Fun Facts

Everything you wanted to know about liverock, but didn't know who to ask
Below are just of the few types of Live Rock we stock. If you don't see what you want, let us know and we can get it.
What is Live Rock?

No, the rock itself is not alive, but it is truly covered in life. Coral grows over it, coralline algae grows on it, worms, shrimp and other critters crawl around in it, fish swim around and through and every surface is covered with different kinds of beneficial bacteria.

After the cost of the equipment: aquarium, stand, lighting and filtration, Live Rock can be one of the most xpensive AND IMPORTANT parts of any saltwater aquarium. Ranging to over $10 per pound and with most tanks using around 1, to as much as 2 pounds per gallon of tank volume, live rock is a big part of the purchase price.

Live rock is critical as part of the filtration process allowing surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down waste. It also helps calm fish and other animals by providing much needed hiding places. The # one killer of fish in an aquarium is stress and fish that don't feel safe are quick to stress. Finally the rocks provide the "Aqua-Scape" or "Reef-Scape" that is the landscape of your underwater world. As you can tell by our name Reef eScape, we feel that this is one of the most important parts of your aquarium. Coral, anemones, sponges, feather duster worms, and all other non-motile animals are arranged on and around the reef structure created by live rock.

Where does MOST live rock come from?

The vast majority of live rock available either from a Local Fish Store, or on the internet is harvested directly from a living reef. To say this is harmful to the environment is an understatement. Most of the reefs today are now protected from the harvest of liverock, thus the selection is getting pretty low. The rock made available is often round , uninterestingly shaped and often too small to make an interesting structure. Imagine trying to create an interesting aquascape with apples... you just can't stack them in any other way than what you see at the super market. Lacking any "cool" cracks, crevasses, holes and other fun hiding places can also be stressful for critters and fish.

During it's removal from the ocean, time on a boat, in a holding facility (in Tonga , or Fiji , the Marshal Islands or wherever...) shipping to California , and then shipped again to your area, the rock spends considerable time out of water. While the rock is not under water this whole time, it is shipped "wet" adding to the cost.

During shipping much of the live animals and algae on the rock dies . Once in your new aquarium it may take 6 to 10 weeks for the dead biological matter to decompose and break down to a point where it is safe to add fish and coral. We call this the "cycle time" or "curing the rock" and it is one of the most difficult and frustrating times for the excited new aquarium owner.

What is a “ Hitchhiker. ”

Often liverock comes with good animals that unknowingly come along for the ride. Sponges, crabs, coral, worms and small shrimp often make it into the home aquarium this way. However, there is also a risk of “bad” hitchhikers such as the dreaded Aptasia and Mojano anemones. This animals are similar to the desirable anemones, but smaller, less colorful and they do not host clownfish. They are also able to reproduce so quickly they can take over an entire aquarium, stinging and killing coral. Other hitchhikers include the mantis shrimp, a predator that can kill other shrimp, crabs, snails and even fish. “Bad” coral / shrimp, and snail eating crabs can also end up in liverock as can other “evil” hitchhikers.

Where does Reef eScape live rock come from?

We order our rock from a supplier that harvests dry rock on land. This is ancient dead coral that has been dry for years and years. We believe that this is the most ecologically friendly way to acquire rock. Because it hasn't been picked over for years and years, we get far more interesting shapes. We have large flat rocks, cragled odd shaped rocks, BIG rocks and small rocks. AND nearly all of it is covered in holes and cracks that fish love. The rock is shipped to the DC area dry, saving on costs.

This rock is then cured and cycled for 4-6 weeks in our location, and then it is placed in a "color up" system that allows the good purple, green and red coralline algae to get a foot hold. So, soon after it is added to your aquarium (new or established) it will be covered in colorful life. Rock prepared in this way is ready for livestock in as little as one week. Because it is shipped dry, it is virtually impossible to get any bad “hitchhikers.”

In some cases we drill the rock and use acrylic supports to make an even more dramatic aquascape while remaining invisible to you or even the fish. Caves, overhangs, ledges, holes, mountains, and valleys are the standard. 

Fiji Liverock

Premium Fiji Liverock

Premium Fiji Liverock
(After 6 months)
Other Types of Liverock

Base Rock

Marshall Island Live Rock


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