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FAQs about Live Rock 6

Related Articles: Live RockReef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, Live Rock 1, LR 2LR 3, LR 4, LR 5, 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

Live rock/ dry rock seeding  - 1/30/2006 I am a newbie to the hobby and have experienced a terrible crash already. I am currently resetting with new ideas and a better plan. One is using live rock. Knowing that surface area is important to the scale (as is weight), would the surface be more? <Yes> To elaborate, If I find a lightweight stone that has the same amount of surface as heavy stone, do I still need 1 lbs per gallon? <No, I'd say if the tank is 1/2 to 3/4 full of rock, you will have a functional and attractive display.> Is concrete cinder block a good stone to use? <I wouldn't.> What are other good types of dry stone to use? <I would look for Tufa rock.  I wouldn't use lava rock even though it is light there are just too many pores for waste to get into and decompose.> What ratio of dry/live rock is good to get started? <Depends on how long you want to wait for this process to take place.  I'd start with 50/50.>  Setting up using 1lbs/1gallon total weight, if only 50% is live, will this affect my stocking as soon as cycle is complete, will I have to wait for the dry to become seeded? <It may vary, to be safe I'd start with one fish and monitor the ammonia.  When levels are safe you could add another and so on keeping in mind stocking levels for a given size tank.> Do I have to use a live bed? Or will rock sufficiently filter my tank? <Rock will work.  As a newbie I'd stay away from a DSB until you fully understand the needs/requirements of DSB's. James (Salty Dog)>

Live Rock/Lighting   1/30/06 Thank you guys so much for this website - <You're welcome.> I wish I knew 1% of what you guys know. OK - so my question is I recently bought new live rock for my tank and in attempt to get as much light to it as possible <Why?  Are there live mushroom corals etc on the rock?> I removed the glass coverings over my 55-gal. tank and bought 2 new regular fluorescent bulbs (I just have a twin-tube hood right now.) However, tonight my FedEx guy is bringing me a new hood with 260W of compact fluorescents and moon lights. My question is that the parts of the live rock right now that are closest to the light seem to be dying?! The very tops of the rocks are turning a very light pink/almost white color. <Some coralline showing. good.> Isn't that dying off? <Kelly, even cured live rock needs to be cured.  Live rock as you know is shipped wrapped in wet newspaper and there will be some die off.  You do not want to run your lights during this curing process as there will be excessive nutrients in the water which, when combined with lighting will start a growth of nuisance algae.> I'm scared to put even more lights on the tank if the dying off has anything to do with light intensity. <Lighting is not going to cause die off.> Do I need to put the glass covering back on? <I would.> I know I was getting more evaporation, but I'd rather top off more frequently and have a good lighting situation! Please - I need your expert opinions - my new lights are almost here!! <During this period, do monitor ammonia levels in your tank.  I do suggest the use of a protein skimmer or at least a good power filter, carbon equipped, to help rid the water of dissolved organics/nutrients.  I'd shoot for a good protein skimmer first.  Do read here for more info.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm> Thank you so much <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kelly in Kansas

Re: Live Rock/Lighting   1/30/06 James - You are fast! Thank you. <You're welcome.> I guess I should have clarified that the live rock was not shipped to me - it had been in my LFS's tank for over a month and I live 5 minutes down the road. <OK, shouldn't have to cure.>  I was assuming this was "cured enough". I hope that's true -<Generally can tell by smelling the rock, no rotten egg odor should be present.>  I have monitored ammonia - it's been fine. Is there a reason that I need to put the glass cover back on the tank? <I'd do it for the protection of the lamp fixture from the salt environment and to keep fish in the tank where they belong.> I've read to do so because of evaporation/temp changes, but that hasn't been a real problem for me. So, white color is coralline algae growth? <Didn't say that, meant the pink.  White is probably bleached coralline/calcium deposit.> Ok thanks -  I thought I read that is was die off and it freaked me out. I've got a Bak-Pak 2R+ arriving today too as my Seaclone crapped out. <A much better skimmer.> We have an Eheim Pro Series canister filter and my LFS said to take it off and just use the live rock (I only have about 35# in a 55-gal.tank) and the protein skimmer as filtration sources. Does that seem like sound advice? <If your fish load is low you can but I'd like to see another 25 lbs of rock in there before I'd remove the Eheim.  I'm assuming you have no sump and the Eheim was your sole source of biological filtration.  If that is the case, you need to remove 30% of the biological media from the canister per week to allow the live rock to propagate the needed bacteria for denitrification.  After the three week period you can eliminate the Eheim if you choose. Thank you again so much for the help.  Do read the FAQ's here on canister filters for more insight.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanistfltfaqs.htm>   Kelly in Kansas <James (Salty Dog)> Live rock and protein skimming   1/27/06 Hi, I've been battling the noise of many protein skimmers and filters and I've been doing some looking and figured I would do away with my filters which leads me to 1 of 2 questions.  How much live rock and sand do I need to do away with my filters (excluding a protein skimmer)? I have a 55 gal with about 50-55 lbs of live rock and 100 lbs of sand.  I have 2 clowns, 1 yellow tang, 2 firefish and a pacific blue. My second question is, what protein skimmer would you would choose for this tank? <Hard to say how much live rock in weight.  Depends on the porosity of the rock.  I'd feel comfortable if the tank was 1/2 to 3/4 full.  I'd probably go with an AquaC, pretty affordable and efficient. James (Salty Dog)> Jake

MUCHO expensive live rock and working around it  1/8/06 Good day crew, <Hi Steve.> I am an Englishman living in Japan, you can imagine that it is very difficult to get (intelligible) advice here (my fault not theirs). <I understand.> I am starting off a 50 gallon FOWLR tank and need a little clarification. <No problem.> I have added about 15 pounds of live rock, it costs 20$ a pound here! <HOLY COW! Batman!> Because of the inhibitive cost of the live rock I am using a canister filter as well. The filter came with three baskets of "media", carbon, bio balls and filter mats. <I'm guessing you will want to keep the bio-media since you don't have much in the way of live rock, the carbon is only useful in "certain" situations and is rather useless after 24 hours, so you probably won't want to utilize it 24/7….as for the filter mats, skip them. They are nutrient/detritus magnets.> Will any of these filter types be a problem, should I remove any of the filter types? <See above, also, do you have a protein skimmer?> Regards, and thanks. <Welcome, good luck.> Steve <Adam J.>

Re: Expensive LR placement - 01/12/2006 Hi Adam, <Hello again Steve.> Thanks for the quick reply, yes I do have a skimmer it is a "Prizm" After many hours of reading your site I will slowly add to the live rock, and try to improve the system in this way. <Some dry "base" rock can be used to supplement if it is significantly less priced, since you already have live rock to seed.> Thanks one again. <No trouble.> Steve <Adam J.>

Live Rock, But When? - 12/31/2005 Hi, <Hello Shawn.> I have one quick question. I bought 30 pounds of live rock about a week ago for my 29gal tank. Most of the rocks have lots of featherduster tubes on them but I haven't seen any of the worms come out this past week. Could they all be dead or do I just have to have more patience? <Yep, just have to wait it out.> Will they grow back? <Rest assured, at least some will.> If they are alive how long will it be before I see some? <Depends on water quality. Maintain optimal conditions and the rest is like a very long movie.> Happy new year, Shawn <And to you.  - Josh>

Trigger, Sand, and Live Rock   12/28/05 Crew,  <KC> Merry Christmas! <And to you> My question relates to the interesting behavior of my Picasso trigger.  He constantly sifts the sand, and spreads it all over my live rock.  In fact, half of my live rock is now covered completely by sand (talk about a white Christmas!). <Ah, the joys of keeping triggers.> Is this bad for the live rock?  I plan to use a power head to blow most of the sand off the rock.  But I would like to know if I need to clear the sand off my rock every day or couple days to save my rock. <I don't believe any harm will come to the rock but for aesthetic reasons I think I would blow the sand off every couple days.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks KC LR question - Is it needed right away?  12/9/05 In searching through your website, I have come across discussions about FO aquariums. I have two tanks a 72 & 46 gallon. I am in the process of turning the 72 gallon into a saltwater. Now, I'm leaning towards turning the 46 into a saltwater as well. Doing them both at the same time will be expensive. So, I was wondering if I could turn the 46 into a fish only tank (w/o the LR) until I am done stocking the 72 gallon.  <Yes you can but some type of biological filtration will be required irregardless of how hardy the fish are. Live rock is not necessary for success but is attractive and an efficient means of biological filtration.> If so, what fish are hardy enough to handle a fish only setup, until I can purchase LR for the 42 gallon.  <I don't recommend putting any fish into a tank without biological filtration. You didn't mention the type of filtration you will be using so I'm just assuming it's a power filter of some kind.> Thanks in advance for your assistance.  <You're welcome and Happy Holidays to you. James (Salty Dog)> 

Live rock and delivery delays - 10/27/2005 Hello All, <Hi Bryant> First, I would like to say thanks to all who have helped put the WWM site together and make it what it is today. <We love what we do.>  It is by far one of the most useful and information rich resources I have found in my 3 years of research to prepare for my first reef aquarium. <Thanks! Glad you like it.>  Well, even after all of my research in the past 3 years, now that I am actually in the setup stage of my new 240 gallon reef tank, it seems my "Murphy's Law" luck has kicked in and everything which can go wrong is going wrong. <That's usually the case.>  I am just glad I did all of this research because it has definitely help me overcome the problems which have arisen up to this point. <Does come in handy huh?>  Anyway, on to my question for you. I now have all of the equipment in, on and under my tank and have had the water and 250 pounds of base rock in my tank now for a couple of weeks with everything running fine. Then, last Thursday I decided to go ahead and order my 250 pounds of "Live Rock", <Wow! That's a lot of rock!>  which originated in Haiti, but was being shipped to me from Florida. I only ordered it on a Thursday because I was trying to beat Wilma and get it out of Florida before she hit. <Understandable.>  Anyway, it was supposed to be shipped where it would get to me on Saturday but the guy did not do as he promised me. Instead, he shipped it 3-5 day ground without even choosing the Saturday delivery option and the rock did not even get to me until late yesterday, Tuesday, which was 5 days after it was shipped. <Ouch!>  The temperature also dropped drastically over the weekend and needless to say, when the rock finally arrived it was in extremely bad condition. I could smell it before it was even unloaded from the truck. <This must be where the furious tap dance comes in.>  When I opened the boxes it was possibly the worst smell I have ever smelled in my life and the only colors left on the rock was the coralline algae which was now all gray to white in color and the patches of black where everything else was rotten. It was also very cool (around 53F). Anyway, I went ahead and spent 4-1/2 hours cleaning all of the rotten off of it and washing it very good with aged warm saltwater (SG: 1.023 @ 77F) which I had waiting on it and a powerhead pumping the water through a hose for pressure. <Good first move.>  After cleaning it there were no obvious signs of any live critters other than one little snail which was buried very deep in a hole and very few small patches of pink scattered on a few of the rocks and some lime green still on most of the rocks. I saw pictures of this rock prior to shipping and it was absolutely beautiful with color and life. <Probably just a "stock" photo.>  Do I have any chance of salvaging the coralline algae on this rock and did any of my essential bacteria and critters survive this horrible trip or is this basically some very expensive base rock now and a terrible waste of precious live rock? I now have the rock in 2 large 50 gallon tubs of aged saltwater (SG: 1.023 @ 78F) with heaters and powerheads in each. <Good. Now your onto the curing process. Keep doing this for a few more weeks, keeping water quality optimal, until it's ready for your tank. Once in place it will eventually develop various life forms, although much of what it may have started with is gone it is not worthless.>  <<Foam fractionation is your friend right now, your dear, dear friend!  While recovery of all life may not be possible, a good deal may be waiting for better conditions before it gives up entirely.  MH>> What a way to finally start off my lifelong dream of having a beautiful reef tank! Also, the guy who shipped it to me was in the middle of the hurricane and is now without a phone or electricity so I have no idea if he is going to replace it for me. <He may need sometime to figure this one out.>  Thanks again for all of the great information and for a great web site! <Quite welcome. - Josh>

Re: Live rock and delivery delays - 10/27/2005 Hello again Josh and thanks a lot for your reply. <Hi Bryant. You're welcome and again, sorry it was late.>  Hopefully I can soon order 50 more pounds  <Might be a little overkill if you ask me.(550 lbs. in the tank)>  of "Quality" live rock from someone who will be more dependable in shipping the rock in a more expedited fashion to help get me some additional color and get me some of the valuable little critters I was wanting and which normally come with good live rock and also add some additional sand stirring and algae control critters.  Also, do you know of a reliable source for ordering sponges? <Alas, no. I've never actually had to mail order. My LFS is great about ordering anything I want. You should try forums (here and elsewhere) for this.>  I would love to have some but I know how sensitive to air they are and would want someone who would bag them under water and not expose them to air. <Understood.> Well, thanks again and thanks to all of you folks at WWM for your many hours of hard work and dedication to this hobby and to helping others. <Always a pleasure. - Josh>

