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FAQs about Live Rock 4

Related Articles: Live RockReef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, Live Rock 1, LR 2LR 3, LR 5, LR 6, LR 7, Curing Live Rock, LR Life Identification, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & ChartsCopper UseMarine Landscaping, Marine BiotopeSumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock, Base Rock

Can dead looking rock be Live Rock? - 3/6/03 Hello, <Hey, Paul here> just a quick question concerning live rock. <Rock that is live. OK? OK> Most of the live rock for sale at the stores here in Newfoundland Canada look totally devoid of any life whatsoever. <Well, depends on what your using to compare to. Probably not life devoid in reality, but just not a visible outward sign, like coralline growth, sponges, etc> I'm not quick to go and buy what looks like dead rock for $12-$15/lb. <totally understood. Plus if you can afford it, (and as you know you sometimes can and do get what you pay for) you should get something that will look good as there are many choice vendors out there to choose from> One of the stores owners here says it could take up to a year! before you see life in the rock. <Well, has been said to be true, but again you can look for venders with fully cured liverock. Check out online etailers. Look through our forums and others for other recommendations. There are so many places to get live rock from these days. Do a little research and go for it.> I find this hard to believe. < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm  In time even base rock can and will become "live" to a more or lesser degree. Coralline algae will begin to grow within a few months, with all kinds of other suitable and beneficial life in time. You can always order some "seeding" products such as "GARF grunge" and IPSF has a great many items as well.> I currently have a 75 gal. fish only tank that has broken in quite nicely but understand the importance of live rock in ensuring a healthy environment and so was going to add some to the tank over time. <Good idea> Could someone tell me if I'm going to waste my money on this DEAD ROCK or should I look elsewhere to find some decent live rock.<Well, I think it is whatever will make you happiest. This "DEAD ROCK" if porous and truly of carbonate based non living material, it will become very alive in time, but for the same money (of just maybe a fraction more) you can get beautiful, coralline encrusted, with all kinds of "life" on it type of rock....then by all means get that.>                    Thank you much. Craig <thank you, Paul>

When In Doubt- Take It Out!> Hi Webcrew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight> I like your FAQ section a lot...it has answered many questions for me in the past.  There seems to be some kind of white, fuzzy, web-like, cotton-ball fungus growing on my live rock.  Just a few days ago, it was only one small little patch, but today it has spread to three portions of a rock and there are tiny white hairs growing on some of the plastic plants in the aquarium (I haven't noticed anything on the fish yet). What is this stuff?, what causes it?, is it dangerous to the fish?, and how can I get rid of it?  Please let me know if you have any information on this substance...thanks. John <Well, hard to say. Could be anything from decaying matter of some sort (like a sponge or other organic material) trapped in the rock, to a live sponge...I'd opt for physically removing this stuff from the rock if you have any concerns about this stuff...Probably not dangerous, but, when in doubt, "take it out!". You can use a siphon or a tweezers, or whatever it takes to safely extract it. Hope that this helps! Regards, Scott F>

A New Setup With Old Rocks... Hi, <Hello! Scott F. with you today> Thank you for your time ! <I got nothin' but time... LOL> I am in the process of replacing my older tank with a new tank. I had a case of ick in my old tank as well & moved everything to my QT. Anyway, when I put my existing LR into my new tank, should I use the old water, or partial of to fill the new tank? It will be a total of 6 weeks before anything is added to the system - fish. <Well, you can never be 100% sure, but I'd feel confident that most of the parasite population would be history after 6 weeks without a host...I usually recommend a 1 month "fallow" period in an infected tank, so you should be okay. If it makes you feel better, you could wait a longer period of time, like 8 weeks, or just use some of the water...but the parasites are more likely to be in the rocks and sand than in the water, as they only have a very short free-swimming phase in their nasty life cycle...I'd avoid using the existing sand, though, because the parasites are more likely to settle in the sand than they are in or on the rock, IMO> Also for a sand bottom, how deep should I go if it is a LRWFO tank? Should I add the LR first & then back fill w/ sand as some books mention, & do I need to have the same sand base thickness under the areas of LR? <I'd go for 1/2" or less, or 3" or more...I'd try to keep te sandbed depth uniform throughout the tank. Sure, it's not a bad idea to put the rockwork in first, then add the sand...You can skip having sand under the rocks, in my experience. I have not had any bad experiences doing that...or in adding sand under the rock, either...your call!> Thank you for your help ! <And thank you for stopping by! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>        

Removing Wet-Dry and adding Live Rock - 3/5/03 Hi - <Howdy, Paul here> I have quick question about the best way to move from a wet/dry filtration system to using only live rock for my biological filtration. <So many ways so little time> My current set up is a 75 gallon salt water tank (not drilled) so I am running an Eheim 2229 wet/dry,<Actually I like these> Remora Pro Skimmer,<good> Magnum canister (I know this is junk, but it is mainly used for some carbon and to drive my 25w UV). <OK>  I also am using a Cora-Life 50/50 bulb. I have 45 lbs of Fiji live rock and about a 1/2" of sand.  I am going with a fish-only set up (primarily, but may add a some inverts).<Make an adjustment to your lighting if you list corals as a possible choice of inverts>  I have a Percula and a Three-stripe Damsel, and some hermit crabs and I am going to add a tang and angel - but still TBD. My question is, I want to add another 30-40 lbs of live rock, <Very good and I really like this idea> and remove the Eheim wet/dry. <OK>  What would be the best way for me to do this? <Add the rock first (after curing in a separate tank. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm) then remove the wet/dry> Should I add the rock, then remove the wet/dry, or remove the wet/dry (slowly), then add the live rock (fully cured)? <add rock then remove wet/dry. I am curious as to why you think you need to remove the wet/dry? You could still add live rock and keep the wet/dry. Especially being that this is a fish only setup.> Thanks for the help. <No problem. Paulo> Jason

Reef Dust Hello everyone ! <Greetings> Have some questions again so your wisdom is needed ! I have send many e-mail in the past (reef on a remote Greek island!!!) I finally got some living organisms for my tank. I have the fish in quarantine Of course, and in the main tank I added three polyps, three mushrooms, and three father dusters. Everything is doing very well (polyps are fully open ) except one mushroom. It has a green colour and although most of the polyps are open the middle part of it, at the centre of the rock did not open since the beginning. Today I found it covered in some white membrane (milk like) and when I tried to touch it with the clams it just turned into particles. The membrane disintegrated as well as the polyp underneath in that area. Is it a king of disease? What should I do ? <Not a disease. Likely just a remnant of a feeding mechanism. I would not worry about this. Bob Fenner> Take care   Kostas

Old LR replacement Hi Crew, I was reading a post on your web site regarding live rock. In the post you recommended to a person that has had a tank for 8 years to remove a portion of the rock and replace it with some new rock . Why is this ?  does it get old ?  or is it just to bring new live into the tank ? <A bit of both. The buffering and other mineral capacity is diminished as time goes by AND the biodiversity and abundance of the material wanes... so, at about a year and a half in use it's suggested that some be replaced or added to, and about six months intervals thereafter. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much. Chris

Re: killing live rock. . . Hey Bob and friends,        First off, reading your Q and A's have been very helpful to me as a hobbyist and Bob's book really educated me on the hobby.  Unfortunately, I will be dismantling my 75-gallon reef (for the usual reasons: time, money + moving) but I am optimistic about returning to the hobby within a couple years and want to salvage as much of the current reef as possible.  I will keep the tank and equipment etc. but is there a way to clean and store the live rock/sand?  I was thinking of thoroughly rinsing them in bleach or maybe vinegar and effectively sterilizing them, then later setting up the tank again sometime and allowing them to slowly re-colonize (I will add some fresh live rock and sand of course).  I know it sounds wasteful, but I really want to hang on to as much of my current tank as possible. (Don't worry, I am giving the fish and inverts away-- not storing them!) <Yikes! Rinsing then slightly (a cup to a gallon) bleaching, then air-drying is the best route to go for cleaning/sterilizing the rock and sand. Bob Fenner>

