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Old 09-17-2012, 10:43 PM   #51
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MacDracor, I learned some cool new things from you and definitely agree with you. Didn't know the names were used interchangeably. Anyway, the article you read is exactly what I did. I bought 100 lbs of pukani dry rock from BRS. A beautiful, porous rock where you get more for your money. I only used about 3/4 of what I bought (I have a 70 gallon so about 1 lb/gallon). I probably even used too much that's how great of a deal it was. Anyway I could go on and on about how awesome this rock is lol, but the fact is, I didn't really prefer the look of the usual dense live rock. I also used dry sand and pure ammonia (I got mine from drtimsaquatics.com, but usually a hardware store will sell it) to cycle my tank. There wasn't the rotten stench or eye sore of rotten shrimp and it wasn't that hard to add the right dosage for my tank. With dry rock, dry sand, and pure ammonia, you know exactly what is going into your aquarium. There won't be pests from live rock, but there won't be beneficial creatures either. In time the rock and sand will look like (maybe even better b/c of the maturity, etc.) anything sold at the lfs or online. There might be pests on other live things you add, but this would be one way to know exactly what you are adding at first. In case you're interested or just want to look, here's the rock I got: BRS Pukani Dry Aquarium Live Rock - Bulk Dry Live Rock - Bulk Reef Supply
Their reef saver rock is awesome too and cheaper
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:49 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obscurereef
MacDracor, I learned some cool new things from you and definitely agree with you. Didn't know the names were used interchangeably. Anyway, the article you read is exactly what I did. I bought 100 lbs of pukani dry rock from BRS. A beautiful, porous rock where you get more for your money. I only used about 3/4 of what I bought (I have a 70 gallon so about 1 lb/gallon). I probably even used too much that's how great of a deal it was. Anyway I could go on and on about how awesome this rock is lol, but the fact is, I didn't really prefer the look of the usual dense live rock. I also used dry sand and pure ammonia (I got mine from drtimsaquatics.com, but usually a hardware store will sell it) to cycle my tank. There wasn't the rotten stench or eye sore of rotten shrimp and it wasn't that hard to add the right dosage for my tank. With dry rock, dry sand, and pure ammonia, you know exactly what is going into your aquarium. There won't be pests from live rock, but there won't be beneficial creatures either. In time the rock and sand will look like (maybe even better b/c of the maturity, etc.) anything sold at the lfs or online. There might be pests on other live things you add, but this would be one way to know exactly what you are adding at first. In case you're interested or just want to look, here's the rock I got: BRS Pukani Dry Aquarium Live Rock - Bulk Dry Live Rock - Bulk Reef Supply
They're reef saver rock is awesome too and cheaper
That is some very nice looking rock but $3.49 per lb still seems quite expensive. Approx how many lbs is each piece?
If I cycle with a shrimp am I suppose to let it fully disintegrate or remove it before adding fish?
Can someone educate me on the extra care and equipment required to keep corals? What about anemones? Are they fish or coral? What is required to have one?
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:07 PM   #53
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Dry rock only - There are advantages to this. Obviously you would only have in the tank what you added. But for me, the disadvantages far outweigh that. Without seeing the worm he removed, I can only guess as to what it was or where it came from. But, I can tell you that in my tank, I have at least 3 easily distinguishable species of bristle worms (I spend a lot of time with a flashlight at night exploring) and none of them exceed 4 inches, though I know at least one of them can reach over a foot. Why do mine never get huge? Food. Like all the microfauna in our tanks, populations and adult size are resource limited. My guess is that the giant worm you mentioned was a common species such as E. complanata, and he simply overfeeds his tank, allowing them to grow large. Six Line wrasses also help keep them under control.
Remember though, Live rock is more than just a platform for bacteria. It is a vessel by which all sorts of creatures are introduced. On occasion, you may get one you don't want, such as aiptasia, or a mantis shrimp. But most of them are fantastic! I'm just going to list a few of the animals I have found and (at least roughly) identified, all introduced on live rock.
Stomatella varia snails.
Bristle worms
Peanut worms
Amphipods
Copepods
Mysid shrimp (now breeding like crazy in my fuge)
Collonista snails
Spaghetti worms
Chitons
Limpets
At least four types of Sponge
Feather dusters of all shapes, sizes and colors
Coralline algae in 4 colors

Isn't that worth the single aiptasia I got? Peppermint shrimp ate that quick enough. Buying only base rock and letting it "mature" on it's own may give you a darker colored rock in time, but it will never have the incredible biodiversity of LR purchased from different stores.

One thing about the Pukani rock. It's very light and porous, so the typical "1-2 lbs per gallon" rule can be fudged. It's also dry, and LR is weighed when wet. So 1 lb per gallon would be plenty if you went that route. The rocks will weight between 0.5 and 4 lbs each, based on their size. Great to use this stuff, but I really advise adding some LR too. Even if you have to buy... let's say 10 lbs of LR to start the tank and cycle, then buy a single fish and another rock. And so on until you have enough.

