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Thread: Making Liverock

  1. #1
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    Making Liverock

    I've started this thread as a result of a side discussion going on in this thread: http://www.aquariacanada.com/forums/...threadid=12436
    regarding making liverock.

    When I started planning my inwall tank over three years ago (see thread here: http://www.aquariacanada.com/forums/...ad.php?t=12019 ) I made about 100 lbs of rock/agrocrete and am really pleased with it. It took a bit of trial and error and a few batches, but it all ended up being usefull.

    I used a basic 1 part portland cement to 5 parts of dry mix. Add water until it is the consistency of lumpy oatmeal, form it into the shape you want, let it dry and then let it cure.

    For shaping, add a thick layer of damp sand to the bottom of a rubbermade tub and use it as a mold.

    The first few batches I varied the ratio of crushed oyster shells (I made sure I rinsed this stuff really well becasue it comes with a lot of dirt mixed in) and white Bomix sand from Rona (any aragonite sand will do though). What I found, is that the sand isn't really necessary and the last few batches I just used the crushed oyster shells. These rocks were very, very porous and the addition of sand just made the rocks more dense. I also threw in a few broken shell pieces into the mix to give the final rock a more natural appearance.

    The final batches of rock turned out awesome. They are very light, and very porous. In fact, it is better quality rock (in those terms) than some of the actual live Figi rock that I bought.

    I had the luxury of time on my hands, and was able to cure it all in a Rubbermade trash bin for about 2 years. This part is key, since freshly made rock will make the water very caustic and cause a Ph spike, so it needs time to leech all of the bad stuff from the cement out before it can be added to a tank. Most of what I've read, means that it takes about 6 weeks with lots of water changes.

    Here is a blurry pic of a piece that I made:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    what type of portland did you use?

    the only stuff they had at HD was either masonary or a plain portland cement. on the back of the bag of portland it said " type 10* " then also below it said it was hydraulic cement. ( any hydraulic i've used came pre-mixed?? )


    i didn't check at rona but will tommorow.

    your rock looks great too
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
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  3. #3
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    i checked the specs. and the Canadian version of "TYPE I" is "GU" which Canadian manufacturers call a "TYPE 10" ( and hey why not, we spend all this money making the specs., just call it something else ?? ). :b7:
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


    My Gallery

  4. #4
    Senior Member BIGGUNSAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zookeeper View Post
    I've started this thread as a result of a side discussion going on in this thread: http://www.aquariacanada.com/forums/...threadid=12436
    regarding making liverock.

    When I started planning my inwall tank over three years ago (see thread here: http://www.aquariacanada.com/forums/...ad.php?t=12019 ) I made about 100 lbs of rock/agrocrete and am really pleased with it. It took a bit of trial and error and a few batches, but it all ended up being usefull.

    I used a basic 1 part portland cement to 5 parts of dry mix. Add water until it is the consistency of lumpy oatmeal, form it into the shape you want, let it dry and then let it cure.

    For shaping, add a thick layer of damp sand to the bottom of a rubbermade tub and use it as a mold.

    The first few batches I varied the ratio of crushed oyster shells (I made sure I rinsed this stuff really well becasue it comes with a lot of dirt mixed in) and white Bomix sand from Rona (any aragonite sand will do though). What I found, is that the sand isn't really necessary and the last few batches I just used the crushed oyster shells. These rocks were very, very porous and the addition of sand just made the rocks more dense. I also threw in a few broken shell pieces into the mix to give the final rock a more natural appearance.

    The final batches of rock turned out awesome. They are very light, and very porous. In fact, it is better quality rock (in those terms) than some of the actual live Figi rock that I bought.

    I had the luxury of time on my hands, and was able to cure it all in a Rubbermade trash bin for about 2 years. This part is key, since freshly made rock will make the water very caustic and cause a Ph spike, so it needs time to leech all of the bad stuff from the cement out before it can be added to a tank. Most of what I've read, means that it takes about 6 weeks with lots of water changes.

    Here is a blurry pic of a piece that I made:
    Got any new pics of your rockwork?
    Curious to see if you have growth on it or not
    90 gal tank
    200 gal power fussion skimmer

    1 firefish, 1 wrasse, 1 juvi yellow tang, 1 watchman gobi
    70 pounds free Live sand,200 pounds free Live rock
    1 power heads,

  5. #5
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head (since I don't have the bag anymore) it was "type 10" Portland cement that I got at Home Depot in South Keys, Ottawa.

    For Biggunsar:

    I have not taken any pics of the tank since late September (it was only started in late Aug). Approx. 1/2 of the rock was agrocrete and very white to start, and the rest was 50 pounds of Totuka Figi rock. At this point, other than the branching shapes of the Totuka, you cannot distinguish the appearance of either type. I'll try and snap a picture tonight of the same piece of rock that I posted earlier.

  6. #6
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    did you get any algae growth on it at first?? some people said they had some neon green algae grwoth.
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


    My Gallery

  7. #7
    ToX
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    I was told on reefcentral that type 10 is the canadian equivalent of type I... I also got it at home depot. I also bought a bag of rock salt to cast the rock in. I will start my rocks this weekend

  8. #8
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToX View Post
    I was told on reefcentral that type 10 is the canadian equivalent of type I... I also got it at home depot. I also bought a bag of rock salt to cast the rock in. I will start my rocks this weekend
    In my opinion, you don't really need the rock salt, just the crushed oyster shells (you can get these at Richie Feed and Seed but sinse them out well). But give it a try.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    :b6:
    Quote Originally Posted by a4twenty View Post
    did you get any algae growth on it at first?? some people said they had some neon green algae grwoth.
    No, none. It turned from white, to greyish brown (at which point it blended in with the 50 pounds of true live Totuka rock that I added). It then (live and agrocrete) went from greyish/brown, to brown/green (but not slimy green, coraline green) and is showing spots of turning purple. Six weeks in.

    Damn, I need to get a pic up, but I'm a tool when it comes to running the digital camera....that is Jen's job LOL and she isn't home right now.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SnelgroveReefer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the recipe and info. I am really looking forward to seeing some new pics.
    Mark
    90g Display, 30gal sump w/ refugium, MAS CR418 calcium reactor w/ Mag5 and Blueline CO2, Vertex IN-180 protein skimmer w/ Mag5, Mag9.5 return, 150 Phosban Reactor w/ MJ 1200, 1 Ebo 200w heater, 90lbs. LR, 80lbs. Carib-Sea aragonite, Cooltouch MH lights -2 x 400watt (20K & 14K) PFO hoods & Coralife 65w PC in custom hood with fan, Coralife 3-3/4watt mini moonlights, 8 jet Closed Loop System w/Reef-flo Dart, Aqua-Safe RO/DI, JBJ Auto Top Off unit w/Mag 5 return, 12g Nano cube, 10g quarentine.

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