Get The Red Out! Hello, I have this maroon velvet looking strands of stuff growing off one of my LR  pieces it grows more when the lights are off and slowly goes away during the day when the lights are on just wondering if you could tell me what it is thanks for any advice you can give me.   Jim <Hmm, sounds a lot like some Cyanobacteria that you're dealing with. This algae is quite common in newer setups, when heavy nutrient concentrations are present, and export mechanisms are not yet up to speed. As far as the day-night growth, hard to say what is causing that. I'd take some steps to physically remove it, if possible. Of greater importance is to develop sufficient nutrient export methods, such as frequent (I like 2 times a week), small (5% of tank volume) water changes, aggressive protein skimming, and use of chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter and activated carbon. Keep at these regular maintenance efforts, and you'll beat this problem before it gets out of hand. It's always best to address what is causing the Cyano, and to address and remove the causes. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Culturing your own live rock Hi, <Hi Nick, Don today> I am planning on setting up a 90gal reef system.  Unfortunately, after spending ~1000.00 on all the hardware, I think my wife would leave me if I spent another 400 or 500 on live rock (I guess I couldn't blame her :)  Anyway, my question was, is it feasible to buy say 45 pounds of live rock from FFE, and another 50 pounds of dead coral skeleton or similar (I've seen this at LFS for less than 1.00/lb.) and sort of culture your own live rock?  I am in no hurry to move here, so I wouldn't mind living with the tank for 6 months while I "aquacultured" my own LR.  I suppose there's a reason I've never heard of anyone doing this before, but any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. <Oh, yes a very good way to save some $$$ on rock. I would recommend that you buy 'base rock' which is the rock that is not quite as 'pretty' as the live rock you buy. If you keep your water quality high, it won't take long at all before the base rock will start to house 'good stuff' and be growing coralline algae. Most would put the base rock 'under' the live rock when aquascaping the tank. Maybe you could even make a 'road trip' to a distributor and save some of the shipping. See here and the links beyond for more info http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm Good luck, Don> Nick Silvaggi

Live Rock Shipping Die-off Would I notice much difference, say in 4 months, between LR delivered within 24 hrs of being removed from curing tanks (Harbor Aquatics), and that of Flying Fish Express where the rock will have to sit in the box longer? Would the HA rock suffer less die-off or is it a case where once the rock is removed from water another day or two really doesn't make any difference? The HA rock would cost more, but if it would remain cured then it would be worth it to me. Thanks for the great job of answering questions. Todd <Hi Todd. The longer out of water the more die-off. All rock will suffer die-off during shipment (whether an hour or 48) and will not be 'cured' upon arrival. I would recommend that you setup a plastic container with a powerhead, simple lighting, heater and small filter. Suspend the rock off the bottom using pvc pipe 'stands' and egg crate. Allow the rock to cure for several weeks. During this time you can bait the bottom of the container and see if you get any undesirable critters to come out of hiding. Good luck, Don>

QT rock Dear Fish Gods,       I purchased some live rock (....ok so it looks more dead than alive) from a friend today (10#'s for $10), and I wanted to know if i had to do much more than rinse it with water before putting it into my main aquarium. It has nothing alive on it (it's actually white right now), so I figured if I did a damn good job rinsing it with salt water that I should be able to chuck it right into my aquarium.  Any thoughts on this? <Anything that goes into my display tank is quarantined first. (Except dry sand) To me it isn't worth the risk. Setup a 10G plastic storage container, a powerhead, a power filter and suspend the rock over eggcrate and pvc posts. Put some food in the bottom of the container to make sure there are no unwanted critters. 4 weeks is recommended. Don>

Live rock owees Quick question if you please...I purchased some live rock from 2 different LFS. The first purchase was fine. Put the rock in. All was well. The second batch was brought home and put in tank. Since then, Whenever I put my hand in (yes I know not to do that now) to rearrange the rock or take apart my filter to clean I get these things I can only describe as fiberglass stuck in my hand. It only started happening after I added second batch of rock. I can't do anything in my tank without getting it in my hand. Man at the LFS said it was tiny bristle worms (sp?). I don't think so. <Me neither> I think their rocks were contaminated by something. This cant be save for any tank inhabitants can it? <For some types it may be harmful, yes> My tank is empty now because I am going reef. The LR is in a ten gallon holding tank. Should I discard and get new rocks or is this normal? <Not uncommon for "crystals" that are very sharp (as you know) to grow on "old" live rock.> Also If I do keep these rocks should I "feed" the rocks. They are the only live thing I have except for 2 snails. They will be in the holding tank for several weeks As I am going out of town and will not set up the new reef till I get back. Vacation=tank death. Do they need light? Hope you can shed some light on my situation. Thanks. <Do use this rock for now... it may well lose its sharp edges (pick up with gloves). Much re LR is posted on our site. Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm and continue on with the FAQs files (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

When In The Islands...Take Nothing But Photos! Hi, <Hello... Scott F. with you today> I have just returned from a trip in Hawaii, and I brought with me 2 medium-sized pieces of lava rock that I found in the ocean waters of Hawaii, I was wondering if it is safe to put into my 55 gallon aquarium? <Yikes! You did what? Just so you know- It is not advisable to remove rocks, sand, etc. from Hawaiian waters. There  are a variety of restrictions concerning the removal of natural materials.  And, with this being lava rock, there are also local superstitions that go along with the removal of these rocks from the Hawaiian Islands.  I know two rocks might seem to be minimal- but just think- with millions of tourists visiting the Islands each year, if each one took just a couple of rocks, think of the impact on our natural resources...> What effects might it have on my fish, eel, and invertebrates? <Well...It's hard to say...Rocks from natural sources may be perfectly safe, or they may continually leach undesirable substances into the water. Best to let wild-collected rock "cure" in a separate aquarium or container with filtration and/or Polyfilter for a few weeks before using...> Also is it similar to the lava rocks sold in the aquarium stores? Thanks in advance. <Without seeing them, it would be hard to say...I'd still advise a "curing" period before their use. Good luck! Scott F.>

Live Rock Disaster - 2/18/03 Hi <Morning!  Phil here!> I have made a big mistake<Oh no... lets see if I can help!> (I know now after consulting my reference material) with putting more live rock in my tank after it has just cycled.  I am really new to Marine aquarium keeping and seem to have been spoilt with my initial 25Lb purchase of live rock from my LFS.  The rock a purchased a fortnight ago was fully cured and went straight into my tank sprouting all sorts of algae etc.  The live rock I purchased two days ago from my LFS however is exactly the opposite and is decaying quite badly (the salesperson said "Oh that's a bit stinky", but didn't advise me to cure it, even after knowing I was new to the hobby).<ouch...>  I didn't however examine it properly (or read as much as I should have) and I therefore put it straight into my tank.  Last night I examined it and found my tank absolutely stunk, my protein skimmer was going crazy producing foam, and the rock had a very slimy white layer of sludge all over it.  I performed an Ammonia test and found level to be between 0.3 - 0.6 (can't quite interpret the colour exactly) I subsequently removed it, scrubbed it, and reintroduced it into the tank and then performed a 5% water change (its the biggest container I had).  This morning I woke up, looked in my tank and saw that some of my lovely bright green algae had turned completely white, and a filter feeding type slug I had was dead.  The rock had also developed more white sludge.  The rock is now subsequently sitting in my back yard in a sealed polystyrene container covered in wet news paper awaiting my return home.  What I need to know is how to get rid of the pollutants that are now in the tank (i.e. the dead smell), and whether the live rock currently in my tank, and filter media will bring the Ammonia/Nitrite levels back in line without too much more loss.  Would Activated Carbon help to remove any of the pollutants from the water.  Your help is greatly appreciated. <Here's the plan...  First keep your skimmer running 24/7(you should always but just in case..).  Do 5-10% water changes every other day.  If the tank is like you might as well put the uncured LR back in the tank.  Curing can take a few weeks in which nothing should be in the tank.  Carbon may help, but really you should just let the skimmer and water changes help remove the pollutants.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Denitrifiers on LR in the dark Dear WWM Consortium: Quick Question:   <---yea, right  :-) I have about 50 lbs of live rock sitting in quarantine tanks, under 50/50 and triton bulbs for about a month now.  The rock is just old rock from my older tank. It had some nuisance Valonia (sp) algae on it, so I decided not to put in in my new FOWLR tank. Question is...if I remove the lights from the holding tanks and let this Valonia (spelling not correct most likely, but it's that bubble type algae that seems to explode and develop into wiry looking algae all over the live rock)....if I were to remove the lights and starve the algae off the rock, then put the live rock into the sump of the main tank...would the live rock still act as a denitrifying filter? <Yes> I mean...do the nitrifying bacteria still live on the rock in the absence of light, as my sump is unlit. <Yes. Bob Fenner> I'm just concerned about die off of bacteria, and was wondering if bacteria need light in order to survive submerged in darkness. Thanks! Steve

2nd Thoughts About TBS Liverock Hello and Good Day, I currently have 55lbs of Fiji LR in my 55gal Marine Tank.  The tank is still cycling with just the LR and DSB.  I was planning on buying an additional 20lbs of LR from Tampa Bay Saltwater to put the finishing touches on the  tank.  However, with additional reading of the FAQs and other Bulletin Boards I've come to learn that the TBS LR is more dense, less porous than Fiji . My question is;  Is it ok to add the TBS LR or should I stick with Fiji ? Am I setting my tank up for disaster down the road by not having the more porous Fiji ? <These two products can be mixed. The pros/cons of both are posted where you state you've been. Bob Fenner> I know your answers are honest and unbiased.  Please enlighten me. ..holding onto his TBS order… Scott

