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FAQs about Live Rock Re-Use

Related Articles: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, Live Rock, Reef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: LR Selection 1, LR Life Identification, Curing Liverock, Live Rock in General, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & Charts, Sumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock, Base Rock

Reusing Old Live Rock For a New Build     6/12/17
Dear Crew,
<Justin>
First of all, thank you guys so much for your dedication to the site. All too often you see great resources die after a few months/years. You guys are really are amazing and generous for keeping it going. You all are a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel. We all deeply appreciate it.
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words>
I apologize in advance for the long email. I am just trying to give you the best picture I can about my situation.
<Please; take your time>
After a few years of issues in my 125g reef and losing all my livestock, I decided it was time to start over. I was constantly battling green hair algae, bubble algae, inconsistent water parameters, nitrates never below 80ppm, and a myriad of other stuff. I know that it was my own shortcomings that lead me down this path….I definitely am not proud to say.
One of the things I really blame for my terrible water quality was my lack of attention to proper aquascaping and water flow. I ended up making a “rock wall” along the back of the tank with very little/no additional water movement to keep the detritus/mulm from collecting. This made cleaning quite a chore and I found myself less and less inclined to spend the time to do it. This of course continued to make the situation even worse.
<A common issue/cause>
I finally decided to do something about it and pulled all the rock out of the tank, vacuumed the collection of junk on the surface of the sand bed, rinsed all the rock in fresh saltwater, and redid the rockwork to incorporate much more flow so the particles could stay suspended longer and get filtered out. Unfortunately, during this process, I ended up disturbing a large section of the 4”-5” deep sand bed ( written a couple months ago about this dilemma). I ended up killing what was left of the livestock in the tank…except of course all the nuisance algae.
<Yikes>
I was so frustrated; I considered just tearing it down and getting rid of everything. Over the last few months I have been trying to decide what to do with the tank. After going through some old photos of my tanks, I came across an old photo of my first tank, a 29g from 11 years ago that I had run for 5+ years (attached). All the coral started from tiny frags I paid $9.99 for. The tank was stupidly simple to maintain. I cleaned the filters every 2 weeks when I did a 10% water change and that was it. The tank had 30lbs of live rock, 2” (CaribSea) live sand bed (until I unknowingly introduced an engineer goby…thus the uneven bed), a Skizzer
<Skilter likely>
filter, HOT Magnum, Coralife PC bulbs, and a couple power heads. Sure there is a little Cyano on the bed in one spot…but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have enough movement on the sand bed at the time. Going down memory lane really made me want to try and restart my 125g.
<Ahh!>
Before I forge too far ahead, I just wanted to go over the process I did with my live rock to see if you think I would be able to reuse it.
<Okay>
I emptied all the 200+lbs of rock out into 2 large 40g Rubbermaid totes. I filled those bins ¾ full making sure the water was covering the rock. I put 1 gallon of bleach in each tote making a pretty concentrated solution to get rid all traces of nuisance algae or any other organic life. I let that soak for about 8 hours while I continued to tear down the tank. Afterwards I drained all the water from the totes, refilled, and added 3 gallons of distilled white vinegar to each tote. I contemplating doing a muriatic acid bath…but I didn’t really want to try and attempt it. I though maybe vinegar would be ok and safer…just not as effective. It did bubble and I did get some foaming similar to what I saw with muriatic acid….just to a much less degree.
<Yes, vinegar/acetic acid is much less concentrated and "fast" as Muriatic/3 molar HCl>
I left the rocks in the vinegar water for 24 hours. I noticed when I touched the rocks that my hands turned white from the rock....so I assume it worked, to a point. I then drained the tubs again and filled them up with new freshwater. I let them sit another 24 hours. After that I hand scrubbed all the rocks down, rinsed them with the hose, and they are now setting out to dry. I probably went overboard, but I was just trying to make sure I am not reintroducing anything (living) from my last setup.
<Your operation is fine thus far. I would leave the rock to air dry for several days, give it one more freshwater soak ahead of using>
I was planning to try and use as much as I can to try and avoid having to spend $2000 on new rock. I was hoping to reseed it with some new live rock…maybe like 20ish pounds.
<Yes to this proposal; the new rock will inoculate the old>
I know it may never look as good as it once did…but I was hoping this was a viable option so I could reuse what I already had. Thoughts? Thank so much Crew. I wish you all the very best!
Warmest Regards,
Justin
<And you, Bob Fenner>

