Where to find live rock

Discussion in 'Welcome!' started by pbh-reef, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. pbh-reef

    pbh-reef Supporting Member

    Hi BARs!

    As I continue to plan out my tank I’m wondering if people have advice about where I can find “real” live rock in the Bay Area. What I mean by real is something like Tampa bay aquatics or gulf live rock - rock that is shipped wet and is full of life. Are there any shops around the bay that sell this kind of rock? If not I’ll probably start with dry rock because the shipping cost is a bit too much for me considering I’ll be doing a nano tank.
  2. Mark SF

    Mark SF Supporting Member

    I would keep your eye out for someone shutting down their tank. Possibly less risky than something direct from TBS if the aquarium is well maintained, and you will get to cherry pick the pieces that will work for you. The other option would be to split an order with someone for TBS - their rock looks great!

    I miss the real stuff, when I had a 90G in high school I stumbled across someone selling actual live rock sourced from Manono. It was then and still is the best stuff I've ever seen, incredibly porous, weighed half to a third what the Fiji stuff weighed!
  3. tankguy

    tankguy Supporting Member

    I used to get rock from Florida but way too many hitchhikers hiding inside. Aquatic Collection in Hayward has man made live rock so no hitchhikers
  4. rygh

    rygh BOD

    I have never seen it for sale in the bay area. Only online.
    I am not sure I would advise it anyway.
  5. pbh-reef

    pbh-reef Supporting Member

    Good to know, thanks!
  6. dswong01

    dswong01 Supporting Member

    how much live cured rick are u looking for ? I have some
  7. Mark SF

    Mark SF Supporting Member

    What type hitchhikers are we talking about? The diversity of that rock looks amazing, but with the good comes the bad, no doubt.

    I've seen people post about gorilla crabs and pistol shrimp as probably the worst offenders.


    BAYMAC Guest

    Was that from Harry at TnT? I bought 5 boxes from him in 98. All exports from there stopped in 99 IIRC. Didn't last long, 87-99.
  9. Mark SF

    Mark SF Supporting Member

    The time period is correct but I actually bought all the live contents from a woman shutting down her tank in LA. My father and I went on one hell of a road trip and brought back the live rock and a bunch of great fish.

    I would have had this tank around 2000-2001.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. We get live rock from Indonesia. If you want to buy 55 lbs (1 box) its $350 otherwise we dry it and sell it for $9 per pound, i have about 400lbs available.
  11. Mark SF

    Mark SF Supporting Member

    Do you have photos of what the rock looks like when it first arrives? So, you're saying you take live rock, and then set it out so everything "live" dies off and dry it out?

    What is the advantage of that when there are so many "dry" rock options without all of the freshly dead or decaying matter?
  12. ddrueckh

    ddrueckh Guest

    I plan to use Florida rock in my new tank that I am preparing for. I feel the diversity that comes with the rock outweighs the pistol shrimp and crabs that may/will come with it. I feel diversity creates balance and don't like sterile environments.

  13. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    The problem with "real" reef rock is that you're paying for the water to ship it in too, which adds to the cost. Plus you're putting creatures native to Florida/Caribbean in your tank (which could be fine). You can absolutely order that stuff online though and not have to go through a local business, I think being on the west coast we mostly get stuff from the Pacific which is often shipped wet, just not in water. Also it tends to be less weight per volume than the Florida stuff
  14. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Really several options.

    Live rock from a friend's tank:
    You can check out the tank, and for good or bad, will get what they have in their tank.
    Look for Aptasia and Majanos in particular.
    Safe/Risky depending on the tank.

    Cured Damp-shipped rock:
    This rock was shipped in damp newspaper, then cured for a while at LFS.
    It may have a couple of critters, but not much will survive.
    Coraline usually does ok, so rock looks decent.
    Generally safe, but generally boring.
    Main risk is if LFS has it on same system as fish, which could introduce ich.

    Uncured Damp-shipped rock.
    Again, shipped damp. But not cured, so full of dead critters, but likely a couple live ones.
    You need to cure it first, which gives you the benefit of virtual quarantine as well.

    Uncured water-shipped rock.
    This is shipped in water, like fish/coral, so mostly everything survives.
    Expensive, and unless you see that specifically, it is unlikely you are getting it.
    Lots of great critters. Some not so great.
    So risky. But probably does not contain usual pests like aptasia and majanos.
  15. Mark SF

    Mark SF Supporting Member

    I agree with you - I think TBS will be who I order from and I will max out however much I can get into one box in terms of lbs, which I believe is around 50lbs.
    You are definitely paying for the water weight, but then again you're getting your rock with less die off and cycle time for many has been non-existent, at least by traditional standards i.e. no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. The minimum shipping weight for the airlines cargo is 100lbs and according to TBS they charge .9/lbs so you are looking at a minimum of $90. I think you can get about 50lbs of rock in a box, the other 50lbs is water.

    The porosity of the rock in Florida is all dependent on what they tossed in originally. I think TBS started using Walt Smith 2.1, or something like that, but I'm guessing you can request the type?
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Wow they're getting stuff shipped from the Pacific way the hell over to Florida just to toss in the water there? Man o' man, I know before they used the limestone that was dredged to make water ways or something, so that stuff was super dense compared to indo-pacific rock.
  17. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Funny, just looked at the TBS site.
    According to their "package" for my tank size, I should have 240 hermit crabs, 120 snails, 10 cucumbers, 5 shrimp...
    I think not.
    Although my tuskfish would enjoy the 5 shrimp.
  18. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yeah nice to know the 1 per gallon rule is still being pushed around in the hobby by those who sell you the critters, when I had my 375 up I think I had maybe a dozen snails in the whole thing.
  19. NanoCrazed

    NanoCrazed Supporting Member

    Depending on how urgent you want to have you rocks, one option is to buy a small amount (eBay has some) and then toss it into a tank \ container with dry rocks and let them become live. I usually keep a tank full of rocks that I culture myself this way except lately since I am setting up multiple new tanks. Otherwise, I would offer you some (though my starter is Carribean)

    Craigslist usually has someone selling LR as well...

    Ultimate in San Mateo sells cured LR (~$8/LB), and if you're super desperate (AND I do mean desperate) Pet Club in SJ (~$5/LB)
  20. pbh-reef

    pbh-reef Supporting Member

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice. It looks like I’ll have to go with tank cured rather than aquacultured rock.

    I’m looking for about 20lbs (planning on setting up at 20 gallon). I’ll be away for June so I won’t be setting up the tank to cycle until early July or August. Just wanted to get my ducks in a row as I plan it out.

    Once I actually get my tank I’ll be officially joining BARs so i can take part in events etc. If anyone has some cured/cycled/seeded rock around the summer Keep me in mind!

    My first and only saltwater tank was set up in the late 90s. I remember the Fiji live rock I had fondly. It had a cool orange encrusting sponge and loads of worms and snails and crabs but it seems like that kind of ocean rock just isn’t available unless you have it directly shipped from places like Tampa bay live rock.

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