Limestone starter - 2/10/03 My son and I are in the process of starting up our first marine tank (55g). <Glad to hear it, and welcome to this wondrous hobby> Due to the information on this site I have decided a skimmer is a must have. <Agreed! Agreed!> Plans are to purchase a AquaC remora. Question #1..will the remora be sufficient or do we need to go with the Pro size. <Nice choice. There are many protein skimmers touted around these days claiming this and that, but in my experience this is a very durable and a quality skimmer. I like CPR's as well. Really depends on use (sump, inline, hang on the back, etc). For your situation, either would be fine, the Pro or Standard. It may come down to a money issue. If possible though, the Mag pump is a nice upgrade pump to move to. Check here for specs: http://www.proteinskimmer.com/specs.htm> Also due to this site, and a couple books, live rock seems to make life a lot easier for the fish and us. <Excellent means of biologic filtration as well as many other uses, and a beautiful addition> Question # 2...In an effort to keep our initial investment low can we build a rock base using limestone and put a few pounds of live rock at the top closer to the lights? <I think this a do-able plan. Do a search on wetwebmedia with "limestone" as key phrase and see what is said regarding its use.>  We will boil and bleach them first.<Not sure about this process....Is this rock purchased for aquarium use?> Will the live rock inoculate the limestone and turn it into live rock? <Probably not. I believe too dense. Perhaps anything's possible. Haven't heard of any specific research in this area to truthfully know the answer. Nothing to substantiate the claim (if there were one)> If limestone isn't a good material can we use quartz? <What about base rock?> We are using this (quartz) in our discus tank with no problems. <Shouldn't be an issue, but please do a search on rock (quartz or limestone and substrate). Again, another search on wetwebmedia might yield a definitive answer here.> I just know that limestone is high in calcium, but maybe it's too hard to sterilize. <Yes on the calcium statement, maybe, depending on where you get the limestone from on the second statement> I'm not worried about any chemical contamination as it would be collected from our land. <Not sure about this statement. Man made contaminants come from a great many places including but not limited to rainfall, smog, etc. Also, there just might be other natural contaminants found in and around your area that could be detrimental to invertebrate health. Wouldn't hurt to try some limestone in a separate tank or container and let cycle in saltwater for 4-6 weeks and see what happens. Test the water with a reliable test kit and see if it goes through the normal "ammonia, nitrite, nitrate spike"   Once again thanks for your help,   Todd. <My pleasure Todd. Let us know how it turns out! Paulo>

Live Rock After The War! Hi Guys, Great website. Just a quick question. As a newbie I had a huge outbreak of ich and ignorantly doused the tank with CopperSafe. <We've all done that before..> It had about 45 lbs. of live rock in it. Since then it has been used in a fish only tank. However I now have the urge to start a reef. After going through all the facts it seems as if there isn't a clear yes or no as to whether I can still use the rock or not. I remember reading a fact that had been posted/replied by Bob Fenner and he said it was okay because the copper ion had already reacted with the carbonate and is no longer dangerous whereas, in another fact I think it was Anthony, he stated that the copper could still leach out. So, to say the least, I guess I'm confused on this topic. I have been planning to get a clean up crew and an additional 20-30 lbs of live rock and before I did this I just wanted to get your feedback on this issue. Thanks guys,  Jay <Great question, Jay! Well, Bob and Anthony are both correct! How's that for adding to the confusion! Copper will react ("bind") with the substrate and rocks, but it can continue to leach over time. I guess the main issue is how long ago the copper was dosed in the tank, and for how long. I suppose if the copper was dosed many months ago, most of the detectible copper is gone. However, it's hard to say. Depending on how much concentration of copper is lethal to the inverts you're keeping, it may be possible to keep some. You could run chemical absorption media, such as PolyFilter and activated carbon, on a continuous basis, to try to absorb whatever may still be remaining in the system (i.e; in "solution"). The difficulty lies in the fact that the copper, if still present, may leach in very minute quantities, but still enough to harm delicate inverts. I'd try the chemical media, and a few supplemental large scale water changes, if you're gonna try to move on. On the other hand, it may be more comforting for you to simply purchase new rock, and use the existing rock for another FOWLR setup! Sorry I couldn't be more precise in my answer, but there are a number of variables here. I don't recommend experimenting with live animals (crabs, snails, etc.), but this may be one of the most telling techniques you have...proceed with caution! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Question re: Live Rock HI guys, <<Don with you Today>>     Just getting my 55 gallon tank started. It has been running for 1 full week now with 36 lbs premium live rock from Fiji. I'm using the rock to cycle the tank as well as to be biological filtration etc for the tank going forward. <<Strap on the seatbelts and cinch 'em tight you are in for an incredible/fascinating ride <G>>>     When purchased the cured live rock was a nice purple and pink under the store's lights. I put them in the tank and the rock gradually turned whitish with white smoke like plumes and web like patches during the first 2-3 days. <<A normal progression, the coralline will come back in time>>     The rock has been in my tank now for 9 days and now I am getting the brown diatoms algae forming on the tank, the aragonite substrate and it is quickly covering all of the rock. <<Not unusual either. Control the nutrients and you control the algae. Continue skimming and shoot for the 'dark cup of gunk every day or two'.>>     My skimmer is running, <<Again, you want to 'tune' it so you get good, constant, production. Keep it clean as well>> I have a wet dry filter and a pressurized mechanical ocean clear filter. I have also deionized filtered tap water in my tank. <This will help as well>>     Could you explain what is happening with all of these color changes on my live rock and how can I get rid of this ugly brown algae and will I ever have pretty pink and purple coralline covered rock for my tank ???<<Normal progression, good maintenance and husbandry (as well as time and patience) will help>>     Thanks for your time and help. You guys are the best. <<Aww, <SG> shucks, Thanks. Don>>

Hitchhiker id: Hello "Crew" - <Hello, Ananda here...> Love your site. <Good to hear!> I can usually find answers to my questions within your site, but haven't found anything on a hitchhiker I recently discovered on a small piece of live rock. <Lots of stuff to be found on live rock....> 10 gallon tank 1 small percula 12 lbs. Fiji rock purple mushroom yellow polyp some green zoanthids <Sounds like a nice nano setup.> I'd send a photo, but the creature in question is tiny, so I'll try to describe them to my fullest. On one piece of my live rock there seem to be some type of tube builder/dweller. Protruding from each tube (each tube is only about 1 mm in diameter) are 2 tentacles which are transparent and can stretch to over 2 inches (tentacles are maybe .5 mm each) which don't seem to have mouths or a head so I don't think it is something like a bristleworm or such. While observing, the tentacles just seem to wriggle around on the outside of the live rock, but now they have constructed tube-like structures made out of sand grains attached to the rock over their dwelling holes. None of the zoanthids on the rock seem to be irritated by these little tentacles which (the tentacles) retract upon disturbance. <It's a common spaghetti worm -- though I think vermicelli worm might be a more accurate common name. Nothing to be worried about. There's a pic here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm> Have you seen/heard of such a thing before? <Many times.> Thanks for any input you can provide. Sincerely, Chris <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Re: live rock/base rock Good Afternoon,   Is it OK to use a base rock product( such as the one offered by Carib-Sea) under live rock. The base rock, which is supposed to be calcium based, would be seeded by the live rock and save me the expense of purchasing all live rock. Are there any negative aspects to this approach? <Some folks consider the use of base rock (both raw/non-living calcium carbonate and old, not-so live live rock) to be a source of nuisance algae problems. I do not. Just cover over the base rock with good live and you should be fine. Bob Fenner> Thanks, John Jordan

Re: live rock Hi <<howdy, Don here today>> >Its been some time I've been reading your site and I find it a very serious source of info. <<can't personally take much credit yet, but thank you from all!>> I am not very old in the hobby recently I bought 40 pounds of live rock but in reality they were dead rocks they have been out of the water for a long time , very dry and very dead. anyway I am using them in my new aquarium with nothing living in it yet. do these rocks serve the purpose oh having bacteria in them in the future or they will be just part of the decoration <<Hmmmm, the bacteria etc has to come from somewhere eh? Some will come from the cycling (ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate), but to kick start the process try to find a filter sponge (keep it in tank water during transport), live sand, live rock from an existing/established tank and use it to 'seed' your tank. This should speed the process. Over time your 'dead' rock will become very 'live' indeed. In the future, let us know what your goal is as well for your tank (Reef, Fish, both etc) as it will help when answering questions. Thanks>> thank you Viken <<Your welcome, Don>>

Re: Live Rock Plants (algae) My 125 gallon reef tank with ecosystem filter has been up for 4 months. My live rock has sprouted a lot of plants and my Caulerpa has died in the filter.  What should I do? Thanks, Steve << Hmmmm, a little short on info here Steve. I don't really know what you are asking for. Some stuff that is 'sprouting' on the live rock is likely good stuff and other may be bad stuff. Many, many causes as to the demise of the Caulerpa, too many to list here. You might search for Caulerpa on the main WWM page or ecosystem on same. See if any of the past questions/responses might help. Good Luck, Don>>

