Our Aquacultured Live Rock is one of the best available in the industry. We have the oldest offshore aquacultured live rock site in the Florida Keys, and its unique location results in some spectacular live rock (Federal Lease Site). We also have another lease site closer to shore (State Lease Site) which is not in heavy use right now.
We hand select and pressure clean every rock (Miami Oolite – extremely porous type of limestone ) that goes in the water, and leave them on the bottom for at least two years until they are ready to be harvested. We don’t buy machine sorted rock so we don’t boast of having millions of pounds of rock in the water, but what we do have is very high quality.
By our standard, Aquacultured Live Rock is not ready until it has about 75% coverage (time of harvest) by some sort of coralline algae or other durable, reef friendly, encrusting invertebrate. A few pieces of rocks will have some sort of live coral growing on them, usually some sort of Porites, Siderastrea, or Millipora but it has been rather uncommon. Green macro algae such as Halimida are also common, as are a wide variety of brown fleshy algae. Compared to most other live rock harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, our live rock is 100 % Aptasia free. This rock is completely different from Gulf of Mexico rock as far as the biodiversity goes. We have a wide variety of coraline algae which comes in different kind of colors like purple, pink to orange. Currently our coraline algae on the rock seems to be more purple. Our live rock goes through cycles throughout the year which means sometimes with we have a bit more macro algae and sometimes hardly anything. We don’t guarantee live arrival of hitchhikers.
We want to provide high quality and we only collect live rock when it is sold. We do keep some in stock but sometimes it assures that you get best biodiversity. We brush of the brown fleshy algaes of the rock during collection as it doesn’t do well in shipping.
The pictures show a 10 lbs package and 15 lbs package freshly collected. They normally is a little bit of die off in our tanks.
Uncured Live Rock:
Our most sought after and best reviewed live rock. Fresh rock, straight from the ocean containing a lot of coralline algae, bugs, starfish, crabs, shrimps, flat encrusting sponges and micro feather dusters. Corals have been very rare due to the impact of Hurricane Irma as well as the corals in our area are very slow growers. Some die-off of the most sensitive sponges are possible after shipping and this rock will have the strongest cycling (spikes of ammonia, nitrates and nitrite).
– We ship it UPS Next Day Air. Granted, we say free shipping but really you are paying about $6.50 a pound for live rock the rest of the money goes to UPS for the convenience of having the live rock being shipped to your door. UPS gives us better discounts on heavier packages that’s why you are getting better prices for bigger shipments.
How to Cure Live Rock:
After the arrival of the live rock rinse the live rock in a 5 gallon buck with freshly mixed saltwater to remove any debris or died of organic matter.
(Optional Step) Undesired critters (we really don’t like the word unwanted pests as every creature has a purpose in life) can be removed by submerging the live rock into a saltmix of 1.035 to 1.040 (Specific gravity) for one minute. You can leave it a little longer but it should do the trick for mantis shrimp, crabs and worms to vacate the rock. Please turn the live rock in the bucket for the salty saltwater to penetrate everywhere in the live rock. Afterwards you can evaluate which crabs to keep and which ones to permanently remove. You can repeat this step 2 to 3 times during the curing process (before, during and after). It will help with keeping the unwanted critters under control obviously it doesn’t guarantee 100% success but it should get very close to it.
You have two options to cure the live rock: You can place into your designated curing container which can be a trash can etc. It should completely cover the rock. When you are setting up a new aquarium, you can also place into straight into the aquarium and turn on your filtration equipment like the tank is running (It will need to be cleaned more often in the beginning). We recommend to turn off the lighting for both options. Specific gravity of 1.023-1.025 with freshly mix aquarium salts is recommended.
Both options require water changes and daily testing of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. You also need to aerate the curing container option as well as a small powerhead can be very helpful to keep the water moving. The powerheads and the pump in the aquarium are sufficient for this job.
Perform 30% water changes daily in the first 3 days. Keep a close eye on your tank levels (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH), perform bigger water changes if they the levels go much higher. Afterwards perform biweekly water changes of 50% until your levels read zero. When the levels read zero for a couple of days, your tank has cycled and is ready to be used.
The curing process can take from 1 to 3 weeks.
We have had customers not performing any water changes which led to high levels which ultimately killed all the life on the live rock.