Live Rock- Top Reasons For Use In Your Aquarium

Live Rock
Written by Dennis

I am pretty sure that you are here to know more about the  ‘best live rock’ for aquariums.

Being an aquarist, I have the curiosity (in my early days), “Why are live rocks used?” This is the main reason why I prefer several sources and collect necessary details on living rock.

Now, I come here with this article to make you aware of the live rock and the top reasons for its use. Read this carefully and live your aquarist’ journey happily!

South Sea Base RockHigh
Nature's Ocean 12-Inch Coral Base RocksHigh
Caribsea Life Rock SandGood
Florida Base RockGood

What Is A Live Rock?

A live rock is not just a decorative item with a great look but provides necessary shelter for aquatic animals present in the aquarium. It comes in vivid shapes such as branch rock, slab or shelf rock and the list goes on.

Depending on the requirement of building caves, overhangs, arches and many other structures, you can make the selection appropriately.

Interestingly, this is the art of decorating your live rock aquarium, which is known as aquascaping.

Along with the live sand (natural reef coral sand), the live rock contributes in providing multiple benefits to the aquatic life. You can either go for purchasing natural live rock or try the DIY methods of creating live rock for your marine inhabitants.

How Does A Live Rock Form?

When talking about its formation, the living rock is the calcium carbonate skeletons of long dead corals and other calcareous organisms. It takes the different shape by combining with broken ocean floor rock.

Many beginner aquarists neglect the importance of the aquarium rock. But the presence of live rocks in the aquarium dominant the living of marine inhabitants.

Top Reasons For Using The Best Live Rock

Let us have a look at the top reasons-

  1. When the best live rock is introduced into the tank, it becomes the most effective biological filter for the safety of the marine plants and animals
  2. It hosts both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, specially nitrifying bacteria, for the completion of nitrogen cycle as explained here.
  3. The introduction of the live rock for saltwater aquarium contributes to the increase in the overall quality of the water
  4. No matter what type of rock it is, the live rock gets settled down to any preferred location to run the biological cycles
  5. For stabilizing the effect on aquarium water chemistry, the addition of live rock for freshwater aquarium helps in maintaining the required pH level
  6. It releases calcium carbonate in the water that prevents the chemical effect

Other than the above benefits of the best live rock for saltwater aquarium, it is the most attractive item due to its array of color combinations of coralline algae. Thus, this acts as a great decorative element and grabs the attention of the audience naturally.

What Color Do Live Rocks Have?

Basically, the color of the live rock depends on the location of its origination-

  • Fiji Live Rock – Purple Coraline Growth
  • Tonga Live Rock – Rainbow Colored
  • Marshall Island Live Rock – Red Coraline Algae Growth
  • Caribbean Live Rock – Rainbow Colored (a bit similar to Tonga rock)

However, each type of live rocks has dominant physical shape and color.

Types Of Live Rocks

There are several types of live rocks available on the market. The primary reason of getting different shapes and types is the location of its origin. And, each of them gets its name from which it is actually originated and attains distinct qualities.

  • The South Pacific region is the main source of large live rocks that are termed as Fiji rock, Tonga rock and Marshall Island rock
  • From the Caribbean, there is also a few amount of live rocks originate

It depends on the choice of the aquarists which one to prefer for their saltwater and/or freshwater aquariums.

Apart from this, the artificial rocks are also found. It is formed by the combination of handmade concrete and crushed aragonite, Portland cement and sand.

It is then allowed to become dry and acid washed. This increases the pH level and after that, it is kept in the clean water for one month and/or more (depending on the requirement).

On comparing with the natural live rocks and artificial live rocks, the latter looks a little attractive and much heavier. But, it acts as a good shelter for the marine inhabitants.

Where To Buy Live Rock For Aquarium?

As a general rule, we all look for profitable deals. Not to mention, the online stores can be the best way out for purchasing live rocks. This is because you can search for your preferred live rock without any hassles.

Once you have selected the appropriate live rock for saltwater aquarium, you can place the order and the item gets delivered to your place.


You cannot put the live rock right away to the aquarium. You have to cure and make it stable to use in an aquarium. Or else, this can hamper the life of the aquatic plants and animals. And if you are using a small aquarium of 2 gallon like these then it’s a total no no.

(When you have the desire of giving the necessary lighting and chemistry to the aquarium, it is imperative to take proper care of the aquatic inhabitants.)

How To Cure Live Rock?

While purchasing from any reliable store, you have to make sure about the labels ‘fresh’ or ‘uncured’ or ‘unseeded’. This means that live rocks need to be cured before dipping it into the aquarium water. Otherwise, a huge amount of ammonia gets introduced in your tank.

Step By Step Explanation

Suppose you have purchased a fresh live rock which is subjected to have stress because of the collection process and produces bad smell because of the presence of dead or dying organisms.

  • For its pre-cleaning method, you have to keep the rock on a plastic sheet and spray tank water from time to time
  • Now, introduce it into the aquarium and keep an eye out for monitoring the color of the live rock
  • If it looks white filmy or black at certain areas, just remove them (it is the sign of dead and dying organisms)

For this, either you can choose a new tank with live rock (without animals) or make the use of the same aquarium. But curing a live rock in new tank can end up with a dead rock. So, begin with a few of the aquatic animals for adequate seeding.

Once you can observe the base rock, you should recycle the tank, introduce adequate amount water and all live animals in the tank.

Now, add required amount of live sand with beneficial bacteria and other organisms for ensuring the organic process of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates in the saltwater aquarium.


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