Re: Live Rock Question (cured?) Hi Bob: Recently added some LR to my FO 55g tank.  Purpose: Filtration of nitrates to help my skimmer. Question is, this rock has some white patches and I can see some dead worms up in the crevices although my LFS says this rock is fully cured.  Could I be getting bad service here?  LFS says the white patches are good because bad stuff won't grow on it. <What you describe is very common with cured LR. Unless you are experiencing some other anomaly (like ammonia spiking) I would leave all as is. Very likely the "bare spots" will soon be grown over by other organisms. Bob Fenner> Please let me know ASAP if I have to take it back out!   Thanks, David

Re: Live Rock Question Bob: I have a 55g FO tank that I would like to add live rock to.  (Purpose is Nitrate Control)  Nitrates are hanging around 80ppm despite skimming, despite 50% water changes, despite cutting back on feedings, etc. <What other inputs for nitrate are here? Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm> Question is, how do I do this, I'm assuming you don't just grab some live rock at the LFS and dump it in? <Mmm, no... in this size system, I would pre-cure (whether it's sold as such or not) the new LR in a separate container before adding it. Please see here:    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> Many thanks

Re: Live Rock Hello , this is my fist time writing to you.  I have read most of the information on your site referring to reef systems and found it very informative. I had a few questions about my system.  First a little background: I have had the same system for about ten years now and have moved it with me over the years. I am finally settled down now but the past several moves have taken there toll on the system. About six months ago I decided to get the tank back up to its former glory. I had fifteen or twenty corals many years ago but now there are only a few soft corals left. I live in Northern Ontario, Canada and did not have easy access to more livestock over the years to replace what I lost. The original tank was a 70 gal. tank with aprox. 80 lbs. of live rock in it. I have moved the reef into a 35 gal. tank with about 60 lbs. of live rock. This move was to make the system a bit more manageable for me from the standpoint of maintenance. <Understandable> It has been aprox 6 months now and everything looks good except for the hair algae covering the live rock. <Oh no! I have the same problem!> I have a ten gal. sump with an old Amiracle venturi skimmer in the sump and 190 watts of 10000k PC lighting. I've been adding Kalkwasser for the past two months and this seems to help. I also purchased 12 turbo snails and two small emerald crabs which are doing a good job. The live rock also has many different types of macro algae which I have to pull out about once a month. My first question is about my live rock. As I mentioned I purchased it ten years ago. Some of the rock, aprox 1/3 is what I think is plant rock. The rest of the rock was purchased a little at a time over the first few years and is of better quality. The worms and small creatures have made the rock very porous but there tends to be a lot of detritus on the bottom from this. Do you think this is contributing to the phosphate in the water. <Yes. It wouldn't hurt to begin removing some of the older rock and adding newer, better quality rock> My replacement water is with R.O. I have just purchased some Phosguard to try. <If your level is much over 1.0 these phosphate removers will not be of much assistance. Test for silica as well> My next question is about the protein skimmer. Do you think the AMiracle is sufficient or should I be looking at an upgrade soon. <I have no experience with this type of skimmer. Does it pull out dark skimmate daily? If it does, it's probably okay> My last question is about Kalkwasser. I have read that you can use pickling lime from the grocery store what is your opinion on this. <Some very well known pet fish writers (Goemans for one) champion this idea. It will work and I have no qualms about it although I personally use Kalk> I have one suggestion , and maybe you already have this in place, but if people could put a profile and enter their tank information so that you could refer to it when answering questions. Thank you very much. <Thanks for the suggestion. David Dowless>

Adventures With Live Rock! I have a basic question.. or at least I think it is basic. I have a 30g tank with only four Small live rocks ( don't have the money yet for more) and four fish and one pink tipped Anenome. I was moving my Anenome from a rock because it looked sick and moved it to the top. Upon removing him I had to move some of the rocks. I picked up one that has been sitting in the sand to find long roots hanging and growing from this rock. I don't know what these roots could be for. <Well, tough to say from here, but the "roots" could be the rhizomes or holdfasts from some kind of macroalgae. I wouldn't be too concerned. All part of the adventure of live rock!> No prob with the tank. The live rock it producing several animals, worms that I cant find pics of on your sight, but no plants. Any ideas as to what this could be? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Aaron K <Well, Aaron, it's hard to say without a photo. A lot of times, strange "worms" and mysterious creatures turn out to be sponges and tunicates, which are harmless, interesting and natural. If you can send us a photo, maybe we can get a positive ID...Enjoy! Regards, Scott F>

DIY LR Collection Hi David, Points Taken. Just one more question for the moment... I cant lay my hands on Live or Dead rock as I mentioned I live in Dubai and its hard to procure...(Can I just go to the beach and collect some of the rock which might be lying around ? <Very risky for the future inhabitants of your tank. You have no way of knowing what this rock has been exposed to and removing the rock from the beach may be illegal. If you go this route, quarantine the rock for a least 5-6 weeks before placing in your main tank. But realize that quarantine won't remove contaminants that the rock may have been exposed to...> What can I use in my tank to make what we call...HIDING PLACES for the fishies ? <Go to the nearest fish store and look for Tufa or other similar material. As long as it's not lava rock it should be okay> Over & Out <David Dowless> Lyndon

White Live Rocks Hi, I recently bought 50 pounds of Fiji live rocks from a dealer that was closing his shop and so he sold his live rocks for half the price.  Anyways, when I bought them home to add to my existing 50 pounds of live rocks, I notice that my new live rocks were all white, it has some sort of white covering outside.  I am wondering if this is normal for live rocks to be so white?  Did I get ripped off? If there is a problem with them, what is it and how can I fix it?  Will calcium supplement fix the problem? Once again, thank you WWM for all your help. -PHT- <Hello, its hard to say without a picture, could be that there is not a lot of coralline growth on these rocks, or all of the coralline growth that had been there died off, sudden increase in light, low calcium or alkalinity.  We may never know what happened to the rock before you purchased it.  Check out the link below for more on corallines.  -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs.htm >

- Cleaning Live Rock - Hello, I am new to reefkeeping, and I had a huge algae bloom. <Hello, JasonC here... you don't need to be new to have this happen, it's very common.> Green algae was heavily growing on my 50 lbs of live rock.  In my haste, I resorted to taking my live rock and quickly "spraying off" the green algae under a faucet (warm water).  I quickly got the algae off, and placed the rocks back into my tank.  This did wonders for getting rid of the algae, but a friend told me I should have brushed off the algae with a toothbrush in water drained from the tank. <I would side with your friend on that one.> Questions:  did I totally devastate the beneficial micro-organisms growing in my rocks? <Quite possibly... not only the drop in salinity but also water that is 'warm' to you might have been too hot for them. Most of that life is microscopic and doesn't have the equipment to deal with such extremes.> Since this cleaning, the few corals and fish I have seem to be doing fine. <Did you run any tests to make sure?> Is the toothbrush method the best way to rid any excessive algae growth? <Well... excess, yes. But it's also wise to examine the root cause for the outbreak and try to deal with the problem there.> I realize now I need to do more frequent water changes to remove excess nutrients in my water. <Where are the nutrients coming from? Perhaps make sure there isn't an excess first.> I am hopeful my "live" rock is not "dead".  What are your thoughts? <It will come back in time.> Thanks. Steve. <Cheers, J -- >

Live Rock Another satisfied customer (Aquarium related... no tattoo art this time) No question just a bone for you. I bought over 200 lbs of live rock from one of your sponsors and the rock is awesome. <great to hear a positive message... indeed, it is a pleasure for us to help folks in need (our purpose)... But a happy voice is refreshing> I bought it in stages and have a total of three vats going. Just wanted to say your advice is 100 percent correct. The skimming temp etc.. I've got some great looking rock going into my tanks. Keep up the great advice! Thanks! RLD <thanks kindly for sharing you enthusiasm and kudos, my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

LIVE ROCK STUFF ID I have looked though your site trying to find out what this honeycomb-like thing is on my new LR. The closest thing I saw was on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm on the Pomatosteges stellatus pictures (what the worms are sitting on), only white, and seemingly alive.  Any ideas?  Thanks, Rich. <the matter in the picture you've cited is largely mucus from the mucus feeding strategy of some tubeworms. To ID your creature... we will need a description of color, texture, behavior and incidentals (when obtained, with what, from where (in the ocean... i.e- Indo coral). Really... the best thing you can do to help us, my friend, is simply respond when you can take a digital picture or scan a print/photograph. Kinko's have this service if no one else in your area (scanning pictures to send as e-mail). Best regards, Anthony>

