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The Thread
Act VI

The Bends

OK ... first off at this point I don't know where your gonna get better rock for under $4 a pound ... BUT, I don't know what you're all thinking, that rock looks like crap and Damselblue you have every right to be mad.

That picture is absolutely false advertising, and while, yes, over time the purple will grow, if you were expecting to get it due to that picture and didn't, that's just wrong.

All the photos of the Fiji live rock
were taken upon arriving at LAX ...
a wide range of possibilities was displayed ...
no one photo should be singled out.

At least other sites show the Fiji rock for what it is ... gray and shapeless. And the first pics of your rockwork are horrid, you can't do anything better than mundane with that.

Pssssst .... I bet Damselblue could do better than that!

Damselblue ... absolutely at least try and bash up those rocks, at least then you will have some smaller pieces to do something with, and might even get some actual shapes.


The best way, and the easiest way, to keep the rock and all coral reef animals and plants, is to keep them at standard coral reef conditions. Full strength seawater - that means an S.G. of 1.025. Temperature at about 80 to 82 degrees. Nothing to it.

I wonder why Sal feels that
there is only one temperature and
salinity in the ocean ...?
For instance, Tonga's reefs
are 74 degrees or cooler.

The idea that a reef tank should be kept at 75 degrees is left over from the days the hobby started, when most of the livestock was collected around Florida.

Another thing, the term base rock means two things. One is dead, dry rock dug up on land, usually limestone or fossilized coral. This stuff can be as solid as a piece of marble or granite. Florida aquaculture companies put fossilized coral into the Gulf for a few years, then sell it as Florida live rock, which by then it is.

The other meaning of base rock is live rock that has nothing interesting about it, but good enough to go underneath the better pieces.

Voice of Reason

Sal is dead on, keep the rock at natural reef conditions, just run those filters and clean'm regularly. Also, buying beautiful live rock from a lfs is a great idea to top off your rock, this will help your investment come along faster, but ONLY AFTER THE AMMONIA SPIKE HAS PASSED!

So don't buy any more live rock from your local fish store until then, unless you put'm in a separate container while the spike passes, which should take four to six weeks.

Once the spike has passed and you add your lfs live rock (that's what I did), it will help your Fiji Premium take off with color ... "that is when you'll be in disbelief."  

I would also recommend you consider ...

(1) premium live sand, (pods, worms, stars, sponges, etc. included)

(2) your cleaning crew (snails, hermits)

(3) detritus pack (starfish, etc.)

All three of those help your rocks and the tank as a whole to keep you from having to clean it yourself.

There's so much more that you still need to concentrate on to keep your live rock and tank as a whole coming along, that I wouldn't waste any more time or energy.

Look forward to seeing and hearing from you when this happens ... move on, keep planning the next steps and enjoy your investments ...

Sooner rather than later, you'll laugh at all this ...  


Well, if you really want your live rock to look like what you expected, then it is better to buy it from your local fish store.   You can hand-pick it yourself for just a couple bucks more per pound. No surprise is the best surprise of all. But honestly, if you want to save $, it is better to buy online.

These rocks have been shipped far distances without water, and it is natural for them to fade, kind of like a coral frag.  If you've ever seen softie frags newly shipped to a local fish store, they look like blobs of nothing.   Within a week, they color up and look like the corals you expect them to look like.

It's not going to look extravagantly healthy if it's been in a box without water for a couple of days. Give it a week or two, you will see the coralline starting to come in, and all sorts of life will appear.


I've bought hundreds of pounds of live rock in 16 years and I would be disappointed if I expected what was in the pictures on their website. I would have to see in person to really say much more.

You got several boulders and for a small tank that just doesn't look as good. Take a chisel and hammer and break it up a little. After that put it in your tank and leave it alone.

Let your skimmer do some skimming and maybe use a filter sock for awhile and clean it alot. Quit pulling the rock out and cleaning it.

Just leave it alone. Give it a few months and see what comes out. It will amaze you.

Well if you didn't kill everything with all the pulling out and cleaning. I do think it is ugly rock in the pics and devoid of near as much growth and coralline (purple algae) as I would expect in Super Duper Premium Fiji, which I have bought before.

If you are showing the bottom of the rock, it looks right, but if that is the top it looks like what LFS would sell as base rock. I would give my LFS $3-4 lb. for that rock.

Now we're getting to the bottom of things! Yes, that is correct ... most of the rocks in this photo are showing their bottoms ... hmmmm ... that didn't sound quite right! And, it was less than $3 per pound.


Damselblue ... don't worry too much about your rock. My rock was very bare when I first got it. It's been about three months and even the pieces that were completely brown and white are completely covered in coralline and life.


Looks av, like base rock.


I know it is easy to bash a seller when things are not what you expected, but livestockusa is a good seller in my opinion!!!

I have ordered from them a few times and had nothing but stellar service. Birdfish is an honorable person and wants to do the right thing if he can.

Just because one person has had a bad experience, I would not judge this seller as bad and not use them!!

How many people have had bad experiences with some other companies ... I know of a couple, but we all still use them!!!!!

Your rock will be fine give it some time and you will be amazed at the life!!!!


Looks like base rock to me, not many decent sized tunnels and nooks and crannies from what I can see.

(Psssssst ... there are some we may have overlooked.)

But it will still look awesome in time.

I don't know what you were expecting, but I'd have to say it looks average to me too. But hey, you got it for a good price, so it can't be that bad.  


Uh ... base rock is dry and white ... if you look at one of my photos of my rock you can see base rock under the live rock.

Age of Aquarius

I don't think it looks like base rock, I really don't think it's all that bad looking, it just looks really dense to me. I personally see some pics on the site that look like what you got, but in the same token I see rock that looks nice and porous in other pics right next to it.

If it weighed, then I think although it's not first choice stuff (in your eyes), it could be confused with the rock they have pictured.

You could bust it down maybe, or stack it open and accent it with something more porous that you can find locally. I bought my rock at various LFS. If 20 pounds is gonna evaporate ... it's gonna be their 20 pounds!

I wonder how long the LFS allows their live rock to drain before weighing it? Live rock drained for international shipment is about 10-20% lighter than instantaneously, wet-weighed LFS live rock. (There will be more to this "evaporation story" up ahead!)



Originally posted by SeaStar
... base rock is dry and white

Hmmm, I didn't know that.

I figured base rock was just a large rock without a lot of negative space to it so you could stack the more premium rock on top of it.

So why does base rock have to be dry and white?

...Continue to Act VII