<Free> Live rock with green hair algae      6/2/17
Quick question,
<Ok>
There is a guy around me breaking down his 125 salt tank. He is basically giving away his stuff for free. He has lots of live rock that I would like, problem is there is a significant amount of green hair algae on it.
1) What would be the consequences to putting rock with GHA on it into my tank that has none
<Not much... evidence of previous lax maintenance; can be cured by improved on your part>
2) Is it safe to put the live rock he has without the algae in my tank?
<Likely so; yes. I would use it... a bargain... if naught else, cleaned/bleached/air-dried as base rock>
3) Are there ways to get rid of the algae if I were to put it in my tank?
<As stated, good care over time. A dearth of available nutrients (mainly N, P...), competitors (macro algae culture principally), and stocking of algae predators. >
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
<Let's have you read this review:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm
and the linked files at top....>

Cole
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Live rock with green hair algae      6/3/17

Wow!! What a fast and great reply.
<Wowzah!>
Just picked the stuff up I asked you about. Thanks for the advice!!
Cole
<Glad to share Cole. BobF>

Two birds with one stone. Stand/tank minor gap, cleaning old dry LR       9/16/16
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hey Eddie>
As always I am eternally grateful to you all for your patient assistance. Your website is a treasure trove of aquarium knowledge. Every time I visit I come away richer. I have been “dry” for almost four years now, but still considering myself a part of the saltwater hobby. I’m getting ready to get “wet” again, and I have a LOT of questions to ask so that I do it right this time. I’ve been studying WWM (and other sources) for several years, but often with greater learning comes only more finely honed questions. Today I have two sets of such questions. I guess this is a “two birds with one stone” type email.
<Let's see>
It’s been a while since I have asked a question, and I have been busy. I’ve been at work building a stand for my 75 gallon tank.
<I see this in your pic. REALLY like the fastener pattern>
I wanted to do this stand right because my last stand (for my old 55 gallon) was not made right and eventually resulted in the catastrophic failure of the bottom of the tank. I did a ton of research on how to do it, and this (picture) is what I came up with. I’m kind of proud of it. What you see is the finished frame for the stand. I have already treated it with spar urethane. I also have some quarter inch oak plywood and trim that I will use to “skin” it (and I’ll treat that with urethane as well). While I’m working on the skin though, I thought I would go ahead and use the frame of the stand for a water test on my tank. It’s a slightly used glass tank with an offset overflow (as you can see from where the cutout in the stand top is located).
<Good idea>
The stand frame is level, and when I sat the tank on it found that it is almost perfectly planar. On one side there was a tiny gap running several inches where I could slide a driver’s license fairly snugly.
<This is with the tank empty? I'd fill it; see if the gap diminishes/disappears>
At widest I would estimate it to be 1/32nd of an inch. The reason for this is something I found out after I built the stand, but something that I’ll pass on to any DIY-ers who read this FAQ. When boards (2x4’s, etc.) are planed, often the very end of the board is slightly thinner than the rest—from where it tilts slightly under its own weight coming out of the planer. It would be wise when working with wood to cut off the last inch or two off the end of the board to avoid this (like for the top side rails of an aquarium stand). This is the reason for that slight dip.
<Ahh!>
I was going to use Styrofoam anyway, which brings me to my first series of questions. I bought some ¼ inch Styrofoam sheets from Lowe’s that are 4 feet long. I was not thinking about the fact that my stand is 48 and ½ inches long—so the Styrofoam will not cover the entire bottom of the stand. Will the Styrofoam “spread out” under the weight to cover this gap?
<Mmm, not likely; no>
Or (because the tank has a floating bottom) should I cut the Styrofoam into strips—say 2 inches wide? I could have two 48 X 2 inch strips and two 18 ½ X 2 inch strips (trimmed to fit together at the corners).
<I would cut such a strip; to cover the entire 48.5" base>
I got several sheets of the Styrofoam, and I planned to use some for the test fill (which will last a week or two at least—it will be out of the way in the basement), and then replace it when I set up the tank. Is it even necessary to use it for the test fill?
<I would risk filling w/o w/ the small gap you're experiencing; but if you feel uncomfortable, insert the foam.>
I don’t want to do ANYTHING to weaken the tank (after what happened before).
<Understood>
The second series of questions has to do with my old live rock. I had about 50lbs of live rock in the old tank when it failed. I put it in five gallon buckets (dry) and it has been sitting in my basement for almost 4 years. The buckets have been open to whatever dust has settled on them (and whatever bugs or rodents might have crawled over them). I want to use this rock as base rock, and reseed it with some fresh live rock for the new tank.
<I would do this>
I read through the live rock FAQs again yesterday (2nd time through) and I’m not sure whether I need to soak these rocks in water with bleach or if it would be better just to rinse them.
<I'd at least blast them with a hose... No need to bleach likely>
I got the impression from the FAQs that bleaching is needed if the rocks had something on them you didn’t want (like BGA or crypt, etc.). This was not the case with mine. I was planning on bleaching them anyway—because they had been dead so long and sitting in the basement, but a friend told me it would be better to rinse them off and use them as they are—that anything dead in them will help the tank cycle.
<I agree w/ your friend>
Do I need to bleach them? Would it be better not to bleach them?
<No bleach>
Thank you so much for all your help,
Eddie
<A pleasure to share. Do please send along a photo of the stand, set up as it progresses. Bob Fenner>

