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Old 02/05/2017, 01:13 PM   #1
Sk8r
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Preparing Rock

Preparing Rock
There are several sources for rock: ideally it should be limestone or old coral, and have a LOT of holes, like swiss cheese: this offers more surface area. You need about 2 pounds of this sort of rock per gallon of tank–but this is tricky: not all rock weighs alike. Look at the rockwork in pix on this site and get a good idea how many pieces of what size you need. Also—use ro/di or at least ro water—filtered water that has 0 mineral content: you’ll use that for your tank on setup, and there’s no good gained by soaking your rock in water that’s already caryring a lot of what you don’t want.

1) Rock from another tank. If it is still fresh and not been out of water for more than 24 hours, it’ll probably be fine. You will have instant importation of various marine life—I got a load for a 50 gallon tank, and counted 52 species that survived a cycle, including a bit of bubble coral, xenia, and of course the obligatory aiptasia (pest anemone) and some asterinas (mini-starfish that are not a problem in an sps or lps tank: soft coral tanks may want to pick those out.) You take your chances on this sort of rock, but if it’s been in a successful tank, good things will outnumber the bad. If the donor is merely breaking down a successful tank in a house move, it’s your bonanza of life. If the donor went out in a tank crash or was overrun with something nasty, definitely move to step 2.
2) live-but-barely rock suffered in shipping or came from a troubled tank. THIS I would ‘tub’ in the dark in 80 degree 1.024 salinity agitated salt water for two months before use. This will pretty well kill off nastiness and leave you with brown bare rock. You can use a Rubbermaid Brute trash can or something with a garbage can liner, and just give it a heater and a fairly strong pump. Eheims are good small workhorses and can later serve as a salt mixing pump or water-change pump. Or you can use what will be your sump skimmer: just let it do this job. However—if your skimmer isn’t really moving the water, you need a more potent pump. You don’t want dead spots in the circulation. Do water changes weekly and also test your water to be sure it’s staying at 1.024. Test for phosphate and if you’re getting a reading, you might as well start running GFO in a reactor right now. The water changes will ordinarily be enough.
3. Dry rock. You CAN put it all into the tank and wait 12 weeks for a cycle, but I don’t recommend it. Use process 2. Tub it with at least one actual live rock you’ve bought from a store or gotten from a friend. Two months in the warm salty circulation will turn it into live rock. Now—WHY? Because dry rock may contain other elements like phosphates, and the long soak will let this soak out, while it also picks up a load of bacteria from that small live rock you bought. Can bacteria-in-a-bottle speed this process? Probably a bit, but part of what you’re doing with dry rock is letting water seep deep, deep, deep into the rock—along with bacteria, which are tiny enough to get there. Crack open a rock that’s been in a river or an ocean—and you won’t find it dry and dusty inside. That’s part of the process you’re replicating here. Dry rock is sometimes a source for phosphate. Be sure not to use metal-bearing rock like volcanic stuff, etc. Limestone is safe. Holes are good. One big massive no-holes rock is not as efficient as a number of smaller ones.
4. Man-made rock: yes, it works fine. Put it through the same process, water changes, et al. Test for phosphate. And just keep going.

Next, your sand: I’ve never personally used live sand. I use CaribSea aragonite medium grain (the very fine sand may look pretty, but it blows about and irritates fish and kills corals). Washing this sand for a hundred gallon tank involves two five gallon buckets, a garden hose, and an all day operation, before you are rid of the milky white dust that comes with this sand. Wash about four cups at a time. And just keep running water until the sand is clean. It is a nasty, cold, wet number of hours. Yes. It is.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 02/05/2017, 05:43 PM   #2
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Great write up!


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Old 02/06/2017, 01:24 PM   #3
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My current system is 10+ years and b/c of the vermid snails (tube worms or whatever), I can't use any of the LR to seed my tank. I ordered 40LB of Reef saver rock just so I don't have to deal with phospates later. I do however, have 1 large piece of white pukani rock that has been sitting in the sun for 8 years that never been used - which is gorgeous piece and has to be used. - I really doubt this will cause problems but we'll see its only 10Lb.

