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Ok strolling around the the GARF website. I saw they offer a product called Aragocrete which is basically concrete with a base of aragonite sand. Im wondering how long it would take for this 'Rock' to become live? As it is very unsightly at first.

Also apparently it is lighter than say Fiji or Tonga rock could this lead to stability issues with flow?

Has anyone purchased or made their own Aragocrete? If so what was the outcome in your tank how long until it was seeded with the coralline? How do your fish and corals react?
 

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my thoughts exactly... plus in the beginning i dont know if i could have such ugly rock... its boring khaki color it just sucks the excitement out of me, ya know? well i have made my decision already my LR will be arriving on wednesday and thats that.

Funny thing is i havent set up the first tank and i already want to set up a second one.
 

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This is definately not light stuff. I have made it myself and have had good success with it. It will take quite long to become live as it is much more dense than reef rock but it will do the job for base rock for sure. It also takes a bit to cure completely to be reef safe but if this is the same stuff i used it was great after it was cured (in fresh water for a few months).

I had appox 250lbs of my homemade rock in my tank as base rock and it took about 10 months to really take off. The only way you could tell it wasnt real was by the weight. Its a great idea that really works but its quite hard to make a convincing looking rock. They always seemed to have some sort of made made looking feature about them. It could have been the artist being critical though. hehe
 

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I've made plenty in the past, with great results. The recipe is 1 part portland cement (this is important) to 4 or 5 parts crushed oyster shell. You can get the shell at any feed store (they feed it to chickens). Unfortunately you usually have to buy the cement in 100lb bags (HD or Lowes). It is only a couple of bucks, but it is big and heavy and you only need a few cups. The more concrete the heaver and more dense. Hence you want the least amount of concrete necessary, but it has to be enough to hold it together. You can also add rice or macroni that will eventually dissolve and make it less dense.

If you have a narrow tank (e.g. a 55) you can do wonderful things with it that you can't do with natural rock as the stacking depth is not there. I made some wall like caverns and i put "feet" on the bottom so it sat an inch or so off the bottom (albeit sand filled it). I had a snowflake moray that was in heaven. He went all around through and under it and it never moved an inch. The whole thing was in two sections that fit on each side. I have also used PVC to make a frame and thus it was even lighter.

It does take a month or two to cure. I usually just sat mine out on the back porch and let the rain and elements do their work. I always thought mine "went live" very quick. I could yank a ball of chateo from one of my sumps and with in weeks there were pods and baby bristle worms all over it. coralines take a bit longer, but no more than any other base rock.

cheers johnny

If you are patient (and I am :) go for it. The results can be wonderful.
 

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As the others have mentioned, it is heavier than most live rock, but weight is only a concern with shipping costs, which don't apply to DIY projects. Reef tanks get more than enough biological filtration with a sand bed, so the porosity of the rock is more for aesthetics. Most of the pores are filled over with coraline algae in the end anyway.

A reef tank made up entirely of manmade rock will take about a year to look good and it's a rough road. Using a few rocks to seed it is ideal. I use aragocrete or shellcrete for back or end walls and to bond rocks together. In some cases, i will do the whole tank in faux rock, but it does slow things down and the cost difference isn't that much with some projects, considering time, and the overall cost of the installation.

The tanks I have done with mixed real and faux rock have taken only six months to fully cover in coraline algae. The cement releases localized calcium, and contains no life (competition) so it is a perfect home for coraline algae.

Another good use for the material is to cover pvc pipes (influents & effluents). I hate the look of a flat green/purple wall. The extra texture and coral real estate on the end and back walls adds texture, and depth.
 

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This is our 46 bow front ( please forgive the hair algae). You are looking at Agarocrete ( with the exception of a couple small pieces that corals are attached to). I make my own and it is a variation of the Garf method. I use one part cement to two part aggregate. The key to getting it porous is controlling how wet the mixture is.

I use my RO/DI waste water to cure my rock. It take 3 to 6 weeks to cure it this way. I place it into one of my sumps for 2 to 3 months to infuse it ( make it live rock ).

If you have any question, give me a yell.

Ken

PS: Make sure it is properly cured be for you use it or you will have pH problems.
 

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I decided to go with the real stuff... seeing as I didnt have to do any work for it and it cost just a tad more. Plus i didnt have to worry about the thing being dangerous to my tank. Set the stuff in a brute can full of salt water and wait for it to cycle before I add it into the established tank...
 
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