LIVE ROCK STUFF ID Sorry, here's a picture. <very helpful, thank you :) The stony mass in the photo is a dead (or nearly so) scleractinian likely from the Faviid family (more than a few genera possible... Montastrea would get a strong vote from this far glance). If you are referring to anything above the stony/encrusting growth... I suspect that it is sloughed mucus and decay from any necrotic tissue that may be left. Kindly, Anthony> <I have looked though your site trying to find out what this honeycomb-like thing is on my new LR. The closest thing I saw was on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm on the Pomatosteges stellatus pictures (what the worms are sitting on), only white, and seemingly alive.  Any ideas?  Thanks, Rich. <<the matter in the picture you've cited is largely mucus from the mucus feeding strategy of some tubeworms. To ID your creature... we will need a description of color, texture, behavior and incidentals (when obtained, with what, from where (in the ocean... i.e- Indo coral). Really... the best thing you can do to help us, my friend, is simply respond when you can take a digital picture or scan a print/photograph. Kinko's have this service if no one else in your area (scanning pictures to send as e-mail). Best regards, Anthony>>

How much live rock per gallon? I have a 55 gallon tank and I have a Fluval 404, BakPak II, and Emperor 400.  As I started to add live rock approximately 30 lbs over the last 8 months or so, I am wondering how much I need to have in the tank before I can rid myself of the Emperor.   <the rough rule of thumb is 1-2 lbs per gallon. To get by with only 60 lbs of rock you'll need to keep a light bio-load, feed properly, skim aggressively and maintain good husbandry otherwise to play it safe (regular water changes and the like)> I would like to keep the Fluval just for mechanical purposes. <agreed to keep, but more for a chemical filter (monthly carbon)> I have next to no substrate, I removed it as I added live rock. I buffer ph.  This has all been gradual and everyone for the most part has survived. Also how much is a good standard amount of live rock per gallon?  and live sand (necessary)?   <live sand if you want/need denitrification or if you get specialized corals, invertebrates or fishes that need it> if so how much.  I plan on only a few corals, anemone , and like 3-5 fish?     <please do not ever mix anemones (motile) with corals (sessile) this is a recipe for disaster in the long run (within 2 years). Much has been written on this topic> I have ordered 2x96 watts power compacts, and I was wondering if my two 48 inch RO actinic/white light bulbs are worth keeping in the hood? <definitely worth running to supplement. The PCs are nice, but still not strong for reef light (PAR... not just looks). Best regards, Anthony>

LR storage, loss Hi, <Hello>    You've helped me out a few times before! and I need another question answered now (well actually two).      Can I remove 210 pounds of coralline covered liverock from a tank and keep it alive in rubber buckets for 6 weeks?? I would put a heater in the container and powerhead? Would I need lights? would I have to do water changes? how much die off should I be expecting? <A good deal of the life on it will die, even given water quality monitoring. I would add a protein skimmer here, lighting if you can... these should reduce the loss of vitality to just a few tens of percent>    The other question is just out of curiosity,  If I had well water with a PH of 9.5...could I not just reduce the PH by adding vinegar ?? <Depends on the cause/s of the high pH... Do try aerating the water to see how this changes the pH... possibly look into an alkalinity/acidity test kit, have a read through the Internet re techniques for lowering alkaline reserve. Bob Fenner> thank you so much! I have learned soooo much through your site and books! Lynn <You are welcome>

LR Freebies I have about 60 pounds of Live rock in my marine aquarium and it's doing great.  It's been in there for about 8 months now and really taken off.  I have noticed a lot of interesting growth on the rocks in places.  There are some sponges (which I have removed except for a few interesting ones) but I also think I'm seeing some corals forming.  is this possible?  They look like small polyps and such.  I have no other corals in this tank right now, just live rock and marine fish.  Is it uncommon to have corals grow from live rock or am I seeing things?  Just wondering. <It is indeed possible for corals to "just happen" from even what appears to mostly dead, old live rock. What a planet eh? I'm not leaving! Bob Fenner> John

Shockingly Confused Over Lighting! I am a bit confused. Forgive me, I was electrocuted the other night while attempting to mess with overdriving NO lights. I think that has something to do with my confusion ......  ;-) <That's bad. Maybe you'll become more "enlightened", though? Maybe  I can shed some light on things...ok- enough already....! Scott F. messing with you today!> I have a couple quick questions. I am setting up a 125 FOWLR. However, I do not have any live rock yet. I can't afford it all right up front. What would the proper amount be for a my tank just to give it a small jump start until I can afford more? <Quite frankly, I'd get as much live rock as you can afford. I mean, there's no sense in me telling you that you need "X' pounds per gallon if you can only afford "y". Wouldn't be fair to you! You sound like you have a nice system set up...Just proceed at a pace that works for you. You'll be fine! You can always add more rock later when you can afford it.> I have a 5" DSB in both the 125 and the 38 refugium (no fish yet - cycle still occurring). I am not really interested in going reef at this point or even the near future. The second issue is lighting. I am still considering an FOWLR eel biotope. I have read eels like dimmer lighting than most. However, I have also saw that a FOWLR needs around 4 watts per gallon. Again, with cash being short, what are my options here? I can only fit so many bulbs under my hood. I looked at overdriving NO but that adds up to almost the same amount as VHO and is temporarily out of my range and is quite shocking (literally!). I can fit (comfortably) 12 36" NO bulbs under my hood. <I'd go with that configuration. You can upgrade later if you feel the need> If I do not have 4 watts per gallon but do have live rock, will the live rock still do its job and not look pretty or will the lack of high lighting ruin the biofiltration of the rock? Any thoughts on any of this stuff? <I think that the rock will perform its function even in lower light situations. Think about deep reefs and the rock that exists down there. You may not get the diversity of growth that you would in a brighter tank, but the rock will work at biologically filtering the water, IMO> Much appreciated as usual and I look forward to meeting some of you guys at That Pet Place in April! Tim Reading, PA <Best of luck to you, Tim. I think that you're doing fine. Please be careful with those arms and legs in the future! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: wet/dry vs. live rock Hello, I am in the process of creating a 300 gallon tank which will be a reef tank having a small number of corals, inverts, etc.  The 300 gallon part is what makes live rock impractical for me as I would have to sell both of my kidneys to afford it. <Hey, what about indentured servitude? You might consider working for the LFS for a while to support your habit... how many of us have ended up decades later... still addicted> I am on a college student budget.  My LFS recommends a wet/dry system with no live rock, which contradicts most all of your comments regarding reef filtration. <"Many roads"> I also think live rock would be much more aesthetically pleasing.  Do I have any cost effective alternatives such as live rock propagation? <Could do> Can I use a wet/dry in conjunction with some live rock? <Yes> Can I make my own live sand? <Definitely> Thank You, Josh <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Identify Some Species? Hi there WWM Crew. <Howdy> I was wondering if you could identify some critters that started growing on my live rock. The rock is about 2 years old. <Will give it a go.> The first ones I am interested in are the small white tube-like bodies with the bright orange fan-shaped mouths. I have just seen these things for the first time this week. These guys are small, the tubes are about one-eight inch diameter. See the middle of the picture, below. Any comments on desirability? Should I try to eliminate them, and if so, how? <Mmm, this picture didn't come to us... but these are likely some species of tubiculous (tube-dwelling, building) polychaete worm... I'd leave them be> The second critter is the species of feather duster below. I see from WWM that this is an Hawaiian species. I have hundreds of these in my tank (and overflow and sump) that seem to have seeded themselves from the rock about a year ago. Desirability? <Uhh, these are Aiptasia Anemones... undesirable. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm and the associated (linked) FAQs files> The third thing (critter?) is the white fuzzy growth shown below. This also was just noticed about a week ago. Problem? <This is likely some sort of Syconoid sponge... no worries unless the overall quality of your system sinks so low that it covers over everything. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock and Dead Fish Hi there to all my helpful friends... <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Thanks for answering many all my others questions. A few weeks ago I sent an email about liverock that I had picked up at the beach, and course my powder blue and my blue tang died 2 days after I put in the rocks. I knew that it's probably not a good move to pick live rocks from the beach and put them inside my tank. thanks to Scott F for the advice. <Hey- we all learn from our mistakes!> I have made a 50% water change and only pulled all of the live rock that I have picked up at the beach. After a couple of hours I threw in the fishes. The next morning I found 3 of my Clownfishes  died. The next day 2 damsels and 2 mandarin fish died. All of the dead fish died in the same way- got a white film over their bodies and eyes, were breathing fast and died within a few minutes. My questions is what is the problem that course all the fish got a white film over their body and eyes, breathing fast and die within a minutes?? <Wow- sounds a lot like some kind of toxin may be at work here. If the deaths occurred after a few days, it may have been ammonia or some other metabolic poisoning, or even a serious parasitic infection like Brooklynella or Amyloodinium. As you now know, returning the fishes to the tank before executing massive water changes was not a good idea. Before they died, they looked good-eating and swimming well before I off all the tank lights. The next day when I turned on the lights I saw that all the fishes got the white film and died within a minutes. 1 Last question about the white creatures that came after I put in the liverock that I picked.. Are the creatures called copepods)? That's what David Dowless have told me. <I think that David is right. Some form of copepods is a definite possibility-it's hard for us to be 100% certain from here, however> I have study a bought that creatures in wetwebmedia website and I found that the creatures are not harmful to fishes, true/false)? <Generally, they are harmless, beneficial creatures. I suppose that it's possible for them to harbor some parasites, but kind of unlikely> Now my questions: Must I need to do 100% water change? <I think that it's a very good idea, especially in light of the rapid deaths that you are experiencing. I'd keep all fishes out of the tank, execute massive water changes (100% over the course of a day or two). I'd let this tank run without fishes for about a month, just to make sure that if there is a parasite of some sort, that it does not have a chance to infect other fishes. I'd really recommend running activated carbon and PolyFilter pads full-time in this tank. Do check all parameters (ammonia, nitrite, etc.) to assure that the water quality is up to standards.> My apologies for taking sooo much of your time. It is very appreciated, and thank you, friends. Azman, Singapore <Feel free to contact us anytime- that's why we're here! Just be patient, observe your aquarium carefully, and I'm sure that you will enjoy success in the future! Regards, Scott F>

