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More FAQs about Curing Live Rock 7

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

Related FAQs: Curing Live Rock 1, Curing LR 2, Curing LR 3, Curing LR 4, Curing LR 5, Curing LR 6, Curing LR 8, Ammonia in/and Marine Systems, Live Rock in General, LR Life Identification, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Curing Live Rock, Placement, Lighting, Water QualityLive Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & Charts, Sumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock,

Expect some algal growth during the curing process... Usually "this too shall pass" of its own accord. BGA growing over Valonia. 

Lighting and cycling   3/3/07 <Greetings!> Is it necessary for my main lighting (MH) to be on during cycling? <No.> I have a 12g AP w/ 70W MH. I currently am running the moonlights on 24/7. Thanks. <Welcome!  -Mich>

Curing Live Rock 3  3/1/07 Dear WetWeb Media, Love the web site!! <Thanks.> I have a question about live rock that I am curing in my tank (58 Gallon Oceanic). Am I curing it right by doing water changes every week and also is it OK to scrub the live rock while it is being cured to get dead matter off of it. <Is fine.> And I also want to know when is a good time to start adding supplements like Reef Calcium from Seachem for the colorful coralline.  <Whenever you start testing for its level and find that it is low.> This is only the 5th day that the tank has been set up.  The live rock is not 100% cured. <Will probably take a few weeks.> And I also have 35 LBS of live rock is this OK for a 58 gallon if it is just going to be a FOWLR. <Depends on stocking and type/density of the rock.  Most suggest 1 to 1.5 lbs per gallon.> I have a sump with an over flow box. The tank is a reef ready tank. I also have an over sized skimmer (G1 ASM). <Nice.> Could you please let me know what you think. <Most things I think are not approved for public consumption, but in this case I think you are on the right track.> <Chris>

Whether to use the skimmer and sterilizer while cycling  2/28/07 <Hi Sally, Mich here.> I have been looking for days through your site for the answer to this question.  I am setting up my 60 gallon FOWLR tank this weekend.  I will put in 50-60 pounds of "cured" live rock from the local aquarium store.  I have also purchased live sand and wasn't sure when to add it either.   <Add the rock first, then place the sand. Placing the rock directly on the glass reduces the risk of potential problems from sand shifting under the rock.> When do I turn on my sterilizer and skimmer?   <I would turn on the skimmer immediately, but hold off on the sterilizer.> Is it beneficial in the cycling process to wait before turning them on?  I thought I read somewhere where the skimmer helps clean up the dead matter during the cycling process, and I've read where the sterilizer kills certain algae.  I don't want to defeat the purpose though.  I do not plan to add damsels until the cycle completes. <Very good!  Though there is no need to add a damsel unless it is part of your stocking plan.  More on cycling here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm Good luck!  -Mich> Sally L. Ransdell

Live Rock Curing 2/5/07 Hi guys, <Hi Billy> I have recently started a 72 gallon reef tank.  I placed 100lbs of live Fiji sand in it as well as 110 lbs of Fiji live rock.  It has been running with the rock in it for a week now.  There is a lot of white thread like hair coming off of the rock.  Especially near some of the holes in the rock.  Some of the holes look like a spider has mad a nest in the hole.  Is this normal, if not what should I do to fix the problem with the rock? <Not uncommon at all.  Even if the live rock was purchased "cured", there will be some die off in the curing process.  What you are seeing is the remains of whatever critters didn't make it. In a couple of weeks all should be fine.  Using a protein skimmer is a big plus during this process.  Read here and linked files above for more info.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm Thanks for the help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Billy

High ammonia while curing live rock   2/4/07 Hello Crew, <Tim>   I just recently began curing 80lbs. of live rock in my 55 gallon tank. I have AquaC Remora Skimmer, a mechanical filter and 2 600gph power heads circulating the tank. I scrubbed the rock before placing it in the tank. ( this was on a Friday) 2 days later (Sunday) I performed a 30 gallon water change and scrubbed the rocks again. The ammonia levels were o.k. at this point .25ppm. 1 week later, I am having some major ammonia problems, Friday ( yesterday) I checked ammonia levels and it was 2.5-5.0ppm, so I did 30 gallon water change. Saturday (today) I checked the ammonia levels again still 2.5-5.0ppm, so I did another 30 gallon water change. I waited about 4 hours, checked the ammonia again still 2.5-5.0ppm, changed another 30 gallons, waited a couple more hours, the ammonia is still above 2.5ppm. So that's 90 gallons of water changed in 2 day period with no real results.  I'm pretty confused, should I try a 100% water change or do you think its too late and the living stuff on or i n the rock have already suffered and died? (I sure hope not because that would be some pretty expensive base rock)   Thanks        Tim <Likely there is still some die-off occurring... but I'd hold off on spending a great deal of money on water at this point... and only do the 50% changes about once a week if the water is/gets too stinky at this point. Bob Fenner>

Cure and Cook live rock?  What's the difference?   2/4/07 Bob, <Hi, Mich here!> I read your posts on Cure live rock and then is there Cook I read from other persons did you read any thing on it? What is the difference between to two? <Curing and cooking are both being used as verbs, or actions here.    The process for each is very similar, and sometimes referred to interchangeably.  Cooking usually refers to processing live rock that has been spoiled or contaminated in some way and is often done in darkness is order to kill off algae that has gotten out of control and to reduce nutrients.  Curing is usually done under normal aquarium conditions.  Cooking is often done for two or more months.  Curing is usually completed in a matter of weeks.>   Curing is for this rock. Cooking is for this type rock. Why is there two ways sounds the same? <The process is nearly the same, the intent is somewhat different.  Hope this helps.  -Mich>