Cooking live rock vs. new       4/27/15
I’ve decided to hit the reset button on my ten year old 30gallon reef tank.
<Aah!>
For the past few months it’s been running mostly unlit with just live rock/sand (no fish or inverts), due to several issues that I could never overcome despite my best efforts (algae, digitate hydroids, vermetid snails, parasites). The only fish from that tank, a percula, is presently living in a QT, having recovered from parasite treatment. My plan is to drain and scrub out the 30G tank, then start over with just liverock (no sand), the percula, and a RBTA or a couple corals. If I simply opt for brand new live rock, what's the most proper way to completely sterilize the old rock, so I could set it aside as dry base rock for future projects? Soak in freshwater and let it dry out in the sun?
<Bleach it first... ten percent laundry grade mixed w/ water; then freshwater, then air/sun>

In the alternative, if I opt to reuse the existing live rock in the new setup by “cooking” off all the bad stuff (i.e. 2+months in a darkened plastic tub, weekly saltwater changes, circulation, etc.),can I be confident that after the "cook", none of the hydroids, vermetid snails, algae and parasites will have survived?
<Not as good as bleaching.... Bob Fenner>
Chris

Follow up
Also, Bob, is there any truth to that when live rock is treated with copper, it could never, ever be used in a reef tank?    3/11/14
<Can usually be re-used..
. some folks acid-wash to remove most all... but once insolubilized, only goes back into solution very slowly... and Cu is an essential micro-nutrient...>
I ask because I have read countless times it can never be done. However, I
know of at least two guys who have started fish only, and have switched to
reef tanks, and both gentlemen (maybe not so gentle) admit they have indeed
used copper with the rock during there FO experience.
<Have seen it done many times many times>
I occasionally look on craigslist for steal, and see a lot of people
selling live rock at $2 per pound that is now dry.
<I'd only pay a dollar per>
 If someone were to acquire that rock, and start a reef tank, whose to say
that at one point that rock was not used with copper compounds?
<BobF>

Tenacity of Red Turf Algae, olde LR re-use  7/27/13
Hi crew!
<Hello Pam>
 I have a question about the tenacity of Red Turf Algae.
Last January, I finally gave up a 6 month long battle with RTA,....dismantled and disinfected my tank.
I have a new system now and it is doing beautifully!
The nearly 100 lbs of rock that was in this system, has been outside in the cold, rain, snow and sun,  since then.
I would love to use this old rock. Do you think in all this time it is devoid of RTA and other contaminates.
Would bleaching in a weak solution be wise or should I just forget it and  let the rock live its final days in the sun?
<No need to let it spend its last days outside Pam. :-)  I would take it to a DIY car wash and spray it down good to remove any  residue on it. If you have a power washer at home then the trip won't be necessary.>
Thanks for your expert advise! Which, I may add, I always follow!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Pam