Live Rock Question  9/19.5/05 WWM crew, I hope everything is going well with you, and thanks for the wonderful service you provide to the public. I have a few live rock questions.  Background:  I am finally ready to start cycling my new tank. On Fri I ordered live rock from Marine Depot Live, and it arrived on Sat (overnight delivery).  As soon as it arrived, I checked all of the rocks, but couldn't (and still can't) find anything living (except for a appeared to be a few very tiny ants -- pretty sure they aren't aquatic creatures).  I even broke some of the rocks with a hammer to see if anything was hiding inside, but still couldn't find any living creatures. Also, one of the two cardboard boxes holding the rocks didn't have damp newspaper covering all the rocks (both boxes are lined with plastic, which also covers all the rocks.  I covered the rocks with the damp/wet saltwater-soaked newspaper.  Will be adding the rock to the tank tomorrow. 1. Is it normal to not see ANY hitchhikers with the naked eye upon delivery? <Yes> Or is there a chance that I got completely "dead" live rock?  Should there be some live critters considering that the rock arrived overnight? <Depending on the quality of the rock, it can take up to three months before some critters appear.  There will always be some die off.  I've got some live rock last September and a month ago mushroom anemones started to appear. During cycling leave your lights off.  The high level of nutrients that will result from adding the rock can cause nuisance algae to spread rapidly.> 2. I know that every minute out of saltwater is bad for the rock, but If the rock isn't completely dead (which it seems to be), how many days can it survive covered with damp newspaper and wrapped in plastic before ALL the organisms die? <In an air tight box, probably three to four days.> 3. I read in the FAQs that rock can be made live again by "seeding" the aquarium with small amounts of cured rock.  How exactly does this work?  During the curing process, do critters on the cured live rock "jump" or "swim" to and subsequently "pollinate" other pieces of rock? <The organisms just naturally spread by way of water current.> 4.  When starting a new tank, is it necessary to follow water change procedures for adding salt and buffer (i.e., wait 24hrs after adding the salt mix before adding the buffer, and then wait another 24hrs before adding uncured live rock)? <Yes>  BTW, I've been aerating the RO water in the tank by using my closed loop manifold. <Good, this will remove unwanted CO2 which can lower dKH/ph.  James (Salty Dog)> Sorry this was so long. Thanks, K

LR hitchhiker  9/19.5/05 First let me say what terrific job you have all done with WWM. After laying off the hobby for about 15 years, I'm now back in ways I hadn't planned, WWM has been a wealth of new information. I'm fascinated by this LR thing which wasn't around much way-back-when. My question is that I have a small LR in my 29 gal. QT (3 weeks) and have just discovered the latest and  most troubling hitchhiker. What looked to be just a coralline encrusted lump on the rock has revealed itself  as a 1" clam of some sort. How can this even be alive in an environment that has virtually no outside source of nourishment? <Mmm, yes...> The troubling part to this is that I had intended on putting the LR into my FO display tank, but don't know how to care for it (the clam), and don't want to set up a reef system. It  makes me sad to know that this creature will probably starve in a FO, or now I guess, FOWLR environment. What can I do?? <I would place it and not be concerned... perhaps there is/will be enough food produced...> Thanks again for such a wonderful job! Roger <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words, and welcome back to the hobby. Bob Fenner>

Curing Live Rock and other related questions to Live Rock - 9/16/05 Hello Bob, Anthony, Steve or anyone I've missed, I am in the process of setting up a 75 gallon tank, and I have a couple of questions, I have bought 76 lbs. of LR all different types: 24 lbs of Tonga branch, 22lbs of select premium Fiji rock, and 30 lbs of Lalo live rock (FFE)....A good mix? This rock will be under about 5.8 watts of light per gallon. It is ok to mix different types of live rock for a variety right (just checking)? <Absolutely. The best way to attain and maintain diversity. Unless you are doing a biotope of a specific region> Also most of my rock will be uncured, but I am going to be using it to cycle my tank, so after acclimating it just put it in the tank right, and do regular water changes? <Not sure what you mean by acclimating. The rock even when cured still needs to cycle some. The case here  is that the Live Rock is not cured which means it will need to cycle in an aquarium with no animals in it. This can be done in the display tank if there aren't any animals tin the tank. Please read through our articles and FAQs on cycling Live Rock: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm be sure to read the FAQs as well> which brings me to my next question, how do you acclimate rock? <No need to acclimate just take it out of the box and set it in your the curing tank or bin of your choice. Nothing to acclimate per say. Do read through the above link references on our site.>  (any sites) <See above> One last question that is quite off topic but I would like your opinion on putting a marine plant in my soon to be reef aquarium, a shaving brush plant to be more specific? <As soon as you are ready to place animals then place plants as well. I don't see an issue with this algae. Do read about alga and macro algae on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm amongst many> Thanks in advance, <My pleasure ~Paul> Clare

Adding liverock and brown algae 8/30/05 Hello Crew, <Hi Ginette, Ali here> I have a 55g flat back hex SW FO tank I have started on July 22 with 10 damsels.. I have one left. ( wish I would have found your site sooner) <Glad you found our site now!> I am at the point where Ammonia is 0 and Nitrate - 80ppm, nitrite- 5.0 ph 8.2 and a steady growth of brown algae. The LFS said not to add the live rock until my tank has 0 nitrites and to leave my tank lights off to slow down the brown algae. They advised me to make a 10% water change and get as much of the algae out as possible and turn on the skimmer. <Adding liverock now wouldn't be so bad. You must understand that most of the life on the liverock you will receive will be dead and die in your tank at this time, however the beneficial bacteria will survive and be the main source of your biological filtration.> My  Newb understanding of your mountains of informative material indicates that the rock should come before adding anymore stock to the tank and that it would help make sure the tank cycled properly..  Most of the articles regarding the Brown Algae indicated that this was a good thing and not something to stop in a cycling tank. So my question is can I add cured live rock to the tank now or should I wait?   <Keeping the lights off, or simply on for just a couple hours a day is not a bad idea. Common brown algae aka diatoms is not really a 'good thing'. In fact it is an indicator of high levels of unnecessary nutrients. The longer you let your liverock become established within your aquarium, the better.> Equipment:  2 Aqua Clear 50 power heads for the plenum ( every so often they blow out micro bubbles too) . 1 Fluval  204 ( I am rethinking this, it keeps blowing micro bubbles and I cannot find a leak), 1  Red Sea Prism Skimmer, 2 12 inch air stones, and I added a Zoo Med  100 -270 power head that rotates for circulation. Ginette Degner <Consider upgrading the protein skimmer and make sure you clean the ZooMed powerheads weekly as the 'sweepers' (rotating devices) on them tend to clog up and stop working in saltwater applications. Keep researching/learning and you should be okay Ginette! - Ali> Butting heads with liverock Hello Bob and crew. I hope you all had a happy holiday. I have an LR question I hoped you might field. The other day I was discussing the capacity of liverock for filtration with a fellow enthusiast and found our respective understandings to be rather divergent. After much fruitless debate we both went in search of further information and so far have only been able to find the same sort of generalities with which we began the exchange. The crux of the matter is this: of the countless species and forms we add to a tank with LR, which sort is actually responsible for cleaning the water? <Most all depending on definitions of "clean"... "improving water clarity" let's say> I realize one could write volumes in answer to that single question, but all I want to know is what does the majority of the beneficial work. In other words, what keeps nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and phosphate levels down by either turning these elements into something useful or consuming the higher organic compounds before they breakdown. <Mmm, likely mainly microbes, principally bacteria, though there are many, all the other marine phyla involved> And let me clarify by noting that we're only talking about the stuff which lives in or on the actual rock, not the substrate or the water column. It is my understanding that the encrusting sponges and tiny sea squirts do most of the job - <These are indeed the predominant groups of life by weight, volume on new/er LR, but not as biologically active, important as microbes> I remember reading something like roughly 70%, but I can't remember when or where. Anyways, my friend thinks its almost exclusively the anaerobic bacteria, which I maintain only does like 20% of the work. <Aerobes and anaerobes> Now, remember, we're only talking about the rock. In terms of the entire biological filter, he may be right, but as far as the rock goes, well, you tell me. If possible, please give me as detailed and scientific an explanation as possible. <Not aware of such study> Neither he nor I are easily swayed unless we have a deep understanding of the matter or faith in the source of a general explanation and although in this case I have the later, I'm afraid he will require the former. Right or wrong, at this point I'm more curious than anything. I appreciate your input. Oh, also, on a related matter: does anaerobic bacteria reproduce notably slower than other bacteria? <Mmm, depends on the circumstances. Under low to no oxygen, anaerobes can reproduce very quickly> I mean, given ideal conditions for this or that species, will it spread significantly slower if it happens to be anaerobic? Thanks, Dekon.    <Good questions, worthy of a library/computer search. Bob Fenner> Cured live rock Hi to the wonderful people at WWM. Great site. My question has to do with fully cured live rock. <Mmm, sort of like concrete... is only more/less cured...> I am in the process of buying small quantities of live rock from my local fish store. A couple of weeks ago I bought two chunks about a pound each and they told me at the store it was fully cured and ready for the tank. I listened to them and put it straight in my tank when I got home. There was no apparent die off, but I think there were some nasty critters in it. It didn't take long and I noticed my maroon clown breathing very rapidly and gaping gills. <Mmm, did you detect a change in your water chemistry... like ammonia?> I treated in a quarantine tank with formalin, but it soon died off. <Formalin is very toxic... a biocide> A couple of days later my yellow tang showed the same symptoms and I treated it with a formalin bath followed by a freshwater dip, but it too died. <Uhh...> I have since taken the two pieces of live rock out of my tank and into the quarantine tank. <Ahh, good!> My question is this. If I want to continue to buy live rock from my LFS and they tell me it is cured, what can I do to rid it of the bad things and still keep the good ones? Can I dip the live rock in freshwater for about five minutes, or will this kill off everything? Thanks for your help! <Oh! Quarantine it ahead of use for a few weeks... this will usually starve the larger pest animals (Mantis, Pistol Shrimp, larger Polychaetes...)... into coming out, where they can be easily removed. Bob Fenner> Using old dried out live rock in a reef tank Thanks to you very much Blundell. Hope you enjoyed the Christmas holiday. I've few more questions to ask (really sorry to keep bordering u again ...) 1. For the 10 fishes in my FOWLR tank, I feed them with 3 type of foods : pallet food, Japanese Nori and frozen artemia. Will it be sufficient? << Sufficient yes, but I'd certainly use some frozen foods like prime reef or formula one. >> 2. I have a friend who quit from marine fish hobby half year ago, he has 60 pounds of 'dead' liverocks placed at his backyard without any water. I plan to setup another tank and plan to put the 'dead' liverocks on my sump tank as 'Berlin system'. Can the 'dead' liverocks server the same function as 'live' liverock. << Yes it can, but it takes time.  The great thing about live rock is all the surface area (which this rock has) for bacteria (which this rock lacks).  So it will take seeding from more live rock, but after a couple years it will be fine. >> 3. based on your answer for no. 3 below, what is the reason to promote the grow of algae?  << Algae is wonderful!  It is a food source for many inverts and fish.  It also takes up nutrients out of the water and basically keeps the tank clean. >> 4. my current FOWLR tank is fixed at 1.019 sg and with 0.3mg of copper level, will it be ok ? do I need to remove the copper to 0 level and set the sg to 1.023? << The specific gravity is a little low, and I would bring that up.  The copper is a bigger issue.  I'd be tempted to toss all the water and not chance it.  Otherwise, I'd use copper remover until it test 0, then use even more copper remover just to be sure. >> Happy new year 2005 to you in advance. << Good luck. >> Best rgds, PJ <<  Blundell  >> Live Rock Hello, I jus set up a 155 gal tank, with live sand and live rock, the water was already cycled, should I still wait few weeks to introduce some fish and corals? <There will always be a bit of a mini cycle, even with cycled rock.  It's a good idea to let it wait for a few weeks, yes.> I am using a sump with bio balls the skimmer and miracle mud with sand bed and Caulerpa, and some carbon. My Live rock has a chocolate like color on it how could I clean it and it is full of calcareous alga, should I take it off? <Nothing wrong with calcareous algae!  I don't know what the other stuff is, but you can probably leave it on unless it's obviously dying or decaying.> Could I brush the rock to remove the dirtiness from it with a toothbrush? <Or use a turkey baster...> What supplements should I add to my water? Kalkwasser, calcium in liquid and what else? <Calcium supplements are probably not needed just yet.  If you plan on adding some stony corals down the road they will be necessary.  In the meantime, small frequent water changes should suffice.> Well Thank you much.

