didn't give in?)

I guess you could pay RS and the airfare with a credit card
and then call the credit card company and dispute the charges.
Or you could leave the LR lay at the airline counter :(, and
dispute the charge from RS?  Any other ideas for the future?

Good luck with the reef, and keep in touch!  Thanks again....

Kevin Millheim
AT&T Bell Labs


~Date: Thu, 6 Jan 94 18:29:24 -0500
~From: (Gail Gallo)

Hi Michael

Just heard from Steve. The Company name is Reef Encrustations and
the phone number is 904 654-3333.  David and Kathy Smith are the
dealers. Location is Destin, Florida.

Steve told me that some pretty heavy hitters (John Tullock and
Julian Sprung) deal with them.

Good Luck and let me know if you have any questions. (this is my correct e-mail address -
I think I may have sent you the wrong one previously - just got
back to work - university was closed for x-mas holiday - so
I am still pretty brain dead at this point!  Anyway, best of luck!


~From: (Jack Chernega)
~Newsgroups: rec.aquaria
~Subject: Re: Live Rock/Sand Sources
~Date: Wed, 12 Oct 1994 00:59:22

In article <> (Dick Martin) writes:
>From: (Dick Martin)
>Subject: Live Rock/Sand Sources
>Date: Sat,  8 Oct 1994 16:52:48 GMT

>I am in the final stages of setting up a 50 gal mini-reef tank.  I am
>looking for both bad and good stories/recommendations of live rock and
>live sand suppliers.  By the way, I do not want "cured" or base
>rock.  I want good quality, fresh, unstripped rock.  Approximate prices
>if you have them would be really helpful.

>Recommendations seem to be 2 lbs of rock and 1 lb of sand per gallon.
>Any different opinions?

I got 60 lbs of live sand from Pet Gallery In Ft Lauderdale, and a friend 
got 75 lbs of rock in the same shipment.  Sand is sand I guess, I seem to be 
through the standard diatom bloom.  The rock is really nice at least 75% 
corralline encrusted, 1 large and several smaller colonies of encrusting 
gorgonians, hundreds of feathers, a small purple gorgonian, some red algae, 
lots of things I've never seen or heard of.  It was far better than 
expected.  Price was $1.49/lb for sand and $1.99 for rock.  It was shipped 
to Pa. and was in our tanks about 14 hours after being boxed.  Amazingly, 
everything went well with Pet Gallery.  

Jack Chernega      
(BTW, My only connection with Pet Gallery is as a customer)   


~From: (Brian)
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria
~Subject: [M] cured vs non-cured rock
~Date: 28 Nov 1994 22:01:28 GMT

The main purpose of this post is to share my experiences of
adding cured live rock and then later adding non-cured live
rock to an "established" tank. So this is a comparison.

About 6 months ago I purchased 25 pounds of well cured live
rock from Aquatic Specialists; I drove to Knoxville to get
the rock so it was "out of water" for less than 3 hours.
The rock cost $6/lb, was at least 3/4 covered with coralline 
algae (c.a.), smelled great and looked excellent. One large 
piece was especially beautiful, totally encrusted with mostly 
white c.a., with swirls of pink and red. After adding the rock 
to my 75 gallon tank, I frequently tested the water and observed 
NO increase in ammonia.  All of the inhabitants of the tank did 
fine after adding the rock.

One month ago I purchased 40 lbs of non-cured live rock from
Pet Gallery FL ($2/lb). Thanks to warnings from people on the net,
I arranged for a direct flight to Atlanta, so that the rock was
out of water for less than 12 hours. Half of the rock was "cigar
box shaped" pieces with beautiful covering of c.a., looked good
and smelled okay, though not great; I put this 20 lb directly 
into the tank. The other half of the rock consisted of 2 large 
slabs; these 2 pieces did not have much c.a. but they were large
and I think will help to make a nice aquascape when I add them
to the main tank. These 2 slabs smelled awful, with lots of
"something" dying on them. I scrubbed these two rocks with a
brush and put them into a 10 gallon tank in my basement to
"cure".  Craig advised me to start a sponge filter before the 
rock arrived; I followed his advice and I think that the sponge 
has shortened the curing time. I also installed carbon, a power
head and a heater in the curing 10 gallon tank.

One day after putting the 2 slabs of rock into the 10 gallon 
tank in the basement the ammonia levels were OFF THE SCALE.
I did 50%-100% water changes per week using water from the main tank.
Now, 4 weeks later, the ammonia level of the water in the 10 gallon
tank is zero and the same for nitrite. However, to make sure that
this rock is cycled I have added a green chromis and a light strip;
if the chromis lives in the tank for 2 weeks then I'll add the 2 
slabs and the chromis to the main tank.

