How to Use Live Rock as a Filter
When you are going to use live rock as a filter in your tank you will need to know a bit about the live rock and how it works. This way you will then be able to use the live rock as a filter in the best way possible as you will have all the knowledge you need.
To start with, live rock is not actually alive as you might think. Live rock is actually pieces off a coral reef. They could have been broken off the coral reef by any natural means like a hurricane or a tropical storm. It is called live rock as it contains living and dead organisms. Examples of these organisms are: algae, marine worms, bacteria and small crustaceans such as crabs. These organisms will make the live rock their home making the rock very beneficial in a tank.
The most important thing about live rock is that it is porous. Being porous makes using live rock as a filter very easy. It is a natural biological filter. You are able to use live rock as a filter because bacteria live on the rock in the tiny holes which the live rock has.
Live rock helps new tank systems in getting set up. They do this as the bacteria living on them help to get rid of the ammonia and evens out the toxins in your water. This then makes it better and easier for the live rock and fish to live in. You will still need to test your water condition regularly though. Using live rock as a filter does not, however, guarantee low toxin levels; it just helps to achieve them. Ammonia and nitrate levels should be 0. The PH of your tank should be between 8.2 and 8.4. The temperature of your tank should be kept between 82 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the water to these guidelines will keep your live rock healthy, stress free and keep it working as a filter.
When using live rock as a filter the main thing that you need to realise is that you need to keep them healthy and disease free. The live rock is a natural filter so does not need help to become one. However if the live rock becomes ill with a disease or starts to die, its use as a filter will also deteriorate.
Also if you are using live rock as a filter instead of buying one there a few things that you will need to make sure your tank has. The first is pump heads. These are need for the water movement in your tank, as a mechanical filter would have done this job also. The pump heads will keep the water moving and mimic that of the sea. This will mean that you can use live rock as a filter instead of a mechanical one.
Another thing to consider buying if you are planning on using live rock as a filter is a skimmer. A skimmer is a useful thing to have to help with water condition. The skimmer will collect particles from your water in there foam pads. Once it has removed the particles from the water they will start to decompose. Usually with a mechanical filter this decomposition can have a drastic effect on the condition of your water. This will then Increase the amount of ammonia and nitrates (OrthopedicSurgerySanDiego). However with a skimmer the particles are kept in a collection cup therefore no matter how much they decompose it will not re enter the water in your tank.
To make sure using live rock as a filter is successful you need to make sure you have enough live rock for the size of your tank. You will need around 1 to 2 pounds of live rock per gallon of water in your tank. This will make sure you have enough live rock so that it works effectively as a filter.
You will need to make sure you feed your live rock correctly in order for it to maintain stress free and thus working effective as your tanks filter. Feeding will differ depending on what type of live rock you are using as your filter. The bacteria living on the live rock will feed off waste products in your tank. Some will feed off the light used in your tank by photosynthesising. Others will need small fish, krill, squid are just a few examples.
Special lighting is needed in your tank to keep live rock as a filter. The lighting also differs depending on which live rock you have in your tank. You should research the different types of live rock and what their individual requirements are for the best results.
Regular water changes are needed when keeping live rock as a filter. I would recommend doing a water change about once a week. This water change should be about 10 to 20 percent. This will help with the water condition and other problems such as algae. If the toxin levels in your water are higher than they should be then completing a water change more often (say around every 3 days) will help to bring this back under control and stop your tank from getting too disrupted.
In conclusion using live rock as a filter is very easy as it does the job naturally on its own. The main problems are keeping the live rock healthy, which is the same problem even if it is not being used as a filter.
If you need any help or advice on using live rock as a filter why not visit Perry’s Aquatic Centre. Here you can talk to professionals with many years of experience. They offer excellent customer service and are always happy to help no matter how big or small the problem might be. They also offer free water testing and will advise if your water condition is not what it should be. They have all the right chemicals to put you on the right track.