Quarantining Live Rock? Yep! Hello Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> I have just had a guy drop off about 65 lbs of live rock at my house.  It is still wet, but there is no coralline algae or growth on it.  The color is really pale gray.  He only lives about five minutes from my house, but I have never seen his  tanks.  I have a 75 gallon reef set up ( have a 120 waiting to be set up) with about 60 lbs of coralline covered rock.  My tank is doing great ( I have had a bubble tip anemone split and both are doing great, and a branching hammer that looks like it is about to separate into another head!!)  So my question is how long should I wait to introduce this new rock into my tank.  I immediately put it into  a tub with an air stone, so if he was truthful it was only out of water ten minutes tops.  There  is no foul smell coming from it so should I cure it to be safe, or just add a little at a time and do water changes in the holding tub until it is all in. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. <I think that you're on the right path. I'd keep it in the tub for a few weeks, just to be sure. If there is some die-off, or if this turns out not to be "cured" rock, you don't want to learn that in your display tank! Treat it like fresh, uncured live rock. Frequent water changes and even skimming in the container will help. The time will also serve to "quarantine" the rock before placing it into your display. Most parasites will perish after several weeks without a host.> I love your site, it has helped me on a wonderful journey into the reef tank world....I don't think I could have had such great luck with it if it was not for your FAQs.  Thanks a million ....Heather Leneave <We're happy to be here for your journey, Heather! Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> What does live rock need? Hi Bob, LR supplement:    I have LR with sponges a lot of other goodies; I have no idea what they are all called.    I will like all these goodies including CORALLINE ALGAE to spread to the rest of my tank, on sand stone and dead rock what supplement/additive do I require to achieve this? << None.  I'd say lighting is important, but otherwise they will all grow and spread with time. >> Thanks Mohamed. <<  Blundell  >>

Marine in China Dear MacL, <Hi again Dave, MacL here with you again tonight> Thanks for the reply. <You are welcome, I have been thinking about you since last we talked actually.> My main concern regarding your reply is that I can not get quantities of Live Rock in Shanghai. <I wondered about that. The good news is that any live rock will seed any reef safe non life rock and there are multiple places online that will teach you how to make reef safe rock>  Therefore what is the best alternative as far as filtration goes without this? <I think your wet/dry will work just fine if you use it knowing its limitations.  A wet/dry will get a build up on nitrates unless you keep it very very clean but it does provide you with good oxygenation in your tank so it does have an upside. Just remember that since it does build up nitrates you are going to have to be diligent in your ways to remove the nitrates. I really think you are well on your way to a lovely lovely system. I do know its interesting dealing with the cultural differences of countries. Please let me know how it goes and if you have any more questions don't hesitate to let me know. MacL> Best regards Dave

Decision Time - Fish Have Home, Not LR - Tearing Down Tank >Hello hello,  Quick question.   >>Hello yourself.  I like your greeting.  Marina today. >I shall be moving at the end of the month and have my 100 Gallon salt water reef set up.  I had listed it on EBay but kept getting ridiculous offers for it.  SO what I have decided to do as I am moving to Vancouver from Toronto in a few months, it to donate the fish to my Dentist's office as they have the room in their tank and then put the equipment in storage with the rest of my stuff.   >>My, my, that's very generous of you.   >My question is, what can I do about the live rock?  If I let it dry out can I put it back in my tank later on when I set it up again.   >>Certainly, or, you can give it to the dentist as well.  His/her system will likely need the boost of nitrifiers, et al, with the influx of new fishes. >I realize that it shall not be live any more but it will provide a good base for the rest when I do by it... >>Exactly correct.  If you do decide to store it, I would hold it in fresh water for a few days, cleaning as well as possible to reduce the risk of stench. >Also am assuming the sand would be the same deal, the tank has been up and running for about 5 years now. >>What a shame you have to tear it all apart.  I bet it's been looking very good, too.  In any event, absolutely, do the same thing with the sand, holding/rinsing in fresh water to make as clean as possible, to reduce risk of stench, and to make sure you're starting out with something that resembles 'fresh'. >Cheers.  Julian >>Thank you so much, Julian, for some reason you've brightened my day.  Generosity can do that, yes?  You're stuff will be fine, but I do suggest donating at least a small bit of the rock (or tell them to have on hand some Bio-Spira - thanks to Dr. Allen for that bit of knowledge).  Marina Live rock <Hey Jason, MacL here with you tonight.>I have 2 questions regarding live rock. <lets try  to answer them for you> 1 - Do you have a recommended pound of live rock per gallon of tank size? <Hmmm no is the short answer but it gets sort of complicated> Looking for amount of live rock recommended for a 75 gallon reef tank being the main form of filtration. <The thing is you want enough live rock to do the filtration but you also want to leave enough for the fish to swim around in and you want spaces between the rocks so you don't have massive spots for detritus build up.  You need the tank and rock to be "alive". I can tell you my four foot 120 has about 150 pounds of Marshall island live rock. Ah and you should know the tricky part as well is that different kinds of rock weighs differently. I also have some lovely gulf view rock but it weighs much heavier.> 2 - How do you  make live rock 'LIVE' rock?  I have a friend that had a reef that has since gotten rid of it.  They kept the actual rock but did not keep it in a tank or in water.  He was willing to give me this 50  pounds of rock, in which I would like to turn back into Live rock.  <You can "seed" the rock with live rock. Lots of people use dead or mostly lifeless rock as " base rock" and then put live rock above it which "seeds" the live rock. Basically bacterial and algae and corals move to the base rock.  It spreads.  Good luck, MacL> Thanks in advance, Jay

I have 2 questions regarding live rock. <Hi, Jay, thank you for your questions.> 1 - Do you have a recommended pound of live rock per gallon of tank size? Looking for amount of live rock recommended for a 75 gallon reef tank being the main form of filtration. <Personally, the liverock choice is up to you. Some prefer ample amounts of liverock while other (myself included) prefer smaller amounts of rock. Some of the benefits to ample amounts of rock is that all of it can likely be used for biological filtration which aids in the break down of toxic wastes. However, this could impede current and create "dead zones" in and behind the rock in which detritus settles and phosphate and nitrate can accumulate. Less rock means 'less' surface area for bacteria to form, however, more than likely there will be less detritus accumulating in the aquarium. Overall, I would recommend around 50-100lbs of liverock for a 75 gallon aquarium. However, you could use more or less liverock depending on your preference.> 2 - How do you  make live rock 'LIVE' rock?  I have a friend that had a reef that has since gotten rid of it.  They kept the actual rock but did not keep it in a tank or in water.  He was willing to give me this 50  pounds of rock, in which I would like to turn back into Live rock.   <The rock your friend is giving you will need to be seeded with some liverock to become 'live.' The rock your friend has likely has had quite a lot of die off which will need to be cured. If you do take the rock to use for your aquarium, I would recommend using several small rocks and place them around the rock structure. This will eventually seed the dead rock and, over time, the dead rock will become full of life. This may take awhile, although if you're patient the rock will eventually become live with many organisms such as feather dusters, tunicates, tube worms, sponges, bivalves, coralline, and other algae. Also, livesand will also seed the rock aiding in the nitrification process.  I hope this has answered your questions. Take Care, Graham.> Thanks in advance, Jay

What to do? Live rock from an ich infested system >Hello Crew: >>Hello Eric. >I have not written to you guys for a long time. This time, I have 2 main questions. My friends 150 gallon tank is fully infested with ich, we noticed it today on the powder blue, and emperor angel. >>Yep, once one's got it, the whole system should be considered infected. >His system is reef and has live rock and sand and a couple pieces of corals. Fishes included (powered blue, emperor angel adult, 2 juv Koran, purple tang, clown tang and a Red Sea angel). >>I call "overcrowded system"!  Doesn't matter *why* he's got two Koran juvies in there, what he needs to know is that the peace won't last long upon commencement of the maturation process.  Also, do watch those tangs if they're presently small/juveniles, too.  For the animals he has, he should be housing them in a system at least DOUBLE the size they're in, in my honest opinion.  Why do I bring this up?  Because, overcrowding is a really good way to get disease going. >Fishes are still eating and swimming good with no rapid breathing/scratching. >>Good, very good. >Temp 82F, sal 1024, pH 8.24, NO3-10ppm, PO4=0. >>Warmish, but good. >Question 1: He is determined that he only wants a fish-only system after this ordeal, the fished that we have bought has been quarantined for 14 days and showed no sign of illness. But at the end.. >>Mistake number one.. or maybe number two, after overcrowding.  Proper (and PROVED) quarantine protocol is a minimum of 30 days (and this next bit is key) DISEASE FREE.  Anyway, I can certainly understand his sentiments. >Anyway, we are thinking about moving the live rock and corals out, leaving a thin sandbed and some crushed corals in sump. >>That shouldn't be a problem. >And do the copper and hyposalinity treatment in main display. >>Uh uh. Nope.  No way.  I would not do that if I were you.  Wouldn't be prudent <in her best George B., Sr. voice> >The reason behind is that he has a 50 gallon QT but no bacteria count, (due to previous QT period, the filter is used up and cleaned) should he do the copper and lower salt 0.001 everyday till 1.010 and temp 82F??   >>Whoa there, big fella.  You both DO realize that if you intend to use copper (choose copper or hypo, and honestly, I urge you to try hyposalinity FIRST, but make it one or the other, not both) that it WILL KILL *ALL* nitrifying bacteria, right? >Any better ways to do this?? >>Yep!  A brief primer, with additional reading for you stout men: First, I highly recommend he thin the herd.  I don't think I can recommend this highly *enough*, actually, because I'm sure your mother taught you, as mine did, prevention is a good thing.  So, IF he's committed to using his display to treat, then he MUST strip it down of all organic, porous material first.  This material will absorb the copper (rendering it null and void in the water column), it will harbor for this parasite (making it near impossible to eliminate), and its nitrifying bacteria WILL die off when coppered, thus making a stinking mess. My Recommendations are as follows: (and please search the site for more comprehensive information) *Get more containers for treating the fish with hypo OR copper (remember above preferences).  Large trash bins lined with black plastic bags work well enough for Mom here (do make sure they are NOT "anti" anything, no scent added, nothing - just plain plastic).  They may or may not need heaters (depending on your local conditions).  Filtration of some sort is needed, at least for water movement.  If it must be cheap, then air-driven sponge filters should do just fine.  If you can get it down there, Bio-Spira is an instant dose of nitrifying bacteria, otherwise, you're committed to water changes on a daily basis, which isn't so bad because using copper you have the same commitment as well. *Make sure you have either a lab-grade float hydrometer (my preferred) or a decent refractometer, as there is no way you can otherwise make an accurate assessment of salinity - rather important when utilizing hyposalinity. *Thin the herd!  (Did I mention he either needs to put those fish into a system of at least 300 gallons, or thin the herd?)  Thin the herd! *Assigned reading: search for articles on ich treatment by Steven Pro, Terry Bartelme, Advanced Aquarist Online Magazine (found via reefs.org - search the database).  These will be much more detailed than what I can do here, regarding both methods of treatment. *Consider also formalin, generally same caveats as copper, but no test available, and do use gloves when handling. *Let the display go fallow for 6-8 weeks at a higher temperature (82F-84F). >Question 2: He also wants to sell me the live rock to my new system, should I purchase the rocks? >>ONLY if they're uncoppered.  Let him know, though, that with the fish he's got, they'll really do much better if he leaves the live rock for them.  Really. >Is it safe if I am determined to let this new system to be fallow for at least 3 months?? >>Absolutely, mate!   >What water parameter should I maintain during my cycle period to make sure no ich is left after this 3 months?? >>You shouldn't cycle at all, but otherwise, just maintain the normals, doing water changes as necessary, and hold at a slightly higher temp to speed up the lifecycle of the parasite. >Question 3: Will 84F and 1.010 salinity kill macroalgae in the new tank's sump and coralline in the rocks?? >>Probably not the coralline, but quite possibly the macros.  In my opinion 84F is a bit high (close to those coral bleaching temps), but plenty of folks go at that with no problems whatsoever, so your choice on that.  A note on hyposalinity for treatment of ich - 1.010 is the top end of hypo, the range being 1.007 - 1.010.  However, if you're speaking simply of how to treat the rock once moved to your new display, keep it fallow (NO fish) for that period of time and nothing else need be done. >If so, what parameter is safest yet suitable for my inhabitants during cycling? >>Again, don't worry about a whole cycle on the live rock.  HOWEVER!  You must be sure to keep it out of your display for that 6-8 weeks I spoke of, or what I like even BETTER is the three months you mentioned.  Remember, the parasite will eventually die off sans hosts, but it has been known to last as long as 72 days.. though I believe that that would have only been attainable at significantly lower temperatures. >Question 4: Should I add the macroalgae after I test positive for NO3 or should I add right away? >>Your choice. >Question 5: Last, when I dose Cupramine from SeaChem, I follow the bottle instruction dosage. However when I use the SeaChem test kit to test dosage, I do not get any reading, even after duplicate tests attempt.  should I trust the test kit or dosage instructions?   >>If you're putting any copper into a system that has sand, gravel, crushed coral, dead coral heads, ANYTHING porous, you will likely have a VERY difficult time getting enough of it in there to get proper readings.  Really, this *must* be administered in a bare tank only.  It's just too dangerous to do it any other way, my friend.  (Bare tank can have PVC pieces in it to offer hiding places and security to the fish, but it's completely non-porous and can easily be sterilized.) >Please help. we must act fast. Some of the fishes in his tank are mine and I do not want to lose the powder blue.  Eric >>Well, you've got my best advice, and please, DO find those other online articles, they'll help you greatly in your decision and treatment of the fish.  I will also advise you to, if not already doing so, start soaking the dry food in Selcon.  Nutrition and water quality are THE two most important issues to address, especially when treating for disease.  And remember, quarantine MUST be 30 days!  Marina Adding live rock to a new tank Dear Bob, Nice site! Just started a new saltwater tank and was hoping you could help me with a couple of queries. 1) I have a 36x18x18 tank with sump 2) I have crushed marble as substrate << Really? How unique. >> 3) I added one piece of live rock about 2 weeks ago (about 8 pounds) to start the cycle 4) At the same time I have added sera nitravec as per instructions for 7 days What I have noticed is very little in terms of ammonia and nitrites spikes. Ammonia seemed to be virtually non existent. Nitrites is about 1ppm I suspect that's because the rock was not very live or because of the nitravec doing its job ? << And it can take time.  I would bet the rock wasn't very alive to begin with. >> Should I add more live rock ?  My concern is that if I add good quality live rock that all the coral living on it may die due to large ammonia and nitrite levels? << Some things will die off, but good quality live rock is the best thing you can put in a tank. >> The other thing I noticed that seemed peculiar was that the are rust coloured blotches all over the crushed marble. Given that its been only two weeks since I introduced a small piece of cured live rock, I am wondering if this is just some kind of sediment? or is it something concerning? << Nothing bad I'm sure. >> If it is the former then do I just do a gravel clean ? or should I get replace the rock ? << I would just let stuff grow. >> The piece of rock has white and pink bits all over it, so I figured it looked healthy enough. It also came from a reputable store. Could you please let me know what course of action I should take and if what I am experiencing is normal. << Sounds normal.  I wouldn't worry. >> Thank you for your help.. much appreciated!!!! Regards Simon <<  Blundell  >> Dying live rock Recently, a tank I was taking care of for a friend leaked.... <NO FUN!!> and we had to quickly put all of the contents of the tank in a Rubbermaid container... the live rock now has a lot of dead spots on it and doesn't look so good.....everything on it is basically dead.....anyway, he has given me all of the rock, about sixty pounds worth....<That's very nice of him.>I know that I could recure it...to save some of the stuff. but I would rather use it as base rock and let the rock I currently have slowly migrate living things over too it...Here is my question.... 1.  Couldn't I set the live rock out on the deck, and let it dry up....I know that will kill off the rest of the stuff on the rock.....and then I could place it as base rock in my 90 gallon tank without hurting the cycle.... <Yes you could but there is still going to be some change in the cycle simply because you are changing the tank by adding something. Meaning if you move stuff around it will make a difference. If I'm reading you right you think that what's dying on the rock will send your cycle into a spiral. Personally I would prefer to save what you can but I do understand why you felt that way. I just prefer to get as large a variety of life as I can.> 2.  How long will it take to become alive again...I have heard 3 to 4 months? <That depends on how much life you have on your existing rock and how healthy your tank is. 3 to 4 months is usually a good bet.  Good luck, MacL> Really LIVE LR Hello Mike [again], <Hi, MikeD here> I won't want to trade him in 'cos he is a graceful little fish, a little misdemeanor... I will start another 2 ft tank<You'll probably be glad you made the choice, as Maroon's can get along with some surprising tank mates, including lionfish and scorpionfish (NOT Stonefish, however **sob**)>. Just the other day, I saw "something" jettisoned out from one of my live rocks, not unlike what you see on the surface of our sun. Stringy but quickly disappeared into the water. I am a little concern because I had a bad experience with my first round of live rocks [this is my 2nd attempt with LR <I've NEVER had anything bad come in with LR for a FO or FOWLR tank>). I lost 2 tomato from parasites, I think (all their fins have some kind of milky glue on them). Instead of clowning around, they dart about. What is this 'something'? Will it poison the fish or is it parasites?<I strongly doubt that it's parasites, which usually are introduced with the fish themselves> My 1st round of LR is not fully cured. My 2nd round is. I tried Argent's Paracide (blue color) in a QT but it was too late. What is the treatment procedure using medication like Paracide? Is there a dip duration or it is left in the tank till fish is cured. There is nothing written on the label and there is no clear specific information on your website.<Honestly, that's not one I'm familiar with, nor have used, so I really can't tell you. The term "parasite" is extremely broad, and in the context that you seem to be using it, I'd be careful. You either treat for a SPECIFIC parasite that you know or don't treat at all> As for my dubious LR, I left it unattended, unknowingly, in newspaper wrappings for a week (intended to throw that stinking stuff away. Can I reuse them by 'curing' them for a few weeks in a separate container. Paid quite a bit for them<Sure. I'd imagine 99% of the life is dead and gone, but it would still make beautiful base rock and soon be colonized by all manner of living things>. I enjoy your website very much and the forum threads...just to let you know.<Thank you very much, We try as best we can!> aLaN

