Yes, you can add new live rock to an established reef tank, but this comes with risk and the potential for invasive pests or algae. It is strongly advised to consider using dry rock. Live rock is a valuable addition to a reef tank as it provides a natural habitat for various aquatic life and helps to maintain water quality by providing a surface for beneficial bacteria to colonize.
However, there are some important steps you should follow when adding new live rock to an established reef tank to ensure the process is successful and does not harm the existing aquatic life in the tank.
First, and very importantly, you should make sure that the new live rock is from a reputable source and is free of pests and diseases that could potentially harm your existing tank inhabitants. This can be challenging. This can be accomplished by quarantining the new live rock for several weeks before adding it to the established reef tank.
Next, you should place the new live rock in a way that does not disturb the existing live rock and coral formations. It is also important to ensure that the new rock does not create any dead spots in the water flow, as this can affect the health of the aquatic life in the tank.
After the new live rock is added to the tank, it is important to monitor the water parameters closely. There may be a small increase in nitrate and phosphate levels initially, as the beneficial bacteria colonize the rock and break down organic matter. This should return to normal levels after a few weeks.
In conclusion, adding new live rock to an established reef tank can be a great way to increase the diversity and beauty of your aquarium. However, it is important to follow proper steps and monitor the water parameters closely to ensure the health and well-being of your aquatic life.