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FAQs about Live Rock  and Water Quality 2

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

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

Curing and cured  live rock requires consistent alkalinity, biomineral, pH...

Live rock - lowest salinity (RMF, any input here?)>Again, your stmt.s are exact, sufficient<    4/24/13
Hi Crew
As part of an Amano shrimp breeding project, I'm looking to move from raising the zoeae in marine conditions to brackish conditions. With some evidence that live rock provides a good food source for the larvae, I'm wondering what the lowest salinity is that live rock would tolerate? Sorry to ask, but you guys are the only reliable salt water contacts that I have.
<Hello Gord. As a general rule of thumb, virtually all marine (as in, living in the sea in its strictest sense) invertebrates are osmoconformers.
They can't regulate the balance of salt and water in their bodies, and any changes (like reducing ambient salinity) are likely to stress and eventually kill them. So the short answer, is that lowering the salinity beyond normal marine (~35 gram/litre, ~1.025 SG at 25 C) will eventually kill off all the little critters on the expensive live rock you bought. BUT WITH THAT SAID, there are plenty of invertebrates adapted to below-normal salinities; brackish water environments are teeming with worms, shrimps, crabs, snails, clams, etc. The pattern tends to be that while diversity goes down, abundance of each species goes up, so instead of 100 species of clam as you'd see on a reef, you get just 5 species of clam in the mangrove a few miles inshore, but those 5 are massively more abundant than any of those reef-dwelling clam species. So, while most of the invertebrates on your live rock will surely die at, say, 75% normal marine (~26 gram/litre, ~1.018 SG at 25 C), there may be a few hardy forms that positively thrive in the absence of competition. Of course, these may not necessarily be the ones you want, but you can hope! At least some algae for example are more likely to adapt to lower salinity than copepods, and "pretty" things like soft corals and anemones are among the least likely to adapt. In short, it's worth a shot, but you can't predict what you'll end up with, and in any event, going much below 75% normal marine is likely to kill everything on the rock save a few algae and bacterial species. You could, I suppose, seed "dead" live rock (or tufa rock) with brackish water or estuarine mud that you collect yourself, assuming of course temperature changes aren't too severe. Unless you live relatively close to the sea then this wouldn't be an option, but it's a thought. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Live rock - lowest salinity (RMF, any input here?)     4/26/13

Hi Neale
Thanks very much for that. It's predominantly algae and bacteria I'm after, as it happens, to provide "filtration" and a food source. I'd be looking at 50% salinity, so it definitely sounds worth a try. Will let you know how I get on when the next hatch happens.
<Ah, real good… collecting your own evidence by experimentation! Cheers, Neale.>

already cured rock, new aquarium, losing color?    4/1/13
Hi!  I'm writing because I'm worried something is wrong with our tank.  We have a Fluval tank, 6 gal, and have planned to start a nano saltwater tank.
<Nice units (Fluval), but small volumes are quite challenging to maintain/keep successfully>
We started it correctly, and decided to go with live rock that was already cured instead.  So far, the tank was looking great!  However, after the beautiful colors started to show up on the rock (pink, green, black...)
they have now bleached out, it what seems to almost have happened over night!  I don't understand what is wrong?
<... could be a myriad of things.
.. Oh, I see some of this below>
 Our ammonia levels are still high as this is a new tank,
<Toxic to most all life... this along could account for the color/life loss>
 but after adding marine buffer for a few days
to get the pH in range (which it is currently in range now) that's when the colors disappeared.  Any ideas of how to fix this color issue?  Or is this expected and normal.
<Only time and your good care will "tell" whether colorful life will again populate your rock/system. Do give the long read to what is posted re "small marine systems" (searchable by way of this string) on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Ammonia and Nitrite up 7/25/12
Hi Crew,
<Hello Adam>
I have a marine tank previously with ammonia and nitrite at zero which has been running for about six months. I recently added several fish at one time which is not ideal I know but circumstances made it necessary and after three days both are now at 0.25.
<No tank size, other information?>
I therefore felt perhaps the bacteria were at a maximum number with the surface area available and that by increasing the available surface area for the bacteria would therefore increase their numbers.
<Good logic.>
I went to the beach and found many porous rocks and about doubled the amount of rocks in the tank.

I placed them in fresh water first to get the crabs to come out, appreciate  there is a risk of something dying in the rocks but did not want crabs in my tank as they eat the small fish at night. This was yesterday and the readings are still 0.25 for both. According to http://www.bioconlabs.com/nitribactfacts.html the bacteria should have doubled by now.
<Problem I see is that any animal life in the rock has likely died on the way to your home and you created more waste for the nitrogen cycle to catch up with.  It's not a good move taking rock from the beach and putting it in your tank, never know what you could introduce in to the system.>
 I have also added Stability by Seachem and Alpha by AquaVitro. Do you have any experience with these products.
 My fish are all fine I have stopped feeding them, apart from a tiny bit of brine shrimp. Any idea when you think the readings will drop to zero?
<Not with any accuracy but likely a week or two for sure.  James (Salty Dog)>
 Regards, Adam.