Worms on live rock. Thanks Adam! BTW, I got 20 lb more live rock from the LFS with feather-duster worms and starfish on it! Tons of purple coralline too! The fish are now in a tub and the tank is empty with another inch of aragonite added!<< Sounds great. >> Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

DRIED OUT LIVE ROCK Hello There! <Hi Orlando, MacL here to answer your question tonight.> I have a few questions for you guys that I hope you can help me out with :).First is regarding the best method of preparing about 30-40lbs of dried out live rock for use in a new 40 gallon saltwater setup. I've read a lot on the site and I've seen different methods described but mostly issues with rock that was unknown (mystery rock) and such but in this case the rock was from a normal saltwater setup that was torn down over a year ago. Then the rock was placed in a large Rubbermaid container after it air dried and left stored away till recently. I've been cleaning it for the past few days with steaming hot water sprays and letting it sit in clean 5 gallon buckets full of hot water (I only use the buckets for my tanks). They're really nice rocks shame they let them dry out they're full of green algae and probably had some good live on it at one time but now all gone. <You could soak them with water and Clorox but honestly I don't know that you need to. The Clorox can be removed with dechlorinator.> Anyhow I'd really appreciate your advice on what else I could do to prepare the rock to be used in the tank. <I think you need to let it sit in some salt water as well.> The tank at the moment has no inhabitants. Just the gravel (crushed coral small size), A strong pump circulating water around the tank , A Fluval 303 with 3 bags of Chemi pure (full size units) some mechanical media and 2 bags of bio Chem beads from another established system of mines (just removed it from one of my other canister filters currently running on my 90 gallon setup), salt is at about 24 ,ph is at 8.0 - 8.1 , temp is at 74 degrees Fahrenheit and it has a canopy running a day night cycle (full spectrum and actinic 03 lights). <I'd raise the temp to 78> I also will be adding a cultured Penguin Biowheel 330 from the Quarantine tank and hopefully a skimmer once the tank is ready for inhabitants. Is there a decent priced skimmer you could recommend? I would probably purchase it from Drs. Foster and Smith's website. <I have to tell you I'm personally fond of the aqua C> I'm new to saltwater, been doing freshwater for years and now about to have a 120 gallon and this 40 gallon salt so it's a bit overwhelming hehe but I'm sure I'll manage with a little help from the pros here. Now I just want to add the rocks as base rock and basically create a nice environment for a few fish(1 small Paracanthurus hepatus,1 Amphiprion frenatus, 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) and a Lysmata amboinensis that I have in another fully setup quarantine tank that I want to transfer over to the new setup whenever it is ready.<Orlando I think I personally would just start soaking your live rock in some salt water as well. Then I'd go on and arrange your base rock so you could put some better rock above it to let the base rock get seeded from any other live rock you purchase.> Any other advice on the setup will also be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long message but figured would give you as much common info as possible about the setup I'm trying to create to give you a better mental picture since I can't provide any actual pictures lol.<You did a great job. Sounds like a wonderful tank.>  You guys run a great website and help a lot of people and I'd personally like to THANK YOU all for your wisdom that you provide for all the peeps out there even the ignorant ones lol :P Keep up the great work and I will continue to follow this website and help if possible in any way. Orlando

Live Rock Hi, <Graham at your service.> I have a 75 gallon F/O NLR community tank.  It has been set up for over a year and right now I have plain rocks for decoration.  I have considered getting some live rock to replace it, as I have heard that it helps with filtration.   <Correct.> The problem is:  I know very little about live rock.  How does it deal with filtration? <Live rock is filled with nitrifying bacteria which aid in the nitrification cycle, the transformation of Ammonia to Nitrite to Nitrate.> How much would I need? <However much you like. There is no correct amount of rock to have.> What kind is easiest to keep? <The care for live rock is all the same. I would recommend to have some illumination over the tank, if you don't already, as well as some steady water current. Live rock is very simple to care for.>   Aren't there "critters". <Yes, there is a wide array of life on live rock (depending on which kind of rock you go with). I've found coralline, sponges, amphipods, copepods, isopods, zoanthids, Palythoa polyps, encrusting Porites, and a lot of other live on a single rock.> Please fill me in on the basic facts so I know where to go from here. <The "Critters" on the live rock will most likely die off once added to your aquarium. However, it will eventually regrow in the proper conditions.> thanks, James <Take Care, Graham.>


Using Base Rock Hi <Hi Peter> just a quick one today. If I am able should I use all live rock in my marine aquarium or is some base rock necessary? <Live rock serves multiple purposes, one of the most important being active filtration. I believe its vital to have live rock both for aesthetic reasons and for its filtration capabilities. Its one of the few things that actively works on nitrates.> If so why? Apart from aesthetics as I think the dead coral is very attractive, not that Id kill any on purpose of course! <You'll come to love the live corals as well, but there is no reason that you couldn't use the dead corals already out there existing. MacL>


Live Rock, Follow-up So Mac, is some base rock necessary or, where possible, should I use all live rock? <Base rock will work if it is alive, some is and some isn't, that's why they sell it so cheaply. I personally would use as much live rock and you can and still keep your aesthetics to your pleasing.  The big thing is that these rocks provide the filtration to keep your tank stable. Whereas the dead rock and coral does not. Hope this helps. MacL>


Don't Use "Mystery Rock"  (Pt.3)                                                          Ok Scott, I have the soaking rinsing bleaching and dechlorinating details but how much dechlorinator do I use? <I'd double the dosage suggested by the manufacturer> What it says on the bottle for water content, is this going to do the rock as well or should I use extra? <As above> Will the bleach or residue cause any problems in tank? <If it remains in significant quantities, yes. Thoroughly dechlor and rinse this rock prior to using it, as previously discussed> I know the rock is dead coral rock sediment I can see that so the make up isn't what's bothering me but I suppose pesticide is the main worry. <Yep. That is my big concern here> Is there anything I can do to remove the possibility of these? <Well, soaking in freshwater with a filter containing activated carbon or Poly Filter could help, but your main ally will be time. Residual toxic materials could leach out over time, so the best you could do would be to give the aforementioned preparation procedures plenty of time> Could mail order I suppose but wouldn't the freight be expensive! <Well, it depends where your obtaining it from, but many e-tailers offer good shipping rates on live rock. Worth checking out, I suppose.> Cheaper to replace four damsels and restart tank me thinks! Thanks again. <You're welcome. I'm sure that you'll do what's right! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Don't pass up this deal! Tonga live rock Hello to all, I have a chance to buy 100 lbs of Tonga Shelf that has been in a friend's tank for many years, he is moving and breaking down his tank. >>Ooo eee aaahh!! >My question is this, can I add 100lbs of live rock at once (40lbs going in refugium the rest in display)? >>This REALLY depends on how far/long it has to travel. More than an hour, I'd pass it through a mini-cure in trash cans. >I currently have 200lbs in display and 30 in refugium, my system has been running for 3 years. I hate to pass up this deal (2.50 a lb) but if it's a bad decision to add all at once how can I keep it alive? Will keeping in a clean trash can with a power head be enough? Thanks for your time. Mike Winston >>Mike, do NOT pass up this deal. It won't hurt to add it all at once if it is a short trip between tanks. Otherwise, cure it in a trash can, DO change the water to prevent ANY spikes, skim the bejesus out of it, then you can add it all at once. Marina 

Tonga live rock II - The Long Ride Home >Thanks, I will have about a 2.5 hr drive, I was planning on transporting the rock in water in a trash can, should this prevent the curing process? >>Well, it can help. BOY is that thing gonna be heavy! If you can get one or two, I'd go buy bait aerators - battery operated air pumps for live wells and the like. Drop an airstone into the trash can(s). However, that long drive being the case, I'd leave it in the trash can(s) for a few days. Have on hand mixed, aged, aerated saltwater (or Real Ocean if that's what you use) for big water changes. I'd drop a heater in there, and test over that time to see if you get any spikes. If you *do*, definitely change enough water to keep them way down. Sweet deal, Mike. Marina 

Live rock 4/22/04 I am setting up a tank that measure 30 high 60 long and 18 wide. Darron and Palmetto reefs suggest about 250 pounds total. Is this going to be crowded over kill, or lovely. <at 2 lbs per gallon, it sounds like this will help you fill/build a full reef display. Just be careful not to build any part of the reef structure against any wall (not even the back). This is a common mistake and severely cripples water flow and ultimately tank health in time> If I cut one box I am at 190 pounds. <still reasonable if you are good at stacking a nice open structure or can/will be creative with plastic milk crates and/or cable ties. Tips and illustrations of this are in my Book of Coral Propagation and in our (Calfo and Fenner) Reef Invertebrates books> All of his rock is totally cured and sent delta. So overload shouldn't be a problem. <with all due respect... there is no such thing as fully cured air shipped rock. There will be some die off... and it will be a mistake if you place this rock in a display with sand/substrate. You will want/need to cure it on arrival which will hopefully just amount to a 2 week observation period, heavy skimming and some water changes> Your insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you Sincerely, Brian <I wish you the best of luck! Anthony>

Neglected live rock  >Hello,  >>Hello.  >I just came across your forum and it looks very informative. Here is my problem/question. About four years ago I started a saltwater aquarium. A month after that we got the news that the house we were renting was up for sale and that we were going to have to move. So I broke down the tank and didn't start it up again. The rock sat in our basement in a black plastic bag for the last four years.  >>If you're looking for reassurance, you've come to the right place. I have tanks and equipment FAR older than that! (Unused, of course.)  >Then five months ago I put it outside in the yard. Now I have the bug to start a tank again. My question is can I still use this rock?  >>If it wasn't treated with copper, or exposed to pesticides, etc., it should be ok. A good way to test it is with mollies acclimated to salt (or, some inexpensive damsels, though since mollies are easily bred I prefer those. Not fancies, though, just plain old black mollies). Put the rock in a trash can or similar, fill it with saltwater, make sure it's heated, then drop in your (acclimated) fish. Don't push 'em too fast to the salt, or they'll pop.  >I have blasted it with the garden hose to clean off any loose stuff. It appears to have been dyed green, which I assume is green algae growing on it that I don't really want to introduce to my new tank.  >>Right, then a soak in bleach would do the trick, do that first. You can then either use a series of soaking and drying in the sun or sodium thiosulfate to dechlorinate.  >I will be keeping a pair of mated Zebra Eels in this new tank. I have been told to put the rock in a bucket of water with some bleach. Is that OK?  >>Yep.  >There appears to be still some pink coralline algae on the rock which I don't want to kill with the bleach.  >>I have a feeling it's already dead.  >Also I am concerned about the bleach being introduced to the new aquarium.  >>The stuff dissipates pretty well on its own, especially if warmed by the golden rays of the sun. Use your nose, or do as per above.  >Please help!!!! Thank you for your service to this hobby. Gill McFin  >>There you have it, "Gill". Go for it. Marina

