Aug 14, 2022: This month we had one small batch of Live Reef Rubble and one large batch of Live Reef Sand; both of them sold out quickly.
One of the batches of sand we tested this month contained both the fish parasite Uronema marinum and the bacterial coral pathogen Aquarickettsia rohweri. Not a nice finding, but better to see it in a report than in your tank! (To be clear – the infected batch is not for sale!)
We are cooking up a couple more batches of both Live Reef Rubble and Live Reef Sand for next month (Sep 2022). If you’d like to be notified by email when the next batch is available, you can sign up here for Live Reef Rubble and here for Live Sand.
This is a question we hear a lot. The answer is important, so we thought we’d add it to the website.
Right now, the biggest answer to the question is: international shipping still hasn’t returned to normal since the pandemic began. Its hard to find any suitable material to work with.
Beside, this isn’t a simple wholesale-to-retail operation. We’re actively farming and testing this material and this takes time. We maintain each batch of the rock in an isolated, fish-free system. We routinely inspect and clean the material, and incubate it in reef conditions with live peppermint shrimp to make sure no Aiptasia make it through.
More importantly, we also test each batch using DNA sequencing. This is why it isn’t ready yet.
It’s also why we can’t just sell any of the rock we’re currently holding, until we get a clean test report for it. At any point in time our systems are full of sand or rubble, awaiting test results.
Here’s the thing: the absolute best source of live rock we’ve found still has about 18% of batches contaminated with pathogens or parasites. That’s about 1 in 5. Its not a gamble we’re willing to take with your tank, or our company’s reputation. So we wait for the tests to come in, and sell only the rock or sand that passes those tests.
We’re sorry for the inevitable delays this introduces, but remain committed to providing tested, certified, pathogen and parasite-free live rock for the saltwater aquarium hobby. We hope this post explains the reason for these delays.