Salty Q&A: Should You Scrub New Live Rock?

Indiscriminately scrubbing live rock can destroy much of the life you paid for, and thus the benefit of doing soQuestionI’ll be receiving a shipment of live rocks in a few days, and I could use some advice on how to clean them up before putting them in my tank. Do I just need to give them a good going over with a scrub brush?” – Submitted by Chuck S. Answer I wouldn’t use the term “good going over” with respect to cleaning your new live rocks. Remember, you paid good money for the organisms encrusting those rocks, so you don’t want to scrub the entire surface of each rock indiscriminately. Rather, what you want to do is very selectively scrub/scrape/pluck away any obviously dead/decomposing organisms, slimy films, unwanted algae, and clinging sediments or debris. Encrusting sponges that have been exposed to air will also need to be removed, as they’re likely to die and decompose. Otherwise, if a rock looks pretty “clean” and healthy right out of the box, all it needs is a good rinse.

The Pros and Cons of Aquascaping Marine Aquariums with Dry Rock

Aquascaping with dry rock has a number of advantages and disadvantagesWhen aquascaping their tanks, marine aquarium hobbyists have the option of using live rock or dry rock (or some combination thereof) to create the foundational reef structure. Each of these options is completely workable but, as with every aspect of this hobby, has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So how to choose which approach might work best for you given your unique circumstances, budget, etc.? To aid in your decision making, let’s explore the pros and cons of each approach, beginning today with the use of dry rock. I’ll tackle the plusses and minuses of live rock aquascaping in a future post.Pros of dry rock aquascaping Dry rocks tend to be easier on the pocketbook. One reason is that they ship dry so you’re paying only for the weight of the rocks, not the added weight of water as with live rock, and there’s no need to shell out for expedited shipping. Also, the better-quality dry rocks on the market tend to be less dense than live rock, so you get a greater volume of rock for your aquascaping dollar.