- Circulation and Dead Live Rock - Mr. Fenner, <JasonC today...> I am new to the website, only 2 months or so of knowing about this plethora of information. I wish this would have been possible 12 years ago when I started this hobby. After many mistakes and trial and error, I feel I have made my bones in reef keeping the hard way. Many LFS bad advice and poor character, have allowed me to see first hand the problems involved with lack of preparation and knowledge can cost more than the initial costs that frighten you when you decide to keep a living reef in your home. I have searched almost all of the FAQ's and I think I have an original question. 3 years ago I was preparing to move to my new home, and I needed to break down my system. I, at the time was experiencing thick mats of red hair algae, (caused by poor judgment, poor lights, and stupidly using tap water to top off my sump ) I have learned my lesson, on most fronts, and hope to have better luck this time around. I have a 75 oceanic, I have purchased a new sump with refugium built in from a local tank manufacturer here in Minnesota, and I have purchased a Coralife retrofit with 2 X 175 W, MH and 2 X 96 W blue Actinic VHO. I am going to utilize the DSB method with Aragramax sand around 3 inches with a couple of bags of live sand on top of that. <Don't waste your money on the live sand - just shoot for a sandbed depth of four inches or more and put live rock on it - the sand will become live soon enough.> I have installed an RO unit in my home to avoid the garbage water I was trying to use in the past. I have 2 separate questions really, one is, I have around 200 lbs of rock that of course is dried out and completely clean of organisms from my previous tank. Its beautiful rock, full of cracks and crevices and places to set my new livestock. I would like to know if this can be used now for base with a few pieces of live rock to seed it to avoid the huge expense of all new live rock. <You can use this, but it will never return to 100% of it's former live-self.> I realize this would all eventually become encrusted, but my concern is that my tank wouldn't cycle properly with just a few pieces of rock and 2 bags of live sand. Any comment or concerns would be greatly appreciated. <I'd consider a larger percentage of new rock and less of the old rock.> Second question, is water movement. My plan was to purchase power heads and wave makers this time. To be honest, I never had enough flow in my previous tanks and my corals never really flourished. I ended up replacing them as they floundered and that is just not being a reefer, its being lazy. The more that I have read this site, the more I realized that water movement is crucial to reef development and long term existence. The more I read the more I realized that 4 power heads and a wave maker would work, but I would rather not have that many power heads in my tank just for aesthetics. I would like to know if one dolphin pump, specifically the 385 model, in the upper left hand corner of my tank, plumbed with pvc running the entire length of the back glass of my tank, capped off on one end and holes drilled in the pvc pointing towards the glass would be enough turbulence to keep soft corals, and elegance and misc. polyps? <Well... it would provide plenty of circulation, but it would be a laminar flow and less than useful in the long term. Much better to use something like a SeaSwirl or similar device to provide additional water movement - circulation should be both robust and random.> Thank you in advance, I welcome your comments and your criticisms, and can't wait to see what you have to say. <I thought you said these were original questions? ;-) No worries.> Respectfully, Quinn. <Cheers, J -- >

Live rock Hi Michael, <Hi again :]> I will be using the live rock rubble in the power filter box for biological filtration. Is this a good idea or should I go with bio balls or some thing similar. <I would use bio balls and save the rubble for a refugium. Live rock rubble in a power filter will likely trap too much detritus> This is for a fish only tank and I want to keep the nitrates as low as possible. It's my understanding that using live rock as bio media will create less nitrate, is this correct or is the live  rock just not as efficient? <It is correct because live rock is not as efficient> Doesn't live rock utilize different bacteria then the bacteria that colonize other types of bio media? <No, they use the same strains. M. Maddox>

My live rock is turning grey Hi <Happy Easter, Michael here>  I have a 75gl all-glass reef tank. I am using a protein skimmer and a wet-dry trickle filter. I also have live sand and Fiji live rock. I have around 12-15 diff. kinds of coral and just 5-7 small fish (reef safe). I do my normal 10% H2O change, with R/O water, every week. Everything seemed to be fine until my local "Fish Guy" tested my water and said my PH was a little low( high 7's). <Ouch, needs to be brought to 8.2-3> I just added some buffer to increase my PH back to 8.2 -8.4. <Careful, you don't want to change it too quickly> All my marine life seems to be doing fine except my Fiji live rock. It was vibrant with purple coralline and now seems to be turning a dull grey. WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHAT DO I DO??? <What kind of lighting do you have? Are you dosing any sort of calcium? Coralline is dependent upon light and calcium>  Please let me know if this is common or am I loosing my rock?  <Well, you are losing your coralline algae. I suggest reading our FAQs regarding coralline algae care>  Concerned reefer, Jeremy  <M. Maddox>

Live rock Hi, <How goes it, Michael here> I have a question about using live rock in my power filter box. I want to use live rock rubble as biological media in my emperor and Hagen filters. <Just for a biological media, or are you looking to create a refugium?> One LFS says that the live rock needs light to be effective, another LFS says it does not need light and would be fine in my filters. Please help <Well, for purely biological media, live rock rubble without would work fine without light, it just wouldn't be "live"; i.e. encrusted with coralline algae, etc. Make sure you have good mechanical filtration or live rock rubble with catch debris

Live Rock Advice - I Need Some Help  Dear WWM Crew,<IanB here today>  First, I want to thank you for all the information you've supplied to the community ? you definitely have a wealth of information. I've read through all of your articles & FAQ responses, so I could keep my specific questions to a minimum. I do have some specific questions regarding my situation. My email may be long, but in doing so, I thought it might make your responses easier.<ok>  I've kept marine aquariums for the last 15 years ? mostly fish only, with the exception of anemones. I currently have a 120 gallon (4x2x2) tank that's been established for 5+ years with a large wet/dry, Rio powered Everclear protein skimmer, 25W UV sterilizer, 2 fluorescent Coralife bulbs (actinic & daylight ? 50/50 I believe), titanium grounding probe and RO system for water change/auto top-off. I have a 6in Imperator Angel, 3in Volitans Lion, 4in Harlequin Tusk, 3in Regal Blue Tang, 3in Foxface and a 2in Clown Trigger. A large female Maroon clown is on the way. They all are fairly healthy except the Imperator has some lateral line disease (4 years in aquarium).<wow...malnutrition or water quality issues??> They all get along except the occasional grunt/charge from the Imperator w/ the Harlequin ? never any contact though.<yea...Pomacanthus Imperators...do grunt a lot>  The main issue is water quality. I cannot keep the nitrates down.<that is why your imperator has HLLE> They're at about 50 mg/l right now, but I'm due for my water change. I change the water about 35gal every month.<well this is not enough...you are going to have to do more...and plus you have way to many "potential" inches in fish in such as a crammed aquarium...its only 48" long!...and your imperator alone can reach approx..18"!!!...plus the 12" Tusk wrasse...the 10" blue tang... and the MEAN AND NASTY 18" Clown Trigger> I now I should probably change a little less of it more frequently (25gal every other week).<I would do 25 gallons per week.. especially if my prized angelfish had HLLE> I've got mainly red/brown covering algae on the dead coral rocks.<Manually clean it off> I've finally decided that I need to go to LR and refugium to improve the quality & general appearance of the tank.<that should work> I'm tired of the dead coral look, bad water quality and want to start introducing LR over the next couple of months.<well the bad water quality is due to the amount of fish YOU have chosen to place in your aquarium and your maintenance habits. All I can suggest is do more water changes...and maybe get rid of a fish or two>  Here are the questions I have:  1. Light ? I'm assuming I need more light, but I have zero experience outside of the fluorescent bulbs.<purchase power compact fluorescent lighting... it's the same thing just more wattage> I know I can let some of the LR life die off with lower light output, but I'd like to keep as much of it as possible and as close to a reef look as possible. <ok your imperator. will clean the living organisms off of that live rock almost as fast as you can put it in their.. believe me.. I had one for a few years> I plan on keeping it a mostly fish tank, but who knows down the road. The only restriction I have is that I've got a gorgeous oak stand/canopy that I want to keep and there is only 4.5in of space under the canopy. What would you recommend?<maybe taking the canopy off...if it means having better lighting ...nicer looking aquarium...healthier fish> I'm leaning towards 2 (4x65w) Coralife PC strips w/ fans ? 4 daylight bulbs & 4 actinic bulbs.<good setup> 2. Wet/Dry & Bio Balls ? In regards to the nitrates, I've read in some  of your posts that the bio media may be adding to the nitrate situation & not helping. Not only do I have bio balls in the wet/dry, but I've got them filling the pre-filter/overflow chamber built into the back of my tank to reduce the splashing noise (a tip given to me when I bought the tank). There's probably the same quantity in the overflow area as in the filter. What would you recommend? I've already removed the media from the overflow.<the bio-balls will not increase or decrease your nitrate levels...that significantly...>  3. Protein Skimmer ? my skimmer (Everclear) appears to be operating fine, but I'm not getting any production in the cup ? foam in the pipe, yes. It is opened all the way as far as airflow. It produced foam into the cup when I first started the tank and randomly every couple of months, but not now. I assume with the nitrate levels it should be producing foam/junk in the cup. Should I look at upgrading the skimmer (Berlin Turbo skimmer)? Are all skimmers created equal?<unfortunately they are not...I would ask around and purchase a different skimmer...everyone has different opinions on skimmers>  4. LR Introduction ? I think I have this approach down based on reading your other posts. I'm just looking for confirmation. I'm planning on ordering a single 90lb box of premium Fiji LR right now. I plan on curing it in one of my 40 gallon aquarium trash cans (two cans if I won't all fit) with a heater and powerhead for a couple weeks in the dark, monitoring levels until ammonia/nitrate = 0ppm and introduce it to the tank. Wait about a week with it in the tank & then order 45lb box. Repeat the  curing/introduction until the LR replaces all the dead coral & it looks right. Is that the approach you'd recommend?<yes good approach>  5. Additives ? What, if any supplements should I provide for the LR?  Right now, I only add SuperBuffer to keep the PH/alkalinity/calcium hardness correct. The fish also get vitamin soaked food (Zoe, etc).  <I would not add any vitamins... I never feed my fish vitamins...just their normal mixed food diet...and I have never had HLLE in my aquarium...>  6. Fish Compatibility ? I know I don't have the most reef/LR friendly fish, but will they totally decimate the LR life? I expect them to eat some, and want them too to increase their health, but would my fish rapidly turn my expensive LR into base rock?<Yes the imperator will>  7. Cleaner Crews ? Do I need them? If so, what would you recommend given my fish? Would a large Lawnmower Blenny (i.e. too big to fit in the lion's mouth) make it if there is enough cover? I don't want the cleaner crew to become the "dinner" crew.<No cleaner crews for you...the clown trigger will clean them up lol>  Sorry for the long list of questions, I tried to get as much as I could from your other posts/FAQs and tried to keep my questions as concise as possible. I just have been getting mixed signals from my LFS and I agree with your philosophy/approach. I don't mind spending the money to upgrade & improve the health of my tank, but I don't want to throw money down the drain (literally) with bad advice.<agreed, I would perform more water changes though. Sorry if I sound too negative...its just that prom is at 7 and I have many things to do today :(. <Have a pleasant day, IanB>  Thanks, John

Coppered Rock (4/4/04)  Greetings from North Dakota. <Where abouts? I spent 3 years at Minot AFB early '90s. Nice folks up there, but too cold for my tastes.> My wife, in an effort to treat sick fish dosed our 30 gal tank with copper and pretty much nuked the Fiji live rock  along with the fish. <Hospital tank next time, right?> I'm sure the rock absorbed quite a bit of the copper and has been dry now for about 6 months. Is it possible to cure the rock back to a "usable" level? <Well, you could put it in a bin of SW and run PolyFilter, copper and maybe use Cuprisorb for weeks/months until the water tests negative for copper. On the other hand, why bother--it's just base rock anyway. If you can't afford a full load of new LR, buy part base rock (or make your own--recipes on web) and part LR. If it were me, I'd toss it to be on the safe side, but you need to make this risk/benefit assessment yourself.> Let me know when you have a moment. And, thank for such an informative website. <A pleasure to play a small part.> Hal <Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

What Might Happen if..? Copper Question  >Hi,  >>Hello.  >Just a quick question.  >>My favorite.  >If I treat a saltwater tank containing live rock with copper will it destroy the biological filtration properties of the rock or just kill any living thing on it?  >>Both. Oh yeah, don't forget that it's likely the live rock will absorb a great deal of copper, to be released over time. Marina

Micro Air Bubbles Hi All (That includes Anthony) <heehee... OK> I recently switched the lighting on my 180 gallon reef, going from 3X250 MH with VHO supplement to 2x400 with a single 250 HQI in the center. <interesting... I do hope it was needed/necessary (rarely so though with 400 watt MHs over tanks less than 30")> I have been slowly increasing the time over the last week and a half. Now I'm starting to notice micro air bubbles on the LR. <ah, yes... oxygen being off gassed from excess photosynthesis... a sign of excessive light perhaps> None of my corals or livestock seem bothered, water is as follows: PH 8.24 Temp 81 KH 12.4 Cal 430 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Ammo 0 As always your help has been invaluable over the last two years. For those just starting, you have come to the right place, congratulations! Sincerely Mark <may be nothing to worry about Mark. Just keep a close eye on the corals and we shall see. Kind regards, Anthony>

