Week 10: What you may not have known about live rock | 52 Weeks of Reefing #BRS160
In reef aquariums we use live rock for a few main purposes including aesthetic appeal, habitat for the fish and corals, and probably the most important element: filtering the tank. Every time I explain how to set up a reef tank to someone new the first thing they ask is, "where is the filter"?
"Filter" is one of those terms that has a lot of different meanings in the reef tank. By definition filtering really means removing something, and there is some equipment like filter socks and protein skimmers that are capable of removing waste from the tank as well as filter medias like carbon, GFO, and ZeoVit which are capable of doing just that.
In relation to live rock filtering the aquarium we are really using the rock and the bacteria it's surface hosts the rocks surface to process or convert broken down food and fish waste in the form of very toxic ammonia into much safer nitrite and nitrate.
This entire process of filtering toxic ammonia is commonly referred to as "the nitrogen cycle". We are going to cover this and more in depth in just a few weeks. For this episode it is just important to know that the love rock more or less just serves as surface area for the bacteria to populate on and filter your tank for you.
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