Another Liverock question........ Actually, a few... LR curing sort of  - 11/11/06 I've searched WWM to avoid asking repetitive questions, but couldn't find anything relative.    <Okay>   Starts off like this.... At one time, I had a nice looking 110g reef tank..... For whatever reasons, I basically have ignored this tank for the last 3 years.  All that's been done are top offs with well-water (1240 TDS), <Yikes! Liquid rock!> 2 powerheads running,  and feeding one Damsel that refuses to die.... I turned out the MH's, and had a NO fluorescent on a timer.  Needless to say, this tank is a sewer.  Grey hair like algae covering everything........ EVERYTHING...... glass, substrate, rocks, powerheads........  I'm surprised the Damsel doesn't have to shave everyday !!!!!    <...>   SO NOW......... I decide to "clean up" my act.   <Yay!> I pulled out a couple pieces of liverock (this is a question about liverock, remember ?) and they're BAD....... foul, slimy, grey & gooey.........bad enough to gag a maggot........... <Geez, am eating bfast now> I figure I can't use the rock the way it is, so what could it hurt if I cleaned it a bit........ Went out and bought a new scrub brush (plastic bristles, never exposed to soap, etc.)....... A half hour scrubbing on a softball sized rock didn't do a dang thing...... shortened the length of the hair algae a bit, but otherwise nothing........  So......... I fired up the pressure washer......  I've seen this thing take paint off of garden furniture from 6 feet away, but I'll be danged, it had NO effect on the gook on the rocks......... <Heeee! Don't mess with Ma Nature>   By now, I've got 150 lbs of liverock laying on the deck (I'm trying to stand up-wind), and I'm getting nowhere fast.....  What to do ????? .........    <Bleach...>   AHHHHHHHHH..........  BETTER LIVING THRU CHEMISTRY !!!!!!!! So, I piled the rock in a 50g Rubbermaid, tossed in a heater and a cuppla powerheads, filled it up with ASW, and proceeded to add 4 gallons of Piggly Wiggly's finest pickling vinegar........ PROGRESS !!!!!!!  Looking like a bubbling witches cauldron, and smelling like a bait store on a hot day, I could tell that SOMETHING was happening.........  I let this fester for 2 days before I pulled the rock out to check it......  It definitely was getting better, but obviously (at least to me) it needed a "kick"......... Sooooooooo......... I drained the tub, scrubbed each and every rock with the scrub brush which loosened a lot, but not near half of the crud that was on the rock, did a dunk and swish in FW, refilled the tub with rock and ASW, added 4 gallons of vinegar again, and for a "kick", I threw in about 1 qt. of Muriatic acid......... <Yikes... 3 molar Hydrochloric...> let it simmer for a few more days........ Tore the rock out looking MUCH better again, and again, scrubbed each and every piece with a scrub brush (this actually takes about 2-3 hrs. every time I do it)......... Did the "dunk and swish afterwards, and drained & refilled the tub again............      IF YOU'RE STILL READING............    <Am here>   By now, I'm pretty sure that I have 150 lbs. of "dead rock"........ And that's OK with me, as I'm sure I wouldn't have wanted anything that was on or in those old rocks anyway.  I'll be starting up the tank pretty much STERILE........  I'm not planning on much of a bio-load anytime in the next year or so........  I plan on using the rock in an elevated fashion in the new tank over a 1-2 inch deep substrate.......        FINALLY, THE QUESTIONS..........      Do you think I can add the rock and new sand to the tank with a bacterial culture and let it cure in tank ????? <Mmmm, yes... sans the acids> When I say "cure", I mean give the system time to rebuild its denitrification capabilities.    <Oh yes>   Did I do any harm to the rock (other than killing the denitrifying bacteria) that would make it unusable in the tank ????    <Mmm... well, likely "wore away", dissolved a good part of the more-easily soluble portions of the rock...>   Are there any chemical compounds in the Muriatic acid that will be retained by the rock after several more water changes in the tub that could leach out at a later date ????      Thanks, Jim <Mmm, no... the hydrogen/proton... acidic portion will "disappear" with the mix of the alkaline water... and the chlorine will become chloride (Muriatic/HCl) is most often actually "made" from seawater... becomes this again with time... air exposure. Bob Fenner> Question on Skimmers for a commercial operation of curing live rock   11/5/06 Hello Crew. <Andrew> Love the site but can't find an answer to this question I have. <Let's fill in the gap here> I am looking at setting up a live rock wholesale distribution business in Ireland. I plan on making up 2 large vats to hold up to 1000kg of live rock at a time.  Here are my thoughts of the setup. 2 Vats not plumbed together with closed loops via maxi jet mod.s for circulation. I am thinking of running 2 skimmers - one off each vat to be able to handle the load when the rock first arrives - also for resilience if one happens to die. Also a Calcium reactor to help the coralline to grow. <Very good idea>   A refugium for nutrient export.  UV to keep it all clean and Ozone before the skimmer for performance. My query is what type of skimmer to go for.  I was looking at a large Beckett style but after looking at the electricity cost <You are wise here> (expensive in Ireland) I guess it is better to spend more up front than constantly on the power.  I assume that the total water volume will be in the region of 3500 gallons. I will be using Natural sea water as I have tested the local stuff and it seems fine. <I would seek out/use a cheap source of carbonate (not much) and bicarbonate (a bunch) here as well. Natural seawater has precious little buffering/alkaline capacity>   As I will firstly be dealing with live rock I feel that this should be OK. Other idea was to make a few skimmers - but worried that if they don't work and the rock is in the vats then the spikes will be to high. Love some advice. Andrew <Mmm, well, the cheapest way to extract the most undesirable material involves pumping/eluting air into a stream of water... about a ten times saving in efficiency over pumping the water instead... So "air-injection" type units are preferable here... Perhaps a trip to Tropic Marine Centre there in one of their UK locations... to see what they have on offer/manufacture. Otherwise, DIY or commercial air injection units like those from Euro-Reef, RK2... and many others are what I would search out. Importantly, I want to mention that there are a few very important "pre-soak" procedures that you can/should employ that will make this whole process much easier, timely... profitable... Including seeking out the better "initially clean" source of LR... expediently picking up, cleaning/rinsing/removing excess muck and dead biota (possibly a rinse tank series like those pictured, discussed being employed by friend Walt Smith in Fiji... see WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Cycling Live Rock - 10/30/06 Hey Eric, <<Hiya Ken>> Is there a certain level that I should not let the ammonia level get to while I am cycling my live rock, and therefore do a water change? <<Not with just the rock in the system...wouldn't worry about it myself...may even extend the cycle I've heard.  But if it will make you feel better, do a 50% water change after the first week and see what affect it has on the ammonia level, both immediately after the change and again 48-hours later.  You're not going to hurt anything...>> Thanks, Ken <<Regards, EricR>> Got My New Rock - 10/26/06 Hi Eric, <<Hey Ken!>> I got my new rock today. <<Cool!  Always exciting to inspect new rock>> I ended up with 110 pounds in my 90-gallon tank. <<Mmm...do be careful not to overdue.   I much prefer to go on the "light side" when it comes to adding rock.  Much better to allow "room" for corals to grow/fish to swim...in my opinion>> It is Fiji and it looks nice. <<That's great!>> I went to the store today to pick out what I wanted.  They had a decent amount from the other day's shipment, but they also just got three boxes in the store as I got there. <<Even better!>> They let me pick from the boxes and the tank.  Since the tank rock was not cured yet, I figured I would pick anything that looked nice. <<Indeed, yes>> Most of it came from the new stuff. <<Hee-hee!  Exciting times...>> The rock was cleaned pretty well so I suspect that it was cleaned somewhat at the collection station overseas. <<Hmm...any idea where this rock came from?>> The smell from the rock wasn't really bad. <<And may never be so...  I cured my rock (Fiji and Lalo) in my tank and never experienced any excessively bad smell, though the rock definitely "cycled">> The storeowner said that he pays a premium from this people.  The box had the airway bill from New Zealand Air, then to LAX and to Newark, NJ. I am from NJ. <<I too am on the East Coast (SC)...sadly, all our livestock must traverse the long haul from the West to get here>> I got home and put about 30 gallons of water in one bucket and maybe 20 in the other.  I scrubbed with a brush each rock, then hit it with a Rio 1700 powerhead, and then rinsed it in the second bucket with cleaner water. <<A good protocol>> From there is was off to my tank.  I have a MTC HSA 1000 skimmer along with two Tunze Turbelle Stream 6000's for circulation in the tank. <<Nice gear...though I have a penchant for needle-wheel (Euro-Reef to be specific) skimmers>> I have a few questions if you don't mind: <<Shoot>> I put the rock in the tank with no specific plan as I didn't have the energy to do the design work tonight after the cleaning. <<No problem>> Is it OK to take out the rock tomorrow, lay it on the ground, and then place in my tank the way I want it? <<Sure, just keep it moist>> Will I lose anything from the rock? <<Likely nothing you won't lose anyway>> I assume that I will get ammonia; will the nitrite phase come after that like in a fish only tank? <<This tank will cycle like any "new" system>> Do I do a 50% water change after a week regardless of readings? <<Honestly, I wouldn't bother with a water change until the tank finishes cycling (3-6 weeks...usually)>> If the ammonia hits a certain level, should I do a water change earlier?  What level would that be? <<Water changes during tank cycling can sometimes extend the cycle in my experience...I would leave it alone for now>> My tank is 24" high.  I am not certain yet if I will be keeping SPS even though I have the lighting to do so.  I will maybe just keep, LPS, soft corals, anemone, clams. <<Mmm...anemones with sessile invertebrates...not a recommended mix>> With that said, how high should I get the rock in my tank in relation to the top of the water? <<Whatever is aesthetically pleasing to you...but keeping the rockwork low means more room for growth>> Lastly, is the amount of rock that I have now, along with my skimmer enough rock to support my reef tank? <<Likely more than enough...>> Thanks again. <<Welcome>> Regards, Ken <<Be chatting, EricR>> Re: Got My New Rock - 10/28/06 Hi Eric, <<Hi Ken>> I'm done aquascaping. <<Cool>> I went back to the store today and returned a couple pieces and added a couple of specific pieces that I needed.  It looks great. Lots of open spaces for fish and water flow.  My first attempt yesterday was more like "brick work". <<Mmm yes, is a common mistake to "pack in" the rock too tightly, trying to get as much as possible in to the tank.  But sometimes less is more as you've discovered>> I got my MTC gear because Leo (owner/creator/maker/etc) is a friend of mine. <<Ah yes, can see where that would be an influence>> I have had his equipment before and was happy with it. <<Good>> I am not up on the current skimmer designs, but felt comfortable with his. <<Okay>> I am running the skimmer with a BlueLine 55 HD and it is pulling a lot out of the water already. <<Is the result that counts most...>> I have only one last question.  It is regarding lights during curing.  I know I was advised against light, <<Don't think that was me...If I recall, someone else hijacked one of your queries to me <grin> >> but have heard the opposite as well.  My concern is that I don't want the coralline algae to die off that is on the rock now. <<I cured my rock with the lights on...I see no problem if you wish to do the same.  The natural algae succession will have its day eventually...either under the lights now, or under the lights later>> As I mentioned previously, my lighting consists of two 250 watt HQI and two 54 watt T5's.  Is it OK to leave just the two T-5's on, or should I keep the lights off completely. <<Opinions differ as you've seen, but were this me I would setup/run ALL the lights as you would with the tank stocked>> Thanks again. Regards, Ken <<Happy to share, Eric Russell>> R2: Got My New Rock - 10/28/06 Hi Eric, <<Ken>> You are correct.  I just realized that the email I sent to you was signed by someone else.  If I were to put on the lights, what would the photoperiod be per day now? <<12-14 hrs per day>> Are you sure I should put on 500-watts of HQI while curing? <<I had 1100-watts of halide and 440-watts of VHO over mine>> The T5's are 108-watts in total (I am not sure if that is same as "normal" 108 watts). <<Yes...watts are watts...>> What do you suggest? <<As previously stated...run the lights as you would if the tank was stocked>> By the way, I also have a fixture with 260-watts of power compacts (6500k) from my now defunct plant tank.  Would this be a "happy medium" during the curing process? <<Up to you...use these if this feels like a better solution to you>> These lights are from a JBJ fixture 6500K.  Lastly, so I do a 50% water change after the first week, wait until cycling is over, or only do it if ammonia levels get very high? <<With only rock in the tank, good water flow, and a good skimmer running 24/7, I would wait until the end of the cycle>> Thanks. Regards, Ken <<Cheers, EricR>>