Tank Problems 2/8/04 Bob here again;  Appreciate the reply Adam.  The tank was running great for over a year and everything was growing well.  The Sarcophyton had more than doubled in size, the Xenia's had split two or three times etc.   The nitrates were >10 when the dino outbreak occurred.  Will add another 10-15 lbs of sand as you suggest. (Maybe time to change out some of the rock too?). <IMO, rock doesn't have a life expectancy.  Unless it is exposed to some kind of toxin or is exposed to very high nutrients that can adsorb into the rock, it should be fine indefinitely.> Was using Reef Crystal but that didn't seem to dissolve well so switched to Coralife, which I've used in the past and seems to dissolve much better. Will bring down the sal as you suggested..   <I am not much of a fan of Coralife products in general, and their salt in particular.  IO, Reef Crystals, Kent, Tropic Marin and OmegaSea are all excellent choices.  Some undissolved material is common in salts that mix up to high calcium concentrations.> Spoke to the LFS here in Sacramento (Capitol Aquarium)  and he said the live rock probably went bad to the core and went septic, leaching toxic substances into the water. <This is nonsense.> Tried some Poly Filter in the water flow of the fuge and after 4 days it's still white.  He seemed to be trying to sell me Fiji rock at $8.00 a lb. (Nuts). <It is a good sign that the poly filter stayed white.  They generally turn colors quickly when exposed to organics or metals.  That rock price is quite high, particularly considering you are on the west coast.> All water is RO/DI and left standing at least two days with a power head and airstone stone. <Before or after mixing with salt?  It is very important that newly mixed salt water be allowed to "age" at least a day or two before use.> Am also using Chemi-Pure to help treat the water.  The timeline I gave you is the way that it happened.  Tested the water last night and the results were Temp=77, Sal 1.028, PH =8.3 amm<.5 nitrate and nitrite=0 Org =very low pollution using Salifert tests and Phos .03.  There is also some brown algae which started to grow on some of the rock and on two rocks there is what looks to be a green grass growing.  Not like hair algae more like grass.  Water circulation comes from 2 Rio 400 mounted on the top sides and facing each other, the return from the fuge pointing to the left rear and the return from the skimmer channeled into a bubble trap.  A small amount of tea colored skimmate is being produced.  Sorry to be so long winded but do appreciate the reply.  You guys have always come through in the past and you're very much appreciated.  Thanks.  Bob <Ammonia should never be detectible.  Do check and maintain proper calcium and alkalinity to help coralline algae out compete nuisance varieties.  All else sounds like it is in order.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Kacia's fish problems 3/19/04 Hi,  Can you help?? <Hi Kacia.  Adam here, help is on the way!  I'm going to go get someone right now.> I've asked several people and it seems my only option is to throw out the live rock...My fish have been dropping like flies, except the clown fish (Percs) and it seems it is because they don't sleep in the rock.  I have hundreds of tiny little bugs running around my tank at night, all over the rock and sand.  I'm told they go into the gills of the fish and suck the life right out of them. <Hmmmm...  Little vampire bugs!  While there are some predatory isopods, these are very rare and usually easily spotted attached to the fish at all times of the day.  They are usually quite large, not very numerous and hard to miss.  I think what you have is a nice  mix of harmless, regular old beneficial 'pods.> They lose color and then die within a day or 2.  I have lost 2 Tangs, 3 Domino Damsels, 1 clown and an angel fish recently.  Should I throw out the rock or bleach it and just use it as regular rock??  Kacia <I don't think we can blame this on the rock or anything that came with it.  Please don't bleach it and waste a precious natural resource.  Please do write back with details about when the tank was set up, the type of equipment, the results of any tests you perform, and your general maintenance, etc., and we will get to the bottom of your problem.  Best Regards.  Adam> - Feeding Live Rock - Crew, I have a 1 month old 125g tank w/100# of LR. I enjoy the hell out of just seeing what is living within. <As a friend of mine is known to say, "What a planet!"> Is there anything I can feed the creatures or to encourage the growth of creatures within the LR? <Quick and easy would be clam juice or something similar.> If I have powerheads that break the surface film, what do I gain from a skimmer? <Much more... the stuff that skimmers remove is not just the stuff that is in the surface film but also other metabolic wastes in the water column itself.> Thanks, Craig <Cheers, J -- > - Live Rock Bleaching? - Hi, I sent a email last night which was answered and more questions were needed to be answered which I sent this morning at about 7:15am Central time. I was very worried at the time about the mandarin who looked pale also, He is absolutely fine now, must of been just awakening himself. Found the damsel and all the animals in the tank are fine. <Ahh, glad to hear - is very normal for fish to display a different color set at night - is known as the night/fright pattern.> So the concern still continues regarding the white areas on the live rock. <Quite possibly coralline algae bleaching out - no worries this does happen and it will make a comeback.> We do have a good circular area of coralline algae growing on the side of the tank. <Be patient, as long as you are supplementing calcium, this will make a strong return in time. Cheers, J -- >

Live rock questions - 3/4/04 Hi Bob, You really have a great site here. <I agree. We work hard at it. Many volunteer hours spent a day> So much great information! <I love it. Feeding the appetite of aquarists at every level is not easy, but we try> I'm completing the planning stages for a new 75-gallon reef tank. <Lucky> Among the many things I've learned from you and your colleagues are: 1) Meticulous planning and 2) Quarantine everything!  <Couldn't say it better myself> My question is about quarantining live rock. <Alrighty then> I have limited space and plan on purchasing several consignments of live rock.  I live close to Harbor Aquatics (which seems to come highly recommended on the message boards) so I plan to purchase my LR there and transport home myself. <And the luck continues. Good you live so close>  HA seems to go through greater curing steps than other suppliers of LR but, like the CIA, I will, "Trust but verify."  I'm in no hurry so I plan on ensuring that the rock is sufficiently cured. <Good idea> But I'm a bit puzzled about quarantining live rock.  Can I Q the LR in the brand new "main" tank simultaneously as I cure it? <Sure. Many do so. Me included. I only quarantine live rock if I am adding new pieces to a very established tank> Does quarantining LR in the main tank defeat the purpose? <Not really but in some ways "yes". If there were an animal that could threaten livestock, it could be difficult to remove. But as long as this is all done before adding tank inhabitants it should not be a problem>  Do I run the risk of exposing my main tank to a virus/ disease/ parasite that I might never be able to get rid of? <Not likely but again, take your time. When you think you are past the quarantine and cure cycle wait a few weeks longer.> If it's ok to Q the LR in the new main tank, should I refrain from adding substrate until the LR is cured and the Q time has elapsed? <I wouldn't. Just go for it>  After the Q, would I have to remove the LR and clean/ sterilize/ disinfect the main tank? <Nope. All par for the cycle and cure process. Siphon off and do regular water changes just live you were curing in any other capacity> I definitely will have a separate Quarantine Tank for fish and I really have no problem using the 30-gallon Rubbermaid procedure for the LR but I thought (if you approve) this might be easier. <Not a matter if I approve. Are you prepared to deal with the problems and issues that could crop up with your plan? Always think in this regard and all will be fine (most of the time anyway> Good luck to you. You are on your way. ~Paul> Thanks for all your help! Jon~

White Spots on Rocks <2/29/04>   I set up a 75 gal 110 lb live rock w/2 inches trying to get to 3 inches of aragonite sand in December been up about 3 months ago. All going well after last email for the starving mandarin given to us---seeded the live rock with copepod culture and started tank just for copepods. And, Caulerpa. Mandarin eating all the time. <Good>  We also have a damsel, pincushion sea urchin, skunk cleaner shrimp, 5 emerald crabs, 4 red legged crabs and 14 blue legged crabs, 4 bumble bee snails, and a moon snail. the urchin and the moon are mostly on the glass.   In the past 3 weeks we added We have a stripped mushroom rock on one end, a xenia in the middle and at the other end a newer fluorescent mushroom with bumps or is it a hairy type I am not sure. None of the critters seem to be causing this effect. Now the problem is tonight we noticed white spots occurring throughout the tank on our live rock. Bleaching I presume. <Not necessarily.> Took measure of the water parameters: pH 8.0-8.2, Ca 420 which had been 475 so I had a little more Ca getting up to 450, iodide 0.3, alkalinity good to excellent, no nitrites, scant -10 ppm nitrates. Compact Fluorescent lighting with 4 10,000k 65 watt and 4 65 watt actinic, CPR back pak skimmer, Eheim canister, Rio 1100 pump, and a UV sterilizer. The rock had been increasing in purple coralline algae and was quite beautiful. Did a water change today 15 gallons as part of maintenance. Had saltwater mixed and aerated, w/ heater for over 1 week.   What can we do? Will this destroy the live rock and the tank? Please advise. Sue <Can you describe these white spots better? Are the actual fades patches in your coralline? Or do they look more like tiny calciferous bumps? If the latter, then they are some sort of harmless invertebrate. Hope this helps some. Steve Allen.>

White fluid shot out of live rock???? While watching my tank, a fair amount of white fluid shot out of one of my live rocks.  What in the world would do that?  I was in the process of adding water to the tank when it happened. It looked cool but I wonder if it is bad or not?? <Sounds like something in your tank released sperm. I've had hundreds of Stomatella varia spawns in my aquarium -- most of them travel to the top of the rockwork and release sperm (which often appears as you described - white fluid being shot into the water column). It is harmless and shouldn't be any problem.> Thanks for all of your help.... <No problem. Take Care, Graham.> Keith

New Tank- Old Rock! Good Day <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Soon (March 6) I will be getting my first marine tank setup , (purchasing an up and running system). The tank is a 55gal , holding 2 common clowns ,a PJ wrasse ,turbo snail , red leg hermit , and a small goby. Can't remember which one, but its green !! It has two Eheim Pro external filters returning via spray bars, a UV filter , two small internal filters, and rock for decoration. The rock does have some pink algae on it , but I was told that this rock isn't live rock. Can I add live rock to this tank, and would the growth from the live rock spread to the rest of the rock? <You certainly can add some more live rock. I say "more", because even "dead" rock will become "live" rock over time, as it acquires various animal life. And, yes- the fauna from the live rock will ultimately colonize the "dead" rock in the tank.> Also, would a skimmer be helpful? I'm not sure the tank can take accommodate one as it is covered with glass. <Well, there are many different types of protein skimmers on the market now, which can be configured for a variety of different situations. Do a little searching among various e-tailer's web sites for some potentially effective skimmers> The tank is Seabray bow-front. Would a fire shrimp or crabs  count as a fish for stocking levels? <Well shrimp and crabs should be considered part of the bioload in any stocking scenario, as they do eat, eliminate, etc.> Thanks for your time K.Powell <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Live rock only tank? Hello, <Hi there> I have had moderate success in the past with a fish only 10 gal......It lasted 3 years with a Skilter filter modified with a wooden airstone and regular 1 gallon per week water changes before I had to move.   Rather than dismantling, transporting and re-setting up, I gave the fish to a local reef store.  Anyways, that was 7 years ago. I haven't had a tank since. <Can be done> Now here I am in a new place in life, and wanting back "in".  I have bought a 20 gallon tank and a Seaclone skimmer (I know, I know....I wish I had found this website before I bought that one! No matter...read on)  I also bought a Coralife light strip.  It has 1 daylight and 1 actinic Compact Flour each with dedicated power and 4 built in fans. It's neat for a small setup like this.  So far, I put in the saltwater, 1 bag of Aragalive substrate (about 1" deep.) and one 7" diameter live rock to cycle the tank. Now, 1 month old, it is cycled.  I tested way too much, driving my wife crazy, but I saw the ammonia go up and down, and the Nitrate go up and down. The nitrite cycle must have been quick, because I never got anything other than 0. <Happens>   All three are currently zero.  I fed the tank 1 capful of DTs to help fuel the bacteria.  I got a short diatom outbreak which subsided, and now it looks great.  The SeaClone produces about 2 ounces of watery green and brown smelly (needs more tweaking). Now I have ordered 25 more lbs. of live rock.  It should be here today.  My ultimate goal is to have only live rock with lots of coralline, a cleaning crew of snails and crabs, a clone BTA (captive propagated), and a pair of ocellaris clowns (not the natural clown pair for a BTA, but I have read that they will accept a BTA as home). <Most of the time, yes> To some this may sound boring, but I'm thrilled and excited, and I am sure not ready to go deeper into the hobby (reef) with this equipment, IMO. <Okay> The BTA and clowns will not be purchased for several months.  I really want to get my live rock and cleaners in check.  I really want to understand the needs of a "live rock only" setup. <Sounds good> Now, since there are no animals to speak of, can I support the rock system with only water changes, trigluconate calcium, and Reef Builder? <Yes>   I have read practically all of the posts on WWM, and they tend to dance around this question. I don't want to use anything that will add the chloride. It seems crazy to have to get into Kalkwasser or calc reactors for such a small, no coral setup. <Not necessary> Also, with no fish, do I need to feed the tank occasionally to keep the bacteria bed alive (like the DT's phytoplankton)? <Adding just a "bit" of food occasionally would be beneficial... the equivalent of a few flakes or such per week> I was disturbed at the post below.  It insinuates that my live rock will die in a FOWLR setup. I hope not.  My goal is coralline algae. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fowlrfaqs.htm >>Lighting for FOWLR >>hello, I just got 7lbs or live rock for my 55gal (I'm going slow), and I am using 1 PowerGlo and 1 marine Glo. is this >>enough lighting for my FOWLR tank?<it should be> or should I replace the 1 Marineglo with another PowerGlo?<you >>could> do the live rocks need actinic lighting?<they look better, most of the LR will die anyways w/out reef >>chemistry>  I like the look of 2 PowerGlo better.<me too>also, I have a remote 5 gal tank with 4 inches of DSB in it. >>will this give me denitrification if run slow water to it thru my system? if so, how much water turnover? <you could make >>this into a small refugium and then upgrade to say a 20gal aquarium later, It will be very beneficial for your fish-do read >>about refugiums on the WWM site http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm> >>what plants do u suggest I add to that refugium to help with water quality? I was thinking of Chaetomorpha or tang >>heaven.<yeah these two sp. have proven to work well> I heard of staying away from Caulerpa.<agreed> also, what >>supplements do I need to add now that I have live rock? calcium or Kalkwasser? and how about if I add macro algae? >><you really don't need to add any supplements in a FOWLR system, good luck with everything, it sounds like you are >>on the right track, IanB> Thanks for your help, and great website! Mike M. <Mmm, I think/consider that you should do just fine with your plans. Bob Fenner>