Live Rock Still alive? Hello, <Hello!> First I would like to thank all of you for your undying efforts to answer the hundreds of questions you endure each week. And to personally thank you for providing this wealth of knowledge that has finally resulted in my making the jump from a 25 year fresh water habit into the new and exciting world of reef tanks. <Thanks for the kudos. It really is our esteemed pleasure to assist> I study the site FAQ's and guides daily to learn from others questions and mistakes. <You can learn a lot by learning what "not" to do...Know what I mean?> Please be kind to the newbie and overlook neophyte blunders So far I have : 1 All glass 65 gallon Reef ready Tank All new solid OAK DIY stand and light canopy with dual voltage adjustable 12V fans for cooling 1 3100 RIO pump 3 96 watt PC lights with transistorized ballast ( 2 10000K, 1 03 Blue ) Wired 2 10K and 1 Blue for sunrise/sunset control 1 32 watt PC for 24X7 on the algae scrubber sump 1 20 Gallon All Glass tank (converted to a DIY Ecosystem clone) 300 Watt titanium heater 20 Lbs. Magic Mud 15 Lbs. Live Sand (from LFS) 85 Lbs. Walt Smith Fiji Primo Live Rock <Yabba-dabba-doo! Doesn't sound bad so far!> I plumbed  up the tank and sump and ran with RO water for 4 days. I then added instant ocean to achieve the 1.023 SG I then ordered the live rock. Unfortunately through shipping delays the rock ended up sitting in transit between New Jersey (retailer) and Chicago (UPS) over the Thanksgiving weekend. It got down in the 20's and 30's for  that time around here. When I finally got the shipment the paper inside was not frozen but I am worried if anything is left alive on the rock or not. It has been in the tank for about 7 days now and some white areas (10 to 15%) have started to show up (die off from shipping?). <Or bleached coralline algae. If it's the coralline, the color will come back but it will take a while> Some green areas and some spots of very dark red are still on the rock and I am hoping for the best. <Sounds good...I hope the green isn't hair algae...> Some of the growing things (small tree branch looking things 3/16 high) have turned black and wilted and some have stayed light green and stand up in the current. <Black stuff is dead. I would siphon this out during the next water change. The green stuff that you referred to sounds like hair algae.  I hope it dies. You don't want it> I have seen nothing wiggling or crawling around the rock or the sand in a week. <Don't worry. That's not unusual> Should I go and buy some local live rock and break it up and seed the questionable rock or just wait it out? <Wouldn't hurt. Are you testing the water regularly? If you aren't familiar with the curing process then please read the files at wetwebmedia.com If you get a huge ammonia spike, it will be a sign that lots of life died. A small spike will mean you didn't do too bad. Only time will tell...Frankly, I don't think the rock has been damaged beyond repair.> I want to do it right and get a solid foundation, I may just be to anxious and expecting to much. <Yep...I sort of got this feeling. Don't worry. Just test the water, get the skimmer going, do those water changes, and keep your lights down low. Raise the light level slowly over a period of weeks until you get to your desired photoperiod> I also am getting a rust colored sediment on top of the magic mud in the sump (about where the live sand "dust" settled) and it seems to look darker each day. Should I remove this or is it part of the cycle? <Probably just diatoms...Won't help anything....Won't hurt anything...Take it or leave it...It's your choice> Do I need anything (snails, crabs etc) to "control" this or not? <I would leave out the crabs. Other detritivore critters are an option (not a necessity) if you feel that you need/want them.> Again thank you for your time and efforts and I wish you all a happy holiday season. <I hope you have lots of success with the tank and happy holidays to you and yours. David Dowless>

Can I pick up LR from the beach? Hi guys bob, Anthony, Scott F and all the crew members. Hope you are fine and sorry to bother you guys.. <Not a bother. I'm glad to be of help...> I have big problem here is about my 33 gallon tank. I have send an email about a little white creatures. the creatures came after I pick up liverock on the beach....Scott F has told me that picking up liverock off of the beach was probably not a good move. I think that was right what he has say. my power blue and Blue tang have just died. They died 2 days after I put in the live rocks that I picked up at the beach and Blue tang died on the next day. I really sad for me. I have study about the whites creatures on wetwebmedia website and I think is creatures call Isopods)...is that the creatures that I say if I'm not wrong.? <Little white shrimp-like creatures sound like copepods to me. These guys are beneficial...not harmful in any way. Have you been testing your water? I would be willing to bet that the live rock had a lot of die-off which caused an ammonia spike. The problem with introducing live rock off the beach is the danger of introducing disease and other unknown toxins/contaminates to your tank. The rock needed to go through a curing process. I might also mention that many countries have outlawed collecting live rock. All around, it's really not a god idea. Just buy it!> That things came after I off my tank lights and after I on the next Scott F. have told me to remove all the livestock's from the tanks from some period of time for safety, execute water change-generally re-assess my husbandry techniques (like water change, etc). <Sounds like good advice to me!> check water parameters- PH, ALK, NITRATE etc. my problem is that must I restart all over again (do it again)? what I mean is remove the fishes, sand and the live rocks or only the live rocks that I pick up on the beach. <Get the fishes to a quarantine tank and let the main tank go fallow for a month or more> I really can't understand. how much water change must I do? <How about 100% over the next two weeks> It's pretty bad for me uhhh...but love to keep reef marine fish and corals and I have to do it for this...it my job:). But is there another way to kill the creatures? I hope so)... <I can't hardly believe the little white thingies that you describe are isopods. If I were you...I would be tempted to pull this live rock out of my tank (what you picked up on the beach). Then let the tank go fallow for at least one month and perform some large water changes. Good luck and at least you have learned a good lesson. Your question will help other people avoid having the same problems. We at wetwebmedia.com NEVER advise people to add things directly from the beach to their tanks. It really is Russian Roulette and the odds are against you! David Dowless>

Some REALLY old live rock! Sir Bob: <Bruce> An interesting new validation of the already well-proven high value of "live rock"! It seems that all life on Earth probably started VERY deep underwater, within the pores of ocean-bottom rock. CBS News reports that the British journal "Nature" contains an article describing this theory and underlying research. Get the basics at.... http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/12/12/uttm/main532748.shtml ....or dig into the Nature website at.... http://www.nature.com Bruce Mewhinney http://www.diosa.com <Thank you for this. Will be posting. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock in a Beginner's Aquarium   Hi, <Hello> I am interested in getting started in the Marine Aquarium hobby, and am currently doing some research on the subject prior to making any purchases. <Very, very, wise> I do have some limited experience with freshwater tanks. I am reading "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and planning my course.   <Good choice!> By the way, I am enjoying the book very much. <Fabulous!> I am considering a 58 gallon aquarium, with sufficient light, circulation, filtration, etc. to hold fish and hardy invertebrates. I plan to start with 2 tank raised Clowns, and add a few compatible fish from there, maintaining a fish only aquarium for about a year.  Then I would like to try starfish, etc. My question is around live rock. I would like to add live rock, mostly for looks, but I am beginning to understand its other values. <Lots of reasons to have it. If you keep DOC and lighting low (FO) you will experience no negatives with LR> Would you recommend adding live rock during the initial setup of a beginner's aquarium, or does it make it too difficult for a novice to maintain water quality? <Add at the beginning. Do large water changes regularly while the rock is cycling and keep that skimmer going! You want to keep the nutrients and ammonia low during this cycling process> I would like to allow myself the best chance for success, rather than try and do too much at once. <You're on the right track. keep reading and learning. It will all make since with time> Thank you for your time, <You're more than welcome. Thank you for being a conscientious aquarist. Much more information and facts at Wetwebmedia.com Check it out!> Kevin Byrne Interested Beginner :-) <David Dowless Experienced and still learning>

