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 at least 75% coverage (time of harvest) by some sort of coralline algae or other durable, reef friendly, encrusting invertebrate. Some of rocks will have some sort of live coral growing on them, usually some sort of Porites, Siderastrea, or Millipora. 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. Our live rock goes through cycles throughout the year which means sometimes with we have more macro algae and sometimes hardly anything.
Here are the characteristics of the 3 stages
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, sponges, feather dusters, macro algae, corals. 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.
Partially Cured Live Rock: (Discontinued, Inquire if needed )
Very similar to the uncured live rock, most of the very sensitive organism on the rock which would most likely not made it during transit have already died off in our tanks, fewer sponges, bugs, starfish, feather dusters and corals, often fewer hitchhikers, normally cured for around a week in our system before shipping.
– We ship it UPS 2nd Day.
Cured Live Rock: (Discontinued, Inquire if needed )
Slightly reduced coralline algae due to the curing process, hardly any sponges, less hitchhikers, corals, very few (if any) macro algae, re-curing is sometimes necessary with a longer transit.
– We ship it UPS 3 Day Select®.
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.