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Hitchhiking With The Live Rocks



The live rocks constitute an important part in enhancing the looks of the any reef aquarium. Its chief function as a superior biological filter that hosts both aerobic and anaerobic nitrifying bacteria required for the nitrogen cycle that processes waste does wonders to all reef tanks. Apart from the benefits of adding live rocks in reef tanks we are also aware of the freebies that come with the rock and are seen crawling out of them uninvited. The biggest threats are that these crawling creatures can harm the corals and fishes in many a ways.










Unknowingly you might be adding these conflicting creatures to your tank. Of course some shrimps and starfishes hiding inside the live rock might not be harmful but people do not consider keeping them as they grow in populations immensely. Some harmful algae and snails might also come with the live rock that will pose serious threat to the invertebrates and corals. Worms too might start consuming on your corals and make them weaker. The question arises how to completely ensure that the live rock you are going to add to the reef family is safe enough.

The cured live rocks are a bit expensive so people mostly prefer the uncured ones which they suppose they will be able to cure with ease. While the later applies to live rocks that have only easily detected hiding creatures, some tiny ones are not easy to deal with at home. You won’t even know they exist in some part of the live and are going to multiply in size and population soon. There are things you must look for while purchasing live rocks. Make sure you keep them in mind while buying a new live rock for your reef tank.

  1. Check the weight of the rock and compare it to its size. If it is lighter, that is good news. Lighter rocks means they are more porous and have more surface area for bacterial growth. It also means they have more hiding space. Live rocks are expensive and sold by weight. A lighter one will not only cost you less but also be more beneficial. Also avoid rocks that have smooth surface.
  2. Touch the surface of the rock and check for sliminess. If it is slimy anywhere, it means something has died on it or a kind of bacteria that is not going to be beneficial in any way. If you buy this rock, you will have to put in extra work to get it cured. The same rule applies if you spot a black speck on the rock.
  3.  Sometimes sellers sell the uncured live rock amidst cured ones at a higher price. That is deceptive indeed. But there are ways you can check that. Smell the rock! Take it closer to the nose and take a sniff. It should smell nothing or smell like Fresh Ocean. If there is any hint of decaying smell or fish smell, it has not been cured and there must be traces of harmful organisms in it.
  4. Thoroughly inspect for unwanted pests or hitchhikers, such as bristleworms and aiptasia anemones. Some hitchhikers on the live rocks are good and very beneficial if you get them intact like corals and sometimes the favorable cleanup crew. However if there are unwanted guests in it, see if you can easily remove it or better avoid it.
  5. If you are ordering the live rock online check for labels that say cured, seeded, precured, fully cured and cycled, which usually means it can be placed directly into a main aquarium with minimal concern, but only under certain Guidelines. Names like uncured, fresh and transshipped usually means that it is live rock that should not be placed directly into a main aquarium, and you should fully cure it first.
  6. Buy on the quantity suitable for your tank. Never overload the tank with live rock and buy them only when needed. Since you won’t have much time to get them cured, make sure you will have free time to work on them instantly after buying.

With these simple tips, getting live rock for your tank should be simple enough and a trouble free experience.