Craig also advised that 40 lb is a substantial amount of rock --
he was right. 24 hrs after adding the first 20 lb of non-cured live
rock to my main tank (75 gallon), I noticed that the ammonia
level had risen: it was below .2 ppm, i.e., 0 < ammonia < .2 ppm,
on my fasTest ammonia kit. Before adding the rock I would have
described this 75 gallon tank as very clean, bright clear water
with good parameters, very little slime algae and virtually
no hair algae. Inhabitants included a lemon peel, coral beauty,
an engineer goby, 3 shrimp and 50 lbs of well cured live rock.
A week after adding the 20 lb of rock, the tank "looked dirty"
and a "bloom" of cyanobacteria erupted. I installed some carbon 
and turned the skimmer up to the max and the water became clearer. 
Two weeks after adding the rock the ammonia level was still slightly 
elevated and my beautiful lemon peel died.  The tank began to have 
the "feel" of a new tank, like when I first cycled it.

In conclusion, I believe that non-cured live rock should be "cured" 
before adding it to an established tank. This is best accomplished
using a separate tank; to cure n lbs of rock a tank of at least n/2
gallons should be used. This tank should contain some kind of filter
(a simple sponge filter will help), an airstone or power head, a 
heater, some carbon and preferably a skimmer (Craig recommended a
make-shift skimmer using plans from Moe).

The rock that I got from Pet Gallery is real nice and exacly what I 
paid for: good base rock direct from the ocean, mostly covered w/ c.a.
(although one of the 2 "slabs" has virtually NO c.a.). 
The cured rock that I got from Aquatic Specialists was all very 
beautiful, every piece in great shape and well covered with 
c.a.; this rock can be put directly into an established tank.

Brian Malloy                   Internet:
Dept. of Computer Science         Telephone:  US (803) 656-0808
Clemson University                      Fax:  US (803) 656-0145


~Subject: forwarded msg
To: (Jeff Pfohl)
~Date: Wed, 7 Dec 94 9:12:09 EST

Discussing Tropico Reeflife live rock:

Hello. I am currently working for Aquatic Specialists and am very pleased to
hear that our cured live rock did well in your tank. Your observations on
uncured rock shipped dry are correct. Uncured dry shipped rock is really only
good for starting new tanks in my opinion and even then you need the proper
skimmers and I recommend ozone injection within the skimmer during the curing
process. But, there is a source of uncured rock that is shipped submerged. It
is never completely out of the water. The divers collect the rock and keep it
submerged the whole time. There are only several short periods, when it is
being moved from one container to another, when the rock is exposed to the air.
I have hade great success with this rock. I added over 100 lbs to an
established 55 gallon tank and saw no increase in ammonia. I wouldn't suggest
ever repeating such a feat, though. I recommend only adding 10-15 lbs at a time
to an established tank. I hope that when Aquatic Specialists has moved to their
new store on Broadway, here in Knoxville, that I can talk them into carrying
this live rock. There are still disadvantages to such rock. The main point
being the introduction of various small scavenging crabs and the possibility of
adding the mantis shrimp. I consider the crabs the worse threat.

If you have any questions please e-mail me.

Chris Williams


~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: [m] [r?] [q] Before venturing from freshwater to salt...
~Date: 10 Dec 1994 00:10:23 GMT

Todd M. Zebert ( wrote:

: 1) I should have 80+ lbs of live rock, or is this only for real "reef" tanks, 
: and I can get away with like 40 lbs?

Depends on what you want to do. Live rock can take the place of the
wet/dry IF you have enough rock to satisfy the filtration
requirements. It also depends on the type of rock as to how much you
need. For Fl rock probably shoot for at least 2.5#/gal. Pacific/tonga
rock probably 1.5-2#/gal will work. But you cannot have enough rock
(within the physical limits of the tank size) so always err on the
safe side and buy more than you think you need. With 40# you will have
some pretty rock to look at but I personally would not remove the
biotower since IMO 40# is not enough biological filtration.

: 2) I should ditch the wet/dry and buy a protein skimmer?

These are NOT interchangeable. Getting rid of the wet/dry and buying
more live rock and a suitable skimmer will work. The Berlin
methodology combines lots (2-4#/gal) of live rock with a serious
protein skimmer and lots of water movement.

: 3) What is "cured" rock?