LR Question, Cu removal     8/2/12
I was surfing through craigslist and found 250+ lbs of LR for $60....so of course i was like that's got to be either a typo or someone is very desperate for space but anyway I clicked into the post and it said the LR is saturated in copper so i posted up on one of my forums asking if there is any way to possibly remove all copper from the rock and a few people came forward and said you could recure the rock at a low PH while running co2. Is this true?
<Can be done... I'd use an inorganic acid... like HCl... w/ good air movement if done in the house>
 Is there any way to properly get rid of all copper from all LR???
<Not "all", but mostly all can be melted off thus; the rock used profitably as "base">
   ...if so i think this will more than likely be a very good
investment although time consuming.   Looking forward to your response,
Thank you very much in advance.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/baserockfaqs.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaq2.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: LR Question    8/2/12

also forgot to mention that I had asked him how long the copper was ran and how saturated it is and this was his response " Rock has been saturated for over 1 year with a 3.0 level. Using Copper safe "
<Mmm, will make a wider-encompassing statement. Regardless of the format, all copper can be resolubilized by acidic reduction of the carbonate (faces of the rock) that it is adhered to. BobF>
Re: LR Question    8/2/12

thank you very much for your help I'm still on the fence about it...any other tips will be appreciated
<Keep reading. B>

Copper in FOWLR 12/14/10
Hello,
<Hi Ed>
I currently have a 100g acrylic F.O. system that I am running. It has a built-in wet dry filter containing bio balls. I have crushed coral for my substrate and some fake corals for decoration. I have been running this system for about 5 years now.
I would like to make the transition to a FOWLR system. However about 3 years ago I dosed my tank with a copper additive to rid an outbreak of itch <Ich>
My L.F.S. sells live rock for $9 per pound and don't want to purchase a bunch of it and have it die off. I guess what I'm asking is,
1. Will live rock survive in my tank?
<Will depend on copper level if any.>
2. Should I buy a copper test kit?
3. Will live rock survive at certain levels of copper?
<Would have to be extremely low.>
4. Will I have to tear down my tank and start over?
<No, I'd just use a Polyfilter for about a month. This will remove any residual copper if present.
You might want to take a water sample to your LFS and have him do a copper test on it before buying a
Polyfilter.
If you did regular water changes in that amount of time (three years), it's unlikely that any copper is present.><<There is none in solution assuredly. RMF>>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ed