In addition, I have maybe 5LB of rock from my display tank that i Had to have in my new setup. I bleached it this weekend and on the fence if I should use it or not. I hope it has no die off after bleaching.


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Old 02/07/2017, 10:27 AM   #4
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I would not recommend reintroducing a rock that has been bleached. If you want to use it, be sure to wash it as thorough as possible; but, do not expect it to still be "live".


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Old 02/07/2017, 11:03 PM   #5
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This is an interesting write up. My current situation is I got about 65-70 pounds of Tonga with most of it borderline unusable due to shapes. I got it out of a tank that was shutting down, but it was infested with large bobbit worms which I did not want.

I dried the rock out in the sun for a few days then let it sit dry in a container for a few weeks. I started to cure it last week and did one 50% water change after about 3 days just due to smell. Ammonia as of yesterday was around 0.75.

I ordered dry pukani and Fiji and now have that in my possession. I haven't started to cure it yet. I'm trying to figure out when is the best time to superglue it together for aquascaping. Is it before it gets wet?

My plan was to probably get the bulk of the curing done out in the garage and then move the rock into the display (acting like a large water change) & then finish it in there with my skimmer running. It's been probably 12 years since I've had to do this process, so I'm trying to make sure I'm doing it right. I'm not really putting much (essentially zero) lighting on the rock until it would go in the display. I realize I'll need to add some live sand and at least one or two "live" rocks to the mix to get it going, right?

When should I add this? What alterations should I make?


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Old 02/08/2017, 10:20 AM   #6
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You can add the one 'live' one right at the start of cycle. It'll be about 12 weeks before the rocks really can carry a bioload, even if fully cured: it's a slow process---colonizing rock takes a while, for crawly things as well as bacteria. Start your first fish in qt some four weeks or so before tank is ready and try to keep fish additions to one or two a month: AND don't try to qt two fish at once unless a mated pair. QT tank size is the issue.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 02/08/2017, 12:46 PM   #7
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I'm about to start a cure using dry rock and ammonium hydroxide (clear ammonia) to replicate die off. I used this method to shorten the cycle time in previous tanks by keeping ammonia consistently high during curing. I plan on keeping notes this time around to see how long it takes.


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Old 02/08/2017, 08:00 PM   #8
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What about gluing the rocks together? I need to use some of the wet rocks for final rockscape but not sure how best to go about it. I really don't have a container large enough to do the full cure in except for the tank. So I can't really fix the larger rocks together until they go into the display tank.

What would you do as far as this situation is concerned?

The other issue is that the curing rock doesn't smell good and I can't have that smell in my living room. I've never really fixed/glued rock together before, nor have I worked with dry rock. The main reason I dried it all out was to get rid of aiptasia and the bobbit worm.

Will having the skimmer running while curing in the display help with the smell?


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Old 02/09/2017, 11:39 AM   #9
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Not really. Clear a closet and do it in there with the door shut: water changes will help eliminate it.

I don't glue any of my rock and I have about a hundred odd pounds of it. Once you have water in the tank, a little skill and practice can usually build them into a stable structure. If you have a lot of little pieces, superglue gel can build them into larger shapes.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 02/24/2017, 05:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashish View Post
In addition, I have maybe 5LB of rock from my display tank that i Had to have in my new setup. I bleached it this weekend and on the fence if I should use it or not. I hope it has no die off after bleaching.
It will only have die off after bleaching since everything died when you bleached it.


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Old 03/13/2017, 11:26 PM   #11
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I'm more on a UK board and only occasionally on here. I have just bleach bathed and acid bathed 60kg of Pukani...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR_LPFo8wbY&t=195s

HTH!

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Old 03/14/2017, 04:21 PM   #12
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Just rinsed off 15kg for my new 30 gallon.



Going for this scape.



Then 6 weeks of waiting

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Old 03/14/2017, 10:22 PM   #13
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That looks good!