Rock that has been given sufficient time to complete a nitrate cycle
of sorts. When you buy live rock it is sometimes shipped dry. This can
cause some die off on the rock which is the cause of ammonia and thus
poor water quality. You cure rock by putting it in a separate
container in the dark, changing the water frequently and skimming the
h*ll out of the water. After the rock has stabilized and no longer
pollutes the water as a result of die off then the rock is "cured". 

: 4) keeping my budget in mind, can I buy regular rock, and slip it under/behind 
: LR too be "converted" by the LR later?  The archived threads don't seem to 
: agree?

Nice idea and definitely a possibility but with the price of "live
base" at about $2 a lb. you are not saving much $$ (at least the quarry
rock I have seen retails for about this price). Try some of the live
rock places mentioned in the liverock entry in the archive (I'll send
you my updated copy) There are some wonderful new places for nice rock
for around $2/lb. Some of these pieces are even beyond live base and
are IMO top rock with lots of coralline algae.

: 5) how to tell good rock? Again the archived threads try to explain, but I'm 
: not really sure about what constitutes micro algae, etc.

Experience. Sorry not much help. Very porous, lots of coralline algae.
I also look for living creatures like bivalves, Xmas tree worms etc.
If they survived the trip it is probably a safe guess IMHO to believe
that the rock was handled with some amount of care.  Sponges will most
likely need to be removed since the rock is normally pulled out of
water at least once and this is enough to kill the sponge. Or just buy
from places that people here claim sell good rock.  That is probably
your best bet. Places I've heard of with good rock: Exotic, Reef
Encrusteceans, Aquatic Specialists, Pet Gallery, Tropico.  And others
I'm sure. Once again read the updated live rock entry.

: 7) If I can only afford so much LR now, can I add more later? The archived 
: threads aren't clear.

Yes you can. You just need to be more careful and make sure the rock
is WELL CURED and add it in small increments so as not to disturb the
system to any great extent.

				PHONE : (904) 644-1598  work
					(904) 224-0707  home
					(904) 644-9848  fax

"A pessimist is an optimist with experience."


~From: (John Baez)
~Newsgroups: sci.aquaria
~Subject: Re: Live Rock Advice
~Date: 9 Dec 1994 21:37:03 GMT

In article, (DavidM8750) writes:
>      Has anyone out there ever ordered live rock from Mexigulf Reeflife
> Co.?  They advertise in FAMA.  They ship the live rock fully submerged
> so the rock never is out of water.  I called and they told me that the
> cost of shipping is 2X, but I think if I have almost no die-off the cost
> is more then
> worth it.  Any input out here, or maybe a happy buyer or unhappy one?
> Has anyone bought from anywhere else where the rock has never left the
> water?

I haven't done any business with the above but I have done business with 'Tropico
Reeflife' which also advertises in FAMA and ships rock fully submerged. There rock
is also from the Gulf of Mexico.

As I mentioned in a previous post, IMO this is the best rock to buy. Buying it
fully submerged makes a big difference and requires practically no curing. Some of
the life on the rock will die off but the great majority will survive if the tank is
well kept (and has good water circulation).

I strongly believe that live rock should be handled just like live corals. I've seen
the difference between 'dry shipped' and fully submerged and there is a world of
difference. I suggest you buy your base rock at $2-$3 from your preferred supplier
and top of your tank with high quality rock which has been kept in water from the 
time of collection until it reaches your tank.

Hope this helps



~From: (John Baez)
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: Live rock?
~Date: 5 Dec 1994 23:06:44 GMT

> 	I am setting up a 60 G reef tank and need some help with live rock
> selection.  There is so much stuff out there, I just don't know what is the best
> deal.  I have heard from some people/books that Florida is not that good
> even though it is cheap.  I was wondering if anyone knows anything about
> Seychelle isle rock (Conch republic, FAMA), or about stuff from the sea of
> Cortez, and other stuff from Mexican waters.  I know that Tonga/Marshal etc.
> are good but they are around $12/lbs.  Too rich for my blood.
> If anyone knows anything about this stuff, please help.  I want to set it up.
> Is mail order live rock ok?

I've been all over Florida (and the mail) buying live rock from different suppliers
primarily to see the differences in quality and life forms. What I have found is that
good rock is more dependent on how it is treated from the time of collection until it
reaches you.

The traditional way of curing and shipping rock destroys many life forms which would
otherwise thrive in the aquarium. That is why they are usually so smelly and require
a cycling period.

I recommend that you buy base rock from a supplier such as Reef Scapers ((305)745-2781)
and then purchase your premium rock from Tropico Reeflife ((800)326-5851).