Live Rock Curing 10/25/06 Hi Eric, <Hello Ken.> Thursday is the big day. I am getting my live rock. It is not fully cured, but mostly. I have a few questions if you don't mind. Can I leave the rock out in the open air on the floor while I am picking and choosing what will go where in the tank? If so, do I need to keep it covered or do I have to spray it with saltwater? If not, how long can it stay out of water? <You can keep it out of water.  Live rock is shipped out of water, just wrapped in damp newspaper or in sealed waterless bags.> Should I leave all lights off for a few days, or until it is fully cured? <I'd leave all lights off until fully cured.> I have a 90 gallon tank with two 250 watt HQI bulbs and two 54 watt T5 bulbs. Should I put on just the T5's maybe? <No> I will test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, but do I need to do a water change within the first week, and if so, what %. <I would do a 50% change the first week.  A skimmer will help much here in removing waste that will be coming off the rock during the curing process.> There is another store near me that has small quantities of fully cured live rock with nice shapes. Is it OK to mix fully cured and rock that is not? <I wouldn't, the elevated ammonia levels may kill beneficial organisms already living on the cured rock.  Do read here and search our site for FAQ's re curing live rock.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm> Thanks again for all of your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Kn Live Rock Curing Process  - 10/17/06 Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I've had a nano reef running for just over a week. <Congratulations on a new start!> Can you tell me how can you tell when live rock is dead? <Well, some life forms on the rock may be dead upon arrival at the LFS, as they cannot survive the rigors of transport, etc. Some stuff dies off after it is in your tank, then other life forms begin to emerge and colonize the rock. This die off and "regrowth" is called the "curing process", and takes place every time this rock is utilized in our aquaria. There is no set timetable, but under good conditions, most of the die off will occur in the first week or so, and new growth thereafter, in my experience.> How long does it take for things start to  grow? <As above, the growth starts relatively quickly.> It has small patches of lilac on it but also there are small areas of a light rust colour there as well. Can you explain? Thanks, Sue <Well, Sue, the lilac color is probably desirable coralline algae, which gives the rock that pretty look that we all want. The rust color is probably some form of Cyanobacteria or other micro algae, which thrives on the high nutrients available in a new tank. Given time and good husbandry, the "nuisance" algae will die off and be dominated by the pretty coralline stuff! Be patient and obey the rules of good aquarium husbandry, and you'll be duly rewarded for the effort! Reed up on live rock and curing right here on WWM. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Resurrecting Dried Up Live Rock 9/27/06 Thanks for your past help guys! <Sure> I have another "odd" questions. <OK> I recently setup my 65g reef after it has been torn down for about a year. My LFS guy warned me not to re-use my dried out live rock. He said that in his experience that dried out live rock causes problems in reef tanks. <Can if not prepared correctly.> He said that he experienced algae problems and nitrate problems. He didn't know for sure why, but he guessed it had to do with the dead fauna, bacteria, and detritus left in the rock. <Probably> So I did start completely new with fresh live rock. I still have about 100 lbs of this dried up stuff sitting in the garage. Do you think I can resurrect this stuff by following a "cooking/curing method"? If the answer is no, read no further... <Yes, can be done, but requires a fair amount of work.> I live in SE Texas, and now that the weather is cooling I want to cook/cure this outside. I thought I could use the Rubbermaid containers I have on hand, a few spare pumps, and a heater. <Heater not necessary.> I currently do weekly water changes on my reef, so I have plenty of water to use for the "cooking". <Should use fresh water, nothing living on the rock to worry about.> Based on the "cooking methods" I've read up on, it will take  2-3 months (if this were already live rock). <Not live, so different concerns.> Do you think I can get this rock back to "live rock" quality? <After returning it to the main tank it will become live with time.> Do you think I'll have nitrate issues because of "locked in" nutrients? <Not if you can clean the rock very well.> Thanks, again, for the help. You guys are an absolute blessing to this hobby! <Thanks> Regards, Jeff <The idea here is to remove as much dead material as possible.  Heavy use of the garden hose, scrubbing, and much soaking will remove most biological material, leaving you with plain base rock, which you can then return to the tank and allow it to become recolonized by the algae, microfauna, etc.> <Chris>

Adding New Live Rock - 09/12/06 Hi Bob, <<EricR here today>> I was hoping you could help me with this tricky issue (well, for me it is anyway). <<I'll try>> I have an 8' x 2' x 2' tank and have recently placed my old 3ft tank next to the sump which will act as a refugium filled with live rock and a DSB. <<Excellent>> The 3ft tank is not connected to the main system yet, although it has been filled, and has been running with an AquaClear hang-on filter and air stone, heater.  There is no live rock or sand in the 3ft tank as yet but I am expecting delivery of the rock shortly. <<Cool!  Receiving/inspecting fresh live rock and witnessing the life thereon (and therein) is such a blast>> My question is this: since the 3ft tank (150L) contains more than twice the amount of water of my regular 5% water changes in the main tank, I would like to know if still need to conduct a water change in the week that I connect the 3ft tank to the main system? <<Hmm...won't hurt either way mate>> I understand this will dilute the concentration of nitrates in the main system, but I was also thinking whether a water change, in addition to the new water in the 3ft being added to the system would cause too much stress for the inhabitants of the main tank? <<No, not in my opinion...you would still be changing out less than 20% the total volume.  Not harmful at all...and would definitely be beneficial>> The system is FOWLR and contains a baby Epaulette Shark, Masked Stingray, Sailfin Tang and Flagtail Cod. <<Mmm...I'm thinking this tank will be too small for the shark and the stingray at maturity>> Also, given that the live rock I am purchasing may not be completely cured (a week of curing so far) I was thinking that I should place them in the 3ft tank and not connect this to the main system until ammonia readings are zero. <<Probably wise.  Unless it has been setting in a dealer's tank for some weeks, most newly acquired "cured" live rock is ever really so>> The thing is I don't have a protein skimmer in the 3ft tank, just a large one for the main tank in the sump.  Would it be ok to connect the 3ft tank as soon as I receive the live rock, and let the main skimmer take care of it? <<Since this is a relatively small amount of new rock being added to a large system, and assuming there is some rock/substrate already in the main display, yes it would likely be fine.  But do keep a close check on water parameters and be ready/have a plan if necessary>> If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for the time with this rather long question. <<Quite welcome>> Regards, Joe SYDNEY, Aus. <<Be chatting.  EricR...Columbia, SC>> Curing Live Rock  9/12/06 Hi guys! Hello Jeff> I'm setting up my 65g reef tank again after it's been down for the past 6 months. I washed out my sand and stored it when I tore down the tank so I'm starting with "dead" sand. I replaced the live rock with some very "raw", stinky stuff (65 lbs). I'd call it really good Tonga rock, but it wasn't cured at all. I'm curing it in the tank with the protein skimmer running. I know you guys say to keep the ammonia to < 1.0 ppm, but 24 hours after adding this rock the ammonia was up to about 6-8 ppm. I did a 80-90% water change and brought it back to about 1.0 ppm. I followed your forum's recommendations and pulled the rock out twice to wash with saltwater and to pick any dead material. On day 7 I did another 80% water change. After the first day, the ammonia never again went above 1.0 ppm. It has been 12 days and the ammonia is almost gone, the rock looks really clean, and the "uncured" odor is gone. I don't see any "dead" on the live rock and there is still some coralline left, but I see no sign of life at all; no pods, worms, or anything. The last time I cycled my tank with live rock (it was pretty much cured live rock and it was 4 years ago!), I had some pods running around it. Question #1: Do you think the ammonia spike cleared the rock of most of its life (and I don't mean bacteria)? <Not all.  It usually takes anywhere from two to five months for critters to re-appear.  I have cured some rock about a year ago and all that was left was some macro algae.  Within a five month span all sorts of critters appeared, including some mushroom corals.  Have patience.> Question #2: What's the best way to get them back in the tank if they were killed off? I fear I lost the benefit of uncured live rock when my ammonia spiked! <Time is the best way along with 10% weekly water changes and necessary additives.> Thanks! Jeff <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dead rock  - 09/10/06   Here's a question for you.  I was given 50 lbs of live rock that was just covered with hair and bubble algae.  I boiled the rock to kill all the algae.  Then cured the rock for three months in a tub of seawater.  The rock looks and smells cleaner than anything I have ever seen.  I am now ready to put it in a reef tank.     Any reason not to do this?   Thanks  Rich <<Rich:  Assuming that the rock was kept in tank like conditions (e.g., same water temperature, same salinity), then you should be good to go.  If not, you may have some die off of creatures that can't adapt to the new tank conditions that you place the rocks in.  Best of luck, Roy>> <Roy, the rock was boiled... no life, no waiting... RMF> Curing Live Rock...To Scrub or Not? - 09/05/06 Hey everyone thanks for the help. <<You're welcome>> I read the LR FAQ, but didn't find specific answers to these questions. <<Ok>> I'm curing some "Select Lalo Live Rock," (where is Lalo anyway??) <<Hmm, I'm not sure Lalo is a "where", but I believe the rock called "Lalo Live Rock" is collected in/around the Islands of Tonga>> And I was wondering about this scrubbing thing.  Much of this rock is covered with an orange algae that seems very soft (sponge?). <<Possibly>> Should I scrub it? <<Probably a good idea...if indeed sponge, this will very likely die/fowl your system>> I want the curing to be fast, but I also don't want to scrub off any desirable organisms. <<Lightly scrubbing the rock (in a bucket of seawater separate from the curing vessel/s) with a "soft" bristle brush periodically during the curing process will help dislodge dead/dying organisms...speeding up curing while minimizing damage>> Should the entire curing process be in a high salinity environment? <<No...natural saltwater levels>> The vendor (LiveAquaria.com) recommended a short dip in high saline water just before putting the rock in the tank. <<Probably as a means to drive out unwanted crustaceans (mantis shrimp, crabs)>> There is a muscle on one rock. <<Cool>> Should I take him off? <<Not unless it is dying/dead>> I don't know if he's alive or not - looks good to me. <<Then leave it be for now>> Set up is: about 30lbs of rock in about 12 gallons of water (completely submerged) with a small air stone, a GX 1500 pump for circulation, a little titanium heater, and a small bag of activated carbon.  Is this setup adequate or should I modify it? <<Hmm, the volume of water seems a bit small...  Frequent water changes would be more purposeful at this stage than the carbon, and adding a small skimmer wouldn't hurt either>> Today is the fourth day of curing, I've done one water change, and the ammonia is still off the chart. <<No surprise>> And is that titanium heater ok to use in my main system when I'm done curing? <<Sure>> I thought the rule was "no metal" but it was packaged and sold as "safe for all marine aquariums." <<Indeed...most aquarium chillers used by the hobby incorporate "titanium" heat-exchangers...the heater will be fine>> I didn't realize it was titanium until I was installing it. <<No need to worry>> One last thing.  I see your responses posted on the website but I have never received a response via email. <<Odd...all responses are replied to directly, as well as posted on the website>> Is that standard or am I just not getting the email for some reason? <<Something is/was amiss>> Thanks again, Mike <<Quite welcome, Eric Russell>> (you guys ever think about all the organisms' lives this site has saved?) <<We do my friend.  Though maybe difficult to quantify, this is our hope and belief...as well as assisting, educating, and helping to keep hobbyists "in the hobby".  All reasons why we volunteer time away from family/other ventures to be here.  EricR>>

