A couple weeks ago we brought you the battle royale between Walt Smith’s Fiji Cultured Live Rock and Fish Heads new Real Reef Live Rock. What we didn’t know at the time was that the folks at Fish Heads already had more in the works. Just last week, Fish Heads launched two new variations on their Real Reef Live Rock – Shelf Rock and Nano Rock – and they sold out! Meanwhile, a solid sampling of both new man-made live rock lines had been set aside, and arrived this week for a quick unboxing and aquascaping project. For retailers, this is a good look at how Real Reef rock will arrive at your shop.
The Nano Rock is is a bit more porous with more cavities than the initial Real Reef we sampled earlier. There seemed to be a fair amount of rubble from the shipping process, and that largely seemed to be from the Nano Rock.
The Shelf Rock is truly something to marvel over. Having tried to make shelf rock myself with DIY recipes, I know how difficult it is to get thin pieces. The Real Reef Shelf Rock is truly ideal shelf material…most pieces were no more than an inch thick.
Aquascaping with the Real Reef rock was admittedly a time consuming task, and I had some help. Ultimately for the project at hand (the new Ecoxotic 25 gallon LED Aquarium System), we opted to use about 5 pieces of rock, drilled, and held together by two fiberglass rods and some putty epoxy. Drilling with a masonry bit certainly took time…the dense composition of the rock made drilling a slow go. We broke one piece of shelf rock, and one chunk of a the largest rock sent, during drilling. In both places, the breaks were not directly from drilling, but from too much pressure being placed on the rock to keep it stable during drilling. In that respect, I’ll claim “amateur hour” – the last time I set up a new display tank was years ago!
Ultimately, the Real Reef rock was perfect for this particular project. Having not been in the ocean at any point, there was zero concern over unwanted hitchhikers or fish pests being on this rock. Additionally, being fully established and cured already means no home curing, die off, or break in period.
Honestly, Real Reef rock lacks the hitch-hikers that new marine aquarists go bonkers over (but when you can’t have any fish or corals yet, even a hydroid or tiny feather duster is exciting). If you can get past that fact, you’ll find that the Real Reef rock is truly handsome live rock, without any of the downsides that the real thing can bring. Indeed, the Real Reef rock seems to offer a unique solution for the aquarist looking for live rock that isn’t coming off the reef, and yet provides a much more attractive and equally safe alternative to the dry rock that is so prevalent these days.
As you probably caught on, Fish Heads Inc is strictly wholesale. You can find Real Reef Live Rock both online and at local fish stores around the country – anyplace that offers Fish Heads farmed corals can get Real Reef Live Rock too!
FTC regulations require that we inform you that we were given this product for review, but our opinion of a product is never affected by how we acquire them