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For Those About to Dry Rock, We Salute You

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011 at 11:40 am by
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Lately a new trend has been slowly creeping up on the reefing world. Using dry rock to start up your new tank or to add interesting shapes to your current tank are both viable ways of utilizing dry rock.  What is so good about dry rock any way? Don’t I want all those little critters, sponges, and hitch hikers and nuisance algae? Let’s take a quick look at what is so rockin’ about dry rock and why people are deciding to use it more and more these days.
To start out, dry rock has many benefits, and a few draw backs. Something else to keep in mind is that there are different types of dry rock


  • No hitch hikers
  • Fully able to aqua scape out of water
  • No nuisance algae that comes on LR
  • Lower cost for the rock
  • Lower cost for shipping


  • Coraline growth takes a while
  • Curing the rock can be smelly (a pain, usually can take a while too)

Now to get the definition of dry rock. There are usually two different types readily available. The first being quarry rock. This is usually mined out of the ground from an extinct reef. This rock tends to have interesting shapes but also tends to be super dense. The other is mined from a real reef, then dried out. This rock is usually super porous but has a good chunk of die off on it (which is great for starting up a stinky cycle).

The first type of rock is supposedly reef safe, just a quick wash and it is ready to go into your tank. This rock looks fairly clean, has no die off, so I wouldn’t think it would hurt tank chemistry too much. The other rock has a ton of die off, it is suggested you wash it off, and cure it in a separate container before adding it to your DT (unless you are cycling a tank, more die off the better).

So here are my results. I decided to go with dry rock for my new tank. I personally liked the Pukani dry rock from BulkReefSupply. It was super porous and was fairly easy to aqua scape with rods along with being very organic/platform shaped. The BRS Eco Rocks, was too dense for my taste, very hard to drill, and I used them more for small sections or omitted them completely from my tank.

Here is what you all want to see:
40lbs of BRS Eco Rocks

40lbs of BRS Pukani Rock

Side by side (This pic is deceptive, there was a considerable size difference but the angle messes it up a bit)

An Idea of how the rock scaped and fit together (no rods in yet)

Scaped with a a good amount of the Eco Rocks out

All in all I am happy with my decision. Splitting up the order to 40lbs of each gave me options, and at a portion of the price of live rock, it did a great job. My suggestion is, if you don’t mind waiting a bit for your rock to cure, getting dry rock is a great option to avoid problems down the line.

Right now there are few major distributors of dry rock for the reefing world. Check back for part two of in this series.

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