Often customers will ask us what live rock and live sand is. The simple answer is they are calcium based materials filled with live bacteria. In the ocean, denitrifying bacteria is present almost everywhere, in the water, in the sand, in sponges, under corals, and on the sides of animals. So, to replicate that in your tank it’s very important to start out with a healthy culture of this live bacteria within the rock. This is the main reason why Biota Aquariums ship the rock wet and very quickly. These bacteria are the backbone of your tank life and success. Normally, if you had a new tank clear of these live rocks and live sands it would take months of additives and patience to get a tank fully cycled and it’s still a very dangerous and tedious process for the fish you add.
Fish produce ammonia, like every living organism they produce waste. Ammonia is one of the most toxic substances to animals, especially animals that live in the same area they produce waste. Think about it like the fish live in their own toilet bowl. If there were no live bacteria present this ammonia would build up and eventually burn their gills, possibly killing or damaging the fish. Ammonia poisoning is one of the most common ailments for new fish tanks and new aquarists since everyone is very eager to get started right away. This helpful bacterium converts the ammonia into nitrite (a less toxic form of ammonia) and then a different bacterium converts that nitrite into nitrate (the least toxic form of ammonia).
What makes our live rock special and different?
Our live rock is manmade. Many times live rock coming directly from the ocean will have a ton of unwanted hitchhikers. This can range from nuisance algae and anemones to harmful mantis shrimp or bobbit worms. Ocean harvested live rock harms the environment and promotes the destruction of habitat unless it is farmed in the ocean. While carrying the beneficial bacteria for your aquariums live rock also helps stabilize the Ph. It does this by utilizing the materials it is made of. That calcium carbonate on natural live rock comes from many years of buildup possibly ancient hard corals creating the base of what is now rock in the ocean. Your live rock is handmade and molded into a unique shape to resemble natural live rock while also having all the benefits and none of the downside.
If you want to read up on the topic of the nitrogen cycle or live rock see some of the links below. If you have any questions please send over emails and messages and they might be the next topic of discussion on our blog.