When cycling with shrimp, if you have only base rock, the shrimp will never go away and will need to be removed. If using LR, it will be eaten and you'll see an increase in microfauna populations.

Corals - for me, this is where saltwater shines. Many corals are actually very easy to care for and require little to no additional care. Especially softies. But as a general rule, for a reef tank, you need better lighting, higher flow, and lower nitrate.
In a FO or FOWLR tank, Nitrate up to 40 are fine, but for a reef, the lower the better. 0 is he holy grail of reef keeping. Mine hovers around 5 ppm. For soft corals, a single T5 HO bulb *may* be fine. Two T5 HO bulbs will allow you to keep even some LPS. I have 2 54 watt T5 HO bulbs, and I keep Hammer, frogspawn, torch, blastomussa, duncan, bubble, mushroom, kenya tree, zooanthid, galaxea, calustraea, and even a couple Montis.

Anemones are neither fish nor coral, but are related to corals. They are (like coral) cnidarians, posessing radial symmetry and a single body cavity with one opening used for both ingestion and excretion. With a few exceptions, anemone and coral are photosynthetic and derive energy from light. For a beginner anemone, I'd stick with the Bubble Tip (entacmea quadricolor), but don't get one now. Wait at least 6 months, preferably longer, for the tank to mature, as they are very sensitive animals.

As an aside, mushroom corals are not really corals either. They are their own class, called corallimorphs, and are somewhere between coral and anemone, possessing qualities of both.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:11 PM   #54
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Yeah it is quite expensive, but I got it on sale so it wasn't too bad. I just counted and there are 16 pieces of rock although one is only about 5". 3 of the rocks are huge, each very close to 2 ft. The other 12 pieces are about a foot each. I had some leftover rubble to use for my refugium also. Because the rocks are very porous and light weight, they tend to be large, so you can request smaller rocks if you want to have a variety of sizes. If you think about it though, they are a better buy. Live rock online or lfs is going to be denser (plus water weight) and you'll probably paying more for live rock that might look not as decent as some dry rock. The pukani was really easy to aquascape since there are so many crevices, things seem to just fit together more easily.

I still have 4 rocks left (one of which is about 2') after using all of them in my tank! Anemones are invertebrates and should be added in an established aquarium (6-8 months). I think there are some articles on here that would give great info about keeping corals.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:21 PM   #55
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Once again MacDracor gives awesome advice and knowledge! While you do have a point with all the life found on live rock, a small portion possibly being pests which can probably be removed in some easy way, in my opinion I just like the look and price of the dry rock. If I bought live rock that looked like the rock I got, I'd be paying way too much. It really depends on the preference. As an extra precaution I went with the dry rock (yes I could be missing an opportunity to get all the life that comes on LR, but that's what I chose and I'm very satisfied.) Either way, both have it's pros and cons, so it's really on preference.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:23 PM   #56
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When (not if) I get a bigger tank, I'm buying Pukani rock for aquascaping, but I'm keeping all my existing LR for the biodiversity. Best of both worlds!
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:25 PM   #57
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No doubt! No harm in making a compromise and seeding dry rock with some LR!
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:04 AM   #58
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If you're still looking for dry rock, check out Marcorocks.com. I've ordered a couple of times from them and have had great experiences both times. It's very porous and I got more than I ordered.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #59
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Ok so I will be buying all my equipment on thurs or fri. Hopefully I can keep the cost down to $150-200 max. *fingers crossed*
Couple more questions:
What does a powerhead do that my massive filters won't?
What's the difference between a powerhead and a circulation pump?
How much sand should I need for the tank? Footprint is 4'x1'.
For making my salt mix for water changes would I be better off using a 5gal bucket with a heater and pump, or what about using a 10 or 20 gal tank? Do I have to use a powerhead to mix it or can I use a HOB filter with no media or an aeration pump? If possible I'd like to be able to use the stuff I already have at home.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:32 PM   #60
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Don't overlook craigslist! Can find stuff for cheaps on there!
Powerheads provide additional water movement. Reefs are naturally extremely turbulent. A read an account of flags (to mark locations) with 5-10 lb diving weights getting tossed around like balloons.
A powerhead contains an impeller and a nozzle directing flow out steadily in one direction, usually in a focused stream. Circulation pumps contain a propeller inside a cage, drawing water in from all sides and shooting it out more erratically. Essentially, they provide slightly less constant/predictable flow, which is more natural for the reef environment.
Sand depends on depth. For a shallow sand bed, you could probably do with 10 lbs. For a deep sand bed, at least quadruple that.
Salt mix can be done in any appropriately sized container. Just... be able to move it. LOL
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