New Occupant in LR Tank Hi Bob, Steve, Anthony and all others - Can you identify this critter for me? It's roundish, about 1" long, and has a long white proboscis that will protrude quite a distance, curl and twist, and can be retracted at will. I am assuming it's some kind of worm, but don't know if he's a good guy or should be removed. <Likely your creature is fine, but your best bet for identification is to work your way through Dr. Shimek's Dichotomous Key here http://www.rshimek.com/Invertebrate%20Key%20to%20Major%20Taxa.htm> Thanks again for your help, Connie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Filter, Substrate, and Live Rock confusion Thanks to all of the "Crew" for helping us poor inexperienced marketing victims.   <I assure you...We are all in this thing together. WWM Crew sometimes has trouble separating fact from fiction as well. No one is immune> I am extremely grateful for your help and without it would probably have little chance of being successful in this challenging and rewarding hobby. <Thanks for the compliment! Helping others is why we're here!> I apologize for the lengthy e-mail, but would rather give you all the data at once rather than ask you to invest your time over and over again. <Thanks for this consideration>   When I initially set up my 29G tank I succumbed to much misleading information from a LFS and the evil marketing geniuses - (I have since found a much better LFS). <Good!> I have received several suggestions from the "Crew" but unfortunately am somewhat confused about how I should prioritize the implementation. <I'll do what I can to clarify> Husbandry history (slightly embarrassing):  filled tank with substrate and water (Crystal Sea synthetic) then aerated and filtered for one week with no livestock.  Took advice of LFS and added 6 damsels.  Measured Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ph every two days.  Changed 10% of water weekly and vacuumed substrate.  Never detected the ammonia spike (lost 4 damsels).  The complete Nitrogen cycle was very long (about 8 weeks for Nitrites to fall to zero).  Diatom bloom lasted about one week.  After much aggravation over ammonia readings that did not make sense I discovered the test kit was outdated and have purchased new reagents.   <Ha! I was going to suggest that something was amiss...> Currently feeding flake food once or twice daily and frozen brine shrimp once or twice weekly.  All inhabitants appear to be healthy; however, the damsels are "twitching and dashing" at different times of the day. <Egads! It's possible the stress of the ammonia has incited an ich flare-up.> Current inhabitants:  two 1.5 in three-stripe damsels, one 1.5 in percula clown, one cleaner shrimp, five turbo snails.  Current tank issues (after thirteen weeks): ammonia still detectable (0.016 ppm), consistent diatom growth (how much is too much?), Phosphate at .02ppm (Phosphate in make up water is .01ppm). <Do not add anything else living to the tank until ammonia and nitrite is flat out zero. At the least a low level is very stressful to the inhabitants. This will increase their chances of becoming infected with ich and other parasites. Ammonia also burns their gills, etc. > Current tank set-up:  29G, tank is aerated, 150watt heater, Penguin 170 power filter with bio-wheel, 22watt fluorescent hood, 2 inches of substrate that is 50/50 crushed coral/gravel, miscellaneous decorations for cover, one piece of Tufa (spelling?) <Close enough. I know what you're tanking about!> rock approximately 14in X 6in X 6in with three large cavities resulting in lots of surface area (will this rock "magically" become live?).   <No...But in the coming years it will grow Cyanobacteria and hair algae like you won't believe. A! I've personally had the experience> Make-up water is from tap (Phosphate 0.01ppm) that is aerated and heated to 76 deg F 24/7. <Is 76 degrees the same as the tank temperature? It should be whatever the tank temp is...> Any advice on prioritizing the following changes or making better selections would be greatly appreciated:  Add an Eheim ECCO 2233 (rated for a 55g tank), add a CPR protein skimmer (should this be a BakPak 2 or BakPak 2R?), change substrate to 1 inch deep aragonite (CaribSea product? size?), reduce lighting cycle to 8 hours (no direct sunlight on tank), add a hermit crab (no Sea Cuke?) <With a 29 gallon...I'd probably leave the cuke out> to stir substrate and scavenge <Get a brittle star> will changing the bulb in the light fixture have any effect on diatoms? <Unlikely...I have 420 watts of VHO over a 5' tank and I still get diatoms...and the tank is more than a year old!> add power head (or recirculating pump with one pickup and multiple discharges, is live rock an absolute requirement to achieve good water quality? <Absolute requirement? No. But it sure helps. As a side benefit the fish will appreciate the critters and algae that will grow on the rock. In my tank, I have 100 lbs. of LR and a protein skimmer for filtration. That's it. You only need like 30-50lbs for your tank. If you decide to do this, please read at WWM to learn how to add LR to an up-and-running tank. Order on line...Even with shipping it will beat the heck out of LFS prices> is "Crystal Sea" synthetic salt a good product or simply marketed very well?. <I use Instant Ocean because of its outstanding reputation among professional and research oriented aquarists> Again I apologize for the lengthy e-mail, but thought this would be preferable and more accurate and concise than sending three or four different emails. This seems to be a lot like owning a boat - its never large enough, there are more gadgets than useful tools, and experience comes only after wasting large sums of money. <Bodda Boom Bodda Bing! Ladies and gentlemen...We have a winner! You are absolutely correct my friend. Then recoup some of that lost money by selling those gadgets on EBay! HAHAHAHAHAHA! David Dowless>

Re: fresh to salt Steve you're a genius man. <Oh, I don't know about that.> I didn't think about doing that. I happen to have a mag pump too so that'll work out great. <Supreme Mag-Drives are one of my favorites, so cheap and versatile.> So if I wanted to use my lava rock as base rock, it could work? <It depends on your situation.> Is there anyway thing that I can do to the rock to make sure it is safe to use, like soaking it in water or bake in the sun or something? <No> I just hate wasting all this good rock when I could be growing coralline algae on it. <One of the drawbacks of using lava rock is coralline does not grow on it very well.> But, then again, I don't want to risk losing livestock because of it either. Thanks again, Jason <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Eheim wet/dry-Using well water (LR use, set-up) Two more questions: <Okay> I'm setting up a 75 gal fish only saltwater tank (I have freshwater experience). From my researching, live rock is obviously the wave of the future (and present). <Yep!> Considering all factors (including expense), would you use live rock for a fish only set up or just go with the wet dry filter? <Both wouldn't hurt. The fish will appreciate it and the water chemistry will benefit. Order the live rock online...you'll save a lot of money> I'm aware of the nitrate problem with the wet-dries, that fish are more tolerant of this than coral, etc.. Just give me the pros and cons and which way YOU would go. <All is clearly stated in my last email> Second question: After reading all I can get my hands on, and talking with fish store staffers,  I think I have become just overwhelmed by too much information and too many opinions. If YOU were setting up my tank with live rock, specifically what other equipment would YOU put on the tank? <Skimmer for sure (buy one of the better brands. If you buy cheap, you get what you pay for> (some suggested brand names would also be appreciated) A sump necessary? <If you have a wet/dry it will be a necessity> (again, it's a fish-only tank and probably always will be) Thanks for the info below, particularly that about the Eheim wet-dry. You saved me on that one.