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Old 03/27/2017, 06:16 PM   #14
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I am starting a 80 gallon tank soon, I have a small bio cube with about 15-20 pounds of rock in it... I want to use it in the new tank but I don't want to bring whatever pests might be in it. Would curing it work? What would you guys reccomend?? Thanks


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Old 03/27/2017, 06:34 PM   #15
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I have read everything from boiling to dumping it in a bucket of vinager. I just went out and bought rock that has 0 chance of creepy crawlies. It isn't live got it from brs, their value rock and just started fresh yeah it isn't live but I know there isn't anything that comes with it. Less expensive too. If you have the time throw it in a brute with a strong powerhead and just cure it for a few months. I haven't done this but alot of the pros here recommend this method

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Old 03/28/2017, 11:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk8r View Post
It is a nasty, cold, wet number of hours.
Truer words have never been spoken


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Old 03/30/2017, 09:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk8r View Post
Preparing Rock
There are several sources for rock: ideally it should be limestone or old coral, and have a LOT of holes, like swiss cheese: this offers more surface area. You need about 2 pounds of this sort of rock per gallon of tank–but this is tricky: not all rock weighs alike. Look at the rockwork in pix on this site and get a good idea how many pieces of what size you need. Also—use ro/di or at least ro water—filtered water that has 0 mineral content: you’ll use that for your tank on setup, and there’s no good gained by soaking your rock in water that’s already caryring a lot of what you don’t want.

1) Rock from another tank. If it is still fresh and not been out of water for more than 24 hours, it’ll probably be fine. You will have instant importation of various marine life—I got a load for a 50 gallon tank, and counted 52 species that survived a cycle, including a bit of bubble coral, xenia, and of course the obligatory aiptasia (pest anemone) and some asterinas (mini-starfish that are not a problem in an sps or lps tank: soft coral tanks may want to pick those out.) You take your chances on this sort of rock, but if it’s been in a successful tank, good things will outnumber the bad. If the donor is merely breaking down a successful tank in a house move, it’s your bonanza of life. If the donor went out in a tank crash or was overrun with something nasty, definitely move to step 2.
2) live-but-barely rock suffered in shipping or came from a troubled tank. THIS I would ‘tub’ in the dark in 80 degree 1.024 salinity agitated salt water for two months before use. This will pretty well kill off nastiness and leave you with brown bare rock. You can use a Rubbermaid Brute trash can or something with a garbage can liner, and just give it a heater and a fairly strong pump. Eheims are good small workhorses and can later serve as a salt mixing pump or water-change pump. Or you can use what will be your sump skimmer: just let it do this job. However—if your skimmer isn’t really moving the water, you need a more potent pump. You don’t want dead spots in the circulation. Do water changes weekly and also test your water to be sure it’s staying at 1.024. Test for phosphate and if you’re getting a reading, you might as well start running GFO in a reactor right now. The water changes will ordinarily be enough.
3. Dry rock. You CAN put it all into the tank and wait 12 weeks for a cycle, but I don’t recommend it. Use process 2. Tub it with at least one actual live rock you’ve bought from a store or gotten from a friend. Two months in the warm salty circulation will turn it into live rock. Now—WHY? Because dry rock may contain other elements like phosphates, and the long soak will let this soak out, while it also picks up a load of bacteria from that small live rock you bought. Can bacteria-in-a-bottle speed this process? Probably a bit, but part of what you’re doing with dry rock is letting water seep deep, deep, deep into the rock—along with bacteria, which are tiny enough to get there. Crack open a rock that’s been in a river or an ocean—and you won’t find it dry and dusty inside. That’s part of the process you’re replicating here. Dry rock is sometimes a source for phosphate. Be sure not to use metal-bearing rock like volcanic stuff, etc. Limestone is safe. Holes are good. One big massive no-holes rock is not as efficient as a number of smaller ones.
4. Man-made rock: yes, it works fine. Put it through the same process, water changes, et al. Test for phosphate. And just keep going.

Next, your sand: I’ve never personally used live sand. I use CaribSea aragonite medium grain (the very fine sand may look pretty, but it blows about and irritates fish and kills corals). Washing this sand for a hundred gallon tank involves two five gallon buckets, a garden hose, and an all day operation, before you are rid of the milky white dust that comes with this sand. Wash about four cups at a time. And just keep running water until the sand is clean. It is a nasty, cold, wet number of hours. Yes. It is.
agree all the above....but a question. I am about to build a new tank and transfer my existing rock. I have previously killed Aiptasia on individual rocks by pouring vinegar over the infected area in the kitchen sink...then returning to the tank after a few minutes. The acid does kill the Aiptasia, but I wonder if I also killed all the bacteria inside the rock..? So I am not sure how to best deal with the Aiptasia in the opportunity the transfer presents.
This is a result of not maintaining my long term attention with Aiptaisa-X...once it proliferates you just cant get back in control with spot killing. Self inflicted injury...and the excellent Copperband Butterfly I have introduced has only eaten a few small ones.


