Monday, July 18, 2011

Aquascape with Base Rock

After moving to a larger tank, I knew I was missing quite a bit of live rock. The live rock I had in my old 18 gallon reef tank plus any rock I had in buckets was not enough to fill my new 60 gallon aquarium. I stacked the rock the best I could and created a nice shaped rock pile, but it wasn’t very tall. The top 2/3’s of the aquarium were empty and looked rather bare.
I knew I needed more rock, but there were two things stopping me from buying the live rock. First, the price of live rock can take its toll on my reef budget. Second, I was a little weary of introducing any unwanted hitchhikers. The solution to this problem was base rock: Caribsea South Seas Base Rock to be exact!
Base rock is affordable compared to a lot of the live rock I have seen at local shops. Base rock is dead, so there are no unwanted hitchhikers. There’s no chance of bristle worms, Aiptasia Anemones, or other surprises.
Size comparison to phone
Large rocks - stacked like legos
Upon opening the box, I was impressed at the clean rock. It didn’t have any dead organic matter stuck to it, and it didn’t have a funny smell that some base rock may have. CaribSea’s base rock is terrestrially mined from ancient reef rock; it’s not just dried up live rock. The rock is solid and clean. It’s was very porous and with the exception of the color, blends in with my live rock. Given time, the rock will build up enough bacteria to become alive, and Coralline algae will cover the rock to leave it looking like the other rock.
Porous rock
The base rock didn’t require any “cooking” or “curing” to ensure it was ready for the aquarium. I simply rinsed the rock in RO/DI water and allowed it to dry. Once dry, I gave it another visual inspection and began aquascaping.
RO/DI water - better than tap water
Rinsing in RO/DI water
I don’t like aquascaping. It’s not the work or having my hands in the tank that I dislike; I can just never get the rock stacked correctly. I gave it a go, and after about an hour, I had the rock in formations I was happy with.
The Caribsea South Seas Base Rock was a great addition to my tank. My reef work is taller and my tank feels more reef like. I have more locations to place coral and can bring them closer to the light, and my fishes have more places to hide.
The Caribsea South Seas Base Rock (item #CS0370) is available in a 40 pound box at Marine Depot.
Before - nice shape, but not very tall.
After - 2 large/tall reef formations.
Until next time...