After months of careful research and savings, you’ve finally decided to buy an aquarium for your home or workplace so you can enjoy the benefits of having fish.

You’ve thought about the kinds of fish you’d like to have in your tank, the filtration system that will work best for your needs, and the food you’ll feed your fish.

But there’s still one major decision you need to make: whether you should buy live rocks or dry rocks for your aquarium.

Live rock creates a kind of natural replica of a larger reef system, improves the efficiency of the nitrogen cycle, and can help to keep your water’s pH levels stable.  Dry rocks are either reef rocks that have died/calcified or rocks created from natural material. They offer stunning aesthetic advantages to help your aquarium look its best, but without many of the risks of live rock.

While many beginner aquarium enthusiasts believe that live rock is the right choice, the truth is that dry rock is a much better option.

Why?  Read on to find out.

The Risks of Choosing to Buy Live Rocks

Before you buy live rocks for your aquarium, you need to stop to consider the risks.

The biggest one?

The things that can sneak into your aquarium through the porous structures of live rocks. These can include dangerous organisms and algae that could pose serious health risks to the animals living in your tank. You may find yourself having to remove unwanted guests like mantis shrimp or even smaller crabs.

Additionally, certain anemones such as Majano or Aiptasia can latch onto your live rock. These anemones spread like wildfire, and before you know it, they’ve completely overtaken your reef.

With live rock, your tank is also at risk for things like bubble algae, red planaria, bryopsis, and much more.

Many live rock enthusiasts point to the fact that lots of the organisms that live in live rock pores die once they’re harvested. While this is true, these dead organisms don’t just vanish into thin air when they’re placed in your tank. These organisms continue to decay inside the live rocks, which can cause the ammonia levels in your tank to skyrocket.

This can mean much more work for you in addition to potentially harming the creatures that call your aquarium home.

Using aquarium dry rock greatly reduces the chance that you’ll have to deal with these annoying visitors.

The Benefits of Dry Rock

Now, let’s talk about why you should buy aquarium dry rock.

First of all, it’s usually more affordable than live rock. While we know that most aquarium owners are happy to pay more for a healthier environment for their animals, it’s always nice to be able to save a bit of money.

Additionally, when you use dry base rock in your aquarium, you’ll enjoy much greater control over your reef structure’s overall development.

The best part of using dry rock, however, is watching it “come back to life.” Healthy bacteria, tiny organisms and invertebrates, algae, and much more will colonize your dry rock over time. Watching the transformation take place is a stunning experience.

Because dry rocks are porous (but again, don’t encourage hitchhikers like live rocks) they’re also easy to shape and often form into fascinating structures. Plus, because these structures are so unusually shaped, you’ll enjoy excellent water circulation.

Plus, perhaps the biggest positive of dry rock is that it doesn’t harm the environment. Remember that often, live rock is directly harvested from a living reef.

How to Set up Your Aquarium with Dry Base Rock

Now, let’s talk about how you should set up your aquarium with a dry base rock.

First of all, we strongly urge you to consider custom rock work as opposed to random placement. Going the custom route will help to keep water cleaner, ensure the structure is safe for your fish, and guards against potential chemical leeching.

However, if you do decide to create a rock base on your own, there are a few key tips you should keep in mind.

Start by creating a base with the largest pieces of rock on the bottom, and then use your smaller pieces on the top. Make sure that your placement makes it easy for corals to grow upward and fill in open spaces.

Above all, focus on creating stability — you don’t want the rocks to fall and potentially harm the fish. You can even use a drill in limestone rock to help you screw pieces of rock together.

Where Can You Get High-Quality Dry Rock and Other Aquarium Accessories?

We hope this post has convinced you to resist the temptation to buy live rock and make the smarter choice to go with dry rock instead.

Not only is dry rock safer for your aquarium, but it’s also incredibly stunning and allows you to have greater control over the reef’s development and structure.

Of course, in order to get all of the dry rock benefits mentioned in this post, you need to be sure you’re buying high-quality materials from trusted companies.

That’s where we come in.

At Pristine Rock, we use only high-quality limestone-based rock from Florida Rock Quarries. Additionally, we treat and clean our dry rock to ensure that no chemical or phosphate leeching occurs.

Check out our wide variety of products so that you can give your fish the absolute best. Be sure to keep checking back with our blog for more aquarium tips and tricks.