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jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,208
Location
Kirkland/Juanita
Hey Team ;)

Because I'll try anything twice I decided to make some Live Rock using the GARF formula (with my own improvisions) www.garf.org

I had this idea and wanted to see what yall think of it.. I wanted to have as much flow under the rock and little contact with the bottom as possible to prevent Detritus traps. I had seen many build structures from PVC and acrylic but I decided to see what I could do with DIY LR.

The pictures are in my gallery!! (awesome to have a gallery!!!)

I made these table tops to build my rock on top of. They are a little heavier than the regular rock I am making to ensure they can support the weight. They have been curing for 3-5 weeks now and will continue for a while longer until my new tank is set-up.

The Mix is made from crushed Oyster shells, crushed coral, sand, portland cement, and various snail shells ect.. I also use various pasta to create tunnels ect..

The dimensions are roughly 18"Wide by 26" Long.
 

esmith

AQUAMANIAC
Joined
Oct 9, 2003
Messages
451
Location
Shoreline, WA
jlehigh, nice work. I think these rocks should allow you to stop most of all detritus from collecting under your rocks.

I want to see how it works once you have the tank setup.
:D

Eliyah
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
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Location
Kirkland/Juanita
thanks Eliyah! Yea it will be a long while before they see the inside of a tank but I will share the results when I have some. I may throw a heater and saltwater in a tub with some corraline seed to jump start the process of covering the ugly grey...
 

CarlS

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
45
I made some Agrocrete using Oyster shells. It's a very fun DIY project specially for someone who enjoys sculpting and stuff. Things I have noticed with my rockwork is that it does take a long time for coraline to grow on it. It also takes a long time to bleed out the PH problems with cement.

A good way to cure the smaller pieces is to put them in your toilet resevouir (spelt wrong I think). That way every flush gets rid of the high PH water and helps with bleeding it out.

I like my Agrocrete enough that on my next tank I'll probably make an all new batch doing what you did. Mixing in sand and shells and pasta or rock salt is a great way to make it porus and natural looking.

It's also nice to be able to make rocks in the shapes you want or need. The downside is lack of life and neat stuff you would get from live rock. But you also don't get all the pests either.
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Neat idea Carl. Another way is to soak it in a viager/water solution the vinager will speed i up a bit.
jlehigh just to make sure you know. this DIY is ok for looks and so on, butr really does not provide much in the way of filtration.


MIke
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
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Location
Kirkland/Juanita
Thanks guys. I am using Vinigar in the curing process.

Mike: I decided to only use the DIY LR for the tables and maybe one center sculpture I am devising. The rest will be the real stuff, however my understanding was that the organisms that live withing the porous rocks provide the filteration not the rocks themselves.. Maybe that can be next weeks discussion topic! LIVE ROCK!
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
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Jul 5, 2003
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lol. your right about it being the critters that live in the rock. Normal LR is dead coral skeletons. if you have ever seen the structure of them it is ver pourious with a ton of pathways. this allows for more surface area for the bacteria that do the job. In rocks made of cement you dont get that, all the cement slurry fills what could have been.

Mike
 

Solov

Ez reefer
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
115
Location
Bothell, WA
Yeah I tried this rout. Even though it does look nice, and it is fun to do I was disappointed. It takes FOREVER to cure any significant piece (I still have my big ones curing after 3.5 months), and by a look of yours (I may be mistaken) - they are even larger and more dense.

So what I would do for the base - drill large live rocks (or dead, but natural reef rock to reduce some expences) and put it on PVC tubes to elevate it form substrate.

Anyway, best luck to your rock in curing, maybe if I would use vinegar from the beginning it would be faster. Just make SURE it cures completely before you put it in. This stuff may still have evil Ph even when it seems it should've been cured.

P.S. And toilet really helps to cure small pieces :D. In fact so far those were the only ones that went in :)
 

Solov

Ez reefer
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
115
Location
Bothell, WA
:eek: I didn't know it helps, Tom!! :) LOL
I could consider that though if there were a reason - whatever it takes to get a clean water and coral growth! :lol:
 

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
Solov, strange that it took so long to cure them. I have done this several times, with pretty good results, and my curing time was only 6-7 weeks. I wonder what was different?

jlehigh, keep in mind that after the freshwater curing, you will want to cure them in new saltwater (maybe around a week) as well, since they seem to release a lot when first put into saltwater even after curing in freshwater.

FWIW, the rocks are quite a bit more porous than it might seem. When you pull them out of the water, or submerge them, you can listen to the water running through all of the internal pores. It sounds like cereal, Snap Crackle Pop. It can take several minutes for all of the water to drain from a large piece.

The main reason I don't do it anymore, as Anthony Calfo explains in his book, is that an uncolonized surface is an undefended surface. You go through the entire algal succession process, with the browns, greens, and finally coralline. And if you don't start out with a good bit of real LR to seed it, it can take forever. Real LR already has a nice diversity of critters, which I feel makes things more stable from day one.

Good luck, jlehigh, let us know how things progress.
 
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Cajun Coralman

New member
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
1
Location
Maryland
Yeah, aragocrete, I love those things:cool: !!
I have been visiting that site for years. I hvae made several pouds myself (about 70lbs). And I have used the grunge in my 29gal aswell! stuff's awesome:cool:
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,208
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Kirkland/Juanita
I guess only time will tell... Knowing me I'll find a "SALE" on LR and scrap the hrs of work on the DIY rock... But then again I do want to see one of my creations work for a change ;)
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
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Jul 5, 2003
Messages
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Sumner
A little trick to help with pourious is to mix in a bunch of spaggetti with the cement mix. By the time the rock cures the spagetti will have rotted out. makes for a little more surface area.

Mike
 

dnjan

alveopora
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
1,585
Location
Seattle
I wouldn't be that worried about the lower porosity/surface area of aragocrete versus live rock. After all, the corraline algae on the surface significantly reduces the diffusion of material into and out of the rock pores anyway. Most of the filtration, IMO, is happening in the sump where there is skimming, macroalgae, etc.
 
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