Liverock and Copper: The aftermath of 'nuking' a tank. SW Copper Treatment 8/5/2009
<Hi Jeff.>
First I will explain the system. I have a 180 gallon tank with about 18 - 6" fish, 55 gallon refugium and a 30" x 18" x 18" sump filter. In the main tank I have about 150 pound of live rock or more and a thin sand bed..just enough to cover the bottom. In the Refugium I have a 5 -6" deep sand bed two small pieces of live rock and a nice patch of Macro algae. In the sump I have a protein skimmer, some rubble rock and a bag of bioballs.
<Sounds like a nice setup.>
Now the problem... I found one day that my harlequin tusk was swimming erratically and had white spots all over him. Then I noticed that two or three of my other fish had white spots. Now the last time I tried to catch some fish to quarantine them I had to move all of the live rock and my Yellow Tang went crazy territorial over the new live rock configuration and killed about 6 fish before I figured out what was going on.
So being uninformed about copper and not having the time to research I listened to the LFS idiot and treated my entire system with Mardel's Copper Safe for about 3 weeks.
<Oh no....>
All of the fish survived and I thought all was well.
<Fish are fine, everything else is dead.>
Now my live rock has never been the most beautiful live rock I have seen. There were some very small things growing on them but nothing crazy. Now that I have been reading about copper I am in a very depressed state on what to do. I have treated the tank with Cuprisorb and a poly pad I think it is called and I have made about 10, 60 gallon water changes since the copper treatment. The live rock is still a little hairy but not much different looking from before.
<How about the macroalgae in your refugium?>
My water quality is perfect no nitrate or anything. I have tested the water for copper and it is really undetectable.
<It is still there, leeching slowly out of the rock and substrate.>
Now about a month after I did the copper treatment and maybe 4 of the water changes I mentioned I put my snails back in and they all died with in 48 hours.
<Copper - or ammonia from die off. Have you tested your ammonia levels recently.>
My question is even though the live rock I have may not be Live anymore can I add some new live rock to the system and not have to worry about it being affected by the existing now dead rock?
<I wouldn't The rock is going to leach copper for a while. The rock is no longer safe for any invertebrate>
I am going to replace the thin sand bed in the main tank but I hate the thought of getting rid of a very well established deep sand bed in the refugium.
<I would replace it, sorry>
I only have fish now but I would like to get some corals or inverts someday. I have 40lb of new live rock curing in a separate tank and I am not sure if I can add it to the system or not.
<I wouldn't yet.>
The thought of replacing 150 of live rock and all that live sand makes me want to puke.
<Understandably.>
If I have to do that they may find it on the lawn of that LFS.
<Hehehe.>
I am also worried about my Yellow Tang going postal again if I remove all of the existing live rock and put in a 1/4 of the rock I used to have. I put him in my quarantine tank for over a month to get him back to being nice. I called it my "time out" tank while he was in there and that worked because he has been fine since.
I know every system is different but I guess my real question is can I keep my now mostly dead rock in the tank as base rock and add some new live rock and not hurt the new live rock.
<Not yet, will take some time to leach out all of the copper. Can take months>
Replacing the sand in the main tank is not a problem and I am going to do that this weekend. But I hate the thought of getting all new live sand for the refugium.
<Copper does bind up with the sand and rock and should be replaced.>
I know getting all new stuff is the best idea but money is always a factor and I would not mind having all that base rock in there and just have more places for fish to hide and stay happy as long as it will not harm the new stuff.
<What you can do is this. Replace your sand in both the tank and refugium, pull your rock Get yourself some base rock - Clean, dead rock from a LFS.
Use that as a base, and use your new live rock to seed it. It will take a few months, but the base rock should become live again. Continue to run Cuprisorb or a Polyfilter in your main tank just as a precaution for the next month or so Your tank is going to cycle again.>
<Now for your copper contaminated rock, It isn't really safe for any invertebrate. You can try and run it in a separate system and filter with carbon, Cuprisorb, and\or Poly-filter. After a few months, with regular
water and filter changes, you can put a few snails in the system as a test.
If they survive for more than a week or so, start adding SMALL pieces back into the tank, and assess after each addition.>
I hate to buy living things as tests but I was thinking of getting one or two snails and see if they live and that would be my test before I put 40lbs of new rock. I hate to do that but not sure how else to be 100% sure.
<Almost certain to die at this point.>
I am not sure I put much faith in the idea of the glass leaching copper too and having to break the whole system down and clean it with mercuric acid ten times but I am not spending $5000.00 on a new system I spent 5 years putting together so if that is what has to happen then I am not sure what else to do.
<Copper does not leach into glass. It can leach into the silicone, but not enough to be significant. Pull the rock, and the sand, and you will be on your way to bringing the tank back. >
OK after all of that what do you suggest?
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cutrbfix.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cufaqs2.htm >
Will you respond to my email direct or will you post it on the site?
<Both.>
Thank you,
<My pleasure, do write back with updates.>
Jeffrey
<MikeV>
Re: Liverock and Copper: The aftermath of 'nuking' a tank. SW Copper Treatment 8/5/2009

