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Old 06-03-2005, 01:19 PM   #1
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Liverocks.com - Keys, Gulf, or Base Live Rock?

Hi everyone. I've got some live rock questions that I hope you can all help me out with. Please read on...

I've been checking out www.liverocks.com and trying to decide which type of live rock to get. All of the rock looks great, but the Keys rock looks fantastic. Of course, it also costs the most (sigh). I have a 90 gallon tank, and I'm concerned about several things, namely:

1. What type of live rock did YOU purchase from Liverocks.com and why? Was it a mixture of different types of live rock, or all the same type? I'd love to hear everyone's live rock stories, plus I can really use your help in making the right decision.

2. If I put 180 pounds of live rock in my tank, will the rock overwhelm the tank to such an extent that it just looks like one big rock? Should I just aim for 1.5 pounds of rock per gallon, or 135 pounds, rather than 180 pounds?

3. Purchasing 180 pounds of live rock is quite cost prohibitive. Should I get over the pain in my pocketbook and purchase the full 180 pounds now (or get less LR if the prevailing consensus tells me I don't need 180 pounds), or spread the pain out over time? Of course, if I add the live rock gradually, will I be initiating another cycle each time I add some to my tank? I bought 2 Ocellaris Clowns and a Royal Gramma Basslet 1 week ago at the LFS that have been patiently sitting in my QT tank, and I'd like to move them to my display tank in another 3 weeks. Should I get the live rock NOW, add it to the tank, then add the fish, or is it possible to add the fish to the main tank BEFORE I add the live rock? I'd prefer not to stress out my brand new fish too much, as I'd really like them to live a long and happy life. 8)

Additionally, is it true that Aquarium Advice members get a bit of a discount from liverocks.com? If so, can someone provide me with more details about that?

4. Is the live rock that comes from Liverocks.com fully cured, or must I do that?

5. I have 80 pounds of aragonite sand in my tank. Do I need to add more sand to my tank, or will 80 pounds suffice?

Thanks a bunch for your help. I truly appreciate it!
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Currently under construction:
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80 pounds of aragonite sand, 20 pounds live sand
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List of possible fish:
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 Royal Gramma Basslet
3 Neon Blue Gobies
1 Yellow Eye Tang
Several Blue Reef Chromis
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Old 06-03-2005, 01:44 PM   #2
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I have a 110 gallon...

FIRST OFF - I'm not sure what you are running for lights but I, personally, wouldn't waste money on keys rock if you don't have decent lighting. I made that mistake. The rock was beautiful when it came in and after only a week under my awful 80watt NO lights - all the purple algae died off. I upgraded to PC lighting and it's starting to grow back but I fear I"ll never see that dark purple again.

1. I had about 60lbs of dry dead base rock and added 60lbs of keys and 40lbs of live base rock. Totaling 160lbs in total. I got "show pieces" which are larger than normal and look great in larger tanks - I highly recommend it. I made sure the 60lbs of keys were on top - half buried the 60lbs of dry dead rock as base - and used the 40lbs of lr.com live base rock to kind of hold everything together. The keys rock is amazing though - thought I had mantis shrimp, turns out I got 4 pistol shrimp - along with 6 urchins, tons of crabs (some good some bad) countless starfish. The hikers survived my cycle nicely and are still trhiving. It really had more life than I thought it would.

2. The amount is a matter of taste I think as long as you get 1.5-2lbs per gallon. My 160lbs in a 110 gallon tank does not clutter at all. I don't think 180lbs would be as cluttered as you'd think.

3. If you can afford it - I'd get it all at once and throw it in. Give time for the sand to settle, aquascape, then introduce your fish to the tank. Assuming you've already cycled the main tank, I'd give it a week just to check for ammonia (eventhough the rock is fully cured) just in case - but, I'm sure people will also say throwing them in would be fine.

4. Supposed to be fully cured, but I experienced a little ammonia spike when I dropped mine in. Very slight - but, still was there for a week.

5. Check out the very helpful link at the top of this page "Calculators" and use the sand bed calculator. Depending on how deep you want your sand bed, you might need more. Mine is 4 inches deep and I believe I used just over 200lbs. The deep sand bed will help with nitrate control, but is a matter of preference.

HTH.

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Old 06-03-2005, 02:00 PM   #3
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Skins, you rock! 8) Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Quote:
I'm not sure what you are running for lights...
Currently I have strip lighting - 1 normal fluorescent and 1 actinic light. So it sounds like if I want the Keys rock I will have to invest in PC lighting. Does the Gulf rock require special lighting, or will it be alright with my current lighting?

Additional question: Did you have to glue any of your rock together at all? Or is it heavy enough that it won't become dislodged?

