Salty Q&A: Should You Scrub New Live Rock?

Question I’ll be receiving a shipment of live rocks in a few days, and I could use some advice on how to clean them up before putting them in my tank. Do I just need to give them a good going over with a scrub brush?” – Submitted by Chuck S. Answer I wouldn’t use … [Read More]

The Pros and Cons of Aquascaping Marine Aquariums with Dry Rock

When aquascaping their tanks, marine aquarium hobbyists have the option of using live rock or dry rock (or some combination thereof) to create the foundational reef structure. Each of these options is completely workable but, as with every aspect of this hobby, has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So how to choose which … [Read More]

Can Live Rock Be Added Directly to an Established Marine Aquarium?

“Caribbean Chris” and I are very frequently asked whether it’s okay to add new pieces of live rock directly to an established system. Ever erring on the side of caution, we generally discourage this practice. Instead, we recommend curing them in a separate saltwater-filled tank, vat, tub, bin, or other suitable vessel with heating and … [Read More]

3 Good Reasons to Quarantine Live Rock

Here at Saltwater Smarts, we emphasize again and again the importance of quarantining all marine livestock before introducing it to an established aquarium. But what about those pieces of live rock that we occasionally add to our established systems to bolster biodiversity and biofiltration or simply to spruce up the aquascaping? Do those need to … [Read More]

Live Rock Hitchhikers: Tunicates (Sea Squirts)

Among the more fascinating creatures that commonly make their way into marine aquariums as stowaways on good-quality live rock are tunicates, or sea squirts. In terms of visual interest, these animals can be quite dazzling, with some exhibiting spectacular coloration or resembling small, delicate, translucent pitchers or urns. What are they? Tunicates are filter-feeding marine … [Read More]

Harmless or Helpful Live Rock Hitchhikers: “Pods”

Regular Saltwater Smarts readers often see references to them in Paul B’s posts. They arrive in our aquaria unbidden aboard chunks of live rock, in live sand, or on coral specimens attached to rocks. At a glance, they look like little insects scurrying over the rocks or swarming on the glass. I’m talking about “pods”—not … [Read More]

5 Marine Aquarium Misconceptions I No Longer Espouse

Casting my mind back on my early days as a marine aquarium keeper, it’s funny how some of my stances on various aspects of the hobby have, shall we say, evolved in the intervening years. Of course, these changing opinions have led to different ways of doing things—and different ways of dispensing advice. Here are … [Read More]