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04-03-2006, 06:15 PM
Hey Bobby, have you ever thought of making your own rock? Like everyone else, we had to buy our initial live rock, but if there's a way to save some $$$ we will do it. We heard about making our own rock with a recipe that contains: 4 parts crushed oyster shell, 1.5 parts Portland Cement, and then add enough water to make a thick, workable consistency. The more water you add, the weaker the rock will be. You will need some big tubs to create your shapes. To make cool shapes, use dry crushed oyster shells to create your rock, add branches, make caves and so many other neat shapes. You get better at it the more you you play with it. This can be a lot of fun if you have others that want to try it also. Sometimes when you think it's going to be the ugliest rock in the world. and wait the 48 hour drying time...you'd be so shocked as what the rock will look like when you unearth it from all the oyster shell used to help you make cool shapes. Some of our best rocks we've made have been accidents!
Clean up all the extra stuff from your first batch, and save it for use in the next batch. It can be messy so don't forget to put paper under your entire work area. Now to cure the rock: Fill up another bucket "rubbermaid tubs are superb for this", or even put a few in the tank of your toilet, only if you don't use bleaching agents or that blue stuff in your toilet. Every flush of the toilet makes the rock cure faster. Curing the rock takes approx. 6-8 weeks followed by 2 weeks in salt water, and after that it's off to the reef tank fo become real live rock! It's exciting to see the changes happen as the rock becomes live. We start a batch when we expect to use more in another tank. It's so handy to have it standing ready and waiting in salt water whenever you need a piece. I know that it sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn't all that bad! We have a good time making it and saying what it's going to be, and then unearthing it reveals something that looks way different than you had in mind. Generally that makes for a more natural looking rock. This rock also makes the best base rock. After a while, you won't even be able to tell the difference between homemade rock, and the rest of the live rock you put in your tank to begin with. Give it a try! ...Angel
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