Live rock has been the backbone of setting up a new reef tank since time immemorial but in recent years, dry rock, mined options and manmade alternatives have mostly crowded out the capsules of reef life we used to call live rock. In normal times a new crop of fresh, real, live rock would only a be a footnote in the the reef aquarium discussion but the good stuff has become very hard to find, and we’ve very rarely had any kind of live rock coming to us straight from Australia.
With so many pseudo alternatives passing as ‘live’ because someone sprinkled a little magic bacteria dust on it, or kept it in seawater for a couple weeks, already in this write up we’ve had to emphasize the fresh and aunthentic nature of the Australian live rock currently on offer from Unique Corals. These real pieces of the reef were sourced for a specific coral spawning project and now the remainder is available to add to your new or established reef aquarium.
Just by looking at it you can see the wealth of epiphytic growth including sponges, coralline algaes, some Halimeda, and there’s certainly a huge diversity of meiofauna like copepods, annelids, mysis and many more just waiting to colonize an aquarium environment. Seeing the naturalistic shapes of Australian live rock is also a stark reminder that despite a lot of effort and some very creative artisans creating man-made alternatives, mother nature still makes the best aquascaping material.
At twenty dollars a pound the Australian live rock is not exactly cheap, not nearly as affordable as the ‘boat rock’ we got from the Pacific Ocean for many years. But considering its exotic nature and the fact that American reefers have almost never had access to Aussie rock, $19.99 is pretty reasonable for use either as a couple of showcase pieces in a smaller reef tank, or as a topper in established reef tanks.