Rock, Clams, Anemones & Shrimp Bob, or whomever might get this :) <Steven Pro in right now.> Your site is extremely informative, but tends to generate more questions than it answers. That is definitely meant as a compliment though. I tend to use US measurements of weight and mass and metric for dimensions. I hope you don't mind. So here are the questions and to preface them I will give my tank specifications. I have a smaller tank (I move a lot so don't want a large tank) to enjoy in my office. I just set it up. Most of the rock has already been in a tank before, and all of it is cured. It is a 20 gallon long. Measurements are as follows: 76 cm L x 31 cm H x 32 cm D. I chose the long tank to maximize lighting efficiency in my tank. For lighting I have two 55 watt PC bulbs, both 50/50 (actinic/10k). There is a thin sheet of acrylic separating it from the water (no thicker than 1mm or 2mm). It has approximately 35 lbs of rock, of which approximately 8 lbs of it is base and the rest is live (from Fiji according to my LFS owner). I also have 40 lbs of live aragonite (fine) substrate in the tank. Salinity is at 1.027, ammonia 0, everything else seems to indicate perfect water conditions. For filtration I have a CPR BakPak 2. The bio material has been removed. For circulation, I have two Rio 400's (150 gph each), one in each rear corner blowing the water towards the front center of the tank. It seems to be quite turbulent, as it should be. The skimmer is directing the output towards the left of the tank, right along the back glass. There are no invertebrates in the tank yet, except for some featherdusters that were on the rock when I got it. They immediately opened up after being placed in the tank and are growing. Also there seems to be a pink (the part immediately next to the rock where it is attached is red) coral (possibly a sponge type) growing. It wasn't exposed to much light in the last tank but is three times the size it was when I first noticed it on the rock. <A good sign> There are 3 turbo snails in the tank. Also, I have a juvenile Premnas biaculeatus (no more than 4 cm long), spotted mandarin (unsure of Latin taxonomy for this fish) <Have you read any of our coverage of these fish? Perhaps you should.> and a fish I am unsure of. It is 7 cm long and maybe .75 cm in diameter. It has a prominent dorsal fin, as well as two symmetrical "sail" fins on the top and bottom of the fish. It is a grayish color fading into a green as it goes toward the tail of the fish. All of my fish seem healthy, especially the clown. The clown had a small tear on his side (possibly from rubbing against rock) but it is healing quickly and quite well. I believe that is all the relevant information. First, what is the unidentified fish? <I really can not wager a guess without a picture.> The LFS owner said it was a type of goby, but as he has a thick Chinese accent it is hard to understand. He is very knowledgeable though, and maintains some beautiful display aquariums. Also, what does this fish eat? It hasn't eaten anything proffered to it. Brine, Mysis, plankton, Spirulina flake, it just ignores all of it. I've had it for 3 days. Other than that seems very healthy.   <Do look of www.WetWebMedia.com for anything that looks similar.> I saw a worm-like creature floating about in my tank, trying to swim as if it were an eel. It was no more than 4 mm long, probably closer to 3 mm or so. It was pure white and seemed to have a lot of little feet, but at that size it is hard to tell. It landed in the substrate and disappeared. What might this be? <I am not sure about this either.> I am concerned that it might be a type of polychaete. <I maybe, but I would not be concerned.> I've found what I think are polychaetes in my Father's tank. <Yes, you will find them in most all healthy tanks.> One measured 40 cm long and this was out of a 34 gallon tank. We just found another one day as he was tearing the tank down and it measured 20 cm. Based on what I plan on keeping in the tank (read on for the rest hehe) what would go well to eliminate any of these creatures before they got too large? <Not all get that large. Mostly the large ones are the exception.> I read the FAQ, but still am unsure, as it didn't go into specifics concerning the creatures recommended. I would like to add some shrimp to this tank. Any recommendations?   <Cleaner shrimp, Lysmata amboinensis, are a favorite of mine.> Would Tridacnids be feasible in this tank? <The tank is a bit small for them.> I was specifically looking for the smaller varieties, such as a maxima or a Crocea. If not, how much more lightning would I need?   <Your lighting would be adequate due to the shallowness of the tank, but clams require much more than just light. Calcium and alkalinity as well as other water quality parameters need to be optimum.> I am considering purchasing a bubble tip anemone for my clown. Would this survive well in my tank with the current set up and with what I would like to add in the future? <I would choose the BTA over the clam, but more reading is necessary for either.> As you see I would like to add other corals to my tank. What should I definitely NOT add if I choose to keep this anemone, and what would go along very well with it? <I would dedicate the tank to the anemone. It is a rather modest tank and you must consider the growth of your creatures.> If I purchase an animal I prefer to keep it healthy and quite happy. That is the only humane thing to do. <Agreed> Crowding it or forcing it to live with creatures it hates is certainly not something I would not knowingly attempt, so I am asking first. What supplements should I be using for the water? <You should be monitoring and dosing to maintain appropriate pH, calcium, and alkalinity.> I use Coralife salt mix. <I would consider Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals, or Tropic Marin.> Anything you would recommend to improve the tank in any way?   <See notes above.> Thank you so much for your time! Sincerely and with great appreciation, R. Vincent McCarthy <Continue with your education in marine husbandry and I am sure you will stay on the right track. -Steven Pro>

Uncured Live Rock- Hong Kong I got some problem here...I just buy live rock 4 days ago. After I buy, I just put inside my tank. I have run the saltwater for 1 days before I put in the liverock.4 days after I put inside the live rock my liverock become brown color and the tank become dirty and the sand become brown. I'm really upset when I see my tank but the fish is not dying only the live rock become brown...is my liverock died..? What is the problem? Is the water is not in good condition? Can you help me and what is the problem <My friend... the rock you got was "uncured". That means that it was raw from the ocean and was not kept in a separate holding tank to suffer die off and stabilize before being sold to you. Aquarists should never place uncured live rock in an aquarium with other live animals like fishes in it. Your fishes can die if you do not make your protein skimmer work very well and conduct enough water changes (daily if necessary) to keep the Ammonia near zero. The brown color and "dirty" look to the tank is the rotting sponge and algae form the live rock. This is not ultimately bad for the live rock if the curing process is managed well with water changes and good skimming... but again, it must never be done inside the home aquarium with fishes. There is much more information to read on wetwebmedia.com on this subject if you care to do a keyword search for "uncured live rock" on the google search engine. Best regards, Anthony>

Dead Live rock Hello, First off let me echo the thoughts of the previous millions who have already said what a wonder "Service" you are providing to the aqua-community.  I have recently discovered your website and find the information here to be extremely valuable (as I'm sure my critters will too :-) . <Tell your friends, bring the dog and kids!> I have recently (9 days ago today) re-established my salt-water 55 Gallon tank after a 2 year break.  I have 20 or 30 pounds of formerly "Live Rock". I would like to re-establish this into once again "Live" rock. I think I read some info in the FAQ's here that said to put new Live rock on top of the old and it will re-populate the old rock. FYI:  Lighting: (4) NO Florescent tubes(48"), 3 - Phillips Alto F40SPEC35/RS/EW, 1 - Coralife 03-Actinic 40W Livestock: 2 Damsels Set-Up: Lee Protein Skimmer, Millennium 2000 filter, Bio-Wheel 30, 402 powerhead, 2" of crushed Coral. If true: Q: How much new Live rock would be required to re-populate the old? I'm not at all sure I understand how quickly the re-population would occur (remembering this is a newly establish tank) <A small amount will re-populate your rock, more will help it along faster. For a 55 I would go with at least 55 lbs of LR total, so you have some room to move here. You could add over 25 lbs if it's *well cured* and already cycled (from your LFS) Repopulation will continue for months.> Q: I thinking over time I will migrate toward the dark side and add some invertebrates, Should I upgrade to Compact Lighting or is the current 4 bulb set-up adequate (perhaps with better bulbs)? <Depends completely on what invertebrates you intend to keep. Please research the light requirements of the inhabitants you are interested in. Make a list and their requirements. You will likely need to upgrade lighting for all but the most undemanding of inverts.> Q: Any ideas where I can find details (color/temp) on commonly sold (Home Depot and such) bulbs? Thanks in advance for your help, Dave <Try Champion lighting and supply in their Ice Cap/NO bulb story. They use NO bulbs with their VHO ballast.  Craig>

Live Rock Live? Respected sir Sorry but one question I had read your faq about the live rock and setup.  I have a Question for you.  Live rock which is coming for my aquarium is already use in a marine tank.  My question is will there be any mantis shrimp or worms present and also tell me how I will know that live rock is dead. Please I am waiting for your reply.   MONTY <Hi Monty, There may be mantis shrimp and worms in and on this live rock if it is in an existing system. Hopefully there will just be worms.  Live rock with die-off will produce ammonia and then nitrites necessitating water changes or curing in a separate container.  Craig>

Live Rock? Bob, <Steven Pro in this evening.> I have some live rocks that were given to me from a friend. These rocks have been lying dormant for over a year. I have let them soak in fresh water for a couple of days to kill anything that is on them or in them. I thought about introducing a couple of rocks at a time. I have two questions. 1. What is now the best process to introduce them to my reef tank? (i.e. Curing of rocks) <The possibility of die off (i.e curing) is nil, now. There is nothing left alive at this point. This is merely an appropriate substrate to colonize. I would use some real liverock to seed this dead rock.> 2. Do I have to worry about the biological chemistry in the tank after introduction? (i.e. Nitrate, Nitrite,...and other levels.) <You should not have any problems from the rock, but note that it will not function completely as biological filtration until it becomes colonized with organisms and plants from actual live rock. -Steven Pro>

Re: New Tank Thank you for your quick reply!!! <You are most welcome! Your email was very well thought out!> I'll take your suggestions about the live rock... One more question regarding it...For a 45 Gal. tank, how much should I buy? Optimal amount? 1-2 lbs. per gallon. But 20 would be a good start.> What kind, Fiji?  <Fiji is one of the least expensive but good quality.> Any on-line stores you can recommend?  <I hesitate to suggest a specific etailer. However, I will say that my rock came from ffexpress (100lbs) and I've always been happy with it. But there are lots of quality etailers on the web. Have them ship next day air. It'll still be cheaper than retail.> Thanks so much <After I answered your email this morning it occurred to me that your cycling is probably being prolonged BECAUSE you fed the tank. I know some authors suggest this method but it is very inefficient. Would you consider taking the damsels back to the store and wait for the live rock? Once the rock goes in, wait a few days and start testing for ammonia and nitrates. Please don't feed the tank...and get a good test kit that gives accurate readings. The money spent is well worth saving the headache of a tank gone bad. There is much, much more information relevant to these questions on the wetwebmedia web site. Do read about tank cycling and adding livestock. When I cycled my new tank, I didn't do anything to the tank except add the live rock, a few small water changes, and wait for four weeks. I didn't even test for four weeks! Patience is a virtue in this hobby. Nothing good EVER happens fast!> I was starting to loose faith in salt water...Justin

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