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When you get live rock for sale, you may end up with hitchhikers. Many of these hitchhikers could be thought of as a bonus for your and your reef tank. Others may be a detriment and cause problems. The key is to identify the organisms you want and get rid of the ones you don't. Here are some of the most common good and bad hitchhikers and how to prevent or get rid of the undesirable ones.
What you consider "good" hitchhikers might be considered a pest by someone else. Here are some of the more popular and highly favored hitchhikers that are good for most tanks.
Bad hitchhikers are usually those that hurt or kill other organisms in your tank. Some hitchhikers aren't dangerous, but multiply prolifically and can overrun your reef. Here are some examples of the less desirable hitchhikers.
The best way to get rid of unwanted hitchhikers without killing anything is by thoroughly inspecting your live rock. Some reef keepers also suggest using saltwater with a high specific gravity to drive out creatures from your rock. Chemical dips, such as coral dips, are generally not recommended. If you use too many chemicals, you could kill everything on the rock, including beneficial bacteria. You can also reduce your chance of hitchhikers by purchasing dry rock.
Hitchhikers are one of the fun things about live rock. Some live rocks have a lot of hitchhikers, while others may not. When you are ready to get a new live rock, supplier about hitchhikers. They will give you an idea of how many and what kind of creatures might be in your live rock when it ships.