Live Rock Rubble – What’s That Then?

Live rock as we know is excellent at filtration within the aquarium as well as looking very natural.

[tag-tec]Live rock rubble[/tag-tec] is a term which is heard of again and again and quite often people don’t really understand what it is and what it can be used for.

So what is it?

In the large containers either at the LFS or at the distributors where the live rock is cured prior to being made available for sale there are loads and loads of bits of live rock at the bottom of the containers.

This comes from bits of rock either becoming loose and falling off, being knocked off during cleaning or some other method but over time there is quite a lot of rubble at the bottom of the container.

A lot of LFS’ throw this away however live rock rubble is very useful to the aquarist who has a deep sand bed.

For a [tag-self]deep sand bed[/tag-self] to work it must to turned over and for the deep sand bed to be turned over it must have a lot of organisms continuously digging through the sand. Not just any organisms though but a large diversity of organisms.

This is where the live rock rubble comes in – it is absolutely full of life!

If you are starting a deep sand bed or want to add some extra life to it then you simply get some live rock rubble and add it to the top of the deep sand bed. Do not add any large pieces though or if you do remove them after a while.

The life which is is the rubble will migrate into the sand and help turn it over.

It is also worth considering that you should do this every so often. The reason for this is that predation will occur in the deep sand bed and adding some more live rock rubble will add more organisms to the bed allowing for a fresh diversity of life.

The majority of LFS’ will let you have some live rock rubble for free, however there are some places who do charge for it. There are even web sites on the internet nowadays who sell live rock rubble.

Another element which live rock rubble can be used for is in the sump. If you have chamber installed in the sump then you can fill these partitions with live rock rubble to act as a type of pre filter and also provide some extra filtration to the aquarium. People used to do this with filter woo, bio balls etc however a lot of people nowadays do it with live rock rubble.

I use live rock rubble in my sump partitions and have to say that I have seen no bad effects from doing so.

So if you want some extra life or want to give your deep sand bed a boost them give live rock rubble a try, alternatively if you want to remove your bioballs go for live rock rubble – it really is worth it.


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  1. I think I am seeing a build up of red algea in my sump. particularly in my first chamber which houses my live rock bio filteration. Most of my rock is 1-3″ round, the best I could find as far as pourus. What inverts are acceptable to place in the he first chamber with the rock rubble? All I currently have for filtration is a surface skimmer overflow to sump. 1st chamber rock rubble, second mineral mud with 1 in of sand cover, 3rd chamber skimmer and return pump. I have about 20 snails through out the sump. 2 med feather dusters in center refrig. as well. A tenticle starfish in rock rubble and a couple of yellow sea slugs. What am I missing? I tried some chaeto but it died in the refrig. and I removed as much as I could. I have compact flor. over refrig 24h. total sump size is about 5-7 gal, holding about 4 gal now. tank size is 46 gal bowfront.

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