Quote:
Depending on how deep you want your sand bed, you might need more.
The calculator is great, but my problem is I am not sure how deep of a sand bed I should have. I have about a 1.5 to 2 inch sand bed now, and I'm not sure of the advantages of adding to it. There may even be disadvantages to adding to the sand bed that I am unaware of.

Quote:
Assuming you've already cycled the main tank...
Yes, the main tank is fully cycled with 2 damsels in it. I plan on returning the 2 damsels to the LFS when I introduce the new fish to the tank. Would it be OK for me to leave the damsels in my tank and add the live rock to the tank, or should I go ahead and return the damsels to the LFS store now, then add the LR?
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Currently under construction:
90 Gallon SWFOWLR
Marineland Sedona stand and canopy
80 pounds of aragonite sand, 20 pounds live sand
MagDrive 7 pump
SeaLife protein skimmer
VisiTherm 250Watt heater

List of possible fish:
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 Royal Gramma Basslet
3 Neon Blue Gobies
1 Yellow Eye Tang
Several Blue Reef Chromis
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Old 06-03-2005, 03:26 PM   #4
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So much is preference. I would add the live rock before adding any fish that you intend on keeping into the main tank - then, as I said, I would wait a week before adding the fish. But, I'm probably being overly cautious.

Its not that the live rock "requires" special lighting. It's just that you are paying for the very cool looking deep purple color of the keys rock (see the pics on lr.com website) and it'll disappear with your lighting. I had the same strip that you have with the same bulbs. I know, its getting expensive, but what I would do is get 50% keys rock - the rest get base rock and use the extra cash you save buying base rock to buy PC lighting ($200+). It'll make a big difference in the color of the keys rock. Gulf isn't as pretty looking.

Wow, 2 long replies. It's a slow work day
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Old 06-03-2005, 04:30 PM   #5
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At the recomendation of LR.com (when I called them) I got 40 lbs Key and 40 lbs Gulf for my 55 gal. I could not be happier with the results. TONs of hitchhickers and the colors are amazing. Even to this day, I find new things moving around in my tank.

Also, the LR guys recomended buying in 40 lbs amounts. This is most economical for shipping.

With the volume you need I would recomend using some base rock to get to the volume you would like. It will become alive over time.
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4 Scarlet Hermit Crabs
1 Blue Knuckle Hermit Crab
1 Large Turbo Snail
Hitchhickers: 3 Purple sea urchins, lots of rock crabs, pistol shrimp, brittle stars, snails, worms, etc.
and aiptasia, aiptasia, aiptasia (it was free $$)
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Old 06-03-2005, 05:47 PM   #6
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Its not the lighting, its the calcium levels that control coralline growth. I highly recommend the keys rock over gulf.
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Old 06-03-2005, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
Its not the lighting, its the calcium levels that control coralline growth. I highly recommend the keys rock over gulf.
I understand that Calcium, water movement, Phosphate levels, etc are all factors. I'm no coraline expert, but my keys rock went from dark purple to practically white with 80watts total NO lighting. Upgraded to 4x65w PC lighting after someone on AA recommended it for coraline growth and it immediately bounced back in a big way with the same calcium and same water movement. I'm only assuming that lights were the issue since it was the only change to the tank, but am willing to concede that it could just be a wacky coincidence since I'm farily new to live rocks.

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Old 06-03-2005, 06:18 PM   #8
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To be honest... the same thing happened to me Pete. I put my keys in... the color went down with NO lights. After a couple weeks with my PC, coralline on the rock has come back with full force... and now I'm starting to see speckles in my base rock. Now, I'm not sure if it's a coincidence with the lighting, because I know that a tank with "perfect" lighting and horrible CA won't equal coralline. I'm curious to see if it would go down again if I went back to NO.

Just saw similarities in your situ.
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:08 PM   #9
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I bought 30 lbs gulf and 20lbs keys. I'd recommend that you use some dead base rock from hirocks.com or reeferrocks because alot of the rock is just going to sink into the sand and won't be seen. I like the coraline on the keys but the gulf rock is way more interesting. I got corals, sponges, tunicates and clams all on the gulf rock and the keys stuff was pretty much just purple. I think you should put the rock in first before you get fish. Even though their rock is fresh I still had a big ammonia spike from sponge die off. And make sure you have some aptasia killer ready becasue they will be there in force! I couldn't be happier with the rocks that I got though. So far I've gotten crabs, atleast one pistol, two different types of coral, lots of tunicates, snails, TONS of spaghetti worms, turkey wings, clams, bristle worms, an urchin, and lots of featherdusters and fan worms. My rock looks better than anyone of my buddies and I've had the rock for less than a month. More life should emerge soon.
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:02 PM   #10
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ironmanxl1:
Where did you purchase your rock?
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