Re: Curing Live Rock...To Scrub or Not? - 09/06/06 Hey, got a response via email this time! <<Yay!>> I appreciate the help. <<My pleasure>> I took the rock out and scrubbed it.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that these rocks are/were loaded with muscles/clams! <<Neat!...though many will not likely survive the long term>> I think all the clams were (recently) dead, so I took them off. <<Good move>> I took a couple of muscles off, but there are a few still burrowed deep into the rock.  How can I tell if they are alive? <<If the shells are tightly closed when handling the rock the animal is likely still alive>> They all are slightly open. <<Uh-oh>> I'm assuming that means dead? <<Probably, yes>> Anyway I can't get them all out without smashing up the rock. <<No worries...the flesh will decompose/ be removed during the curing process>> Is there any chance that I'll get some clams or muscles growing on this rock later? <<A possibility, yes>> I read that the decaying matter is white - I didn't get much white stuff off, but I scrubbed a lot of black slime (mold?) off. <<Likely blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria)>> Still plenty of multi-colored coralline algae and some small branchy stems in the crevices.  I was tempted to spray the rock down with a garden hose... <<Yikes!  No!...this will do much more harm than good!>> Now, I am curing this rock in a new fuge I built out of a used 20 gal tank with a new 30"x5"x3" bed of 50/50 coral sand/live sand (the rest of the tank is composed of the future skimming, oxygenating, and heating chambers).  Can I wait until my ammonia is zero, put the rock in my main (established) tank, do a 100% water change in the fuge, and then hook it up to the main system? <<Once ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate read zero you can proceed as you outlined...though a 50% water change will likely suffice>> Or should I leave the rock in the fuge and cycle that subsystem until my ammonia and nitrites are all zero just as if it were a new setup before incorporating it into my main tank system? <<Ah, yes...there ya go...>> Thanks again, Mike <<Cheers, EricR>>

Big Tank, Water Quality/LR, Ozone, Curing LR    8/13/06 I am curing around 1500 lbs of rock in about 1200 gallons of water. <Mmm, a note for browsers... such large amounts of LR can be cured "in place" in large systems, but I encourage this elsewhere... much easier to manipulate, much less messy/stinky> There's about 40,000 gph of water movement. I've got two AquaC skimmers rated for up to 1000 gallons cranking overtime (with ozone on when the ORP drops below 390 and off at 400). <Rather a "tight" setting... I'd move the lower value down to the 350 or so range>   I scrubbed it all pretty good before I put it in, but have only done minor incidental water changes (leaky plumbing and VERY aggressive skimming). Its been almost two weeks since I first introduced the rock. Nitrites are around 4.0 ppm, <Too high> nitrates are around 20 ppm <Way too high... these values spell the doom for too much of the "live" portion of your rock. Should be kept down...> (both have seen a huge decline in the past few days. The pH has been staying high - ranging from 8.1 - 8.6. <This is the ozone, not biomineral effect> My real query is about my ORP. Until this tank I've never had the equipment to monitor or regulate my ORP before. Its currently at 419 and still on the rise from what I can tell. <... too high...> Honestly I don't think I fully understand the concept from reading the article on the site, but from various Q and A's on the site I gather that this is not that big of a deal as long as its not ozone that's raising it that high (which it's not in this case - at least not from the ozonizers). <... Really? What is "it" from? Have you tried turning off the ozonation?> My water is still quite yellow however, despite running carbon and PolyFilters and ozone off and on. <Massive die-off effect> Due to the location of the tank it would ideal if we could expedite the un-yellowing of the tank. Thanks for your help, Scott Sent via Blackberry from T-Mobile  Â²[% <Neat... Well... to start with, though it may seem expensive, I would make a very large water change here... perhaps half... Next, I would carefully (like two separate test kits) measure alkalinity/acidity, and look into the means (there are a few... and this can be confusing for sure) of bolstering the same... with a source of carbonates and bicarbonates. I would look into your calcium, magnesium concentrations as well... these are likely out of whack, and relying on the water changes alone will too-likely drive you bonkers as well as to the poor house... When you have occasion/time, do take a read over WWM re the concepts of alkalinity, this and pH... the use of supplements for same. Bob Fenner> Big Tank, Water Quality/LR, Ozone, Curing LR  8/22/06 Bob, <Scott> Thanks for the reply.  My spam filter weeded out your response so didn't get this until just now. <I see> I was afraid to do a 50% water change because with the available resources we would only have been able to make 100g worth of water at a time. <Mmm, better than nothing> Both nitrites and nitrates both completely fell of the charts two days after I sent the message and have remained non-existent since that time. <Good>   Since I started out I have had the ozonizers set to turn off when the ORP raises over 400.  When I wrote the original message the ORP was at 419, with no ozone running and has not dropped since that date. <To be expected> The system is currently getting a reading of 458 - without having ozone injected to it at all.  Aside from an abundance of algae, there is one snail, one hermit crab, and a colt coral that are all thriving within as my test inhabitants.  Am I likely getting a faulty reading from my Neptune controller? <Mmm, nope> And I'm sorry if I'm being blind here but I'm missing the connection re your advice on supplementation and my ORP. <Think about this... with the die-off of so much of the "live" portion of your rock, the bouillabaisse of ions is high... hence high RedOx potential> The plan for water changes is 50g once a week, which will be virtually automated aside from adding a bag of salt to the reservoir.  One of the two 75g refugiums will be a deep sandbed, and there will be over 1000 lbs of sand I have a calcium reactor that I'm just waiting on a part for to hook up.  Will I likely still need additional supplementation? <Depends on what you intend to keep, other aspects of maintenance mostly>   Also just out of curiosity what throws calcium and magnesium levels out whack besides coral consummation? <Heee, likely you mean consumption... mostly just primary issues of reductive chemical behavior overall... that occur in captive systems... e.g. processes of respiration, food/waste conversion...> I have read the calcium, alkalinity, ORP pages many times over in past few years I've been keeping SW fish.  It still doesn't "click" with me unfortunately - I'd need to hear it not read it - it's my flawed nature I guess. <It will "click with you" in time, I assure you> The water is still yellow.  Water is clear, healthy, nitrate and nitrite free, running fresh carbon, PolyFilters and Purigen - just yellow.  Your thoughts? Scott <This too can pass... give it time, more good quality activated carbon. Bob Fenner> Normal LR Algal Succession   8/2/06 Hello Bob,   Thank you for reply.  I have another question, this problem kind of give me headache.  I recently changed the tank, same size 100G, but added a 50G sump.  Updated lighting from 96W to 256W, replaced new deeper sand (2") and smaller size.  Starts to have brown algae or Diatoms (spell), <This is it> clean almost everyday.   one Yel tang, 1 tomato clown, 2 damsel, 1 small blue tang.  couple mushrooms, 1 brain, 1 flowerpot.  Except coral, fish and 100 lbs LR and water from old tank, added 40 lbs LR from a friend' sump ( consider no algae).  Water test from home and LFS  got results the same.  pH 8.1, Nitrate 15, ammonia kind of 0, phosphate 0. (Water mixed at home from Red sea product, been doing for 4 years).  3 power head (1000G/hr), 1 for overflow, 1 for circulation, and one for skimmer.       so, I have new tank, and a better systems, Purple algae grows good. Just don't know where the brown algae come from, <Is to be expected... natural... from the changes you list... all the new LR, the change in lighting, substrate... Will cycle out> Trying to do water change 5% weekly( 2 months now).    Don't see any better.  Need your advice?      Thanks,      Vincent <Just to be patient... keep monitoring your water quality, doing changes as necessary. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm and the linked files above for background. Bob Fenner> Using Perfecto Light Fixtures   7/22/06 Good evening. I am so glad that I have found your website.  It has been an incredible source of knowledge for me.  The work that everyone puts into this website is incredible. I have a question concerning using perfecto light fixtures on saltwater tanks.  Can they be used without any problems.  The light that was on my 29 gallon tank went literally down to Davey Jones locker.  Nothing was hurt from it, but I do not feel comfortable with using this light due to the salt contamination on it. (I have a healthy fear of electricity)  I have read that any equipment that has been damaged by saltwater should be tossed.  I have a spare perfecto light in my shed and I would like to use it to cure my live rock, as I'm still searching for the right compact light. Thank you for any help. <<<Threemvt: Live Rock can cure with little to no light.  Thus, your spare light will work just fine while you research and buy the perfect light for your needs.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Live Rock Question  07/21/06 Hello everyone, I am a first time asker so please be gentle. I have spent quite sometime trying to find the answer this website but still am unsure. We have a 45 saltwater hex tank (my wife's) which has been doing fine. She won't let me touch it. So she bought me a regular 75 gallon aquarium. About four weeks ago I started the tank. It has 2 emperor double bio-wheel filters, live sand two inches deep and at the time I put 20 lbs of live rock in the tank. I was hoping I could get another 60 pounds of live rock in a day or two. Well a family emergency occurred and we had to spend my "fish" money. I explained to the LFS what my situation was and they said to add some brine shrimp to it about once a week to keep it cycling and to help build up the bacteria until I can get some more live rock. After 4 weeks of "cycling" my live rock has feather dusters on it, copepods and flatworms all over. The LFS says that it has been too long and I should start over, my wife is siding with them. I think if I add the 60 pounds of live rock, it will only extend the cycling process another three to four weeks. Please help. Thanks for any advice,  Jeff <<Jeff:  So long as you don't have any fish in the tank, I don't see a problem adding the additional live rock.  Yes, you will likely go through a cycle again; but, it probably won't be as long because you already have the tank set up to buffer the cycle a bit.  You don't need to add brine shrimp to cycle the tank.  Best of luck,  Roy>>

New Live Rock   6/10/06 Hey guys, <Hi Kenneth - Tim answering your question today!> I just started a 35g tank and My levels all seem somewhat normal <What precisely does "somewhat normal" mean? Ammonia and nitrite should be zero - anything other than that means the tank is not fully cycled or indicative of some other problem - but in any case not normal.> ( I am curing/cycling) ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite are all very low and Ph is 8.3. I just added 40 - 45 pounds of LR and had a temp drop from 80 to 72 (I live in Chicago) so i adjusted the water heater.  I added the rock on Wed. so it has been running for about 48-60 hours. The rock was beautiful when I got it but now it seems dead, the colors are not bright like they seemed in the box.   <Some die-off is to be expected when introducing new rocks, especially when introduced in larger quantities into a new aquarium - some things will invariably die during transit, their death and decomposition will strain the weak biological filter causing the tank to re-cycle, with the ammonia and nitrite spikes potentially resulting in further deaths. Eventually things will balance, so just be patient, keep a close eye on your ANN levels (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) and be prepared to do water changes as and when necessary - yes, this will slow the cycle, but ensure that more living organisms survive the cycle-period. You also make no mention of the lighting or circulation you employ in your aquarium - both must be of sufficient strength to maintain certain organisms living on/in the rock!> The skimmer is producing 1/2 an inch of white foam but nothing is making it to the collection cup <This is an adjustment issue - if the foam looks thick but is simply not reaching the neck of the skimmer then you will need to adjust the skimmer accordingly.> and the water is slightly yellow. <Suggests high levels of DOCs.> I just moved the rock for better circulation but no change and the odor is very low. What should I do. Or am I not being patient enough? <I suggest you wait, as noted above, keeping an eye on your ANN levels and doing water changes as necessary. You will also need to adjust your skimmer to improve efficiency. In the future, I would strongly recommend that you give all new live rock a good clean before introducing into your aquarium. This is as simple as placing into a bucket of saltwater, giving the rock a gentle scrub with a toothbrush and then picking/scrubbing off any visibly dying organisms, before finally giving the rock a strong blast from all sides with a powerhead. Best of luck! Tim>

Smelly Live Rock (No Longer "Live") - 06/01/06 Greetings, <<Good morning>> I have a friend who has given me about 40lbs of rock out of his tank.  Lucky Me!  The question that I have is, my tank is currently cycling with an order of rock from Live Aquaria.  I was going to just take his rock and place it in my tank, but he has left it out of the tank for almost two weeks and the smell is quite awful. <<Mmm, not so "lucky" after all.  This rock will have to be cleaned/cured before it is of any use...and then it will be mostly devoid of life/no longer "live" rock>> His tank had been neglected and had a serious hair algae problem. Should I just allow this rock to die off before placing it in my tank?  I don't have the space to cycle it anywhere else and don't want to introduce anything that I am going to regret later. <<Then about your only choice is to dump this rock or give it to someone with the facility to clean it up>> I was leaning more towards letting it die off since my tank already has about 50lbs in it. 90 gallon by the way! <<Personally, I wouldn't use this rock>> One more question! <<sure>> Before moving my system I had 4*96watt PC's with a tank full of softies.  I sold all of my livestock due to a long move. <<Wise>> I just purchased a 250w halide retrofit with a 10k.  Would you suggest using all 4 PC's or just 2 Actinics?  I'm ready for LPS and maybe a clam or two. <<The latter will work fine.  EricR>>

Resending A live rock email  5/31/06 Hello, <Hi> I am resending a message that I sent to you Saturday night from a yahoo email account, I have been having problems with that account and wasn't sure if you got it or not. If you just haven't had time to respond I understand. Thanks for all of your help. Hello, I have a couple of quick questions tonight. I recently purchased 50 pounds of uncured Fiji rock and have been curing it for about 5 days in a Rubbermaid tub under about 12 gallons of water with a powerhead and an AquaC remora skimmer driven with a MaxiJet 900. First question: is the 900 a large enough pump for the remora? <The Maxijet 1200 is the pump Aqua-C uses, the 900 is probably too small to work effectively.> I get some colored foam in the tube after about a day but not much skimmate in the cup. This didn't seem like much to me. <Probably due to pump size.> Now to the rock: There are two pieces of rock that have formed a white film over certain areas, under this film there is a crust that comes off very easily that is covering some black smelly stuff. Is this possibly hydrogen sulfide? <Not likely, probably just some die-off.>  If so, will this cure off of the rock, or is this rock "ruined"? <It is normal and will dissipate over time.>  I scrub it with a toothbrush when I do water changes (100% every two days) most of it seems to come off but it leaves the rock black. Should this rock be cured by itself? <No need.>  Would the other rock cure faster if it were in a separate container? <Not at a noticeable rate.>  Any suggestions, or am I missing anything? Sorry for all of the questions, I do search the FAQ's before I send. <No problems, you are on the right track.  Just keep at it.> Thanks for the great site, Jeremy <Chris> Bob:

Would Chaetomorpha help during tank cycling ?  5/29/06 Ohio Gozaimasu Crew ! <And good morrow to you> I have been thinking(<==always dangerous) <Less than always feeling> about how to bolster the cycle process in my AquaPod 24 tank.  My 'cured' LFS Fiji live rock went in last night after spending ten minutes each in a super-salinated (1.050) bucket followed by a distilled water soak.  Vigorous swishing and scrubbing left both buckets so nasty that half way through the 22 pound box I stopped and replaced the water.  Some of the obviously dead, decaying soft matter left me really appreciating the heavy neoprene gloves I was wearing while I scrubbed it off.  Right now the LR is simply sitting on top of the DSB and a PVC frame.  Aquascaping for esthetics will wait till the tank is properly cycled.  Having gotten all the LR into the tank I made sure that the heater, powerhead and skimmer were all working properly and went to bed. This morning I tested the tank's water parameters and found that 'shocking' changes had occurred overnight: Ammonia 0.2 (was 0) Nitrate 35 ppm (was 0) Nitrite 0.3 ppm (was 0) Phosphate 0.1 (was 0) pH 8.3 (unchanged) Alkalinity 5.5 (unchanged) Temperature 78 (unchanged) Salinity 1.025 (unchanged) Skimmer cup empty <All about right thus far...> Retesting late this afternoon the numbers were essentially unchanged. <The alkalinity and pH will drop soon... Nitrogenous compounds increase...> After spending the last 2 1/2 (very pleasurable) hours Googling my way around WWM you can imagine my relief to be reassured that these 'instantaneous' changes in water chemistry are completely normal as a new tank begins the cycling process. <Yep> 20 gallons of buffered and aerated water with a SpGr of 1.025 are at the ready while I monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels like a hawk.  Any readings above 0.8 ppm on either will trigger a change of  50% of the water, followed by re-testing twelve hours later. <Very good> Then, while fussing with the airstones and powerhead  trying to ensure even water flow, an inspiration struck.  I currently have the tank lights off because I subscribe to Anthony's advice that leaving them off will minimize the growth of nuisance algae during the curing process. <Some are of this opinion... I am generally not>   Two of my synapses shorted out and I thought "Nitrogen + Phosphate can be controlled using a macro algae like Chaetomorpha (which I was planning on adding anyway)". If I were to add a 5 inch clump of Chaetomorpha (sp) available for less than ten bucks at the LFS, and then started a 10 hour light cycle, would that help or hinder the curing process ?   <Maybe... it might "just die" or be overwhelmed by chemical changes, out-poisoned-competed by BGA et al.> Thumbing through my college Botany book it appears that these compounds which are toxic to the Kingdom Animalia would be ideal 'munchies' for a member of Kingdom Plantae. <Many, not all> Or so my 'reasoning' goes.  Any thoughts/observations ?  I certainly don't want to interfere with the establishment of viable cultures of Nitrogen-fixing bacteria but would really like to help ensure that the toxicity of the tank doesn't threaten the viability of the desirable organisms currently tenaciously clinging to life deep within the crevices of the live rock.  And, maybe, save a few bucks in salt mix and buffering compound. <Mmm, well... the most "trouble free" process involves darkened curing conditions, time going by... but all can be expedited, much life spared by monitoring, doing the water changes you mention... Worth trying the Chaetomorpha though> Sayonara, and thanks once again for being willing to do all the 'donkey work' involved in keeping up such a great site ! John <Eeee haugh! Bob Fenner> New Live Rock 5/28/06 Hello, <Hi> I'm in  process of curing my own live rocks. I use an air pump with an airstone to creates water movement and set the heater at 80 degree with no light in the container at all. <Good, although I prefer a powerhead for a little more circulation.> I pre-cleaned the live rocks by scrubbed of all the loose parts and all the gunk before I put them in the container. <Good> I did one water change on the third day since the water looked really nasty and smelly, also scrubbed more gunk off. <Also good> It's been 5 days now and everything went from a deep purple and red to a bright pink and then a pale green. The rocks don't have any vivid color on them anymore. The Nitrate level is 5.0. Do you have any idea what is going on? Is this normal or did I just kill my live rocks? Are they still good? <Normal> Is it even worth continuing to cure them? <Absolutely>  What color will the rock be when it's cured? <Depends on what you started with, but most/all algae and critters will repopulate once the curing process is done.>  Thank you very much any advise you may have. I'm very anxious to put the live rock in my first tank. Thanks again, Tai <I assure you it is very difficult to completely kill off your live rock.  The organisms that can survive and collection and shipping conditions and easily survive a few weeks of curing and will repopulate the rock once conditions improve.  Just make sure to do water changes when the water gets too nasty.> <Chris>

