Our Aquacultured Live Rock is one of the best live rock for sale 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 but we are currently working to improve the live rock for sale that will come from there.
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 live rock for sale 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 for sale 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. There is normally a some die off in our tanks. Every patch of our live rock looks different and you might now get exactly what is shown in the picture. Those pictures intended to give you an idea of how much live rock you might want. We recommend about 1 to 2 pounds per gallon but ultimately it is up to you what amount you prefer depending on aquascape idea.
UPS and airfreight wrapped in wet paper: We ship our live rock wrapped in wet paper with little in the bottom of the box. All freight charges are being paid on our side for this shipping method.
Airfreight shipped in water: We just added the airfreight option to have the rock shipped in water. You will be be paying the charges to Southwest ($1.25 to $1.50 a pound). This option does not have a minimum of how many pounds you have to order because you are paying the charges at the airport. Southwest will charge a minimum of $60 to $70 if you have 1 lbs or 50 lbs. The water will add an substantial amount of weight. When you order 20 to 25 lbs, the box will weight close to 60 lbs to 70 lbs . When you order airfreight, know which airlines accept cargo at your airport. You may have to select another airport further away to receive the rock shipment via Southwest. Also keep in mind that we only ship on Mondays via airfreight because this a 5 hour round trip to drop off the shipment. We drop off the shipment Monday night and it flies out on the first flight in the morning. We sometimes ship on Tuesday because of some of our fish stores schedule. The airbill won’t work until I have dropped off the shipment. Check your status of your airfreight package here: https://www.swacargo.com/swacargo_com_ui/
Shipping in Water vs. Shipping in Wet Paper
In Water Airfreight Shipping:
We ship about 20 to 25 lbs in a box which will be 98% covered by rock and the package (21x16x10) weight about 60 to 70 lbs. We pack the rock in multiple layers of plastic bags to prevent leaking. We have found that the rock arrives in almost perfect condition when shipped that way. Maybe only a few corners my show some stressed coralline due to the fact that the rock shifts in transit and may be exposed to the air. Please see pictures below from a customer who had his rock shipped in water via airfreight. The aquacultured live rock basically looks like that when I ship it out.
Wet Paper Overnight Shipping:
When we started our live rock, we had a lot of light purple coralline algae on our rock and nowadays, we have a lot of dark coralline on it. The dark coralline is more sensitive when shipped damp. A good bit of die off may occur from shipping in wet paper (UPS overnight). When the rock arrives the purple coralline has turned orange due to stress and may turn white after a few days. The rock will still have areas where the dark purple coralline is intact and will repopulate the live rock. The beneficial bacteria is unaffected from this. We are still exploring more option to prevent this but have not come up with a solution for it yet. We still like this option because we can ship directly to your door as well as it makes more sense to ship smaller amounts. Please see pictures below from a customer who had his rock shipped in wet paper via UPS. Please see the picture above in comparison to what the aquacultured live rock looks like when I ship it out.
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 $8.00 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. You may have to continue to do 30% water changes on a daily basis if the ammonia is increasing rapidly. Keep a close eye on your tank levels (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH), perform bigger water changes if they the levels go much higher. You can also use an ammonia detoxifier like prime to possibly reduce the amount of water changes. 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. Typically, you are trying to keep the ammonia under 1 ppm in the beginning.
The curing process can take from 1 to 3 weeks.
We have had customers not performing any water changes which led to high levels of ammonia which ultimately killed all the life on the live rock.
Curing vs. Cycling:
The term curing and cycling can be confusing. Curing live rock means that there will be die off of during the shipping process and that needs to be monitored. The ammonia should never go to high and you can counter it with water changes. Cycling is basically the same process but that is what will happen in your tank. Ammonia will rise and should keep at low levels until it is being converted to nitrite and nitrate.