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Discussion Starter #1
OK my next question is about the rock and substate. Remember I'm doing this on a budget. <winking>

I've been looking at MarcoRocks and love the nooks and crannies in their product. (along with the price and the free shipping!) I can also get sand from there. Taking the time to cycle is fine for me rather than paying quite a bit more for all live rock.

So, question one is that a good source? It seems to be from the various threads on TRT that I've been reading.

Question two is will sand work as a good base, or do I need the type of substrate that has the bigger hunks and chunks in it? I'm planning on a shallow bed tank.

Question three is....are the LFS sources in the upstate a better option than ordering from Marco? Remember it's difficult for me to travel and just shop around which I would be doing if I lived in Greenville. Perhaps you guys that run the stores can give me some idea? Hunter showed me a little bit of LR at Sandlapper (thanks Hunter!) but the Marco rock including shipping is like half the price.

Perhaps my answer is to order sand and rock from Marco, then buy a piece or two of LR and some sand (can you just buy that?) from one of you guys at the stores in Greenville?

Question four is how the heck do you pronounce aragonite anyway? LOL

Thanks guys! I wish I was closer to you that have LFS in Greenville so I could wander in every few days and absorb this stuff in person!
 

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Probably the cheapest way to start a new tank would be to get mostly base rock (like marcorocks) and then buy a couple pieces of lr from an lfs or another hobbyist. You could also search and find someone who is breaking down their tank, usually the rock is really cheap nut you should always make sure when you get it from another hobbyist that they have never used any copper-based medications.

Also if you are looking at the sand from marcorocks, keep in mind that the sand is extremely fine. I have used it but be aware it will blow around if you have a lot of water movement and there will be dead spots if it is too deep.
 

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Yep, MarcoRocks (I like the Fiji and Largo rock they have) and BulkReefSupply EcoRock is also decent. I would not however use the sand from MarcoRocks... from what I have seen it contains a good portion of silica based sand (not the most desirable thing on our systems). If you absolutely have to put sand int he tank, go to Petco, they usually have Caribsea dry aragonite sand in 30lb bags for $20. I would also suggest using at least 1 bag of fresh live sand as it does help with the typical milkshake effect when adding new sand to a system (it clears the water up alot sooner)...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you absolutely have to put sand int he tank, go to Petco, they usually have Caribsea dry aragonite sand in 30lb bags for $20. I would also suggest using at least 1 bag of fresh live sand as it does help with the typical milkshake effect when adding new sand to a system (it clears the water up alot sooner)...
OK, so no sand from MarcoRocks. But are you saying "if you absolutely have to put sand in", is something better than sand, or are you suggesting bare bottom? I want my reef to look as natural as I can make it on a budget, so I'll want to avoid bare bottom.

And where are you suggesting I buy a bag of fresh live sand from?

Which leads me to a related question....can you just bring home a small bucket of sand from the ocean to use as live sand? For example from Myrtle Beach, or Tampa where I may be going next month?
 

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Grey, when I lived in Greenwood there was a very limited selection of stuff at Eric's Tropical Pets, in the strip mall with the appliance store on 25, before you get to the Exxon station. I got my first live rock for my nano from there, too. Of course, this was 5 years or more ago, so who knows what they carry nowadays...
 

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Yes, I'm saying barebottom. I would suggest running it barebottom for several months regardless to let the rock purge in the tank and not have all the detritus and bacterial flock build up in the sandbed....
 

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And where are you suggesting I buy a bag of fresh live sand from?

Which leads me to a related question....can you just bring home a small bucket of sand from the ocean to use as live sand? For example from Myrtle Beach, or Tampa where I may be going next month?
You can buy it at any of the LFS's or from Petco, Petsmart... etc

No, do not bring home sand from the beaches. In Florida, I think it is illegal and you do not want it anyway. Most of the east coast is full of polluted sand (think how blue the waters of the Caribbean is compared to our coastal waters) and the sand is mostly silica based.
 

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I love Marcorocks. I got 100lbs of their Key Largo recently for my 75. I asked for all medium pieces, nothing larger than 10" and they came through big time. It is all beautiful rock, and was perfect for my tank.

Tony, last I heard form Marc, Marcorocks no longer carries Fiji, all they have is Key Largo rock. Something about restrictions on Fiji rocks.
 

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At Petco, we to have dry aragonite sand, and I do like the look of a fine "aesthetic" layer. We also have live sand in 10 and 20 lb bags. I don't like the REALLY fine stuff, it takes forever to clear up. My personal sand layer is max 3/4" thick, don't have much at all under the rocks. As far as rocks go, all of ours are aquacultured and man made. Fiji, Indian Ocean and Florida rocks sold in small medium and large.

How I pronounce Aragonite: A like the A in boa, RAG as in a rag you clean with, O as in Oh my! NITE as in Night.
a-rag-o-nite
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Grey, when I lived in Greenwood there was a very limited selection of stuff at Eric's Tropical Pets,
Yes, I think that store's still there. I was <clearing throat> looking for sources with an....um.........wider inventory?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
i may know someone with lots of rock for sale really soon if interested all dry
Collective wisdom--- is it OK to buy rock like that from others??

Would this be less expensive than buying the MarcoRocks stuff? I think it's like $2.20 a pound and shipping is free.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
At Petco, we to have dry aragonite sand, and I do like the look of a fine "aesthetic" layer. We also have live sand in 10 and 20 lb bags. I don't like the REALLY fine stuff, it takes forever to clear up.
Is there a way you can tell by the package what is the 'really fine' stuff and what would be a good choice for my tank? Is there a keyword or grade I should be looking for?
 

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Sandlappers has Marco style rock (same rock different quarry) dry and seeded. You might want to check with them on price. It also allows you to see the rock since it looks very different in person (IMO).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
As far as sand goes I HIGHLY recomend Caribsea Seaflor special grade substrate. It is so much easier to keep clean that regular fine sand. Just my 2 cents. I have agronite sugar sized sand in my 20 before I upgraded to my 40 and went with the seaflor and love it.
Is this the substrate you're talking about?

http://www.thereeftank.com/compare-...eaflor-special-grade-reef-sand-40-lb/reviews/

Doesn't look like PetCo carries it but I might be able to order it online with something else for the free shipping. That is wonderful looking stuff! That's what I meant by 'just plain sand' versus 'uneven 'hunky' substrate'. I really like that.
 
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