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Rocks as Filter (Reef Tanks)


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#1 ADRINAL

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 12:46 PM

Live rock vs base rock vs home made rock. This is a debate that absolute has not been scientifically tested. All reports are anecdotal at this point. Even the ones that come for Eric B., Anthony, Sprung, Shimek etc. And, they will all attest to that.

I have done more than my fair share of reading. Here is my take on things.

We all know the theory behind why we have changed to LS LR as main biological filtration (with skimmers as the primary (and usually only) mechanical filtration). It is because of the large anaerobic zones in live rock which help keep a balanced transition through out the nitrogen cycle.

For a long time I had been lead to believe the larger the rock the larger the anaerobic zone, therefor the better the filter. So, I have always been in the search for the best rock (most micro porous with large shapes).

At some convention or other I asked E. B. which rock he felt was the best (which was not the question I meant to ask). From that question I got two new bits of info.

1) He or someone has done tests for what has anaerobic zones (containing anaerobic bacteria) Even things as small as SAND have anaerobic zones.... that blows needing large rocks out of the water.

2)His answer to my poorly worded question was, a little of all the rock. Species diversification. I have had quite a few interesting debates with some old school reefers. Some feel a biotope is better (ever thing from Caribbean, for example) That way more species that already interact will survive. Some feel a smattering of rock from here or there will get you enough species of micro critters that something hopefully will survive in your harsh aquarium environment.

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Info bit #1, is the part I am focusing on now. Certainly the more micro fauna you have the better your corals will survive (did I mention I am really only talking about reef tanks?).

We are only talking about the rocks here, I will assume that sand is either not used, or used and not enough. I am also assuming we know that you can not 100% go without some live rock, live sand, or something. Well, you can because bacteria will always find a way. But, you will be severely slowing down the initial set up.

There are two kinds of live rocks. The reef broken by the wind or broken off by divers. And Maricultured, Florida quarried rock then dumped in to the ocean "Bio Balls" and GARF like rock made in the Pacific.

Home made rocks. Portland cement and sand or crushed coral are poured into a sand mold.

quarried base rocks (Hi Rocks, ReefBones, Reefer Rocks).

Rubble (both live and base (dead).

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OK thats enough rambling for now. I have my opinions on what I like to use and reasons why, but I will hold them for the day. Hopefully this will get the topic started.

#2 Mr Miagi

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 10:35 PM

Certainly the more micro fauna you have the better your corals will survive (did I mention I am really only talking about reef tanks?).


True, many reefers take sediment samples from other fellow reefers tanks and introduce them to their own tanks to try and encourage species diversity.

I dont think its a case of stating "the better your corals will survive" though. Its a bit misleading, but macro/meiofauna has more to do with water quality issues. The more life you have, the more of a full ecosystem youve created, and the more efficient the tank can become in removing waste products and unwanted elements.

You could have as much macro/mieo fauna as you like and could fit in a tank, but your corals wont survive without other essential elements such as correct levels of Alkalinity, Calcium and lighting, none of which macro./mieofauna provide.

Concluding, true you need a good level of diversity, but this will not garuntee your "coral" will survive.

Rubble (both live and base (dead).


Just to clarify, rubble is smaller portions of live rock which have been broken up. IE chunks of LR inches or so big.

Edited by Mr Miagi, 02 September 2006 - 10:38 PM.


#3 ADRINAL

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:38 AM

I don't think its a case of stating "the better your corals will survive" though. Its a bit misleading, but macro/meiofauna has more to do with water quality issues. The more life you have, the more of a full ecosystem youve created, and the more efficient the tank can become in removing waste products and unwanted elements.


Excellent clarification! It makes a lot of sense to me. The more diverse the critters are, the more stuff you can keep in the cycle or processed out to your skimmer, instead of laying waist and ruining your water quality.

Thats the amazing thing about reefs them selves. Although there is just a ton of live mass in a small area the water is nearly void of nutrients. Not just because you have the abyss to wash everything away, but because the plethora of diverse species are constantly re-locking everything that comes their way!

One more vote for a variety of rocks to seed your tanks.




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