Base rock is around $2/lb. The premium rock from Tropico Reeflife is around $6/lb. This
is THE PLACE to get your premium rock from. They ship the rock fully submerged and with
more life per pound than 10 pounds of any other rock. I'm talking gorgonians, zoanthids
tunicates, etc. Since the rock is shipped fully submerged most of the life will still
be in good shape when it reaches you.

Marshall island rock is not all its cut out to be. Maybe it would be if it was kept
alive until it got to your tank.

I'm sure you will hear other opinions also. I live in Florida and have visited many of
the mail order folks out here (some won't allow visitors). It is best if you can hand
select your rock but for many that is not possible. Both of the above suppliers will
work with you over the phone to get you the shapes and sizes you want.

Finally, most rock will do well in a proper environment. I've placed lousy looking rock
into a well kept tank and it has always done well. Circulation is important. For a 60g
I recommend at least four Aquaclear 802 powerheads for circulation in addition to your
water return (assuming you have a sump). Also, get the best skimmer that money can buy.

I hope this helps. Good Luck!



From Thu Dec 15 16:38:45 1994
To: (Jeff Pfohl)
~Date: Wed, 7 Dec 94 9:04:15 EST

If I were buying live rock, I would either purchase it from Pet
Gallery or Tropico Reeflife (see page 177 in Nov FAMA). 

If from Pet Gallery, I would cure it in the basement for at least 
5 weeks. The rock that I got from them was really nice. 20 lb of it
was nicely covered with c.a., some orange sponges and some clams. The
20 (more like 25 or 30) lb that I cured in the basement turned out
to be wonderful, as you predicted. This latter rock was 2 large slabs,
one slab being a really interesting shape, with a kind of natural
cave in it. I was able to create a real nice aquascape with these 2.

I've heard wonderful things about the rock from Tropico Reeflife. They
ship their rock SUBMERGED! In fact, the rock that they collect is
almost never out of water. One person who got this rock put 100 lb
of it into an established aquarium with NO elevation in ammonia and
no bad effects. This person also said that the rock was teeming with
life. I can forward the message if you like. I don't know if it's
a boy or a girl, the name is Chris Williams, and this person works
at Aquatic Specialists.

> differentiate this ca encrusted rock from top rock (ie not base rock)?
> I'm thinking about getting some more rock (only tentative as of right

Well, remember, I'm new at this. But I would categorize top rock as
the kind that you don't want to put under anything. For example, I
have about 10 lbs of what I would call top rock, loaded with christmas
tree worms, about 5 or 6 scallops and some other shell like creatures
that open up partway (but I really don't know what they are), and
a clam. I don't know where this rock came from but it sure would be
nice to have 100 lb of it. I bought it from a student who sold me
all of it for $25, but he paid about $10 per lb for it. None of the
rock I got from Pet Gallery is in the top rock category; I wouldn't
mind putting something on top of it, although one of the slab rocks
has some interesting things pokeing out!


~From: (Bryan Lukoni)
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: Canadian Live Rock
~Date: Wed, 14 Dec 94 10:20:13 tzn

In article <14DEC94.24140467.0107-at-VM1.MCGILL.CA>, 
BKZ7000-at-MUSICB.MCGILL.CA says...
>Hi , I have the same problem. but I found a place in Vancouver, that
>has good prices and good Live rock, Also ships in Canada with no
>problems- no red tape. If you are around the montreal area maybe
>we had split an order. Anyhow here is the number.... Coral Ocean
I have bought a fair amount of Live Rock from Coral Ocean.  I am pleased with the 
quality of the rock.  Call and ask for the owner Eric, you will probably want the 
Indonesian rock, it is the nicest.



From Tue Jan 17 14:55:47 1995
~Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 12:47:39 -0700 (MST)
~From: James Bona III <>
~Subject: Re: [M] Live Rock


I purchased my reef rock from a 3 person operation in the Florida Keys.
The place is called C & B Distributors.  I got the name and number from
the reefkeepers FAQ.  Its (305) 664-4588.

I ordered 50 lbs of purple corilline encrusted rock from them on Thursday.
They shipped the rock at 9:00am the next day.  This started a three day ordeal
with the airlines shipping.  The airline kept giving me the runaround with the 
package so I called up C & B and they got things straightened out and I
received the package Sunday afternoon.  I was real pleased with their help.
I called them and explained the problem and they straightened the problem out
and returned the call with 30 minutes.  Not bad concidering that they had to
talk to the airport!

