Is it out of stock again?

June 25, 2024: Live Sand & Rubble Status Report

  • This month we tested several batches of sand and two batches of rubble. 
  • Most of the sand tested positive for a parasite (Uronema), so we cannot sell it!
  • The remaining sand and rubble sold out quickly. 
  • We have several more batches of sand, and two more batches of rubble, to be tested in our next batch (Batch 75). This should be available in mid July if it tests clean. 
  • We are still culturing several batches of aquacultured Live Reef Rubble . This is authentic coral rubble with a 100% aquacultured community. Its taken longer than we hoped for coralline algae to grow, we’re still monitoring and hope to have some available this summer. 
  • Frustrated by this material being out of stock? We feel the same way – the entire industry is supply-limited on this material. Please know we’re doing everything we can do get our hands on more. If you know any collectors or exporters, put us in touch!

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 Reef Sand.

 Why is the Live Reef Rubble out of stock?

This is a question we hear a lot. The answer is important, so we thought we’d address it here. 

Right now, the biggest answer to the question is: international shipping still hasn’t returned to normal since the pandemic. Its hard to find any suitable material to work with. Importers are bringing in far fewer shipments, and are focusing more on high end corals and less on the comparatively heavy pieces of rock we need to prepare Live Reef Rubble. 

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 snails and peppermint shrimp to make sure no Aiptasia make it through. 

More importantly, we also test each batch using DNA sequencing. This is always the limiting factor. 

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. 

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