<Hi Jeff.>
Thanks for the quick response.
<My pleasure.>
My macro algae is still looking good and it is a patch about 6'' thick and 12'' x 30'' square.
<Good.>
It has not been getting any bigger lately but I thought that was because when I set the fuge up my nitrates where very high in the 100 range and now they are zero....Another reason why my live rock never looked that great. I do regular water change but I used to have a 3'' bed of crushed coral in the main tank and someone told me that is where the nitrates are coming from so that is where the thin sand bed and fuge came from.
Anyways you said it will take months for the copper to come out of the rock. Did you mean like 8 months or 80 months?
<3 - 9 months for the rock.>
I can wait 8 months to save $1000.00 in rock and sand.
<I would still replace the sand the in aquarium.>
Oh and what about the bioballs and macro algae do they need to be replaced too?
<They should be fine.>
My ammonia levels have always been 0. I only ever had trouble with the nitrates and I test for everything weekly.
With the fish load I have I am not sure how I can remove all the rock and sand and possible bio balls and not have the whole system crash.
<Leave the bio-balls in place.>
When I add the new live sand and put the macro back in that should keep it stable but I can't risk the $1500.00 in fish too!! That would push me over the edge and then I would go postal. I have an old canister filter I used for the 55 when it was the display tank but I don't think that will handle the load???
<Leave the bio-balls and algae in place., Remove the sand, remove the contaminated rock, put the new live rock in, then add the fish. You will have to monitor the chemistry closely for the next few weeks though.>
Sorry this is so long again,
Jeff
<MikeV>

Live rock and copper question and happy update   4/27/08 Hi guys (Bob) <Ron> I am hopefully done with QT and hospital work for a good while so I am breaking down the tank that I have used for that purpose. Do I just throw out the live rock or do I freeze it in a pool of saltwater... or close it up in a tub of saltwater just in case I should need to bring the QT tank out again. I just have a personal problem with throwing this resource out even though it is only about 4lb of live rock. <I would definitely NOT be throwing out the LR... at worse, I would dry-air expose it for a few weeks, use it as base...> By the way just thought I would update you on the elegance coral on one of the mast heads, after having almost died of the dreaded problems these guys now have, this guy is doing fine. When I bought it it had 3 mouths, disintegrated to almost nothing to inside the clamshell and has grown into this fine specimen with 6 mouths. By the way it is as large on the backside of the rock as it is here on the front where you can only see 3 of the 6 mouths. <Ah, good> Last but not least, THANK YOU!!! for all the fine and wonderful help provided on these pages, you have truly helped out a newbie who considers himself a newbie and still learning and rereading after 2 years. ron :>)
<I as well... after forty some. Cheers! BobF>

Re: Coppered live rock follow up - 1/9/2006 Hi John, <Hi again Boris.> Thanks for the reply. One more question, LR is somewhat full of live, small amphipods and copepods are crawling. There is Coralline algae growth too. One more suggestion please? <Hmmm it doesn't sound too bad if 'pods are surviving. I still would be very cautious about putting coppered rock in my tank. Perhaps you could set up a small holding tank and introduce a fish /invertebrate as a bio-assay? Best regards, John> Cheers Boris

Live Rock...Copper  - 05/29/06 Dear Crew, Thank you for the great information that you provide to us hobbyists. <You're welcome.> I have read all the information, and varied opinions that involve live rock and copper in your FAQ's but I still find no resolve to my current situation. I have a 45gal FOWLR with about 50lbs of live rock that was, of course, beautiful till I added CopperSafe to the tank to cure an ich problem. My LFS provided the insight, I provided the ignorance. I have removed all of the copper, via CupriSorb and Boyd's ChemiPure. I have 0 copper in my tank as far as a test kit goes, yet kept it all in there due to your FAQ's regarding possible leaching. My rock is all brown now, and I am adding a small amount of new "live" rock at a time to try and "seed" the rock back alive. Is this possible, or hopeless? I see no featherdusters on my old rock, or anything else that seems "alive". I would assume that the wet/ dry I have is keeping things half way stable as far as my bio-filter goes, I have stable readings across the board as far as testing goes (ammonia, PH, Nitrite all 0, and less than 10 ppm nitrate) Is the rock that I have going to be a bio- filter still, or is it now base rock? Can what was lost, become "alive" again? I miss all my little critters that were all over in there, thank you in advance for all your help (crew) you are an inspiration to us all out here. <Billy, even though you read 0 for copper, the rock has absorbed copper, almost acting like a protective film on it preventing any living organism from growing on it.  I believe it would be quite some time before anything will grow on it.  I would suggest replacing your tainted/treated rock.  Do consider a quarantine tank in the future.  It will eliminate this problem.  James (Salty Dog)> <<RMF would suggest that this rock is likely fine, the copper rendered almost solubilized completely. I'd add some new on top to re-seed it>> Billy

