Live Rock Vs Dry Rock

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by Cyclone@303, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Cyclone@303

    Cyclone@303New MemberMember

    I have owned a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium for 5 or 6 years now. I had considered converting to saltwater but never pulled the trigger. A friend of mine has a 90 gallon saltwater setup that he no longer has the time to maintain so he is shutting it down. He is giving it to me for free (the best price ever!). This includes the tank, stand, filters, lighting, etc. I am going to assume I will have to start this tank from scratch. From what I have read online it may be best to do this anyway. The main thing I am looking at right now is live rock versus dry rock. My guess is that I am using the terms incorrectly but I am assuming those reading this will understand what I am asking. Here are my questions:

    1. Dry rock versus live (wet?) rock. As everyone knows if you research on the internet you get positives and negatives on each.
    2. I stopped at one LFS they had manmade rock. Thoughts on that?
    3. With either choice would you recommend buying at the LFS or online? Obviously the online option presents fairly significant $ savings.
    4. If online do you have any recommendations for reputable sites? I do want to make sure whatever I get is environmentally responsible. I don't want to get anything that harms the reefs (I have read about issues with this).
    5. Any recommendations on what rock to get? Again if you search online you get all kinds of opinions.

    One thing worth mentioning is that I have plenty of time to get this tank up and running. In other words I will have the patience to let it cycle properly before I add anything to it. I rushed the first tank I ever did and I learned you never win in that situation.

    Thanks to all for your time and advice!
  2. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    If you rush the tank. We are never talking again. :) Kidding...
    So he's not giving you the live rock with it?

    If he is... just use the rock and re-scape to your liking. It'll be an instant cycle and not much left to do put clean and stock the tank.
    If you are looking to just start from the ground up... may I recommend doing it with dry rocks, specifically Pukani dry rocks from BRS (Bulk Reef Supplies). Pukani is very light and porous to work with. You can take your time epoxying and dry scaping and dremeling caves as you wish till you are content with the rockscape and then fill the tank up.

    I have the man-made rock, they call it "life rock" ehhhhh..... not a fan of. It's neat the first month. but I am tired of the purple coloration. Also, man-made rocks don't seem as porous as Pukani rocks.
    I think you can only get Pukani rocks from BRS, though, I may be wrong...

    Dry rock, fishless cycle it for 2 months and you'll be set. I'm jealous.
  3. ilovefishys17Valued MemberMember

    I totally agree with that. I wish I did dry rock. I started with live and then added dry, so I have 3 different rocks and it's not the best looking. Also live rock can sometimes come with intruders that you don't want, so definefly start with dry. Plus you don't have to worry about killing bb.

  4. LiterallyHydro

    LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    Whether or not you use live or dry rock depends on what you want out of the tank.

    Long term, the dry rock would be more headache-free with a reduced likelihood if introducing potential pests into your aquarium, but the cycling process will take a bit longer.
    Live rock will give you near instant gratification of a quickly cycled tank, and will look much prettier with everything from coralline algae to featherdusters and other organisms introduced into the tank, but the risk remains of bringing in pests that could cause a problem down the road.
  5. OP

    Cyclone@303New MemberMember

    Thanks for the reply. I am relatively sure that the tank will not come with any live rock. He may have just had a fish only setup. Given that everything else is free I have $ available for the rock, additional equipment, etc. I PROMISE I will not rush the tank! If the cycle takes 2-3 months that is no problem at all. You can get Pukani from BRS. They have two different sizes. The larger is slightly more expensive per pound and is 18" or larger. All the reviews from buyers on it say they asked for 30 pounds and got one rock that was over 40 pounds. I guess the nice thing there is I'm assuming they paid for 30 pounds and only paid for 30. I do have a dremel so that helps. I'll keep this updated as I find ut more.

    Thanks. The headache-free (or at least headache reduced) advantage of dry is attractive given I am new to saltwater. I want to get the tank and see what equipment he does have and see if I need to add to that. If it does come with rock already, which I doubt, then I can work with that. I have some time before I get it which is nice given the research/reading I need to do.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2017
  6. LiterallyHydro

    LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    Funny enough, the attractiveness of lowering the risk of pests go up tenfold after playing around with saltwater for a few years.
    After dealing with all of the pests, you will never want to have to go through that again.
  7. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    BRS is very awesome to deal with. You can let them know you want smaller pieces or whichever so you can make a nice rockscape.

    Agreed on live rock with a possibility of introducing hitchhikers. However, do not think you are out of that clear because of not using live rock. Hitchhikers can also be introduced by frags/corals in your tank. Even dipping corals, some hitchikers will make it through.
  8. OP

    Cyclone@303New MemberMember

    October update!

    As I mentioned earlier, I am getting this set up for free from a friend of mine. I did pick it up this weekend and am in the process of getting it ready to go (and also getting rid of my 55 freshwater). I will be doing a separate post on the new tank asking for set up advice now that I know what equipment he had for it.

    On this thread I would like to get an opinion on the following:

    - How much dry rock? I am going to go with the Pukani from BRS. Any recommendation as to which option from them? They have the standard and then the larger (18"+). I'm guessing just the standard is good given it lends itself to better customization.
    - How much sand (depth) and any thoughts on which sand to get?

    The tank is 90 gallons and is 63" L X 13.5" D X 24" H.

    With regard to the amount of rock I do have some flexibility here given that so far I have $0 into this tank.

    Thanks again!
  9. rsumner

    rsumnerValued MemberMember

    I have more tanks than I will ever tell my wife, but I’ve also just recently dove into the world of salt. I started with live rock from my local Petco and topfin sand. I think I’m 6 to 8 weeks in now. I have a lot of snails/slugs that are annoying, but the purple rock sure is pretty. I can’t say how I would do it next time, but I’m glad I didn’t have to wait 6 mo before adding livestock like the dry rock guys do.
  10. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    So you are pretty set on Pukani rocks? The only thing I have to note is that they take a few months to cure... so if you are patient enough, go for it.
    If you aren't planning on rock-scaping the rocks like, cutting, chiseling, etc... go with their 'Reef Saver' rocks instead. I believe those rocks you don't have to cure at all and ready to go in the tank, so you can stack it however you want and they inter-lock with each other pretty well.

    Either way, your choice. I am currently still curing my Pukani rocks. It's been a month in now and I am still seeing some levels of phosphates.

    For Pukani rock, since it's light, you don't have to go with the 1lb per 1 gallon ratio. I ordered 12lbs of Pukani for my 25 gallon and it could've easily filled my entire tank up lol. I recommend ordering around 0.5lbs to 0.7lbs per 1 gallon of water. You can always order more.

    for Reef Saver rocks, it's a bit heavier... so you'll do the 1 lbs per 1 gallon rule.
  11. OP

    Cyclone@303New MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice on the reef saver rock. I like the look of it. I also watched some you tube videos on it and it seems easy to rock-scape. The price at BRS seems very good as well.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice