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More FAQs about Curing Live Rock 4

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 5, Curing LR 6, Curing LR 7, 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,,

Best to have no livestock present when/where "curing" LR. Amblyglyphidodon curacao (Bloch 1787), the Staghorn Damselfish.

Curing Live Rock Hi, <hi, Ryan with you> I am setting up a new 70 gallon tank. I was thinking of cycling the tank with live rock. How do I cycle with live rock, how long will it take and how many pounds should I buy? Thanks for any info <Here's the article you're looking for.  If you have specific questions after research, feel free to email back.  Thanks!   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm>

Live Rock and Cycling (7/19/04) Hi,  <Steve Allen tonight.> I was thinking of putting 10 pounds of live rock in my 70 gallon. Then I was going to replace 15 gallons of water each week. Is this ok because I would like to preserve some of the life on the rock. How long would cycling take and could I add some of that bio-Spira stuff to help speed up the cycling? <Bio-Spira Marine is an excellent product for providing a big boost of viable nitrifying bacteria.> After the tank is cycled would some of the life on the rock grow back? Thanks for any info! <I'm not quite understanding here. I take it this is brand new tank with no fish? Are you going to be using cured rock purchased at a nearby LFS or uncured from on-line? If you are using uncured rock, you should add slowly or cure separately and then add. Curing rock is a stinky process. Read the FAQs on curing and live rock in general. And yes, it is truly amazing what can turn up on live rock that was added many months previously.>

Cured vs. Uncured Live Rock <Hello, Ryan with you today> hey guys ! great work! you guys are awesome! <Hey thanks!> I have a few more questions for you. I will try to be brief. <OK> first of all I have a new 120 gal tank with a 25gal sump and aqua c ev-180 skimmer in sump. if I cure live rock in my tank do I need to dose with any elements or just cure with water changes? <Skip the additives, assuming your pH is balanced.> secondly, would it be easier to buy cured live rock from the LFS <Not worth the extra money, and most "cured rock" isn't truly cured anyway.  You'll retain far more life on your rock getting it shipped in from Fiji.> ? if so would I dose and if so with what since I will only be adding some soft corals a few along with a clean-up crew when ready .<See above> Finally, I am getting ready to do a fill test with tap water. my tank has an internal overflow that feeds to my sump. should I fill the sump to manufacturers height along with the main tank till it starts to go into the overflow? <Yes, that will work.  As soon as the overflow starts feeding well, start the pump and start tuning> can you help? sorry this was long............<It's alright!  I enjoy helping anyone with this hobby  ;)  Good luck with the new setup! Ryan>

Rock In The Spotlight? Hi Scott <Hey!> Do I need to leave my lights on during the day for the live rock?  I get quite a bit natural light in the day and only keep my lights on for about 3-4 hours at nights? <During the initial cycling process, this should be fine> Should I consider maybe leaving some of the lights on during the day or am I ok? <Your call...Usually, the abundant nutrients in a new system, coupled with intense light is a recipe for nuisance algae blooms> The live rock looks fine but if it will even look better then I will definitely go for it.  What do you think? Thanks Regards, Ziad <I'd go for the limited lighting initially, as you thought. Many of the light-loving animals on the rock will rebound from the cycling process, once the water chemistry stabilizes and light is available. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Live Rock Death? <Ryan with you today>        I actually already do have the 150 gallon, it is just a matter of when the budget will allow me to set it up the way I would like to. If push came to shove I could compromise and set it up as a simpler system sooner than later. <Gotcha> On a different note, as I mentioned previously the 33 gal contains about 10 lbs of live rock and I would like to gradually add 15-20 more lbs. The tank has a standard canopy with a 20 watt fluorescent tube which I have been told will not support all the life forms on the rock. <True, but the rock will still serve it's primary purpose: Biological Filtration.>  If this is the case, am I doing more harm than good by adding live rock that will likely end up as mostly dead rock?  <Yes, you're rock will go through a "die-off period," but it's not going to kill your rock.  Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm.  Good luck! Ryan>

- Curing Live Rock - Hello friends! Just wanted to stop and say what a great job you are doing before I present my ? I have a 60x18x24 brand new. It will be a FOWLR with the exception of some moderate light soft corals. In my research of pre-cured live rock some say to cycle it with the skimmer off and some say to cycle it with the skimmer on. <Skimmer on.> I would like to keep the lights in tank on for only 3 hours a day as to not promote algae but yet to promote coralline. what are your suggestions to this and what is the most effective way in curing and cycling a new tank????? <Well, it all depends on how patient you are. An option often promoted is to cure it in the tank, and then let the algae grow like mad. It's part of a natural succession of things and can take up to a year. In that time your whole system will come to have a life of its own, no fish. Then, introduce some algae eaters, and so on. Works really well if you are very patient and can wait for such things.> Thanks for your patience and help. <Cheers, J -- >

Cycling Rock and Unhappy Spouse! Hi Scott <Hi there!> How r u? <Doin' great, thanks!> I purchased my live rock (Kenyan)  yesterday from my LFS. They gave it to me in plastic bags without water which I was not too happy with. <Actually, as long as it's moist, it should be fine for short periods...No cause to worry> However, I drove straight home and placed them in my tank like they advised. A lot of the stuff on there looks to be dead, hanging lifeless crap. <Yep- much of the life on live rock dies out during transit and acclimation, only to re-emerge after the die off ceases. This is part of the reason why we advise "curing" the rock in a separate container before placing it in the display tank...> The tank is starting to smell and for the first time am I seeing my skimmer work, generating thick dry foam. <Well, that's a beautiful thing! (The foam, that is!)> Should I remove all the rock and hose them off, clean them and put them back or should I just leave it for now and start doing my weekly water changes. <Well, since you're essentially curing the rock in the tank, I'd doe some frequent water changes for a while, clean the skimmer regularly, and then start monitoring ammonia and nitrite. Usually, I do not advocate water changes while cycling your tank, but with the rock curing in the display, my best advice is to get the yucky stuff out of the water, then monitor the tank for progress in the cycling process...A bit unorthodox, but it works. Just be patient, and don't rush things...!> I don't have any fish or anything else in the tank. Took me a while to landscape the rock as well but if you feel that I should take them out and clean them first then so be it. <I'd leave it alone, as discussed> If I were to pressure hose them wont that be killing everything and destroying the rock? <Well, you might be damaging what is not already dead, but I think it would be better to siphon off the dead/necrotic material from the rock while performing the water changes that we discussed...> Please advise the smell is getting hectic. Wife is even starting to complain. Thanks Again. Ziad <Yikes! You're already at the "spouse is complaining" stage! My recommendation is to perform the water changes that we discussed, work the skimmer hard, and utilize activated carbon/Poly Filter to help remove some of the organics and their affiliated odors. Finally, a nice night out with your wife, along with a properly-sized piece of jewelry, should stave off the calls to trash the tank for a while...If things decline further (with your significant other's feelings about the tank, that is!), let me know...We're going to have to use different tactics...(More gifts, perhaps...LOL! Seriously, just use the course of action that we discussed, and things should improve! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Regards Ziad Limbada

Getting The Smell Out! (Curing Live Rock In The Display) Hi Scott <Hello again!> You mention frequent water changes. <Yep- I am a water change geek- I admit it...> My tank is around about a 75 gallon. How often and how much of the water should I be changing with regard to curing my new live rock? Every second day? And how long would I need to do these frequent water changes? <I'd shoot for every two or three days, in small amounts- like 5-10 percent. You'll want to do these water changes for as long as it takes to get the stinky stuff out...Then you can let the tank cycle as normal. This is the approach that I'd use if curing rock in the display> Thanks Ziad <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Getting The Smell Out (Curing Live Rock In The Display) Pt. 2 Ok Scott <Yes..?> So what happens when the tank stops smelling? <Domestic conditions improve for you, for one thing!> I notice it is getting a bit better. <Glad to hear that!> How long do I need to let the tank cycle for before I can add fish. I was thinking of leaving it for another 4-6 weeks and then check for ammonia and nitrates. <Well, let the ammonia and nitrite readings dictate the cycle time...> I will carry on performing my weekly water changes even once the smell is gone just to keep the water conditions in tip top condition. <Not a bad call> I don't wanna rush things so let me know if u think 4-6 weeks is reasonable? <Sounds quite reasonable, although it's hard to quantify days/weeks when talking about a tank cycling- all predicated upon measurements...> Another thing- do you know if I could get Siporax maybe from a hardware shop or plumbing place? Or is it something specifically designed for aquarium use? <To my knowledge, this is a special glass material that is strictly marketed for aquarium purposes. Noticed I said "marketed", not "manufactured"? I don't know if there is some sort of industrial "generic" product of similar composition out there...You may need to do some homework on that one> The LFS prices for Siporax are really ridiculous just thought that they maybe another cheaper alternative being aware that filter media don't come cheap. <Let's put it this way- I have a friend who uses plastic hair curlers as biomedia...If you're into filter media, your imagination is the limit...> One last question? Should I ever clean the Siporax in my sump by rinsing it out in time or should I just let it be? <If your goal is to use this stuff as biological media, then I'd leave it alone. Otherwise, you risk disrupting the beneficial processes that the resident bacteria engage in.> Thanks Again Regards Ziad Limbada <You're quite welcome! Scott F> - Live Rock Problem -  I have just had a big problem with my live rock. I noticed that my tank had a slight odor to it. <Sounds to me like the rock was not fully cured.> I tested the water and everything was 0 but the pH was about 8.0. I did about a 15% water change and the next couple of days the tank looked great. <But what was the pH?> Then I noticed that crabs and star fish were not active and the water was slightly cloudy. As the week went on the water became cloudier and the fish started looking slow. I tested the water and everything was 0 but the pH had fallen to 7.4. I added a buffer and within minutes I noticed everything being more active. The next day I tested the water again and the pH had fallen back to 7.4. I added the buffer again and retested the water. The pH was back up to 8.3. A star fish was dead along with most of the crabs, a blue tang, and a bicolor angel. <Hmm... probably killed by the pH swings. For each tenth of a point, you either halve or double whatever value you are looking at. pH 8.1 is twice as acidic or half as base as pH 8.2. Any time you attempt to change pH, you shouldn't move more than a tenth of a point in a day, even less if you can do it.> I took out the live rock because there looked like a white film was over it. It was then that I noticed the rock was bad. The bottom of the rocks were black and smelled so bad. I placed them into five gallon buckets. The next day algae covered rock that once was purple and green was now 100% black. Do you have any idea what happen? <It seems to me that perhaps your rock is not fully cured.> The only thing I can think of is that the bottom of the rocks were not getting any O2 so it started to die and break down. The smell was like sulfur and that might be why the pH was dropping. <The die-off on the live rock was probably what was pushing the pH lower.> So now that the rock is black is there any coming back for it, or is it time to bleach it? <Give it two to three weeks in a tank or Rubbermaid bin of its own, with proper circulation and protein skimming. Scrub off the dead algae. The rock will be worth using by then. You might want to peruse this FAQ and the FAQs beyond as the process has been detailed there: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm > How can I stop this from every happening again? <Cure the rock first, then add other life.> Even the live sand smelled bad. Could that have been a problem caused by the rock or maybe the other way around. I am so lost. Had everything perfect for about 4 months and now this happens. <Hmm... four months... well, perhaps the rock was cured or partially-cured, with much algae and other life that had not been cleaned off. Because you don't detail much else about your system, I can only guess that your problem was related to a lack of circulation... this would create these dead zones which you describe. Very likely it was a combination of these factors that brought down the house, so to speak.> Very quick too. Well, thank you for your help.  <Cheers, J -- > 

Live Rock for a New Reef Aquarium >Hi guys! >>Hi yourself, Marina here. >First, let me thank you for your rapid responses to my earlier questions. I genuinely appreciate the help. >>You're welcome, even though it wasn't I who helped/responded. >I am setting up a new 55 gallon reef aquarium. I will be using a sump, refugium, protein skimmer, and live rock and sand. I have a few questions about live rock. I am operating on a budget, but I want to do this right the first time. I can purchase "raw" rock at a cheaper price than the "cured" variety. But, in the long run would I actually save myself any money by taking this route? >>Maybe not money, because during the cure of "raw" rock, you'll need to make copious water changes.  HOWEVER!  By doing so you can expect to get a MUCH better variety of life, as well as keeping more of it intact by curing yourself.  In my opinion, it would indeed be worth it. >Would I be better off to purchase "cured" rock, then use it to cycle my new tank? >>No.  There is often confusion about the difference between curing live rock and cycling a tank.  Now, live rock can and does provide both nitrifying bacteria (that which oxidizes nitrogenous wastes), as well as denitrifying bacteria.  However, when endeavoring the initial cycle, all you're looking to do is establish a culture of nitrifying bacteria.  This is easily done by placing the sand/substrate (either with or without the live rock) in the tank, filling it with saltwater, and tossing in a bit of raw shrimp.  Allow this to decompose, test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and the progression should be as follows: peak in ammonia, then nitrite, then nitrate.  By the time you get to peak nitrate readings your ammonia should be zero.  By the time ammonia and nitrite are zero, your tank is cycled. >What about using base rock and topping it off with live rock, how long could I expect the live rock to seed the base rock? >>If the tank is already cycled, and the live rock already cured, it would then depend in part on your husbandry.  I would expect growth of organisms to take a few weeks, but could take several months or more. >What about curing the rock in my tank, how bad of an odor can I expect? >>BAD!!  Plus, you really don't want to run the risk of establishing nuisance animals (read: mantis) in the main.  Cure the rock in trash cans or tubs, with lots of good skimming and LOTS of water changes to ensure you keep most life. >I don't want to run the rest of the household off. >>That would be likely if you cure raw rock in the tank in the house.  Believe me!   >I apologize, but just one more question. I have been investigating several live rock suppliers on the internet. Do you have any suggestions for reputable suppliers? >>Harbor Aquatics, and Gulf View seem to have the best customer response.  From what I understand Harbor seems to have the best rock by far. >Thanks for the help! I have just began reading Bob and Anthony's new book "Reef Invertebrates", this book is excellent! I have not gotten very far into it yet, but it has already cleared up many issues for me. Great job!  Doug >>Many thanks from them, and I hope this information has helped.  Marina

Live Rock Curing / Test Result Question >I have read everything I could find on your site about curing live rock, and did not find an answer to this (hope I didn't miss it).  I am curing 45 lb of Fiji live rock from LiveAquaria (nice looking rock!).  This rock is "pre-cured" (partially) which I thought would make for less die off when I got it.   >>No, it simply means that they've put it through a period of cure, instead of sending you transshipped rock.  However, whatever was left or growing again on the rock will suffer another die-off due to the fact that it's been shipped.  Really can't be helped. >I just set up a 55 gallon aquarium, and am curing the rock in there.  I put the rock in last Thursday.  When I put it in I scraped off the sponges that looked unhealthy, and have been taking each piece out daily and scraping off anything that was black, white, or very mushy.  LiveAquaria recommends doing a 50% water change once a week until the rock is cured.   >>I think that depends, it may not be sufficient. >I want to maximize that life that remains on the rock, so I decided to do more water changes than they asked for (more based on ammonia readings as your site recommends).   >>Good idea. >I tested the water after a day and a half  in the tank, and the total ammonia was off the chart (SeaChem test kit), it was a purple color.  I did a 30% water change.  I tested a few hours later and it was still off the chart, but I let things be.  Two days later I did a 60% water change.  After this water change, total ammonia was still off the chart.  I decided to add Chemi-pure (didn't want the ammonia killing all life).  Yesterday I tested the water, and total ammonia was still purple (off the chart), even when the sample was diluted 50%.   >>Hhmm.. I decided to test free ammonia (I don't know much about testing, first salt water tank), and it didn't register at all.  I figured that the Stress-zyme I was using to dechlorinate or the Chemi-pure was causing this.   >>Can't recollect if that product can give false positives. >My rock looks very clean, there is no visible decaying matter on the rock.  I have been cleaning pre-filters and filter pads daily, and have been putting a Rio 2100 in to circulate water and help push waste on the bottom toward the overflow for about an hour a day.   >>I'd keep the circulation going 24/7. >I have a 55 gallon AGA tank with overflow, Amiracle SL-50 wet/dry, Amiracle counter current protein skimmer, SeaClone 100 skimmer (read about how bad it was the day after ordering, seems to be a common theme), #40 Arag-alive special grade reef sand (put in the tank a week before adding the LR to seed bio filter).  The Amiracle skimmer is producing some dark liquid, though not in as much quantity as I would like, the SeaClone is junk as expected and has not produced any significant waste.  I feel like my ammonia levels should certainly not be off the chart.   >>Agreed. >I have been spending lots of time keeping this live rock as clean as possible, and have done more water changes than recommended.  It seems as if the water changes are lowering the ammonia level at all.  I removed the Chemi-pure yesterday to see if the free ammonia went up (good idea?).   >>Can't hurt. >Any advice would be appreciated.  I want to preserve as much life as possible on the LR.  I already plan to get a high quality skimmer when budget allows, but these two should hold me over for now I hope. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question. -Ken >>I would look to the test first.  Test a clean sample, and then possibly titrate it, drop by drop.  Even though this won't give you an accurate level, it will either confirm or deny the test's veracity.  Then I'd look to your nose (no pun intended) as the best indicator of die-off, etc., of the live rock.  I do know that some dechlorinators can give false ammonia readings, so, if possible, try to find simple sodium thiosulfate, or another dechlorinator that's as simple a product as possible.  Changing the water even daily is an excellent plan, in my opinion, though I'd be curing in trash cans, but no worries.  I do hope this helps, and if you can, try to find "The Natural Marine Aquarium - Reef Invertebrates" for an excellent section on live rock.  Marina

- Losing Fish - Hi, This weekend my husband and I set up a new tank (180 liter). We bought 4 new fish and our two juvenile common clownfish joined this tank. We used 50% of the water of our old tank. Besides fish we had put 1 live rock from Indonesia in it and some other rocks. After two days all the new fish past away. We cleaned the tank and put our little two clownfish in the hospital tank. In this tank we already had another fish and a shrimp. My husband also changed the filter system in the hospital tank with the one of our new tank. The filter system is 1400 l/H. Our hospital tank is only 30 liters. The next day the other fish in the hospital tank died but the two clownfish and the shrimp are still happily swimming in the tank. The level of ammonia was zero, Ph was 8 and the NO3 was high. The next day I changed the filter with the old one again.   Can you tell me what happened. Because I can't believe that the fish got toxified, because the smallest fish survived. I do think that there was something with the live rock, because they told me that it was cleaned but some kind of black worm came out of it. I threw it away when I cleaned the tank. <Most likely the fish were already on the downward slope when you got them. To say any more specifically than that would take either clairvoyance or dissection under a microscope, so I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you. What type of fish were they?> Thanks Julie. <Cheers, J -- >

Dry Live Rock Hello Crew,   To start with some praise, the info I've been reading in your FAQ has been great and very informative. <Great!> Now for my unique problem.  I just received 22 lbs of Fiji Live rock from a mail order company for my 45 gallon fish and invert aquarium.  The problem is when I received the rock the box was slightly crushed and all of the water leaked out, both box and news paper lining were soaked. <Live rock is never sent submerged. Rock is packed in lined cardboard boxes covered in wet newspaper. Sending it submerged would not only increase the amount of die-off (water would become toxic quick) but skyrocket the shipping costs.> The live rock already smelled pretty bad, but I still placed it in the 30 gallon tub they recommend for curing. <Welcome to the stinky world of curing> After 24 hours it's really getting ripe. <Check out the several live rock curing FAQ's including this one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm. Bob and Anthony's book Reef Invertebrates has a spectacular chapter on this subject.> Since this is my first attempt at live rock I'm not sure what curing should smell like. What do you think am I completely wasting my time and money trying to cure this stuff or should I just toss it and demand a replacement shipment?  Chuck  <Hehe, nothing wrong with this shipment, just lots of dead stuff from shipping. In short, you'll want to remove any blatantly dead or questionable sponge and plant matter from the rock, change the water in the tub frequently to avoid the massive ammonia and nitrite spikes that will soon come, and hopefully hook up a protein skimmer. Depending on how nasty this rock is, it will probably take 3-4 weeks for it to be completely cured. Good luck! -Kevin>

Live Rock Cycling <Hello! Ryan with you> My tank has been running for just over 2 weeks now and I was told that since I setup my new Aquarium with Cured Live Rock/Live Sand, it cycles in like 5-10 days. <It may, but it's always better to over-shoot.  Give it at least 3 weeks to stabilize.> ( I have a 29gallon Acrylic tank with a Coralife 130w (65w white, 65w Actinic), 100w Heater, SeaClone 100 skimmer, Fluval 2 Plus Underwater Filter, Aquaclear 301 power head, 40lbs Live Rock and 40lbs Live Sand ) I talked to the Store where I bought my stuff to start the tank, and told him that the Ammonia was at 0.50 as well as my nitrites at 0.50 and he said I should do a 15% water change. <I'd wait until fully cycled> I said that I thought you were suppose to wait for the Tank to cycle (4-8weeks) before you did your first water change. <Yup> He said since I used the cured Live Rock/Live Sand my tank should have already cycled.  I have read that until your tank cycles you will get above normal ammonia, then above normal nitrite, then above normal nitrate, then it is cycled.  Help me out here, what is the deal, is my tank cycled and I should start doing weekly 10-20% water changes. <What are your reading to date?> My Brown algae kicked in around day 4 and was kind of there for like 3-4 days but is gone now, and the tank is actually doing well with the exception to this ammonia/nitrite thing. Heck I got a Dwarf Flame Angel and a Bicolor Pseudo that are doing really well as well as some snails/cleaner shrimp and 4 hermits with a Sand Sifter Star. <Whoa!  Don't you think you should make sure it's cycled before adding all that livestock?  Now that I get the picture, it seems like you a re-cycling.  By adding all that bio-load in a short period of time, you've maxed out the available resources for processing waste.  You need to be very mindful of your nitrite and ammonia- they could easily stress your livestock.  And be extra light on feedings until everything pans out.> They are all swimming and eating well, I take out the extra food they do not eat or miss and am only feeding them like 1/4 part of a small frozen Mysis Shrimp cube.  I was reading that until a tank is well established you will get these small Ammonia/Nitrite amounts until the Live Rock/Live Sand Biological environment gets established.   <Please read> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm I am new to the Saltwater realm coming from 10 years of freshwater, and have read a lot of different opinions as well as listened to the opposing two fish stores I shop at.  I think I bought a good starting setup for a Reef Aquarium and just want to make sure I can get this started well so I can start putting more Inverts/fish in my system.  I know I should wait like 4-6 months before I put Corals in my tank, but I want to get some inverts and fish established first with a stable system. ( Dwarf Flame Angel Might peck at hard and soft corals, but they say that only 2 in 10 peck at hard and soft corals. My wife liked him so I am taking the 80% chance that he will not.) <You're already pushing things- A Flame Angel in a tight fit in a 29 gallon.  The smaller a tank is, the more likely he is to "sample" your corals.  Please go very slowly, and check out Mr. Fenner's portion of CMA on smaller systems.  It should be very helpful in your new project.  Good luck! Ryan>

Live Rock Cycling pt. 2 <Ryan on the follow-up> Well, My Ammonia is at .25 and the Nitrites went to zero when I measured on Sunday, my Nitrates were just above 10ppm. <OK> Now 3 days later, my Ammonia is still at .25 maybe just up a bit but not at .50 with Nitrites still at zero and the Nitrates are at an even 20ppm.  I did get a slight case of Ich, the Flame Angel got it on it's 3rd or 4th day in the tank. ( it must have brought it with him.) I have been using the stop parasite and a PH buffer to keep the PH at 8.2. <Don't medicate your live rock.  Are you familiar with quarantining new additions to your tank? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm>  I also added a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.  I am turning the lights off for most of the day.  The stop parasite says I can leave the skimmer on, but I took out the carbon out of my Fluval filter. <Good> It seems to have pretty much gone but I am still going to use the Stop Parasite for 2 more days.  I am feeding very little, they just look so hungry all the time looking around for food and sampling something floating and spitting it out since it is not food. <That's normal- fish look for food most of the day.  The live rock also provides wonderful little snacks for them to munch periodically.  Resist the urge.  Best of luck! Ryan>

Live Rock Stow-Aways? Hey gents. Have a question regarding the pests that seem to be frequently encountered with the addition of live rock to a tank. Have a 150 g FO marine tank to which I would like to add some live rock for aesthetics and filtration purposes. I will definitely cure the rock for several weeks before introduction to the tank. My question is, what steps can I take to eradicate (as much as pos.) these pests (mantis shrimp, bristle worms) during the curing process? As my sanity is in short order, I would much rather try to prevent the problem, than try to solve it later. Thanks,  Mike <Bristle worms aren't really pests. There are only a very few and very rare species that are corallivores. In fact, they are normally associated with the beneficial act of processing detritus. Besides, they are pretty much unavoidable with live rock. Mantis shrimp on the other hand are almost impossible to detect until they are settling in your tank and wreaking their havoc. The best advice I can offer is scan the pieces at night with a red flashlight to look for them.  best, Chris>

Cycling - 8-13-03 Hi guys,  <Howdy, Cody here today.> As I have stated before, GREAT WEBSITE!  Need some info.  In cycling the tank there seems to be a great debate as to what methods are best.  Lights on, lights off, skim or not to skim, additives or none, you get my drift.  What do you recommend and why?  <I usually set the tank up let it sit a couple of days then add LR.  While the rock is cycling I leave lights off so I do not get a algae bloom from the increased nutrients, I also run the skimmer from day one to help cycle the LR.  Then when every thing is cycled I add my cleaning crew and start adding additives.  I only add calcium as needed to my tank and let the weekly 10% water changes do the rest.  Cody>  Thanks in advance.  Sam

Live Rock/Curing/Cycling/Stocking Hello Fish God's and Goddesses,   Once again I find myself asking for your great wisdom oh wise ones. <Well, I wouldn't go THAT far, but thanks anyway!> Brief History: Have kept freshwater for 20+ years ... have extra cash... wanting to convert to reef ...... have existing Cichlid tank ...in process of finding good homes for Cichlids.....tank size 130g W/ 45g sump....Aqua C skimmers in transit .... picked up 30g quarantine tank yesterday .....planning on approx 200lbs assorted LR with 6-7" DSB ..... want to quarantine/cure rock before adding to main display.....main display will require cycling from scratch once Cichlids are gone and tank cleaned....... have been planning transition for several months and have read a good portion of your great site....still have a few questions though. <Sounds great so far!> Is a nitrogen cycle a nitrogen cycle is a nitrogen cycle whether it be fresh or salt water? <Essentially.  You'll see an ammonia spike, a nitrite spike, followed by a nitrate spike.  Same old, same old.> Am I correct in thinking that the reason to introduce LR to cycle a system is for the source of ammonia the life forms on the rock provides which then develops and feeds the first set of bacteria.....once the first set of bacteria is established they continue to grow and to consume the ammonia resulting in nitrites as their byproduct.......due to the available nitrites the second set of bacteria begins to grow and continues to consume the available nitrites resulting in nitrates as their byproduct which is then controlled by water changes?  And once the two sets of bacteria are established an equilibrium is reached between the byproducts of the tank occupants whether live rock/fish etc. and the bacteria living in the tank/filter systems thus completing the Cycle and balancing the system? <What's basically the right idea - but the most wonderful plus of LR is that it already contains gobs of bacteria (and all kinds of other wonderful goodies).  Also of note is that there will be a lot of die-off on the LR (bacteria, other organisms) that will start the process (lots of ammonia).> Would I then be correct in thinking that at anytime you add any additional LR, fish, inverts, etc. (bioload) it would cause an ammonia increase for a short time to allow the bacteria to grow enough to completely consume and process the new load? Kind of a mini cycle? <Essentially.  Same as with a FW tank, in that respect.  However, in an already established, stocked system, any additional live rock must be cured BEFORE going into the tank.  The first batch, however, will do best in the main tank (with no fish/inverts yet) to cycle the tank and cure at the same time.> With that said, in my particular situation, I am wanting to quarantine/cure my LR before adding to main tank. I was thinking of cycling the main tank with just the 6-7" DSB providing it with an ammonia source. I would then be quarantining/curing the LR at the same time the tank is cycling so the timing works out. Once the tank is cycled the LR should be ready to be placed into the tank. <Any particular reason you don't want to use the LR to cycle the tank?  I think it'd do a much better job of it than just the sand, and the rock's going to go through a cycle anyway, be it in QT or in the display.  Once it's done curing/cycling, you'll be safe for critters.> Now if the main tank is completely cycled and I then add the live/cured rock from the quarantine tank, of course, depending on the amount of rock added this will surely cause an ammonia spike as the bacteria in the display tank is not sufficient in size to handle the additional load. <Well, not really, as the rock itself harbors far more bacteria than just the live sand alone.  I don't think you'd see an ammonia spike - but then again, I don't see any reason not to cure the first batch in the main tank.> Will this ammonia spike be detrimental to the newly placed pampered LR? Will the higher ammonia kill anything on/in the rock? Here in western Canada live rock ranges from $6.00-$12.00/lb for premium  so for 200 lbs I would like to pamper my investment and not put it through any unnecessary stress. <Understandable.  The rock will go through a cycle no matter what you do; that's what the curing process is.> Because of the cost I was hoping to add the LR in 3 stages a month or 2 apart. First batch of rock will be 75lbs, second 70lbs and the final batch 50lbs. If I add these in stages, each time I do causing an ammonia spike.... say I get to adding the third batch .....would the increase in ammonia be detrimental to the LR from the first 2 batches? I could quarantine/cure the rock all at the same time and add it together but would this not create a dramatic spike in ammonia possibly having to start the whole cycle over again? <Well, your first batch, go ahead and do in the main tank.  The next batches, do in QT.  Once each batch has cured, they're good to go into the main tank and shouldn't cause an ammonia spike.> Being a fishless cycler myself  I cycled my Cichlid tank using pure household ammonia. Because of the species of Cichlids I wanted to keep, I wanted to add them all (30 altogether ranging 1-2") at the same time so their sizes would remain relatively the same as they grew older thus reducing potential conflicts. Having no idea of what the average bioload of a 2" Cichlid was nor how to convert it into the amount of bacteria required to handle the load I took a calculated guess. I started off with adding small amounts of the ammonia. Once the tank was completely cycled the first time I continued to feed the tank slowly increasing the amount of ammonia added. I cycled the tank for 9 weeks at which time I was feeding the tank 5 ounces of ammonia daily. Two ounces in the morning and three ounces in the evening. By morning ammonia and nitrites were 0. Healthy batch of bacteria I thought to myself. <Sounds good> The big day finally came and I added all 30 Cichlids. Gravely concerned about what was going to happen I tested the water hourly for the first few days staying home from work to do so. I am happy to report that neither ammonia nor nitrites increased at all. The only adversity I had was a couple days after I added the fish the water became slightly cloudy for a few days. I suspect this was due to a bacteria dye-off as the additional ammonia was no longer available to support them. That was 11 months ago and I haven't lost one yet. <Excellently done.> In theory would this same technique work with saltwater as well? If I were to get the display tank processing additional ammonia again could I then add all the LR at the same time? <Before you add fish, you can most certainly add all the LR at once to do the cycle and cure.  IMO, that's the best option.> Or could I slightly over feed the display tank with the enough ammonia to add the first 75lbs of rock with no adverse affects? I would then continue to slowly feed the tank small amounts of additional ammonia to build up the bacteria in preparation to adding the second batch and then the third? If I guess wrong as to what the correct additional amount of ammonia is .... what can happen... either a bacterial dye-off if too much feeding or a shorter mini cycle time if not fed enough. <Again, if you do the LR in batches, cure (cycle) it first, then add it to the tank and you should be fine.> I hope all this makes sense? Anyway, I have taken enough of your valuable time and let me know if you think I am nuts? <Well, I dunno about you, but I know I sure am!! ;D > Your thoughts/comments/criticisms would as always be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance for being there for us dummies!!! You guys/gals rule!  I apologize for the lengthy message but I need to get this clarified!  Gary <And thank you for all the kind words.  Hope I was able to shed some light!  And in case I didn't, check out the LR articles/FAQs, or get back to us! Sabrina>

-Cobwebs on LR- Hey you smart marine sort of guys! <Helllooo, Kevin here> There are three things on my live rock that I can't seem to find the names of.  First, there are "cobwebs" on an occasional piece.  (I have seen cobwebs mentioned in some of the FAQ's, but they were never explained.)  The webs have little white specks sticking to them. <Could be a certain sedentary snail who creates a mucus net to catch his food.> I assumed that they were grains of sand, but now I'm not certain because .... two days ago I introduced two new fire shrimp into the tank - they were happy that day, but late that evening I noticed what looked like a web-like cocoon beginning to surround one of them.  By the following morning, the cocoon was quite extensive. <Was the shrimp alive and well, walking around in this blob?!> I assumed that he might have molted because of the tank change and the webbing was surrounding the skeleton. I still have not seen the shrimp again - I don't know if it was actually him that was dead, or his skeleton. <Sounds like it died, if it was alive it would be moving its legs constantly.> Secondly, my second fire shrimp today is accumulating lots of little white specks.  I don't know if it's ich or sand or what.  Can shrimp get ich? <No> But the specks look like the same things that are sticking to all the cobwebs.  (Again, maybe just sand ... we don't know.) <Hmmm... Not sure, maybe just pods.> The second unidentified "stuff" looks like what I would call a sponge (but I'm not a sponge expert).  It grows on miscellaneous pieces of rock.  It just covers it with a foam-looking layer (like the little pieces of foam you would stuff a pillow with).  It recently covered a piece of rock that had a pretty red coralline algae growing on it.  Then the "foam" seemed to die and slough off.  And the coralline is now regrowing again. <Sounds like the rock was still curing, the "foam" a byproduct of the dead stuff breaking down. Otherwise it could have been a fast growing sponge that finally crashed... Not really sure what it is...> And, lastly, all of the rocks seem to also be "sloughing" off dead organic matter.  It looks like what I think would occur during the curing process.  But we got our whole system several weeks ago from a friend, and the rock and sand was established and mature.  We left the rocks and sand in the original water while transporting it.  After setting it back up, (with mainly new water) we waited for it to "recycle" through the shock of being moved.  After it stabilized again, we then began slowly adding a fish or two... etc.  We never noticed this "sloughing" material earlier.  It has just become more noticeable recently.  We "turkey baste" the gook off the rocks pretty often.  Today the cobwebs floated into the surrounding water when I was "basting".  Aaaaaand... our water parameters are all normal. <Interesting, you have no ammonia or nitrite? That would be your curing indicator. The "sloughing" material is likely detritus that is beginning to accumulate, I'd suggest increasing circulation through the rockwork.> Thanks so much for your help!  You guys are da' bomb! <You best believe it, dawg. -Kevin> -Gina

Live rock apocalypse 08/04/03 Hello Crew <Hi Mendy, PF here tonight> Recently placed  my 90+ lbs. of two year old live rock in garbage container with heater and pump. Went away for week-end and came back to the foulest smelling room. I think heater malfunctioned. I immediately placed rock into new container with new salt water. Is the live rock totally dead? Is there any way to save the live rock?  At the bottom of the original container, there were a ton of bristle worms and other worms all dead.  I plan on doing another water change tomorrow.  Any answers will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Mendy1220 <Oh ow! Yikes! Well, basically your rock is like low grade LR now, and should probably be re-cured. I'd say a better option than a 55g container would be a large water trough, like the kind you can get at home repair places (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc) or farm supply stores. Better surface area. be sure and put plenty of current in there to avoid dead spots too, skim it, and run carbon. Hopefully enough spores/eggs/larvae should survive to reseed your rock. Good luck, PF>

-More on curing live rock- There's no fish in the tank what should I do when I have nitrite spikes?? <Water change> Also so I did a hefty water change last night and I checked the nitrite right after and they were still high?? <You need to get both your ammonia and nitrite well below 1 ppm. You'll probably need to do massive water changes (75%+) if you plan on making a considerable dent in the levels. No rocket science here, just keep those levels down. -Kevin> Thanks for all you guys do Jason

Re: Dirty Water <Howdy, Kevin here. Your message was already flagged that it had been replied to, yet still in my box. Just making sure you get an answer!> Thanks for the help I am running 2 Bak Pak 2 protein skimmers along with a big canister filter. The rock is sitting on 40 lbs. of live sand with lots of water movement. #3 Maxi jet 1200's and 1 maxi jet 900. How long of a curing period am I in for a already had aprox. 27 #'s of Fiji in the tank before I added this rock. <That would depend on how nasty the rock is. Usually, it's a minimum of two weeks, can go for a few more. Remove any dead/dying/decaying plant and sponge matter from the rocks and test the water frequently to avoid ammonia and nitrite spikes. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for all you guys do, Jason

- Live Rock Curing - Thanks for the help I am running 2 Bak Pak 2 protein skimmers along with a big canister filter. The rock is sitting on 40 lbs. of live sand with lots of water movement. #3 Maxi jet 1200's and 1 maxi jet 900. How long of a curing period am I in for a already had aprox. 27 #'s of Fiji in the tank before I added this rock. <I'd give it as much time as you can afford - if it were me I'd sit on it a month or two, just to let it really 'get in the groove', perhaps adding more rock... but taking your time will pay off. If you are looking for a minimum time, I'd say two weeks with much testing at the end of the two weeks, may turn into three weeks.> Thanks for all you guys do, Jason <Cheers, J -- >

Rockin' Hello All, <Hey there! Scott F. with you!> I received a piece of live rock from Hawaii from a friend. <Yikes! Not cool!! Usually illegal, and damaging to the delicate Hawaiian ecosystem...Something we discourage...Not your fault- but please don't encourage him to do this again, okay?> Its about the size of a softball.  I was upset  that he picked it up off the beach. <Well, better than ripping it off of a hunk of living reef...> He didn't go under water for it... He's old, would have drowned for sure. <Well, that's not good, either!> Anyway.  I submerged it in R/O water.  It does smell like die-off. <Well, submerging it in live rock probably killed whatever beneficial organisms were still alive on it. Better to "cure" fresh live rock in saltwater...> I would like to put it in my 100g reef (Fiji). What do you recommend? <As above- I'd "continue" the "curing" process in a dedicated container with saltwater. We have a number of FAQs about curing live rock...You may want to check them out...> Disappointed but thankful, Steve <Our pleasure, Steve! Good luck!>

Curing Live Rock First I just want to say thanks for the quick response to a question I had a week ago.  I purchased your book and have enjoyed the reading, but have spent way too much time on this site reading the articles and FAQ. <The new book?  Just got mine the other day, it rocks.> Now to my question, I am in the process of setting up a 180gal system that I intend to be a FOWLR.  I have two corner overflows in the tank with four 1" drains to a sump with 2 GenX pumps for return.  The skimmer is an ASM G-2x and the lighting is and Icecap 660 with 3 5' VHO bulbs.  I want to add the live rock this weekend (probably about 150 lbs (enough?)) <Sounds good> And I stumbled across a wholesaler/retailer about 2 miles from my work.  He sells primarily rock from Haiti that is brought to him each week.  The rock is raw and about two days out of the water when he gets it.  Would it be too much of a mess to use this raw rock for cycling the tank?  Too much die off, or just more work with water changes? <Exactly, a little too raw, you're tank will cycle really hard, not to mention, there is a lot to be said for curing rock in a separate vessel, especially getting rid of unwanted hitchhikers before they enter your main tank.> Do you see any other pitfalls in my system setup?  I intend to add a refugium from a 20gal glass tank but that might be down the road some.  Thanks so much for your insights. <Sounds good to me.  There are a ton of FAQs on cycling live rock. http://wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm If you have not checked it out yet, it's a good read.  Best Regards, Gage>

Preserving Life on LR... A better way >Greetings.   >>Hello, Marina here. >I have found a couple of inconsistencies while researching your site regarding curing LR and hoping for some clarification. Light/Not Light, DSB/or not DSB.   >>Any photosynthetic creatures attached to l/r can better survive the curing period with low/no light than they can the ammonia cycle.  Large, frequent water changes and copious foam fractionation will best preserve that life we hope to keep when we purchase quality live rock. >I do have 3 refugiums loaded with macro algae, each has 5+" of SouthDown substrate.  This live rock lives in its own separate refugium and [the associate] life has made it throughout my system.  This batch of rock was my first experience curing rock.  I followed the instructions to NOT change more water other than 25% per week, and provide no lighting.  While curing this batch, I thought it was 'silly' to let ammonia and later nitrite levels go sky high and simply wait until they subsided to 0/0 (which they did eventually).  It was refreshing to read on your site was to do water changes to keep levels down!  Needless to say the rock cured but the diversity of life that I desired was not to be had!   >>So you see the wisdom of changing out large quantities of water to *prevent* die-off during curing, as well as the benefits of utilizing the most outrageous skimmer you can.  However, I am still quite unsure as to what your question is. >I want to turn a 70gl tank into a reef tank with a biotope that my Maroon clowns, Aragon and Arwen, would be found in.  I purchased the appropriate amount of rock from Dr.Mac Corals and am very pleased with color and size of the rocks he selected for me.  I placed these in a Rubbermaid tank, fired up the 6' DIY skimmer and have enough water movement to make the base of Niagara Falls look like a pond.  I have a 6700k CF about 18in from the surface. This rock has a ton of life on it, corals, macro algae, clams and all sorts of stuff that are not present in my current system.   >>Sounds like a good batch, but what is the question? >Now, on to curing.  Naturally I want to make this as speedy as possible and to preserve life as much as I can. >>This is everyone's goal. >Since I have at my disposal a few tanks with DSB's and an abundance of Caulerpa spp., would it make sense to add one of these tanks (or more) to the LR curing system provided I maintain 1ppm or less w/water changes as not to wipe out the refugiums?   >>Just put the rock in a large enough container that you can siphon off what falls to the bottom before it rots.  A large trash can will work just fine.  Pile the rock in so it won't fall, and so there will be good water movement all through.  Powerheads are great for stirring up dead spots.  Don't worry about anything more than ambient light.  Skim like the devil.  Do large (50% or better) water changes, daily if necessary, do keep ammonia and subsequent nitrification levels down to avoid killing off what you wish to keep. >I also have a pile of sponge filters in the fry tanks.  These are chock full of happy colonies of Nitrosomonas spp. and are NH3- eliminators considering they keep up with the mess that raising clown fry produce! Can I stick these in the LR curing system as well? >>There is no need.  The live rock already *has* its own colonies, as well the anaerobic bacteria that will further reduce nitrates into their more basic components, a large part of which is simple nitrogen gas.  There is a very good section in the book just out from Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo specifically about live rock and the curing process.  There is information on the home page regarding ordering, you may find it quite helpful.  Best of luck!  Marina

- Curing Live Rock - I just bought 45lb. of Fuji live rock from a wholesaler. <Fuji? I think you mean Fiji :) >The rock had just came in that day and had been dry in the boxes for about four day. I started treating it by rubbing of all dead stuff and placed it into a 30 gallon tank. I have one power head in there right now. The next day it had an smell to it, that I expected, and the water was a little brown. <Ah, the wonders of dead sponge.> I did about a 15% water change. Today it was so brown I couldn't even see the rock. I did a 100% water change and cleaned the power head. The smell was so strong I wanted to just bleach it all right then. After the change the smell was still there but just not as strong. It has been about 8 hours now and the smell is back at full stink. What should I do. I can't live with this for 3 more weeks. Should I put on a filter or a protein skimmer or more pumps? <Unless you want to do daily 50-100% water changes you should have a protein skimmer and a filter on the tank.> I have no light on it now and the power head does not put out any air. Maybe I should but in a air stone or two. <That won't do much more than create salt creep (likely smelly salt creep at that)> I really don't know what to do. Please help me with this stinky problem. <Hehe, the joy of curing live rock! -Kevin> Thanks, Andy

Live rock curing, part II. In response to your answer- I have done the water changes that you suggested and I started my skimmer. The water has from cloudy to very yellow and a distinct order is coming from it- How long can I expect this to continue? How much water do you suggest I change each day? reminder: I added about 60 pounds of LR into a 72 gal about 3 days ago- Thanks for your assistance- Ron <Ahh, the wonders of curing live rock! That smell, oh, that smell... Well, anyways, test your ammonia and nitrite levels and combat the spikes with water changes. This may mean one or two 20g water changes complete with rinsing off the rock in the buckets (w/ tank water) per week. The rock should cure up in no time, maybe just a few weeks. Enjoy! -Kevin>

Hard curing for live rock 6/4/03 It is day 7 of cycling the LR in my 55gal tank. 4" sugar sand aragonite DSB <for future reference, please do not cycle live rock in the display tank with sand of any kind. Parasites, pests and predators that survive the curing process can take refuge in the sand. Bare glass bottom curing vessels (QT) are necessary to screen for undesirable organisms. Now you must simply bait, trap and hope> pH: 8.0 (will try to raise this to 8.2 I hope; suggestions welcome) <just a little baking soda at this point my friend> sg: 1.022 ammonia level: 'blue', am I pregnant? (taken with SeaTest FasTest kit) <Ha! Did you use the right water sample <G>? I'm more than a little worried about the ammonia level. I know I should be experiencing a spike, but this seems a tad excessive. <honestly seems like a misreading to me... perhaps the reagent batch is bad or expired. No rock should cure this hard unless it was transshipped (horrible for most home aquarists to do). And if it was that bad/ammonia rich... the stench would be strong enough to knock a buzzard off a sh*t wagon... er, in technical terms> A lot of the rock inhabitants have died off after undergoing what amounted  to chemical toxicity a few days ago (subsequent 40%, then another 50% water change). <yes.... please keep up with those water changes... and protein skim aggressively too> I've been diligent about 5 gallon water changes every 2 days afterwards, but I can't seem to get things under control. I accidentally dusted the entire tank with sugar aragonite 3 days ago (I assume this will dissolve after time). Since the dust has covered everything, this must be heavily reducing any photosynthetic potential for my algae. <agreed... but more importantly, its lingering presence indicates to me that there is nowhere near enough water flow to cure this rock perhaps. Do you have at least 10X tank volume per hour? Better yet closer to 20 X?> In fact, there is very little color left on the rocks besides the whitish dust. I noticed that the aragonite has dissolved somewhat in the last 2 days. Found a 1/2" crab scuttling about the rocks 2 days ago, but he has long since disappeared and I can only assume him lost. <hmmm... starting to sound like the ammonia is more real than I originally suspected. You are indeed having a hard cure. Perhaps some poorly handled rock (in part by you and/or the dealer> Perhaps being a little over paranoid considering that the tank has only been up for 7 days, but I'd hate to kill off my beautiful Kanai LR with poor 'husbandry' techniques. <not paranoid at all my friend... your concerns are spot-on. Good live rock often cycles clean (zero ammonia) in 10 days or less> Thanks as always for the hugely informative materials WWM crew! - Chris <thanks kindly, and best regards Anthony>

Curing Live rock 6/5/03 > <for future reference, please do not cycle live rock in the > display tank with sand of any kind. Parasites, pests and predators that survive the curing process can take refuge in the sand. Bare glass bottom curing vessels (QT) are necessary to screen for undesirable organisms. Now you must simply bait, trap and hope> There has been conflicting interpretations on this then, because in the last e-mail I sent regarding a DSB, the suggestion was that beneficial detritus eaters would need a good home. I also thought that the aragonite would help buffer the rather low pH (7.7 at the time). It was running bare-bottomed for 3 days until the suggestion was to put in a 4" DSB. Indeed I noticed the critters (mostly bristle worms) crawling into the sand and pasting themselves against the glass. Sadly, a lot of them seemed to have died and left little bodies all over the place. Even the toughest bristle worm (6") died too. <<indeed... there are conflicting protocols/preferences... but here, as you have noticed... the sand took the harbor of the dead and dying, the good and bad species... and all for the sole benefit of the sand buffering the low pH during the curing process. That benefit is achieved instead with mere pennies in baking soda in a bare-bottomed vessel and spares the contamination of the sand. :( Live and learn, we do [Yoda voice]>> I will re-try the ammonia test tonight when I get home. It indeed smelled this bad about 5 days ago, but the smell has subsided since and an odor is only detectable when your nose is up against the water. <fair enough... but still a bit confused for the sever. incongruous color on the test kit>> > <yes.... please keep up with those water changes... and protein > skim aggressively too> Seem to be pulling about a cup a day of skimmate. The skimmate is rather thin, <<the skimmer definitely needs tuned or tweaked... during the curing process, several cups of dark foul skimmate daily are the norm>> I've got 2 MaxiJet 1200's (300 gph ea.) and 1 Rio 600 RVT (200 gph) all running 24/7.Unless my math is incorrect, this is turning water over at 16X per hour (in theory..). I assumed that this would be enough flow. <<correct... very nice. Wondering why the sand was not blasted off the rockscape though?>> The rock arrived fully uncured, and it was quite beautiful and lively. I knew the die off might be fairly severe, given that it was shipped without any sort of water or wet newspaper whatsoever for a few hours. <<good and bad aspects of purchasing uncured rock... I myself do prefer to take it this way, but usually advise casual aquarists against it. For the labor and cost of sea salt to cure it... there is little or no saving over buying cured rock elsewhere. There is the potential to get more creatures though ...waaaay!>> > <not paranoid at all my friend... your concerns are spot-on. Good  live rock often cycles clean (zero ammonia) in 10 days or less> glad to know the voices in my head are at least rational.... <<heehee...>> Thanks again, Chris <<always welcome my friend. Water changes and a little more time. Best regards, Anthony>>

Curing Live Rock! After reading WetWeb to death for the last 2 1/2 months, I finally received my first livestock for the tank -- 70 lbs of beautiful Kanai LR. I bought it from an online dealer (JLAquatics.com), and the rock was in pretty good shape when I received it. I found a couple small gooey white spots that I assume were die-off (they were quite putrid) from the shipping. I scraped these off in a quick freshwater rinse. The freshwater scared some of the living hitch-hikers out of the woodwork, and a large centipede-like creature (8" long) crawled out from a crevice. I was pretty vilified by the thing, and tweezed it out. Upon re-reading some of the FAQs, I found out that I probably killed off a very beneficial scavenger :\ <Well- a valuable lesson learned! Bristle worms are creepy, but they really can be helpful...learn to love them!> The rock was fully UNcured from the supplier. It had never spent any time in tanks curing, as far as the supplier knew. It came more or less straight from its extraction location. Where is Kanai, anyway? :) Here's been my methodology to date: - Bare bottom 50g tank (I assume that adding aragonite after the rock has fully cured would be best?) <Well, you could use "inert" sand, and let it "recruit" some microfauna from the curing rock...our call here> - CPR BakPak2R running at max (produced an inch of skimmate overnight! woohoo!) <That's what I'm talking about, baby! LOL> - 2 MaxiJet 1200's running venturis (should they be? Or no bubbles?) <whatever produces results!> - Little earthworm-like creatures crawling the rocks. I assume they will be beneficial detritus eaters? <I wouldn't worry about them> - 5% water change every 2 days. Should I increase the amount or frequency considering that this is fully uncured rock? <Your routine sounds okay. adjust if necessary...> pH, ammonia, and nitrate tests to follow tonight (the tank was set up last night). I assume I will follow the > 1.0 ppm "rule" for water changes. <Good thought!> - Aquascaping -- should I use tongs to move the LR around? Why do I have the distinct feeling that using my bare-arms in a marine tank is inviting chemical trouble? <Well, it's not a bad idea...I would thoroughly rinse my hands and arms before working in the tank, as skin oils, soaps, moisturizers, etc. can effect water chemistry. I have been using Coralife "Aqua Gloves" for some time, and I like them...Also good to prevent cuts, or to prevent bacteria from zapping you if you have an open cut...> - Lighting: Coralife 4x65W PC (2 10k, 2 actinic). I know people are still split on the subject of lighting curing LR, but in this case would the best solution be: a) Running all lights 12 hours per day and hoping to encourage growth? <I've always cured my life rock in the dark...but it's really a personal preference.> b) Run only the (2) 10k's? c) Running no light at all except for dim sunlight entering the living room, hoping to prevent algal blooms? <Well, algae blooms are usually inevitable in curing setups or new tanks, due to an abundance of nutrients and a lack of fully developed export systems...Lighting will certainly not prevent them, given these circumstances, but I would not consider lighting the rock during curing "harmful" in any way...> Keep in mind that this rock spent NO time curing at the supplier, and I assume that I will be experiencing a pretty horrid die-off for a while (due to the fact that it spent 2-3 hours out of the water in a Styrofoam shipping crate). <Well, it's hard to say...This stuff has probably been in and out of the water for over 20 hours since it was collected, so 2-3 hours more is probably not too much more stress! There will inevitably be significant die-off, of course!> I assume the frequency of my questions can only increase in the future (fortunately or unfortunately). <There is a direct correlation between the time you spend in the hobby and the number of questions you'll pose! After most of my life "in the water" with fish, I still have dozens of questions every day that I spend time researching or bothering friends with...Goes with the territory!> Thanks to the whole crew for supplying such readable and highly useful information! <I am privileged to work with some amazing people on this site! They are a real tribute to the hobby!> Besides, I need something to keep me busy at work. (gov't job) <Keep the wheels of bureaucracy turnin'!> ps: included a shot of my LR just for the fun of it. <Thanks for the pic!> Thanks again. Chris <Good luck with your live rock efforts, Chris! Sounds like you're doing it fine! Regards, Scott F> LR, curing, and tank setup: Round 2 ><Please send along the entire query again please. Have no practical way of tracing what has gone through with what is here. Bob F> <Hi Chris, PF with you tonight> After reading WetWeb to death for the last 2 1/2 months, I finally received my first livestock for the tank -- 70 lbs of beautiful Kanai LR. I bought it from an online dealer (JLAquatics.com), and the rock was in pretty good shape when I received it. I found a couple small gooey white spots that I assume were die-off (they were quite putrid) from the shipping. I scraped these off in a quick freshwater rinse. The freshwater scared some of the living hitch-hikers out of the woodwork, and a large centipede-like creature (8" long) crawled out from a crevice. I was pretty vilified by the thing, and tweezed it out. Upon re-reading some of the FAQs, I found out that I probably killed off a very beneficial scavenger :\ <One of the things we say around here is we learn from our mistakes, so we can make brand new ones. I'd skip the FW dips in the future, the goal is to preserve life, and FW dips don't that.> The rock was fully UNcured from the supplier. It had never spent any time in tanks curing, as far as the supplier knew. It came more or less straight from its extraction location. Kanai is in Hawai'i I assume? <Well, if it does, don't tell anyone since LR from HI will land you in jail. Kanai is actually in Indonesia.> Here's been my methodology to date: - Bare bottom 50g tank (I assume that adding aragonite AFTER the rock has fully cured would be best?) <No, not IMO. Their will be creatures looking to colonize that sand, and the faster they have a home, the faster the denitrification process will start, assuming you use a DSB.> - CPR BakPak2R running at max (produced an inch of skimmate overnight! woohoo!) - 2 Maxi-Jet 1200's pumping tons of air bubbles into the system <These air bubbles are bad, if you have any corals they can enter their tissue and kill them, they're also bad for fish.> - Little earthworm-like creatures crawling the rocks. I assume they will be beneficial detritus eaters? <Probably bristle worms, of whom, 99% are harmless detritivores, just don't pick them up with your bare hand.> - 5% water change every 2 days. Should I increase the amount or frequency considering that this is fully uncured rock? pH, ammonia, and nitrate tests to follow tonight (the tank was set up last night). I assume I will follow the > 1.0 ppm "rule" for water changes. <Sounds good to me as is, more frequency wouldn't hurt IMO though. Are you running carbon? A small HOT filter (even a little cheap unit) is good for that. Just swap it out every other day.> Upon another's suggestion, I did a 25% water change today due to a severe "scum" I was developing the day before. I assume the tank was becoming highly toxic. I am doing a 50% water change tonight. <Most likely yes.> - Aquascaping -- should I use tongs to move the LR around? Why do I have the distinct feeling that using my bare-arms in a marine tank is inviting chemical trouble? <Well, we have lots of stuff on our hands, unfortunately tongs don't always work so well, but do try and use them. If you do reach in, wash your hands with unscented, un-moisturized soap. Avoid detergents, and dry with a clean towel, paper towels have antibiotics on them.> - Lighting: Corallife 4x65W PC (2 10k, 2 actinic). I know people are still split on the subject of lighting curing LR, but in this case would the best solution be: a) Running all lights 12 hours per day and hoping to encourage growth? b) Run only the (2) 10k's? c) Running no light at all except for dim sunlight entering the living room, hoping to prevent algal blooms? d) running at 6 hours, and increase that by an hour per day until I hit the 12 hour mark? <Ok, I believe in running the lights. As a matter of fact, go read this: http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1998/may/bio/default.asp and see if you can't find yourself some DTs. This is the method I will be using on my next tank, wish I had heard about it before setting up my last one. A forum member used this, and it worked well for her.> Keep in mind that this rock spent NO time curing at the supplier, and I assume that I will be experiencing a pretty horrid die-off for a while (due to the fact that it spent 2-3 hours out of the water in a Styrofoam shipping crate). <Well, hopefully the DT method will help prevent that. If you decide not to go that route, keep aggressively skimming, and be sure and add carbon to your routine.> 2 days later, I am experiencing pretty rough die off. Am attempting to control the ammonia concentration with aggressive water changes. I assume the frequency of my questions can only increase in the future (fortunately or unfortunately). Thanks to the whole crew for supplying such readable and highly useful information! Besides, I need something to keep me busy at work. (gov't job) <Want to swap with me? I just found out my territory is about 100% than I thought it was. ; ) > thanks again, - Chris <You're welcome, and if you hang out here long enough, you'll be talked into answering questions, like I was. Have a good weekend, PF>

Panicking!! (LR curing) Hi Crew, <Hi Louis, first off, like the cover of the book says, "Don't Panic"> You have another email from me in your box somewhere re: Aiptasia, but I had to move forward with this one. <No problem> I have a 55 gal new tank with 120lbs of Southdown deep sand bed, Jebo (SeaClone style) skimmer, AMiracle 150gal wet dry in the sump with Bio balls removed, 2x65w 10,000k CF lamps and 2x65w actinic CF lamps, water being circulated by Rio 2100 at full power and penguin power head (lots of water movement going on). <Sounds good> Just received on Tuesday 35lbs of Gulf-view live rock and 20lbs of live sand.  Placed live sand as the top layer on the Southdown sand and then placed live rock in the tank.  The LR has a ton of life on it, incl various inverts and clams, some macro algae I think, some red hairy grassy stuff.  You can view pics on my WW Photos profile Aquamanlou. On Wednesday ammonia rose to about 1.5, ph 8.2, nitrites and nitrates at 0. Thursday morning I noticed my rock looking awfully white and "dusty" for lack of a better term.  The red grassy stuff suddenly died and turned white.  It looks as if their is white powdery residue all over the rock.  A slight low tide smell.  Last night ammonia tested at 4 and nitrites were up.  Performed a 5 gallon water change at 12 am this morning.  Skimmer is producing gunk.  Temp is consistent with a new SS heater at 78-80 deg. <Ok, I would say remove the LR, but keep it as wet as possible. Put it in buckets with water (SW of course) and lightly scrub it with a soft bristle brush to knock off dead/dying matter. Trim back the macroalgae, but not all of it. Leave a little and a population should grow back. I'm not sure how it was shipped to you, unless it was air freighted, there was likely some die off. Sounds to me like the LR is in the curing process.> HELP!!!  Am I doing anything wrong? <No, nature of the beast I'm afraid.>  Am I losing everything? <Hopefully not, keep up with the water changes and the skimming.> Should I have cleaned more stuff off the rock before I put it in the tank?  Should I remove the plant life now?  Help, what should I do?  Is this normal?  Am I losing my mind and my investment AGAIN!?!?! <Well, I'm no mental health professional (I figured out how crazy I was and changed my major)> This is so tough! As far as the smell, I read that I should put a bag of carbon in the sump.  Is this a good idea? <Yes, a small bag. Carbon fills rapidly with nasty stuff. A small bag changed out a few times during the weak is better than a big bag once a month (by then it'll be a nitrate factory).> Can I put in an old nylon stocking filled with carbon into the sump or am I better off running my Magnum Pro off the side of the tank with the carbon cartridge in it? <I'm not sure what a nylon stocking could have been treated with, there are bags for media you can buy at most LFS's, even the big chains often carry them. Another idea would be to use a PolyFilter, once again, check with your LFSs.> Where do I go from here? <Think I've answered this one> I have been reading your web site for months and feel like I am on information overload and completely confused an uninformed. <Everyone has their own way of doing things, this hobby is as much art as science (at least at this point in time). You have to read things/try them and make up your own mind as to what method works best for you.>  The amount of research I have done is immeasurable and I still feel like a little kid on his first day of school, or that first time I.........well I'll leave it at that. <I've often heard Bob speak about how little he feels he knows, so you can imagine how I feel, we all have to start somewhere.> Thanks as always guys, Louis Rizzo <You're welcome. Remember, don't scrub the rock like you're trying to strip it down to the core, you're just trying to get the worst off. Also, use a turkey baster or power head to sweep out the inside, that should help too. Good luck! PF> Cure rock with sand? Hello Folks, Hope this question gets to you and you have time to answer.  I am in the final stages of construction for my first salt water tank.  It is a 65 gal. pre drilled with a 33gal sump/refugium. 12" of the sump will be the refug. and the remaining 24" will house the Berlin classic skimmer, pre-filter, 2x heaters, and return pump.  The game plan is to purchase 100lbs of live rock and cure it in the tank before admitting any post QT inhabitants.  (have 2x 10 gal tanks, each with heaters, aqua clear 300 filters, 6"diameter PVC "shelters" and a UV sterilizer waiting in the wings just in case I need it.)  will have foam in sump seeding during rock curing process to use in QT's.  My question is:  Should I put the live rock into the display tank with no substrate (which is aragonite sugar fine), let the rock cure, then remove it to another holding container while the substrate is installed then put the rock back.  OR   Put down the substrate and the rock one after the other and let it do it's thing?  I was worried about the possibility of introducing too many nutrients to the aragonite?? <Nope, go for it and vacuum extra crud from substrate during water changes during cycle. You need the sand bed going too!>   Next question is with regards to the refugium.  I plan on starting out with FOWLR to become proficient with managing water parameters, and marine fish requirements.  I have a strong desire to attempt to support other inhabitants i.e.. inverts and coral (easy ones).  This is why I have built my sump with the concession of having a refugium.  Also I have purchased a lighting package of 4x 95w compacts 2blue 2daylight with a separate 20w t8 fluor. marine bulb for dusk/dawn.  Plan on only using half the bank till extra lighting is required.  Should I start the refugium when I have FOWLR or wait the year or so to start it when ever I feel that I am ready for the next challenge of the coral etc.  I have planned the plumbing for the sump so that I have the flex. to start it at any time.  3/4" drain wedged down from tee off 11/2" main drain from tank.  The 3/4" drain to refug. has its own block valve for isolation or flow control. Thank you for your time.  Really enjoy your site.  Has been a great help with this venture so far, greatly appreciated.  Krista from Cold Lake  Canada. <I would start the refugium (at least rock and substrate) at the beginning as you will need sump/refugium for tank to function and late intro/disruption would be undesirable. You can add plants, etc. later though.  Craig>

Cycling with liverock I will try to be brief. <No problem> I am brand new to this stuff, at least to marine.  I have started the set up process with used tank and accessories from an individual who upgraded to larger.  I have set up a plenum with "live" sand, at least that is what the bags said.  About 60 lbs of live sand, 20 lbs of aragonite, and 20 or so of "substrate/ gravel".  Using the equipment below, I let the sand settle and run for two days.  Now the fella I bought the equipment from said I needed to get something in the water otherwise I would "loose the sand".  On his suggestion I ran out and got a half dozen damsels and a dozen hermits.  72 hrs later still all tests are quite good and livestock are hanging in. Everything I have read suggest I should be cycling with LR right now.  My question is this, is it ok to put some in (100 lbs),  it is supposed to be fully cured Fiji.  Should I expect a large enough spike to kill the little livestock I currently have? <Any ammonia or nitrite will stress the livestock. It is preferred to add liverock and cycle the tank with this. If you decide to keep the livestock use water changes when necessary to control the ammonia and nitrite. Yes, you can add the rock now. Hope this helps, Don> What I have; 100 gal tank two 14000 k MH :  on for about four hours/ day four compact actinic : on for 12 hours emperor power filter/ BioWheel three power heads Berlin HO skimmer I will be converting to sump after I gather up all the remaining items.

Cured Live Rock? Hi all, <Hi, Paul here. Sorry about the delay> just a couple quick questions so I can sleep nights.<Ooops. Are you sleepy?> I have a 55 gal. FOWLR ( a successful upgrade from a 37 about a 3 weeks ago, thanks to all of you.) All was going well, until I added 7lbs. of cured? rock from my LFS 3 days ago. I did a test a couple hours after adding and noticed a slight increase in nitrites to about 0.1- 0.2., so of course did a ammonia check & it was fine. <Well, maybe the live rock was not as cured as you thought <G>. Sounds like you need to have a separate place to cycle live rock in my opinion> I went immediately to your book and then to your web site and rested better. So my question is, It has been 3 days and all is staying about the same  Am I out of the woods yet, & if not how long b-4 I am. <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm start there then click the blue links to curing live rock. Also see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm I think this has been detailed a great many times. No need to re-invent the wheel.> I will be doing a 10% water change this weekend <Very good idea. I would be doing them every day until that Nitrite went down. Are you familiar with the cycle/nitrification process? If not see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm. Always good for a refresher in any case> Also My system currently has approx. 25lbs of Fiji and Tonga rock, an Emperor 280 w/ bio wheel & Bak Pak2 W/ bio bale, 15 lbs of calcium carbonate mixed with 20lbs of natures ocean sand. Would it be possible for me to start pulling bio wheel and bio bale, and if not how much more rock before? <Being that this is a fish only tank may not hurt to keep it actually. So many theories on this. I think I would add more live rock anyway, but not sure I would remove the bio bale or bio wheel. Look around the site a bit and see what the recommendations are. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm and click the blue links for the FAQs. I am sure it has been asked before.> Thanks bunches, Randy. <My pleasure Randy. I applaud your seeking of information and knowledge regarding this important and beautifully fulfilling hobby. Take care my friend. Paul>   

Setting Up A 72g Tank  4/7/03 Hi guys,<You got Phil tonight!> This is an excellent site and a wealth of information for someone just getting into the game.<It's also great for the advanced aquarist too!> I have a 72 gal tank with 95 lbs of live rock, a wet/dry with no bio balls, and a classic Berlin skimmer.<A nice tank, I'm not a fan of the Berlin model skimmers.  I've heard mixed things about them.  How is yours doing?>  I bought the rock about six weeks ago and had the LFS store it for me in one of their tanks so it should be well cured.  I am planning on a DSB with 30 lbs 0.5 to 1.0mm and 60 lbs of <0.5 Aragonite. Lights are 2 10 000K fluorescents and 1 03 actinic.<How many watts?  Your going to need more light if you want to have corals.>   I'm reading 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and 0 Nitrate.<Good!>  I figure that without the sand in the tank I will know when I've finished cycling when my Nitrates start to increase.  I figure that with all the LR I may never see much Ammonia or Nitrite.<Possible> The tank has been running with only the live rock for a week and I've noticed what appears to be brown diatom growing as well as green hair algae and what I think is blue-green on some of the rocks.  There are also a ton of very small white critters in the water column and crawling all over the glass.  I am not too concerned about the diatom as I figure that it will die off on its own. I am concerned, however, with the hair and BG Algae.  Is it too early for me to add snails and crabs?<Not yet, add the sand first.  Wait a week or so then add a cleaner crew.>  I've been reading the FAQ's and it seems that most beginners have stocked their tanks well before the cycle is complete.  I was planning on waiting until the cycle was done before I added the sand.<I add my sand before the live rock, but that's just how I do it.  Others do it different ways.>  Does it matter when I put it in?<see above>  I don't want to kill off any good cultures I have going with the fines. Also, the skimmer has only started pulling anything out and it is not so much that I have emptied the cup yet.<Like I said above, there are much better skimmers then this model.  But it could be that there is little/no bio-load in the tank.  When you add fish you should get some foam.> Thanks for your help.<No problem.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Curing Live Rock - 4/4/03 Hello crew. <Hullooooo. Paul here.>  Got a couple of questions about curing live rock. <OK>  Last week I purchased a 36 lb box of uncured Lalo (Tonga) live rock from LiveAquaria.com (formerly ffexpress), <Cool.> which arrived on Friday afternoon.  I had the rock shipped overnight express so it was in transit less than 24 hours.  Well I brought the rock home at lunch break and set up my curing tank.  I used a 25 gallon Rubbermaid container which I filled with 5 gallons of water from my established FOWLR tank, 5 gallons of premixed water which was mixed the previous evening and had an air stone running, and finally 10 gallons of freshly mixed water.  (the instructions which came with the rock said to fill with all freshly mixed water, however I remain skeptical). <Yeah you did the right thing! But if you did use a fresh mix it probably wouldn't matter because you would have to do so many water changes anyway. I do like and use your approach more often than not, though.> I have a small power filter running with a carbon insert, a powerhead, and airstone and a heater to maintain temp. <Wow, fantastic!>  The next day (Sat), I pulled all the rock out of the container and scrubbed  the dying sponges  and decay off, and replaced with freshly mixed water. I live in South Florida, so I decided to keep the rock on my back porch.  This time of year is consistently 85 degrees during the day and 70 at night.  It is a screened in porch with a roof so during the day it doesn't get direct heat, and remains around 80.  Well, go figure, we suddenly had an unexpected cold front move in and the temp dropped into the 50's on Sunday night. <Florida?>  My heater couldn't keep up and the temp dropped from 80 to 70 over the night. <Well, not unheard on the reef either.>  The weather remains chilly so last night (Monday) I added a more powerful heater and when I checked this morning the temp was 84! I guess I cranked it up a little high. <Happens>  So I've had some considerable temperature swings over the last couple of days, however I finally think I have it maintained at 80 as per liveaquaria's instructions. <Very good>  Tonight, I checked the ammonia and it was off the charts 5 mg/l so I did a 100% water change with water aged overnight and scrubbed more decay from the rocks. <Doing well so far>  All in all the rock looks well, however I'm afraid I have done much harm to the beneficial organisms on the rock.  Do you feel that the temperature fluctuations and ammonia spike have ruined the rock, or can I be somewhat confident that many of the desirables will make it through. <I am fairly confident that many organisms will make it through. Some rock remain only partially in water for up to a week and still transform/become the most beautiful rock ever seen with proper husbandry and a little TLC. Also consider that cycling is exactly that, going through various stages of nitrification i.e.. ammonia, nitrite spikes et al. No need to worry> I can't stand the thought that I spent $150.00 not to mention the time and effort, on rock that is now ruined. <No need to stand for that thought. Likely all is well> I plan on monitoring the ammonia daily and performing 100% water changes as necessary from here out rather than continuing to follow the liveaquaria instructions of changing water 2 x weekly.<Good idea.>  I'll attach the link to their curing directions, and perhaps you could add some additional suggestions, or let me know where your opinion differs. http://www.liveaquaria.com/general/general.cfm general_pagesid=59.  Much appreciation to all for the best fish site on the net! Rock on! <I am familiar with their cycling instructions. They are fine, but you could just go through our FAQs on cycling. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm and read the attached links at the top of the article. Enjoy, read, and don't worry too much =)> Jesse Canizio <Sorry for the delay, Jesse. I think you are on the right track. Paul> Boca Raton, FL

Tank Replacement/Addition of LR >Greetings Web Crew, >>Hello again. >Thanks so very much for your quick response.  When we researched the various sites for LR the source we purchased it from stated that it was ready for established tanks and there would be little to no ammonia spikes.   >>Sadly, there is no way to prove or disprove the veracity of such a claim without actual experience with the retailer in question. >We are currently doing 20 gal. water changes daily (sometimes twice a day).  Our readings as of 4/1 are: ammonia .1, carbonate hardness 8.5, nitrate 1., nitrite .1, ph 8.15, salinity 1.022, and temp. 79.0.  Currently, we are see a reddish coating covering the LR and sides of the tank.  Will this go away as we bring are levels down?   >>More than likely a diatomaceous or Cyanobacterial bloom, caused no doubt by the raised levels.  This tank is effectively a new tank, so you'll see the typical responses--this is one of them.  Yes, keep up with the water changes, and siphon this stuff off as best you can (without disturbing the substrate--you want to boost your nitrifying bacteria as much as possible). >I forgot to mention earlier that we do have crushed coral on the bottom of our tank - approx. 1/2" deep.  Just to clarify - No I do not want to add Aiptasia, unfortunately we already have it :(      >>Bummer!  The Copperbands do have a reputation for eating the stuff. >Last but least, how can I help support your site?   >>AHA!  Bob or Jason would be the men to speak with directly about that, I support the site by answering queries and directing as many folks as possible to come visit.  For most, if not all, once they visit they ALWAYS have reason to come back.  If nothing else, then please, spread the word and spread the love! >Thanks for all the wonderful information!!  Rmac >>You're quite welcome, and good luck!  Marina

New Tank Replacement/Addition of LR >Greetings & Salutations, >>Hello to you as well! >I've stumbled upon your site - similar to stumbling into my husband's hobby.  Recently our saltwater aquarium developed a small leak.  We decided to replace the tank before a disaster occurred (I think we just created a new one!?).  Our old system consisted of a 42 gallon tank, 4 VHO lamps, 1 wet/dry filter with pre-filter, a 3" x 21" protein skimmer, Mag 350 filter, and a ?" Quiet One pump.  What a mess.  Anyhow, we now have a new 55 gallon tank and have transferred our existing LR and residents, and decided to add additional LR.  So, not being the sharpest knives in the drawer, we purchased and "added" 32 lbs of pre-cured LR. >>Uh oh... >Well, needless to say, we have been dealing with some ammonia spikes.  Currently, my husband is doing a 20% water change daily.  Would purchasing a cleaner kit consisting of hermit crabs, snails, etc. be of help?  Or should we wait?   >>Wait to add the inverts, they won't do the kind of cleaning you're thinking of.  They'll surely suffer for the ammonia, which is going to lead to nitrite and nitrate spikes, as well.  I would do several 50% water changes, you're in the process of inadvertently curing your live rock in your main system. >I've also read some of your articles regarding Aiptasia and peppermint shrimp.  I have thought of adding 4-5 of these in the near future as we have some glass anemones on our old rock.  I've also read that Copper Banded Butterfly fish are natural predators for Aiptasia.   >>Generally, but not always a given.  Wait for the nitrification cycle to settle back down before adding more inverts, though.  Oh!  Is your skimmer producing really nasty skimmate?  This is what we want, for it to be absolutely foul, this way you can be certain it's doing its job. >Cleaner kits are also available for the substrate.  Wow!  I'm so amazed at all the information available.  Your site is awesome.  I'm dumbfounded that we have stumbled along for years (seven years with old tank) with a few books and information obtained from LFS.   >>Well...so am I!  ;)   >Our local family residents consist of: 2 yellow-tailed damsels, 1 goby, mushrooms, bubble anemone, couple of hermit crabs and George (boxfish/cowfish).  I'm really worried about losing our small community, especially George.  What a neat fish!  He comes to visit whenever your near the aquarium and I can practically hand feed him.  I transgress - sorry.  So, will adding a "cleaner kit" help with the LR situation?   >>Read above.  What might be of long-term help would be to set up a refugium.  I say get that old tank repaired (do it yourself if you like, it's a bit of a pain in terms of labor but it's easy-peasy to figure out) and make it a refugium in which you can set up a deep sand bed (DSB) and establish some macroalgae to help with nutrient export.  Everyone will be happier for it.  However, for NOW, do those big water changes to get a handle on the curing issues--this will go a long way towards ensuring everyone in the family can weather this little storm. >If not, how long do I need to wait before adding the various tank cleaners (substrate, algae, and Aiptasia)?   >>Are you saying you're going to *add* Aiptasia?  If so, please don't.  There are other things that will do whatever it is you want the Aiptasia to do.  I would strongly recommend that you add nothing else to the tank until you get all readings down to zero, nitrates TRACE at most (a DSB will denitrify, thus bringing nitrates to zero readings, but it takes a while for a DSB to become well established). >Any feedback will be greatly appreciated, in hopes that this old rusty blade can be sharpened.  Thanks in advance :-) Rmac >>LOL!!  Reminds me of a really good Soundgarden song that Johnny Cash covered, "Rusty Cage". anyway, that's what I would do--lots of bigger water changes, ensure the skimmer is giving the foulest skimmate possible, create the refugium (lots of info on site as well), and add your clean-up crew once everything else is sorted.  Good luck!  Marina

Curing rock separately from fishes in QT 3/25/03 Does this mean that it would be risky if I placed a Damsel into my quarantine tank with the live rock? <because of the unpredictable nature of water quality with curing live rock... no other animals can be kept in the same tank during its isolation period> Would the Damsel be a host for the parasites in case that these creatures are parasitic? Is it better to leave the tank without any fishes in it for these 4 weeks? Thanassis <yes to the above... a proper QT keeps all specimens separate at all times. Best regards, Anthony>

Curing live rock for a 75 gallon - 3/14/03 Hello to whomever is lucky enough to be sitting behind the monitor today. <Paul, at your service>  As always I would first like to start off saying what a wonderful resource your website is and how much your time and knowledge is appreciated. <thank you very much. We aim to please and to save as many animals as we can one aquarist at a time.> A few (hopefully) quick and simple questions that I didn't find in any of the FAQs. <Are you sure?> Although overlooking them could always be an option. <Ahhhh, agreed> There is so much material to be absorbed. <To say the least!> Ok here goes.. I'm planning/researching for a 75G reef tank here in the near future. <Nice size> I'm going to use uncured live rock to cycle it. <OK> Would like to try and preserve as much biodiversity as possible Approx 45lbs of Fiji Approx 36lbs of Tonga Approx 25lbs of Caribbean 1.  Should I order each type separately and add it slowly? or can I add all of it at once? <If there are no animals of any kind in the tank, then by all means order and place it together.> 2.  If it can be added all at once are there any considerations that need to be taken into account (water changes, ph, ammonia, etc) <Not sure what you are asking here. If you are curing it all together then definitely these are all things to consider. See our FAQs on curing live rock.> 3.  I've read mucho info on bristle worms and mantis shrimp being good and bad. <Good if you like them and bad if you don't. I have quite a cornucopia of bristleworms with very little in the way of harm being done. No mantis shrimp, but again, some people encourage them by feeding, and enjoy their curious behaviors first hand.> Since the rock will be uncured and I haven't decided on livestock yet (other than the normal cleanup crew -snails, hermits, starfish, cleaner shrimp, etc) should I try and remove the bristles and mantis prior to placing the liverock in the aquarium? <Nope. Most will die off just in the curing process. Those that live will "kick start a population" so to speak. No need to worry here. If you are going to be curing in a main display tank, and don't want such creatures in said main display tank, then I would recommend using one of the many methods detailed in out FAQs regarding curing live rock. Here you go: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm read on brutha!!! Check through here for other recommendations as well.> Don't want them to cause a problem later down the road. <Then I suggest a large barrel (garbage can) and set up a "curing station" and let the rock cure for about 4-8 weeks to be sure. Use a heater, keep from light if possible. All this is detailed within the link above> 4.  Will algae become a problem during the cycling? I plan on using a normal light cycle when cycling the LR. <Yes, algae is part of setting up new tank in general. I would refrain from lighting the tank for a few weeks.> 5.  If algae does become a problem can I just leave it until I get the clean up crew or is there something that can be done during the cycling? <will likely wax and wane for the first 6 months but sometimes less and sometimes more. Good general aquarium husbandry goes a long way here. Water changes and a proper feeding regimes go along way here.> 6.  There was one other thing, but for the life of me I can't remember. *sigh* <No problem. Happens.> I hope my questions were clear and that I didn't ramble on too much. <No problems here. Just be sure to scour the net (not just our site but others as well) and ask questions after due process. You are doing the right thing by taking a first step and asking questions before you plunge headlong into a fascinating but delicate endeavor. Keep up the good work.>  I anxiously await for your reply. Thanks so much for your dedication to this wonderful and expensive hobby. <Doesn't need to be expensive. Just diligence and practicality can work wonders. Use common sense and by all means research and ask questions!!!!! Good luck. Paul> Best Regards, <Same to you> Jeremy

Stump The Crew Member.... I've searched the FAQS for a while and I still have a really stupid question (chastise me at will).  <No such thing as a stupid question....Well, maybe...LOL> I have 90 lbs of live rock that I am using to cycle my 75 gallon tank.  It's only been in the tank for about 4 days and the ammonia level is >5 mg/l.  Will this kill off whatever life is left in the rock - should I leave it or do a partial water change? <At this point, I'd let the rock stay put, don't change the water, and wait until the ammonia returns to an undetectable level. After the water returns to zero, then you can begin regular water changes, etc.> By the way what is the conversion for mg/l to ppm (I see a lot of people talking ppm)? Thanks! Jeff <Not sure on that one! Gonna have to crack one of my college textbooks. I'll post when I get that answer, okay? Regards, Scott F> <<Mmm, RMF would change the water... and parts per million is equivalent to milligrams per liter (there are one thousand grams of water in a liter, and a milligram is one thousandth of a gram of water...)>>

Curing new rock in a new system Ok all Thanks to your staff, book  & expert info. I have a good plan for upsizing my 38 tank to a 55. I have a couple questions tho that  I haven't been able to find answers to. I will be ordering 50# of uncured live rock & not to sure which direction to take for curing. Could I & is it best to cure new live rock in the new system with some light, or better to do in a dark tub by it self. <New tank will be OK, a dark tub would not be the best choice.> I do plan on using old water & live rock, but not the crushed coral, from the 38 when all is ready & wont be able to pull any of the filtration, skimmer, etc. until . I do have an extra power head and heater tho. Lastly, could I seed new aragonite to live during curing process. <Yes, this is a good idea.> Hope you can help, thanks, <You're very welcome, Don> Randy.

Skimmer Questions  3/5/03 Phil,<Hey Rick> I've got the live rock and skimmer in the tank and the Fluval filter is up and running.<Good good good> Should I be running the skimmer all the time during the cycling process?<Yup, my rule is as soon as the salt is added to the aquarium the skimmer should be running.> I also seem to be getting micro bubbles coming from the outflow elbow on the Bak Pak skimmer is there anything I can do to diminish this?<As far as I know the only way to stop this is to buy the "bubble trap" that CPR sells.  I remember hearing once, that a guy put a small piece of sponge in the outlet.  It stopped most of the bubbles.  But I've never seen/heard about this since.> Once again thanks for the advice.<No problem, hope this helps!  Phil>

RE: 30g Saltwater Aquarium Questions  3/3/03 Phil,<That's me!!> Two more quick questions.<Sure thing> Should I put the Skimmer on during or after the cycling process is complete?<Turn it on during the cycling process.  Once you see what comes out of the water you'll be a believe in skimmers!!>   Can I add live rock during the cycling process?<Yup, if you add LR during cycling you don't need to add Damsels to the tank.  4-6 weeks after adding the LR it should be safe for fish, but do test to check.> Your previous email was super helpful.<Glad it helped and hope this one does too! Thanks<No problem, good luck!!  Phil>

Live Rock Cycle's  2/26/03 Thanks again Phil,<No problem James..> You mentioned recurring the live rock.<Yup>  I don't have a separate tank used to cure live rock.  Although, my tank is a new set up (1 month up and running) and I have thought about saving money by filling up my tank with uncured rock.  My LFS warned me against doing that.<That's how I cycle my tank... just add uncured liver rock.>  They said that it would really damage my water and they recommended against it., It will disrupt the water quality, but if there are no fish in the tank there is nothing to worry about.>  I think they may just have said that so I would buy their cured rock.  My LFS doesn't even sell uncured rock.  Question:  Can I add 40lbs of uncured rock to my tank and just let it cure itself?<Yes, but since you have cured live rock in the tank there may be some die off because of the decline in water quality>  Will it damage my water for later when I want to add corals?<No, just wait 4-6 weeks before adding fish.>  Do people that set up reef tanks add all cured or all uncured rock to start with?<I used uncured and have never had a problem!> Question 2:   you mentioned that I need to make sure my water is "perfect"  before adding corals to the tank.  Well if all I have in my tank is live rock and live sand, and I'm running my skimmer all the time.  What would make the water not perfect?  I'll starting testing the water this week and see where my levels are.<Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite need to be 0!  pH needs to be between 8.2-8.4 IMO.  Check www.wetwebfotos.com for some info on a good brand test kit.  Hope this helps!!  Phil>

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