Live Rock and Copper HELP!  11/12/2005 Crew, <Tirion> Help! :) : I know you are all busy but I have an opportunity to buy (quickly) a bin of absolutely gorgeous rock, has been cleaned and dry for 2 years. Since I am laid off and need rock, this is a great opportunity. Wondered why it was so cheap, turns out the person used copper in his reef 2 years ago and you know the drill. Is there ANY way to utilize this rock in a mixed reef system? <Yes, likely so... the copper is probably so fully insolubilized by exposure to the elements, carbonaceous rock that it will not re-enter solution> It is gorgeous and almost perfect amount I need. To my knowledge, a great deal has likely gone insoluble or could be removed by placing in a tub with carbon filtration and checking the copper levels? <Yes, a good extra precautionary measure> I would check the levels, filter heavily a few days with over a pound of media like carbon or matrix in a 40 gallon tub at 200+gph with a HOB, stop filtration for a day and check settled levels, etc. and so on. Are there any other chemicals or media I should consider?   <Not that I would use, suggest> I can pick this up (like 50 or so lbs) for less than $30 and it is prime Fiji and Tonga. Your thoughts?  Thanks in advance, the stuff won't be there long. <I would go ahead with your plans. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Live Rock and Copper HELP!  11/12/2005
Thanks! <Welcome> I am going to try and get it! If you like, I can let you know along the way any detection/issues so this might be a baseline for how to recycle copper infected live rock (clean it, store it, filter, test.. etc..) <I'd appreciate this> I plan on soaking, filtering and have decided I will use Carbon (probably minimal effect but cheap) and Poly (can see absorption and better capture)- not sure about Cupramine yet. <?> I have a means to have a chromatograph and mass spec detect whatever is in solution (ion, chel., at any concentration, better than Salifert) periodically until I am satisfied. I can be patient sometimes - NOT :). <Heeee!> Thanks so much and you all take care. BTW, the SeaClone is still producing a medium dry foam and a cup of superior near black skimmate every 3 to 4 days. :). <Real good. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Live Rock and Copper HELP!  11/12/2005
I meant CupriSorb, not Cupramine :). <Ahh!> I was not sure about the success in detecting inactive Copper from products such as Cupramine, however I am certain the mass spec can detect about anything. <Yes. BobF> 
Re: Copper Treated Live Rock 01-04-06
I promised to give Bob an update on an issue - Previously copper (chelated) medicated live rock, dry for a number of years. <<I made this a new article.>> We both agreed that the copper might well be bound and the rock relatively safe to use if treated (CupriSorb, charcoal, changes, heavy flow, poly).  I did in fact get a quantity of the rock (beautiful and Cheap). Placed in tub, circulated tank change water (tank water has no copper detectable) for 2 days to allow it to come to any solution.  Tested.  Level was 0.25 ppm.  Wow. Full water change.  2 Days later, .024 ppm.  Full water change. Hang on filter (200+gph) with carbon inserts and extra carbon in chambers. Additional carbon bag in powerhead flow.  Temp maintained at 80F.  Cuprisorb used as well as poly. Changed 20% water each 48 hours. Tested on week later.  0.22ppm.  Same routine again, another week later 0.22ppm. End result, IMHO.  It is unusable for even a FO tank.  At the rate of success, it might take years to get the copper to a level safe for even hermit crabs, who can withstand fairly high chelated copper levels.  I pulverized most of it (painful) and trashed it so no one would see it in the dump and say "great reef rock!".  I guess even bound copper can readily become soluble.  So, if anyone has similar scenario in future, I would advise them to just. say...no... - even to dry rock that had any previous copper use. <<Thank you for the update. I have always wanted to do a study on this topic. Great info!!! Travis>> Take care

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