LR replenishment Dear Bob, <Hey Dain> I attended a speech you gave to the Southern California Marine Aquarium Society last Friday and enjoyed it very much.  I did however have a question that I have been thinking about all week.  During the speech, you talked about needing to change out our live rock every year and half.  I remember vaguely that this was because of the calcium depletion and such, but was hoping that you could expand on it a little bit more for me.  There is so much to learn about this hobby and I want to make sure that I understand everything that I come across.  Thank you so much for your time. <Likely there are mentions of this issue stored on WetWebMedia.com but no definitive explanation. I will try to be brief here: There is a general "trend" in marine aquarium keeping with LR and substrates seeming to "run out" of soluble materials, capacity to sustain biomineral, alkaline (pH) over time... that "crashing" syndrome is right around a year and a half after set-up... And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the practice after this time of removing or adding 10-25% or so of new LR, substrate forestalls this effect... So, my pitch on after the first year and a quarter, year and a half for aquarists to switch out or add more of these materials... on a six month basis thereafter. The new LR of course does many other useful "things"... restoring biodiversity, introducing new "fodder"... and aquarist interest! Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Dain Hanson P.S. I purchased Reef Invertebrates and love it.

Adding live rock - 2/26/04 Hi,      How are you guys? <Doing pretty good> Thanks for the help with the phosphate problem, I'm finally getting it under control. <Good to hear> Just a quick question about adding live rock. <Go for it> So far I have only 11 pounds(5kg) of live rock in a 60g tank, <Wow, you could definitely use more> my local dealer suggested adding a few kilos at a time, over time until I have my desired amount (I thought maybe about 90pounds). <That is a good amount> I am now experiencing a nitrite spike, from 0.25 to 1.0 (I don't suppose you would have an idea how long this will last)<As long as it take to cycle. Basically....you are cycling again> and after checking many FAQ's and articles on your site about cycling and live rock and it sounds like adding live rock bit by bit would be a bad idea. <Good work on the research. Too bad it is a little after the fact but good of you nonetheless> Should I try and add the majority of my planned LR now in my cycling period or would it be all right to add it a few kilos at a time. <Add as much as you can afford to now and go through the cycle. From now on, when adding live rock, be sure to cure it yourself before placing in your tank. Regardless of what the store or site states about the curing stage of their live rock. Cure it yourself.> Thanks a lot for all your help and the wealth of info on your site - Ryan <Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul>

Live Rock Rubble Hello again guys, <Hello! Ryan with you> Another LR in sump question for you. <OK> I am getting ready to add some more LR to my 90 and 55 gal. reef tanks. I have a little LR in my sump on the 90 and none in the 55 gal. sump. I still have about 1/3 of the bioballs in the wet/dry area of the 55. I'm going to try and add a few pieces of LR and remove the rest. <Great, do it a little bit each day> Maybe throw the remaining in the overflow for awhile. I noticed on the website of the dealer I'm going to buy the LR from, they sold what they called "rubble rock" for $1.49 lb. I assume this is around golf ball size pieces. <Only true way to understand their definition is to ask.> Do you think it would be worth adding 10 lbs. or so to each sump. <I like rubble for this purpose, but it's not as good of a filter.  It's really good for propagating mushrooms.  Allow them to spread themselves out over the rubble, and then you can remove them one by one when you go trade corals with friends> Is it the water running through the porous LR achieves the biological filtration or does there have to be lots of life to have any effect? <It's a combination of these things...There are chapters written on this subject.  In a nutshell: Larger pieces have better water purification properties.  More surface area, more impurities are removed from the water column.  Plenty of other good uses for the rubble though! Ryan> Thanks  - Kevin

Ready To Rock? (Using Previously Live Rock As Base Rock) Hello again Crew! <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I recently got a very good deal (I think?) on about 40 pounds of Fiji rock that had been sitting outside, against a house, in the sun and rain (plus grass clippings and who knows what else) for several months. <Make sure that no pesticides or other toxics were used in that area...> Of course there is no life remaining in the rock but I plan to use it as base rock, adding to my existing 150 pounds of live rock. I just want to ensure I am not possibly endangering the fish and invertebrates in my aquarium by adding this rock.  I soaked the rock in a tub with a bleach & RO water solution (circulated by a powerhead) for three days.  I then drained the rocks and tub for a few hours and re-filled the tub with fresh RO water (to which I added CaOH to bring up pH and Ca levels).  The rocks have been rinsing in this circulating water for two days. <You might want to utilize a commercial "Dechlor" product, too, just to make sure that no bleach remains. Also, you may want to do another water change and filter with some activated carbon, too, to really do the job...Why rush it, right?> Should the rocks now be safe to add to my aquarium? Greg <With the aforementioned precautions, I think that you'll be able to use this rock without too much concern. Regards, Scott F.>

- Live Rock Gone South - Dear reefers, Can you help please - I have experienced a decay cycle in my 20 gallon quarantine tank and would like to know if and when it will be safe to introduce new acquisitions into the tank, and then on to the main tank. Alternatively do I need to dispose of all the contents, disinfect and start again from scratch? <Let's read and see...> I have found case histories described by your readers helpful in the past, and the details of this story may help other readers.  The quarantine tank is bare bottom with standard parameters, two Triton tube fluorescent lighting, 1.025SG, 76-78F, and had been running for a few months. It had been through a diatom phase, but no other noticeable cycles.  It had successfully processed various snails, Corallimorpharia and other corals, but no fish, and was left with various surplus pieces of live rock, one Astrea phoebe, a large Cerith and 3 miniature Ceriths.  There were amphipods, copepods, polychaetes, the beginnings of coralline growth, and the rock had various life forms, including Sargassum and a Ctenophore. Circulation was provided by an internal Eheim 1048, but there was no skimmer or mechanical filtration. I do not use these on my main system either.  I fed sparingly with a few drops of Liquifry and a tiny amount of shredded krill. No supplements were added.  10% or so water changes monthly. On 24 December, on the way home, I acquired 2 pieces of " Caulerpa rock" at the LFS, intended for my Eco sump.  One with C. taxifolia or similar, came with a lime green bubble shell snail with white spots.  The other had an unidentified form of algae, similar to the branches on a monkey puzzle tree but only 1-2 inches long,  which I had never seen before.  I was offered a special deal for both pieces.  Hard to resist, but I should have known better.  I normally only buy one thing at a time. These went into the Q tank. Early on the bubble shell tried to emigrate by floating around the tank in mid water, but always seemed to end up back on the Caulerpa, although it was sometimes found on the glass. After a few days the tank started to have problems with a musty smell.  In over 30 years of freshwater aquaria I have used smell as a key diagnostic - things were just not right. I measured pH at 7.9 compared to 8.3 normal.  I started dosing with up to a quarter teaspoon daily of NaHCO3 in saltwater. This did not noticeably raise the pH but held it steady. I started daily 10% water changes.  There was no measurable NH3, but decay still set in and over the next few days a mild smell of H2S started.  The water became cloudy white. I began vigorous skimming and mechanical filtration.  I do not know what else I could have done but the decay became worse and continued for about 2-3 weeks, with a smelly peak in the middle.  A milky slime appeared on the walls early on.  This only needed cleaning off once with a scraper, but the bits may have suffocated some creatures.  The decay seemed to be within the rocks as creatures were forced out and appeared on the bottom. Around this time one miniature Cerith died, so I removed the Astrea phoebe and her fellow snails, together with a mini brittle star which had been driven out of its rock, into the main system.  During periodic cleaning I found the corpses of the bubble shell snail, a chiton, and various small polychaetes.  A striped mussel in one of the rocks now also appears to be dead. By the way I thought that Astreas did not like sand, but the A. phoebe is now fine in the Eco sump and loves playing on the sand bed. After periodic gentle rock cleaning with a soft brush in a bucket of saltwater, and water changes etc over 3 weeks the tank is now reasonably wholesome again and I have disconnected the skimmer and filter.  Calcium had crystallized out on the glass and I have cleaned this off.  One bivalve, a green lipped mussel maybe, on the Caulerpa rock has survived, and the rock is starting to show signs of filter feeding worms.  Even the remains of the algae after my brushing is growing fresh green shoots again. When I closely examined the Caulerpa rocks after introduction I noticed a spotty white deposit on a base joint of the algae, similar in many respects to the cuckoo spit found on garden plants.  Could this be connected with the problem? <Hard to say.> During the decay phase there was an obvious coating of fungus on several of the rocks, not just the new ones, with a network of white spots interconnected by white threads on the surface. I have seen descriptions of this on your site.  Even after cleaning off this would reappear, and it has only disappeared completely a month after the process started.  There was also a whitish jelly coating on parts of the rock and Sargassum etc. A few individual leaves of Sargassum turned brown and died, but otherwise it seems OK.  There are still patches of white "skin" on parts of the Caulerpa and on some purple coralline algae on an original rock, but these are starting to peel off now. There are other dead parts of coralline which seem "startlingly white" now, but they may have been there before and I just did not notice. This may be a normal cycling of the rock, but all my live rock to date has cured without any obvious signs of decay or die off so I do not know what to expect.  Do you recognize this sequence of events and the signs of fungus growth? <Sounds to me like live rock that was not even remotely cured, and went through the process in a small system, so the affects seemed more intense - the more typical approach is to cure rock in a separate container, perhaps a plastic rubbish bin and to run a skimmer on it 24/7 - the fact that you didn't run a skimmer until things had already 'gone off' has a little to do with how bad things got. The skimmer would have been removing excess crud the entire time, and could have possibly halted the vicious cycle that occurred.> Is there a likely explanation for the triggering and sequence of events, and how could it be avoided? <Likely a combination of factors - you already had some invertebrate livestock in the tank, which would be taken out by the curing live rock. No skimming initially. Relatively small container, so no chance for dilution.> Is it down to the algae, or something inside the rock? <I'd bet on other things in the rock, likely sponges which rarely make the trip from the reef to your house, and do cause much trouble when they start to rot.> The rock was briefly exposed to the air by the LFS, and one piece now has a crust with pores, similar to Porites, which was hidden by the algae.  This I hard, but could there have been a sponge death? <Is my theory.> Is there now likely to be a pathogen remaining which could be carried over into the main tank? <Doubt it.> Is it too late anyway, bearing in mind that I previously transferred the Astrea etc to save their lives? <Don't think pathogens should be the concern here.> I hope that Bob, Anthony and the rest of you are all well. Best wishes, Eric <Cheers, J -- >

Live Rock Question 2/9/04 Hi Guys, Hope all is well. <and with you in kind> I have a question, I have added some new (cured) pieces of live rock to my tank, as the old ones had nothing left  for the fish to graze on. <this is a very good practice... to periodically refresh the live rock in the system: buffering ability, fauna and flora, etc> 1. How do I keep the new rock healthy and full of life for my tang with (HLLE). In the past I added calcium with my water changes.  Is there a better way? Please be specific <The best is for you to have a fishless refugium plumbed inline to rotate scoured live rock through to recover. Your goal is to grow macroalgae for grazing. Specifically seek Gracilaria (like "tang heaven" from IPSF.com)... the ideal tang food to grow in your refugium> 2. I am now keeping the old rock along with a few pieces of the new rock in a 30 gallon tank with a heater, filter and small skimmer. I did this to establish new growth and this way I can switch back and forth whenever I need to.  What should I added to promote growth on the older rock?   <maintain good water quality and clarity (carbon use regularly) and bright light. Weekly water changes and fresh lamps alone will do the trick> And do I keep the lights on in the day and off at night, they way it was in the main tank?   <any 12/12hr photoperiod will be fine... your call> Thanks for your assistance, with the advise I got from Anthony the fish has began to recover from HLLE.  I am doing small weekly water changes and I added Mysis shrimp, Nori and vitamins to their diet. The advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you Gillian <very good to hear my friend... wishing you continued success. Anthony>

How much live rock? - 2/4/04 Hi, I know you have probably been asked this heaps, but the research I have done has brought up some very conflicting answers, so I am hoping you can give me something reasonably definitive. <Will do my best> The system I am setting up is a 55 gallon main, with 20 gallon Caulerpa refugium. <OK> Both are bare bottom, <the refugium too? I don't think that is a good idea. Many beneficial organisms exist in the sand and are important addition, in my opinion, to the overall infauna population. Basically you are neglecting a very valuable and basic aspect of the food chain by excluding the benthic sand dwelling organisms> circulation is at least 20x, and there is a Remora pro skimmer. Livestock will be various softies and mushrooms, and several fish. <Cool> I am hoping to achieve excellent nitrate reduction, <More reasons to add sand. Read through the articles on DSB and the FAQs as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm > how much rock should I put in. <The recommended amount of Live Rock for an aquarium is 1.25 to 1.75 pounds per gallon.> There will be no other filtration. <No problem> Thanks, Alastair 