Cooking/Curing Live Rock  5/25/06 Dear Mr Fenner, <Tim> I am just about to engage in "cooking" my live rock and substrate. You may well be familiar with the process - live rock and/or sand are placed for an extended period of time into freshly prepared saltwater, replaced on a weekly basis or as necessary, without lighting or the addition of nutrients. <Yes> The idea is that photosynthetic algae will die off to a large extent, but perhaps more importantly, that the process will refresh the rock by allowing phosphates and other chemicals that have been absorbed by the rocks to dissolve into the water and be reduced during the process, preventing these from leaching into the aquarium. It is also argued that by not adding any nutrients to the water, the bacteria will instead break down many of the organics in the rock, again reducing the amount of DOCs leaching into the water. <This and more> This process is particularly appropriate for individuals wishing to make a fresh start, perhaps after an insufficient maintenance routine or when switching from dechlorinated tap water to RO water. It is also suggested to be a drastic but highly efficient step for individuals that continue to battle with algae problems despite proper maintenance. <Yes> My university exams will finish within the next two weeks, after which time I would like to write an article on this topic for CA Magazine, discussing some of the debate surrounding this topic and detailed instructions based on my own experience. Is this something that you would be interested in? <Oh yes. Will cc our twin Editors here re. Do write and submit. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Kind Regards, Tim Hi Tim: Thanks for your interest in contributing to Conscientious Aquarist! When your article is complete, please forward it to me directly, and Adam and I can review it. Regards, Scott F. Feeding necessary in a live rock only aquarium ?   5/25/06 Hello Crew ! Having firmly established a 56 year long habit of never hesitating to ask simplistic questions, here I go again <cue SR-71>.  My AquaPod 24 gallon tank has been stable for a week now with only a 4-5 inch DSB and the PVC framework for a live rock cave (Thanks, Anthony !).  Salinity is 1.024, Ph is 8.2 and the alkalinity is 5-6 meq/L.  Also it is pretty sterile right now because the only thing that has gone into it is distilled water and Instant Ocean salt mix (I am saving the Tropic Marin until the curing process has completed and the tank has cycled). Howsumever, a 22 pound box of 'premium' Fiji live rock ordered from DFS left Hawthorne, CA today headed here to  southeast Georgia by FEDEX 2nd day air shipping.  It should be delivered on Friday, the 26th.  I will be curing it in the tank directly because there will be nothing else in there for a while.  Using information gained from a previous question answered by Bob F I will be dunking the rock in a super-salinated bath for about 10 minutes, followed by a bath in distilled water for about the same duration to drive out any 'uglies' that might be hitchhiking on the rock.  'Goodies'  who choose to 'abandon rock' will be introduced to the tank, and 'Uglies' shall be consigned to the compost pile. That factoid leads (finally) to my question; is it necessary to 'feed' a tank containing only LR and a DSB ?  From my research here on WWM and other sites I have determined (get thee behind me, etailers !) to add nothing else to the tank except for Chaetomorpha until November in order to let the LR and DSB become fully established (and to avoid expensive losses in case we are the next targets in the upcoming hurricane season). To clarify, in such an ecosystem (DSB, LR and Chaetomorpha) is supplemental feeding needed ? And, if so, what kinds/quantities would be appropriate ?  "Tis a puzzlement" ! In case nobody else has bothered to tell you today, you guys<==(gender neutral) are GRRRRREAT ! Thanks, John <<John:  Since there is nothing in the tank, the only thing to feed is what grows in or on the rocks.  To promote coralline algae growth, you can add supplements to keep calcium above 400.  To keep the critters alive, you can feed a few drops of liquid phytoplankton (such as DT) from time to time.  As an example, I have a few hundred pounds of live rock in a 55 that I don't run lights on.  The tank is full of tiny critters and I don't do anything to it except add a few drops of liquid phytoplankton once a week or so.  I also add calcium.  The rocks are all purple.  Best of luck, Roy>> Live Rock... cured quality  - 5/12/2006 After adjusting my 90gal saltwater tank for a sump setup, I purchased some larger pieces of live rock.  I have 4 large pieces about 12-20lbs each. The rock appears greeny/brown, slightly slimy.  The dealer said the rock was cured. <<If it is slimy and smells foul, it is not cured.  I always cure live rock for an additional few weeks after purchase before adding it to my stocked tanks.>> I've made frequent trips to this dealer and I'd believe the rock has been sitting in one of their tanks for about two to four weeks. If I recall, there wasn't much water flow in the tank the rock was being held in. <<I do not think the rock is fully cured.>> Before introducing the rock to my tank, I completely submersed the rock in a bucket of warm (24oc) fresh water for a few minutes. <<Does the potential of hitchhikers out weigh bio-diversity for you, then? I do not FW dip my live rock.>> I also closely examined the rock for worms or possible critters.  I couldn't see any.  The dealer mentioned that they always go through the process of checking as well. At the moment, I have the rock all setup in my main tank with my sump and skimmer working.  My water flow rate is about 13 times an hour.  After reading over some of your articles I'm wondering...  I left some small clam/muscle shells attached to the rock and there appears to be the odd little skinny stem or branch hanging off the rock.  Is this fine to leave as is? <<It is LIVE rock.  Critters are a good thing (with a few notable exceptions).>> The only critters I have in this tank are a sand sifting star and a larger serpent star (whom I can't find). <<I would remove the sand-sifter.  They deplete the sand bed of life and starve in all but the largest of tanks.>> The rest of my critters are anxiously awaiting their new home in a 20gallon tank.  I plan on doing a series of water tests tonight and again in a week.  If both tests show the water quality is good, am I ok to start stocking my tank slowly with fish? <<I would wait at least a few weeks with an addition of that much live rock.>> Would my water quality appear to be fine and then have a huge ammonia spike after a week if the new rock was rotting or would I expect to see the high ammonia spikes immediately? <<Die-off doesn't all happen at once.  I would wait a few weeks to be sure.>> Dave <<Lisa.>>

