Dec 30, 2023: Live Sand & Rubble Status Report
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.