When I received the rock I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a bag
of the little critters that were on the rock included like the said.  I
think that this was due to the fact that the 50 lbs of rock that I ordered 
barely fit into the box leaving no room.  Other than that the rock is really
nice.  All the peices are of good size with lots of interesting shapes and
tunnels and stuff.  I'm new to reef aquariums, but they looked well encrusted
with purple, white, and red corilline algea.  There was not an ounce of hair
algee on the rock.  They have been in the tank for two days now and the water
is still crystal clear and cycling well.  I have a nice batch of fish and 
coral ordered from the same company which should be shipped on Monday.

Other than a problem with the airline,  my experience has been great and I 
would recommend the dealer.



~From: (Andy Deitsch)
~Subject: Re: HELP: Need advice on Live Rock
~Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 23:03:24 GMT

In article <3fq0jf$>, (JTricker) writes:
|> I am in the process of setting up a 55 gallon reef tank and I am a bit
|> confused about Live Rock.  I would appreciate some insight on different
|> types (Florida, Caribbean, Pacific, and coraline encrusted)  Also, I hear
|> that there is cured, stripped, and "true live" rock?  If anyone has some
|> recommendations or preferences on the type of rock to use and a good mail
|> order distributor to buy from it would be very helpful.

I recently purchased 30lbs from Exotic Aquaria Inc. based on
recommendations from the net.  The folks there are very helpful. I
spoke with Jeff Turner (the owner) and he really wants to make sure
his customers are treated right.

If you ask, they will throw in a ton of hermit crabs and astrea snails.
All the rock I got was heavily encrusted with coraline algea.  
Unfortunatley, I think I also adopted a mantis shrimp, but I guess that's
all part of the hobby.

If you want to order from them call: (800) 622-5877.

Andy Deitsch                             email    :  
GE Corporate Research & Development      phone    : (518) 387-7207   
Schenectday, NY 12301                    dial comm: 833-7207     


~From: (John Baez)
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: HELP: Need advice on Live Rock
~Date: 30 Jan 1995 15:54:39 GMT

In article <3g5i46$>, (Thomas M. Sasala) says:
>In article <3g3dbp$>,
>John Baez <> wrote:
>>In article <3fq0jf$>, (JTricker) says:
>>Buy about 60 lbs of premium live rock from 'Tropico Reeflife'. This rock
>>is shipped fully submerged and is cared for as if it were live coral. It
>>comes with plenty of zoanthids, tunicates, tube sponges and gorgonians.
>>Each piece is so packed with life it is unbelievable!
>        How much does this stuff cost?  

The cost of rock from Tropico Reeflife varies depending on the # lbs.
Less than 50lbs goes for $6 lb. 50-100lbs goes for $5 lb. Over 100lbs
goes for $4 lb.

Remember to add to this the cost of shipping. A box of 30lbs of fully
submerged live rock weighs 90 lbs. This about doubles the shipping cost
compared to 'dry' shipped live rock. IMO it is worth every penny and 
then some.

Other folks sell so called 'premium' rock for as much as $12 lb. I've got
some of this stuff. It is good but not worth the $12 especially after
seeing (and using) the fully submerged rock.

Hope this helps



~From: mwh-at-Eng.Sun.COM (Mark Hapner)
~Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
~Subject: Re: Tropical Reeflife Live Rock
~Date: 28 Jan 1995 04:51:16 GMT

I believe this is the company I called.  They have an add in FAMA that
is a narrow column with a picture of a rock with several colors of
sponge.  The fellow I spoke to there was named Yani.  He provided the
same description as you indicated.  I asked for a reference and talked
with him about what he received.  His price was $4.00/lb + shipping for
> 100lb.

His story was the same.  The rock came partially submerged with lots of
sponges and some nice feather dusters.  Most if not all the sponges
died and he had a fairly large ammonia peak.  A number of the feather
dusters survived.

I didn't order any

-- Mark Hapner


~From: (Eric Hugo)
~Subject: Re: Experiences in buying live rock(FAQ)
~Date: 25 Feb 1995 14:01:37 -0500

I never ordered bargain basememt live rock.  Isarted with Caribbean and
the quality was great (cured and uncured) but I hated the outbreaks of
aptasias and the mantis shrimp and the bristle worms that came in it.  I
switched to pacific and again, I can't complain about the quality.  Tonga
stick seems to break in shipping so you get some crumbs which is ok as you
caN use these to anchor and prop things.  My father has ordered from many
places as well, but he got a bad shipment from Reef Encounters where the
live rock was dying and was toxic.  They did however credit him and send
out new rock.  So, out of the ten or so places I've tried its been better
quality and price than local stores.

***************END LIVEROCK FAQ*******************************

				PHONE : (904) 644-1598  work
					(904) 224-0707  home
					(904) 644-9848  fax

"I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be.
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