Live Rock Cycling 5/11/06 Hello Again WWM Crew, Your help thus far has gotten me to where I am and I am ready to take my next step!  I was hoping you could answer a few questions to help me do this. <<Woo Hoo!  Off to the races!  Will be glad to help out.>> I have a 75gal display tank with an overflow plumbed down to my basement into a 55gal tank converted to a refugium/sump. I have 1 inch of 50/50 live sand/aragonite in the display tank and 4 inches of the same in the refugium.  The live sand has been in the system for over a month and there are definite signs of life.  I have been curing 70 lbs. of previously uncured Caribbean and Tonga live rock for the past 2-1/2 weeks with my Aqua C remora in operation in plastic drums.  There is no detectable ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate at this point. <<Sounds like a very nice set up!  All sounds very good.>> This leads to my questions: Some of the rock still has a strong odor, is it safe to place into my system yet?  Once it is in the tank, should I expect another Nitrogen cycle? <<Hmmm... Shouldn't still be all that stinky unless there is a lot of decaying matter still attached.  I would go over the rock an carefully remove any dead or dying material (even using a toothbrush or small scrub brush in places).  Afterwards, do a large water change... on the order of 50%. If you haven't been doing water changes, change another 50% in a few days.  The rock should not cycle again after moving to the display.>> Will the tank be considered safe to add fish at this point or do I need to cause another cycle - perhaps using cocktail shrimp? (raw or cooked?) <<I would wait until you resolve the smell issue.  The fact that you aren't getting any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate could just mean that it is being processed as fast as it is being produced.  If there is enough stuff on your rock to stink... there is plenty to fuel the cycle.  There is no benefit to using a piece of shrimp or other piece of rotting meat to drive a cycle.>> How long should I wait until I can a few fish (pair of clowns) after all looks good? <<After the stink is gone, you should be fine to move the rock to the display and start adding animals.  I guess I should concede that the "stinkiness" of live rock is quite subjective.  If I unloaded my tank right now, my wife would say it stinks to high heaven, but I would say it smells like the beach.  Whether or not you find such smells pleasant or objectionable the difference in odor between living things (even unpleasant ones) and the stench of decaying organic matter is usually instinctively clear.  Your rock may be just fine now.>> I have reviewed most of the articles available on your regarding tank cycling and live rock but I am having trouble piecing it all together for my situation.  Thanks again for doing what you do.  You have been there every step of the way. Andy <<Every circumstance is different, so the posted articles don't always have all of the answers.  That is why we are here!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>> Curing live rock 4/30/06 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner, Thanks for your advices again. I am learning so much from your FAQs. <<AdamC here today.  Glad you are benefiting!>> Here is another situation. I am curing my own Live Rock which I got from the Ocean. I hand picked them and now they are in a Garbage barrel filled with seawater and for water circulation I have fixed a powerhead and an airstone. I am changing 100% water once a week and I picked all the dead stuff out the rocks. The Ammonia is at 0.3 ~ 0.4 and Nitrate is also similar.  I make the water changes I sometimes see small crabs (some are nearly 1 inch), snails, worms etc. I sometimes remove some dead/live worms whenever I see them but crabs are pretty hard to remove as they run around. Do you think they'll be fine when I add the rocks to my main tank? Or should I remove them somehow? <<I am of the opinion that no crabs should be trusted.  They can be easily trapped by baiting a glass or jar made of glass and placing it so that it leans against the rock.  When the crab enters the jar to get the bait, it cannot climb the smooth sides.>> When I add freshwater to my main tank to fill the evaporated water I usually add two drops of methylene blue to sterilize the freshwater. When I read some articles I found out that methylene blue is harmful to the Beneficial Bacteria in the tank. Is this a true fact or should I continue using it?  Best regards <<I would not use the methylene blue unless you have a reason to believe that the water is contaminated with harmful bacteria.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>> Live rock... curing, enjoying   4/21/06 Salutations from Mass. to the Crew: <Hello Mike, Jen here.> I am  three months into my first saltwater aquarium and everything is going well. I did a fishless cycle and cured my live rock at the same time as suggested under the FAQs. <Wonderful Start!> I have a 46 gallon tank which contains 45 pounds of what is becoming live rock. For equipment I have the following: Remora skimmer, <Great!> Magnum 350 Bio-Pro System (I run activated carbon in it), 200 watt heater and 2 Maxi- Jet power heads positioned in the back corners. Substrate is about a half inch bed of  Grey Coast calcite. I caved on that one to the other half, she needed to win one battle. <We all do!> Water parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, PH 8.3, SG 1.022 and Alk.2.2. I have no livestock as of yet. <MAJOR kudos to this!  I know it's hard.> I just find the live rock so cool and discover all kinds of new life everyday. <Me too, very cool.  Enjoy it, it only gets better.> So, I was thinking if I could just let all the new life flourish and add fish whenever. My question is, I noticed a few patches of hair algae on my live rock. Should I just let it go or get a critter to take care of it? <Depends if you're ready to add livestock.  Some would say let it go and it may take care of itself.  I don't chance that.  I would personally get some hermits to take care of the problem.  There are many options like the Blue-Legged Hermit Crab.  Check here for your choices: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm  > Also, without any fish should I treat the system any different ? Do 10% water changes weekly ? Should I still change the carbon bi-weekly ? I guess, what I want to know is should I just pretend there are fish in the system and treat it that way ? I know it is a kind of a strange situation that I am throwing at you, but any help or suggestions would be truly appreciated. <Nope, not strange at all.  It seems you've done everything you should!  I would treat the system just as you would if you had fish or inverts in there.  If nothing else its great practice!> Your website is the best, I have learned so much and continue to learn everyday from you guys. Thank you so much, Mike. <We're very glad you use the info!  Enjoy your tank'¦ there's much to experience.  Have a great one, Jen S.> Thanks Jen for the lighting quick response. I think a few crabs would keep things interesting and serve a purpose. Thanks again for shearing your knowledge. Mike. <No problem at all - Enjoy your little guys. Jen S.> Cured Live Rock/Nitrogen Cycle Confusion - 04/12/06 Hi Guys, <<...and Gals>> Firstly, just a comment from my side.  My first attempt at a marine tank was an absolute disaster, due to all the classic mistakes that beginners make.  This time around I feel a lot more prepared and confident with my new setup, because of 3 things: 1. Research done on your website. 2. Email assistance by your crew. 3. Dr. Fenner's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" Once again, thank you very much for all of this...without your help I would have been nowhere. <<Ah, all very good to hear...is truly a "collective" effort>> Secondly... I am at the point now where a very basic part of my new aquarium has me a little bit stumped.  I have read and searched through so many FAQ's on your side about this, but I still can't decide on the best step to take. <<Ok>> In short, my question is as follows.  My new tank is around 130 gallons, with about another 40 gallons in the sump.  Once my water was at the correct salinity and temperature, I added my aragonite substrate and 150 pounds of cured live rock.  The system has been running like this for 7 days now (skimmer and lighting are still switched off). <<I would fire up that skimmer>> At the moment there is still no trace of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates.  So to me this means 1 of 2 things: 1. The cycle happened so quickly that I didn't notice it. 2. There is no source of ammonia in the tank, so nothing to kick start the process. (Hard to believe, unless my live rock is actually dead rock) <<If your rock was truly "cured", then the first option is quite possible>> I'm hoping that (1) is the case because of all the live rock, but then why am I not seeing any nitrates? <<This is due to the large amount of cured rock>> I'm just a bit confused now.  Should I wait a couple more weeks and if no spikes occur then proceed to add the first livestock (at the risk of only then starting the cycle)? <<Small risk here in my opinion.  If you trust your test kits, go ahead and add your first fish and continue to monitor water quality.>> Should I add something to the system to "test" it or force the start of the cycle? <<Can do...toss in a pinch of fish food and see what happens if you wish.>> I've search the FAQ's about this and in general I get the idea that I should just leave it another few weeks and start stocking if no spike occurs, but I would still like some guidance if you can spare a moment. <<Likely all is fine but if you have the patience for it...throw in some fish food and give things another week>> Many thanks for you support. Chris <<Very welcome, EricR>>

Online vendors part2 3/30/06 Thanks a bunch AdamC.  It does help.  One remaining question on this. You wrote that 'pre-cured' live rock can often times mean less life on the rock when you get it...if I cure 'uncured' or 'raw' rock myself, won't a lot/most of the life on it die off during the cure or sitting in the box?  If not, why would the life disappear when the vendors cure it? Thanks again, and for letting me know about yesterday's message.  You guys/gals are awesome!  Eric B. <<Sorry for the confusion... there is much confusion about the terms "cured/curing" vs. "cycled/cycling" and also much inconsistency in how rock is handled.  Due to complaints about smell, appearance and the work involved in handling "raw" rock, most live rock collectors have taken to "curing" rock before shipping.  This process involves hand stripping all of the sponges, macro algae, etc. from the rock and then often literally scrubbing or power-washing it before packing.  It is true that if left on the rock, much of this material would die, but at least something would be left to have a chance!  Also, the process of "curing" or more accurately "cycling" new live rock when you receive it should include aggressive water changes, attention to water quality and frequent inspection to remove dead things before they decay.  These measures ensure maximal survival of all of that life that you pay so much money for. Many vendors (online and local) will unpack live rock when the receive it and begin the cycling process for you.  While this saves you time and effort, it will come at the expense of life if your dealer is less than conscientious in how they handle the rock.  My personal preference is to receive directly transshipped "raw" rock and cure/cycle it myself.  However this is a lot of work and there is a risk of dealing with a bit of bad odor.   Hope this helps.  Best Regards. AdamC.> Adding Live Rock - 3/17/2006 Hey Guys, <<I'm a girl :)>> The last few months I've been converting my 135 FO to a 135 Reef setup. <<Very exciting.>> I have been in the hobby for about 14 years but have had to do a lot of learning/ catch-up the last few months. You guys have answered a lot of questions and give me some good advice "thanks". <<You're welcome.>> Currently I have about 65 Lbs. of Live Rock, 200 Lbs. (3 1/2") of Live Sand, lots of inverts, Clown, Sohal Tang, Fiji Damsel. Large wet/ dry, good skimmer, UV. I recently purchased 45 Lbs. of additional Walt Smith LR from Reefer Madness. It is good looking rock, but a few pieces look pretty raw. I really went over it good with a pair of needle nose and a brush. I am curing it now; when it is cured and ready to be put in my tank should I put all in at once or put a couple of pieces a week? <<Some would say that if it is fully cured, add it all in, but I like to play it safer, adding only ~10 lbs/week.>> Also, I am curing it as outlined on your site with the exception of a skimmer (I only have one on the display-too hard to move). Since I do not have a skimmer for the curing process; should I just be extra vigilant of the water changes?  Any advice for curing LR without skimmer? <<Just keep up with the water changes, vacuuming any decaying material off the bottom of the curing tub as you go.>> Thanks, Kent <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>  

Live Rock/Curing  - 03/12/2006 A quick question.  I just recently added 20lbs of cured live rock to a existing 90gallon, it is the first live rock I have added to the tank. My ammonia levels have jumped up to .25. This tank has been around for 5 years and never had ammonia problems. I have two fish a des. tang ,and a per. clown. I have been monitoring them for a week and have done 2 water changes.   The levels have not yet gone down. Is there anything  can do to get the ammonia down, will it kill the fish at this level or how long can they last at this level? If the levels go down can I add more live rock?  <Live rock is never fully cured unless it comes out of a aged display tank, and even then, there can be some die-off as most live rock is just wrapped in paper.  This all depends on the length of your drive from the LFS.  In this regard it is best to cure the live rock in a separate tank to avoid the problems you have having.  What is happening is normal.  I'd get a Polyfilter pad and put it in your sump/filter to help get down the ammonia levels.  Do google search our site, keyword "liverock", and you will find all sorts of info on this.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Live Rock  - 03/14/2005 OK, so what I'll do is....fill the tank up with fresh water tonight......get it circulating and dechlorinate........add salt and heat.....then put my nice new cured rock in, directly from other tank,....maybe half hour or so of dry time due to travel.......then over the course of a few weeks do several large water changes using RO/DI.....to help minimize nutrients..........sound good?  <Do try to aerate this water as long as possible before adding the salt.  If excess CO2 is present your resulting pH will be no higher than 8.0 at best.  Use a couple of power heads with the air intake above water.  Will do the trick.  James (Salty Dog)>

