Live Rock - What is it?
If you are new to saltwater fish keeping you may be wondering what live rock is. The rock itself isn't alive, but it contains many small reef inhabitants that are, such as algae, corals, sponges, and many other types of invertebrates.
Purpose of Aquarium Live Rock
The most important function of live rock in a marine aquarium is that it functions as a biological filter. Live rock is able to serve this function because it is colonized by bacteria that feed on waste products produced by the fish in the tank. The bacteria on the live rock break down waste products that are produced by aquarium fish, such as ammonia, into substances that aren't harmful to the fish. Using live rock in your saltwater aquarium will greatly enhance the survival rate and health of your fish.
Another benefit of using live rock in your aquarium is that it provides a variety of marine life forms, such as marine algae and invertebrates for your fish to graze on. In their natural habitat, marine fish spend most of their time in search of food. Providing well-established live rock in your tank will enable your marine fish to feed throughout the day.
In addition, many saltwater fish are not captive bred and were removed from their natural habitat before arriving at the dealer where you obtained the fish. Providing live rock in their tank will help them to acclimate to life in captivity because most of these fish will be used to feeding off of rocks similar to what you'll have in your aquarium. In fact, some fish don't survive long in captivity without feeding on the reef invertebrates and algae that grow on live rock.
Another very important purpose of having live rock in your aquarium is that it provides hiding places for many marine invertebrates and animals.
You can arrange the rock work in your tanks to provide caves and hiding places so that your fish will feel more secure. A fish that feels more secure and safe will be less prone to disease.