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Old 04/04/2017, 08:23 PM   #18
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Thanks good info here!


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Old 04/06/2017, 10:44 AM   #19
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I have about 400 pounds of dry rock that I would like to start cycling - some of it had nasty stuff on it, hence the reason I dried it out.

Do I need to bleach or acid bath it, or should drying it out for several months be enough? I do NOT want this crap in my tank when the time comes.


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Old 04/11/2017, 09:05 PM   #20
Neptune22
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Can any tell me if this light is ok for lps and soft corals, i will probly upgrade it later, but for now i am thinking of getting the beams work evo clip 3watt led light, for a 5 gallon, with primarly lps coral


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Old 05/27/2017, 12:54 PM   #21
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I have about 120 lbs of old live rock that has been sitting dry for 15 years. I recently gave it a nice muriatic acid bath and am now soaking it in a Brute in RODI water. I'm checking for phosphate (.21 and .23 readings about 6 weeks apart) and have a small pump and GFO in a bag in the Brute.

I'm still debating whether I will use this for my new build but I am wondering do I need to be curing the rock in salt water instead of just RODI water? My goal is to get the phosphate out at this time.


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Old 05/29/2017, 05:42 PM   #22
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Thanks for the awesome write up. I have about 100lbs or so of live rock that has been sitting for about two years. It came out of my 75 gallon that crashed do to an uncontrollable seaweed infestation which was introduced into my tank as just a mere 1/4 inch long. Nothing would touch it i.e. Crabs, tangs, snails etc. I just kept picking and cleaning and it finally overran. But my question is how should I treat the rock? Because I can see dried out flakes or strands of the seaweed on the rock? I've brushed some of and have a few smaller rocks soaking in a five gallon bucket of water with a splash of bleach. Any solid advice?


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Old 06/13/2017, 11:00 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choss View Post
I have about 120 lbs of old live rock that has been sitting dry for 15 years. I recently gave it a nice muriatic acid bath and am now soaking it in a Brute in RODI water. I'm checking for phosphate (.21 and .23 readings about 6 weeks apart) and have a small pump and GFO in a bag in the Brute.

I'm still debating whether I will use this for my new build but I am wondering do I need to be curing the rock in salt water instead of just RODI water? My goal is to get the phosphate out at this time.
Just keep finding it out in fresh RODI. when Your getting close to seeing up you can try to start cycling it in salt water, but it's probably easier to cycle it in your tank and do a regular start with leave sand, maybe a few new pieces of cycled rock, some table shrimp. But rinsing it several times is the best way to clean it out. After 15 years of being dry, you just need to blow off the dust

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Old 06/13/2017, 11:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by DWattheBay View Post
Thanks for the awesome write up. I have about 100lbs or so of live rock that has been sitting for about two years. It came out of my 75 gallon that crashed do to an uncontrollable seaweed infestation which was introduced into my tank as just a mere 1/4 inch long. Nothing would touch it i.e. Crabs, tangs, snails etc. I just kept picking and cleaning and it finally overran. But my question is how should I treat the rock? Because I can see dried out flakes or strands of the seaweed on the rock? I've brushed some of and have a few smaller rocks soaking in a five gallon bucket of water with a splash of bleach. Any solid advice?
Pressure washer and then dunk in and out of 5 gallon buckets of RO water to shake em clean

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Old 06/13/2017, 03:03 PM   #25
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Day 47 - Still have slight ammonia reading even though, shrimp or ammonia has been added in over 2 weeks. Must be die off. Nitrite is reading between 2-4 on a Salifert test kit. Nitrates are between 50-100 (Salifert)

Can't get the photos to display.



Last edited by DeepBlueSea; 06/13/2017 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Can't get the photos to display.
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