Liverock during cycling - 2/1/04 Hi crew. <Buenos dias?> I'm the guy from Honduras. <Si> Question: Can live rock be placed in the tank right away when starting to cycle a new tank or should one wait till the tank has cycled, like with fish? <Depends to some degree. I say it should be put in the tank during cycle regardless of whether it is established live rock or not. Lights on or off is up to you. Keep the temp around 78 and one should do water changes every three to four days or so. Please don't use fish to help cycle your tank and be patient. Read this great little article (more specifically Myth 15): http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/eb/index.htm> Thank You, Bernd <Thank you for being a part of it all ~Pablo>

-Critters aren't responding to eviction notice!- Crew: If I may follow-up: any critter I attempt to remove runs into a hole.  isn't there a way to "chase" them out of live rock (without killing them)?  <How about putting this rock in a separate tank and waiting for them to leave? You could also try traps, like smooth glass cups in the sand with some food in the bottom for crabs. A good technique for removing problematic motile inverts like mantis shrimp is to dunk the rock in seltzer, but it is extremely stressful to everyone on the rock! I think removing all these guys is just going to take some patience and perseverance, don't give up! Good luck, -Kevin>  Rich

Salvaging live rock 1/26/04 Our area (BC CANADA) had a horrific fire this past summer.   Many people were evacuated from their homes for up to 2 weeks.   Some of the people had fish tanks that sat there without power for 2 weeks. My question is this... How contaminated would the substrate get -  sand and coral....the live rock has been totally bleached.    Hmmm... contaminated is not really the word to use. Or rather, it was not contaminated before the bleach. It simply suffered a loss of diversity, but would have recovered in just about 2 weeks and been stable and useful with aggressive protein skimming and water changes (just like curing rough handled imported rock). Ironically, the advice/decision to bleach the rock has done far more harm. The rock has been reduced to nearly useless in comparison to what it once was. It is no better than buying dry live rock or dry sand> Used to be full of coralline algae and now is totally ruined.   The sump and tank are full of hair algae.     <yes... so much of the desirable life forms are dead and unable to compete with nuisance algae now (formerly could starve out the bad algae)> Becoming more controllable however the die off within the environment was severe. Just a note also -  amazing to see what actually lived thru this catastrophe.....corals and some fish and inverts  came thru quite fine. However....can the substrate still be used or are there contaminated metals and such rendered it unsafe to restart  a new tank.   <it can be used and will be biologically sound in time> It is 135 gallons and will have to be rebuilt - cleaned...etc.... The insurance company will pay for new rock......although the old rock can be recurred - it will take a very very long time for the coralline algae to regrow on this rock... thanks for your time.:) Reenie <hmmm... a tough decision. If you stick with this barren rock, it will be a long road to stability with regards for algae succession. Best regards, Anthony>

Live rock contamination 1/276/04 wow -  this is great!!  I am just pouring thru your book of coral propagation........my aquatic bible...you might say...hehe.... <an honor to hear :) > It is good to know that the knowledge truly is accumulated with the hobby with  all the advantages of books - internet  - chat lines - and personal experience. again thanks for sharing with me and best wishes...... Reenie <very welcome my friend!> in case you are ever interested....I have a little local website....    www.reefkeepers.ca  from the beautiful Okanagan <much thanks for sharing... continue to share, learn and grow. :) Anthony>

Live rock contamination 1/26/04 hi.. <howdy, friend from the Great White North> thanks for your very quick reply......this wouldn't be Anthony Calfo - would it?? <yep... short, hairy, lovable me> anyhow - just a quick note....  there was no decision/advise about bleaching the rock.....that just happened on its own due to 2 weeks loss of power.    <ahhh... my apologies. I took "bleaching" in this case to mean the use of chemical bleach (Clorox, e.g.) to "clean up" the decaying matter. Whew! No worries... in this case, if the rock simply "bleached" regarding coralline algae, they can recover in mere months (I often cite using Seachem's "Reef Calcium" to really help this)... and many other life forms on te rock will have survived> However,  as the owner decided that his rock was of no use anymore, he did nothing to try and recure it. The process of rebalancing this biological filtration system sounds like it would take a very long time to complete?? <not really... just s few months of TLC. Still never as diverse as fresh live rock or what it once was... but very usable> therefore the best method of "reconstruction" would be to replace the now very white rock and 60% of the sand?? <hmmm... yes, some new live rock will be needed to be sure. Not all though. 50/50 would be nice if affordable> again - thanks for your advise... <always welcome> p.s. -   where did you learn all this....did you go to school....??  if so - for how long ?? <not at all... I was a student of Literature in college (English and Russian lits)... my knowledge is from living the hobby/trade and lots of reading> I have a home based aquatics business -   very small -  about 12 tanks - all sizes from 7 minireefs to 250 gallons beautiful reefs..  trying to breed seahorses.... <excellent to hear> currently have 4 in a 28 gallon that are very very healthy.....doing extremely well.. eating frozen brine and Mysis... but wishes they would have babies.. any clues as to how to get these guys/gals to be romantic??  hehe <aside from Barry White and Marvin Gaye music (gets me every time)... I'd suggest ensuring a proper natural habitat... sea grasses or like substitute... soft seafloor (sugar fine sand or mud)... and having a fishless refugium that generates a lot of natural plankton. Best regards, Anthony>

-Saving critters from live rock- Dear Crew Person: I have 2 pieces of lace rock in my tank for over a year.  I now have a good amount of "real" LR, and I want to remove the "fake" LR.  However, I would like to keep the life that currently resides in the pieces I want to remove.  How can I do this? <Large critters can be removed by hand, good luck with anything else. I don't see much of a drawback to leaving it in unless the rock is unsafe (i.e. lava rock, a big copper kettle <g>, etc). -Kevin> Thanks, Rich

When and HOW to add the rock... I am happy to say that you guys helped my imperator back to health and I am happy to report he is doing awesome... but a question with regards to my "reef in the making"<Good to hear he is do well!> Ok, background;  I have a 90 gallon that has had about 40 or so pounds of Tonga rock in it with a couple of leather corals, mushroom corals, and polyp corals from my original reef which was a 50 breeder that I upgraded about 6 months ago. About 6 weeks ago I purchased a box of 50lbs of pre cured Fiji rock from LiveAquaria to add to the system. The rock has been cycling in a Rubbermaid container for about a month with a small PS, an AquaClear 500 and a powerhead.  The filter has media from my established reef system that was already cultured with bacteria.  The rock smelled awful at first and I scrubbed a lot of brown sludge that came out of the holes in the rock (that was causing the smell)  and I pretty much got rid of most of the foul sponges in the first week of cycle.. gross.  I currently have the rock in a 20 gallon tank right now and it has been cycling for about 4 weeks.  The ammonia has been 0 for about three weeks plus and the nitrites have dropped and I am not smelling any foul odor from the rock, and so I want to begin to add it to my tank.  Now of course here lies the question, of course rock is never really cured fully, but when to add the rock?  The previous rock was given to me by a friend so it was already cured and I basically just put it in my tank and the water never spiked and the rock never caused any reading of NH3 or N02. <I think you should be ok to add it now.>  Ok now the question for you guys...  I am still a little unsure how to introduce the rock into my 90 gallon.  Should I add the rock all at once or should I add a piece at a time to the tank?  The rock is in 6-7 pieces all good size, so I am wondering if I should add this to my tank all at once or if I should introduce it slowly to prevent injury to the tank or the fish and corals.  Since this is an established system I don't want to harm the life already in the aquarium.  I have patience so I am willing to add the rock piece by piece, I just want to know what the best way to go about adding the rock<It should be ok to go ahead and add it all at once.  If you do decide to do this I would check the levels daily for a few days after wards and have some pre-made water on hand just in case you have to change some water.>  Thanks for all your help guys you are awesome, Jonathan P.S. I love brain corals <Me too! I have a 80 dedicated mainly to them!> ...do you think my little emperor buddy will tear one up? I bet he would, but just curious......cheers :)<I wouldn't try it but there are a few people that I now theirs behave just fine.  I have a regal angel in with my brains and he has been fine for about 3 years but the emperors tend to be pretty risky. Cody>

Coral on new live rock 1/20/04 I am brand new to this hobby (tank filled for 3-4 weeks) and have been spending many evenings on your site trying to learn what I can from the experiences of others.   <great to hear... welcome my friend> Many questions have been answered but I am unable to identify the large hand-sized growth (5"-6" long from end to end) that is on one of the live rock pieces placed into the new tank.  See attached photo. <the large encrustation is, alas, the dead skeleton of a stony coral. I can see no living tissue on it, but perhaps some has survived import and will regenerate in time (not uncommon)> I thought the rock looked very visually interesting so placed it near the front glass where it has intrigued me since as I have seen it change over the last 3-4 weeks.  When first placed it appeared a hardened surface but now appears to be alive, a definite pattern in the surface, gas bubbles being produced and clinging to the surface (eventually to rise to water surface).   <the bubble with some white/gray matter would have been the last decaying tissue of  this coral. The golden brown color seen at present in the photo are diatoms that have settled in for a little while at least> I would not swear it but it seems to me that the growth is ever so slowly creeping down the face of the rock(?). I am not concerned at all, only curious.  Any thoughts? Thanks, Kevin King Calgary, Alberta, Canada <no worries at all... enjoy the remnants and attractive shape and lets have hope for some surviving coral tissue. With kind regards, Anthony>

A Chip Off the Old Rock? >Hi, >>Hello. >I need your help. >>I'll do my best. >I have a 2 ft marine tank which was set up six months ago. It is doing fine except that the live rocks are getting brittle and break off easily. Any idea as to why it is happening? >>Wow, that's unusual, very unusual.  Has the live rock always done this?  It doesn't sound as though this is the case from your description. >What conditions will cause the live rock to chipped off easily? >>Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is acidic conditions IF it's a calcareous base (limestone or similar).  Just as when you soak bone in vinegar (it will soften), is what I'm thinking.  But then I would also think your pH would be TERRIBLY out of whack - not consistent with "it is doing fine".  Live rock doesn't need a constant source of calcium, BUT, if you have animals or other organisms, which require bio-available minerals, that are growing rapidly, THAT could be what's happening (think coralline growth, corals, clams, et al growing very well).  If that is the case, then it's time for you to start supplementing your tank. >Calcium? >>No.. don't think so. >Nitrate? >>I've neither heard nor experienced anything similar associated with high nitrate readings. >Or is that rocks from different places play a part too? >>This very well could be.  For instance, let's say the rock is volcanic in origin, and it's comprised of minerals other than calcium (ferrous, maybe?).  It could be a situation has been created where the rock is slowly (or not so slowly) dissolving throughout the matrix.  Last idea is bacterial/algal/other microfloral/faunal consumption of said matrix. >Thanks, Steven >>Those are my best guesses, Steven.  I have to say, I have NEVER had this problem with anything other than driftwood in a very acidic tank (usually with live plants).  I don't know the source or composition of the live rock you have, nor your water parameters, so I'm sort of shooting from the hip on this.  Marina

- Adding Uncured Rock - Hey guys! I have an established reef tank with the following parameters; 450 litre reef tank with about 60 kilos of live rock, no sand (to speak of), skimmer, controlled injection of ozone and a wet/dry with bio-balls. 2 x 150 MH on for 10 hours a day.  PH range between 8.0 and 8.2 (v stable), ammonia, nitrate and nitrite nil, summer temperature range between 27.5 and 28.5 c.  Fish inhabitants are Flame Angel, Mandarin, Yellow Coris (canary), small Kole and Purple tang, pair of Percula clowns, purple Blenny.  Invertebrates are boxer shrimp, hammer LPS, mushroom LPS, Elegance LPS, a Duncanopsammia axifungia, one large Sarcophyton, 6" maxima clam. I want to add some more LR.  My question is, do you think I can add 2/3 kilos of fresh UNCURED at a time without risking a spike? <Uhh... no. To do so would put your entire system in peril. Best to cure the rock in a separate container and then add once cured.> I am thinking this would be a good way to keep as much alive on the rocks as possible. <This could happen just as easily in a separate container and would spare you from wiping out your entire tank.> Regards,  MJ <Cheers, J -- >

Adding Uncured Rock To An Established Tank Hey guys! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have an established reef tank with the following parameters; 450 litre reef tank with about 60 kilos of live rock, no sand (to speak of), skimmer, controlled injection of ozone and a wet/dry with bio-balls. 2 x 150 MH on for 10 hours a day.  PH range between 8.0 and 8.2 (v stable), ammonia, nitrate and nitrite nil, summer temperature range between 27.5 and 28.5 c.  Fish inhabitants are Flame Angel, Mandarin, Yellow Coris (canary), small Kole and Purple tang, pair of Percula clowns, purple Blenny.  Invertebrates are boxer shrimp, hammer LPS, mushroom LPS, Elegance LPS, a Duncanopsammia axifungia, one large Sarcophyton, 6" maxima clam. <Interesting mix of animals!> I want to add some more LR.  My question is, do you think I can add 2/3 kilos of fresh UNCURED at a time without risking a spike?   <I'd caution against adding ANY uncured live rock to an established tank...The potential for problems is too great, IMO. Cure it outside the tank...> I am thinking this would be a good way to keep as much alive on the rocks as possible. Regards, MJ <Well, I'd still go for "remote curing", just to be safe! What will die will die, and the surviving animals will be much happier and hardier in the new tank. Regards, Scott F.>

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