Saltwater Fish

live rock, aquariums, reef

 What IS Live Rock ?

Live rock is a term used in aquaria to describe rock from the ocean introduced into a salt water aquarium, which confers to the closed marine system muliple benefits desired by the salt water marine hobbyist. The name sometimes leads to misunderstandings as "live rock" is itself not actually alive, but is made simply from the calcium carbonate skeletons of long dead corals, or other calcareous organisms, which in the cean form the majority of coral reefs. When taken from the ocean it is usually encrusted with Coralline and inhabited by a multitude of marine organisms. The many forms of micro and macroscopic marine life that live on and inside of the rock, and which acts as an ideal habitat, give it the name "live rock."

For the aquarium trade this rock is highly valued not only for the diversity of life it can bring to the closed marine environment, but its function as a superior biological filter that hosts both aerobic and anaerobic nitrifying bacteria required for the nitrogen cycle that processes waste. Live rock becomes the main biological nitrification base or biological filter of a saltwater aquarium. Additionally, "live rocks" have a stablizing effect on the water chemistry, in particular on helping to maintain constant pH by release of calcium. Lastly, live rock, especially when encrusted with multiple colors of coralline algae, becomes a major decorative element of the aquarium and provides shelter for the inhabitants. It's often used to build caves, arches, overhangs, or other structures in the tank, an art known as aquascaping.

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