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Old 09-01-2009, 02:53 PM   #1
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Do I need live rock?

Hi everyone, I'm just starting out with a saltwater aquarium, so nothing big planned for now. I'm looking to keep a clown or two and maybe later on progress to corals. Right now I have a 30 gallon glass tank with a HOB power filter. The lighting is a standard baseline flourescent hood.

The tank is filled with 20lbs of aragonite live sand and about 6lbs of live rock straight from my LFS. The sand has been in for about a week, and I just bought the large piece of live rock yesterday. My question is, Do I need to add more live rock? I know everyone suggests using at least 1 pound per gallon, but is it really necessary for a FO/FOWLR system? The reason I ask is because one of my neighbors has a saltwater tank with a hippo tang that he has had for over 7 years, and he has no live rock or even sand, just some sort of gravel. Another thing I've read of is using mostly base rock (cheaper) with a few pounds of live rock. Would that work?

Thanks in advance, atte
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:28 PM   #2
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No, it's not necessary. FO (Fish Only) systems are completely manageable with no live rock at all.

Do consider your choice, however. If you do wish to ultimately make a reef tank out of this system, it is much easier to add the rock up front and cycle it all together before you get any inhabitants. I understand the costs involved, and not trying to discourage you, as it is totally possible to convert from FO/FOWLR to Reef in the future, it's just easier to do the rock work upfront is all.

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Old 09-01-2009, 03:57 PM   #3
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I agree, rock is not needed, but it does have benefits like breaking up of territory, hiding places (especially for inverts), hosting beneficial bacteria, sleeping spots, neat (and sometimes) bad hitch hikers. The above Neilan mentions too.
If you are looking to save some cash go with base rock since you already have LR. The LR will help to seed the base rock.
I also like the rock because I can aquascape it to make caves, walls, and other formations to simulate the critter's natural habitats.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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I agree you really dont have to have it but IMO it is the way to go. LR, a skimmer and some PH`s to blow the water around and that`s all the filtration you need.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:28 PM   #5
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I used BR and then added LR to cut down on costs for my setup, and it worked fine. It took a while but it is all LR now. As others have stated you don't necessarily need it, but it is nice to have. I have a FOWLER system and couldn't imagine not having the rock to give my fish somewhere to hide and play!
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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BR is an excellent idea.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:47 PM   #7
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Thanks for the prompt responses! I think I will go ahead with just adding some more base rock. Here's a pic of the LR that's in there right now, it has some great coralline growth. It seems like its bleaching a bit on the side but it should be fine. Since I used cured LR and LS, will I really experience a cycle? So far ammonia has been 0 except for very low on the days I added the rock and sand.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:50 PM   #8
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It will help but might not be quite enough to eliminate the cycle. Just keep adding that BR and you`ll be good to go with the tank.
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:28 PM   #9
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HI, I looked up in the abbreviations but BR isn't there, please tell me what it is! Thanks

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Old 09-03-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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Base rock (Rock that is not live).
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