Live Rock/Curing  03/07/06 Hello, Great web site. <Thanks> I'm 10 days into the process of curing 80# LR with 4" DSB in my 75gal tank. Skimmer is running all out, along with charcoal and vigorous water circulation. Red Sea salt mixed with RO/DI H2O. Ammonia zero, Nitrites zero, Nitrates 10, Phos 0.25. I'm running 220w of VHO about one hour a day (some coralline algae growth) and have a Chaetomorpha refugium with lights on 4 hours a day. Question: I have faintly green water; are these diatoms or some other algae-like growth? When should it go away, assuming my water parameters stay acceptable? <Would not run the lites at all until curing is done.  With the nutrients present during this process the lights just add to unwanted algae blooms.  I would leave the refugium lights on 24/7.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Hypersalinity/LR Curing - 03/02/2006 I have been getting ready for a new 125 set up and I have aprox. 80lbs of live rock I have been curing for probably 2 mos. now. <Whew! Is probably finished.> The problem is that I got lazy with top offs and when I did a salinity reading it was above the 1.030 mark and after adding a couple gallons of fresh ro it is still reading above the 1.030 mark. <Yikes!> Will this rock be ok or did I kill it. It looks good and smells super clean. <Likely fine.> What should I do from here? <If you already have the tank, I'd just place the rock in there. If not, and you must keep it in the curing container, just get the salinity straightened out. All should be well. - Josh> Live Rock Curing Time- 2/28/2006 I just purchased 80lbs of live rock and 150lbs of substrate, and I am curing it in a 75-gallon tank with Remora skimmer going full tilt, generous water circulation and lights 1-2 hours a day. The rock was fairly clean going in with few stems and a couple spots of dead sponge scrubbed off. Not too smelly. My issue-- Ammonia spiked at .25ppm on day one and then dropped to zero. On day #3, I was surprised to find a Nitrate reading of 50! This seems high to me. <<Not abnormal at all.>> Is my tank cycling lightning fast? <<This happens often with live rock.  Some never see typical cycling readings.>> Is my rock (Walt Smith, Tonga) pre-cured? <<No, you are seeing the curing now.>> I plan on watching, doing some water changes, gradually increasing photoperiod, and adding critters as things settle out in a couple of weeks. Am I on the right track? <<Certainly. Do be sure that curing is complete before adding livestock.>> Thanks. RB <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Curing Live Rock in Tank- With or Without sand?  - 02/25/06 Great website. I've Googled, scanned and Googled some more; and still cannot find a definitive answer to the following situation: <We may not have one> I am starting up a 75 gal reef tank with 80# uncured LR and plan on a 4-6" aragonite, sugar fine DSB. My LFS says I should cure the rock with the sand in place; the idea (apparently) is that the cycling rock will "seed" the sand with bacteria and critters- thus expediting the natural filtration building-up process. On the other hand, many Reefers are telling me Not to do this; the nutrient load will be too much, there'll be too much to siphon off, hidden cracks and crevices will rot causing numerous headaches and rampant destruction. To cure with sand, or not with sand; that is the question!? Russell <And a good one... valid arguments can be posited for either approach. Myself, I'd add the sand (and more to prevent loss of pH, alkaline reserve, biomineral), and vacuum a bit more. Bob Fenner>

Re: Curing Live Rock in Tank- With or Without sand? Light. - 2/28/2006 Thanks, I went with the sand and, so far, seems to be going well. Ammonia levels nearly zero, skimmer full tilt, two monster powerheads, T77, SG 23. Next question? How long to run the lights? <Mmm, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> I'm starting off at two hours a day and will work up as the tank settles out. RB

Calfo recommendations for rock curing 2/18/06 Hello.  I'm recently curing live rock and have been doing daily water changes over the last 9 days.  I came across Calfo and Fenner's book and bought it a year ago.  There is mention of buffering curing water with baking soda and/or Kalkwasser. What is the significance of this?  How does it work? My ammonia levels are now at 0 ppm and my nitrites have recently started to peak at anywhere from .25 to .50 ppm. Although the book says that I must maintain it below 1.0 ppm, I readily perform a water change the moment it gets to .50 ppm. Am I doing this right? You and I will both agree it's not cost effective but is it really necessary to do it the way I have been doing it? <Daily water changes may not be "cost effective", but they are preserving a lot of live and protecting your investment in live rock!  Kalkwasser and baking soda raise calcium and alkalinity (Kalk does both, baking soda only raises alkalinity) and their use should be based on the results of testing calcium and alkalinity.  Kalkwasser will also raise pH.> My PH levels have just gotten under control.  Somehow, sometimes after I do a water change, my ph levels are still too high (must be because of my tap water).  I think I may get it under control after my RODI system is installed (just waiting for my plumber and the unit to arrive).  What do you recommend to keep this regulated?  I think is far more difficult to lower the ph than raise it? <Check the pH of our tapwater.  If it is greater than 10, your RO unit should help some.  If it isn't, they it is OK (at least in terms of just the pH).  Also, newly mixed saltwater tends to have a high pH.  Saltwater should be allowed to age overnight with an airstone or powerhead for circulation before use.  This will usually normalize the pH.> Is this where the Kalkwasser and baking soda comes into play?  If so, please explain its merit. <Your aggressive water change schedule should be taking care of the demands for calcium and alkalinity, but I do recommend testing them and keeping the Calcium above 300 and alkalinity above 7 dKH during the cycle.> Is there anything else I can use?  I have a gallon each of Kent Marine's Tech C (A&B).  What components does this buffer besides raise the calcium levels? Is it even necessary to use this in curing my live rock at this stage or will it only add burden to the rock inhabitants? <There is no harm in using these now, but they are expensive.  I would suggest using Kalkwasser during the cycle if your test results suggest it is necessary to raise the calcium and alkalinity, and baking soda if you need to raise the alkalinity by itself.> Would the addition of bacterial facultative, aerobes and anaerobes benefit this process? <Probably not.  One of the great things about live rock is that it comes with everything it needs already on board!> Thank you very much....Steven del Villar <Glad to help.  We can't call you back, so I deleted your personal info for your privacy.  I would suggest finding out if ou have a local aquarium club, since they make great resources.  I know that Columbus has CORA, Cleveland has C-Sea and Cincinnati and Toledo have clubs as well.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Curing live rock - 18/01/06 Hi.. Any input on this would be appreciated. I'm new to all this  although I have been doing a lot research on books and such.. I have a 38 gallon tank that is cycled with some fish( 3 damsels, Clown, Hermit Crab and an Coral Beauty Angel) and I wanted to start a reef. I have   ordered a 192 50/50 lunar light and still have to purchase a protein skimmer.  I'm obviously going to add live rock so should the fish be taken out while the  water is being established and should I run the skimmer from the get go? <You would likely do best to cure the live rock outside the system. I would run the skimmer on the curing live rock, and then transfer the skimmer together with the rock once it is cured. Much information can be found by searching WWM for "curing" live rock.> Any other info on getting started would also be appreciated. <The information is already here, at your fingertips.> Thanks Craig Fromwiller <Welcome! Best regards, John.> Live Rock Curing - 12/21/2005 Hey guys, <Don't forget the ladies! Oh, and I apologize for the error in sending you the wrong message. I really don't know how that happened, one message was highlighted but you came up for the respond to.> I'm prepping to cycle a 150 FOWLR with 100lbs of live rock.  When I bought (online) the rock the guy said to keep the lights off for 4-5 days, run the skimmer, and feed the tank calcium. I know about the skimmer, but I have not heard about the light and calcium thing. <I prefer the lights on. I'm of the opinion that less dies if it's in a more natural environment (give 'em what they want). He probably said off to avoid/prevent any algae bloom. The calcium bit, I suppose, was to promote/protect the coralline algae. I wouldn't bother as you'll have to do water changes frequently anyhow.> He also said to do a 50% water change when the ammonia drops to 0. I'm using RODI water so I'm hoping that a change of that magnitude won't be necessary. <The RODI isn't going to help avoid the necessary water changes. You'll have to do these to keep the water from becoming toxic (ammonia, nitrite) and wiping out all survivors.> I've been trolling the FAQ but haven't seen anything regarding my questions. <I hope that has cleared them up for you.> Thanks in advance. <Glad to help. Here's your real response:) - Josh>

Re: Live Rock Curing - 12/22/2005 Thanks for the quick response. <Gladly.> My original comment about the RODI wasn't about the need to do frequent changes, but was about the need to do one massive 50% change when the ammonia drops. <Ahh, I see.> As you know, that would waste a ton of water to get 75 gallons of RODI. My plan was to change 5% twice a week once the entire cycle is complete, I just never heard about the 50% jobber that early in the cycle. <Your idea should be fine.> I'm certainly willing to do the best things for my "investment", but I just don't want to do things that aren't necessary. <Understood.>

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