Curing LR ammonia is not going down!!! 7/10/12
Hello WWM!
<Hello Jacob>
 First off, I love your site it is responsible for my ability to knowledgeably set-up and maintain a marine aquarium, despite being new to saltwater. I thank you for your wonderful service.
<You're welcome.>
 Now for my question, I recently purchased 200 pounds of LR for 60 bucks :D! The problem is it was out of water for 3 days, I am currently curing it in 3 plastic  tubs, its been 2 Weeks and the ammonia will not go down!! The nitrites are starting to peak but it seems like the ammonia is also getting higher, I am puzzled as to why this is happening.
<Shouldn't be puzzled, this process can take as long as four weeks, especially without an efficient skimmer.>
I should also inform you that I cannot afford a decent skimmer, I have a Sea Storm 75HOB and it is not good skims way too wet.
<It's not adjusted correctly, raise the neck, read the manual.>
Anyway back on topic, I am performing water changes every two days. Is there anything else I can do to make the seemingly un-dissipating ammonia dissipate? Or should I just wait it out and hope the nitrifying bacteria can go into overdrive?
<You could get a bottle of Dr. Tim's One and Only denitrifying bacteria but I don't think it would shorten the
time by much as your denitrifying bacteria is becoming established based on your statements.  As long as there is a waste source, the bacteria will continue to multiply and shorten the time period.  Being the rock was out of water for three days doesn't help matters any as
any life in the rock is likely dead further increasing waste.  James (Salty Dog>
With Regards,
Jacob D.
Re Curing LR ammonia is not going down!!! 7/11/12

Thank you for your quick and kind reply.
<You're welcome.>
Another reason I will forever be a fan of WWM. So I shouldn't be worried that the ammonia level is going up with the nitrites? Yesterday ammonia was at 2.0, and nitrites at 1.5ish, and as of right now ammonia looks as though it is around 4.0, and nitrates skyrocketed to a surprising 5.0.
Would it be okay to do a 40 to 50% water
<Certainly, and advised.>
 I've been told that it will flush out the beneficial bacteria.
<What very little it would flush out means nothing when compared to the waste that is being exported via the water change.>
Albeit I was told this by a LFS that are in it more for profit than the hobby itself sadly :(. The same ones who told me bacteria would not establish itself and I needed Stability by Seachem, or Bio-Spira, to introduce it to my tank.
<Hogwash, the bacteria will colonize on and in the live rock structures. 
Bio-Spira is similar to Dr. Tim's One and Only and would be a waste of money at this stage.  Patience my friend,
patience is a requirement in this hobby.  Nothing good happens fast.>
Anyway, again your site has done wonders for
myself and others, and I really can't say thank you enough!!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
One of your many fans <Mmm, maybe I should start a Fan Club and sell autographed pictures of my dog-face mug.:-)>
Jacob D.
Re Curing LR ammonia is not going down!!! 7/11/12

No not 50 sorry just 5.  My test kit is the API master kit for saltwater, so it shows on the color chart 5 point 0 (5.0).  I have done freshwater tanks for 5 years now so I do know the bacteria will colonate (don't know if that a real word)
 <colonize, and 5ppm is not high>
by itself, so once I heard them say it wouldn't and try to sell me more than I needed I was out of there.  But thank you for your time and knowledge, it is much appreciated by me and my little saltwater friends!!
P.S. Ammonia did take quite a plunge in the past 24 hours!! Can't wait for the finished results!!
P.P.S. The autographed dog face mug idea....fantastic!! Lol, I'm sure they would sell quite nicely.
<And I'm sure the expense would be claimed as a loss on my IR return. 
James (Salty Dog)>
Jacob D.

Re: FOWLR Fish stocking 6/1/12   6/5/12
<Hi Bob <<>>, Bobby. Could y'all take a look at this query. Poster is having issues with rocks leaching phosphates.>
Jordan, thanks for the reply and confirmation.
Back to questions on the "cook tank". I just received and used the
Seachem phosphate test instead of the API test and now have a much more accurate reading of phosphates.
I'm dismayed to see that after all the cooking effort, the phosphate level is still between .5-1 mg/L.
<What were the previous measurements? Levels are dropping, correct?>
 This is after a heavy-duty mechanical scrub, 6 weeks of cooking, another heavy-duty scrub and a 100% water change. While I have no intention of doing more than a FOWLR tank, I'm sure I will be in for serious bad algae management issues without a drastic plan. Seems the "old tank rock" syndrome is not always willing to relent without serious measures.
<This is the problem of secondhand rock. You are paying for the previous owners neglect and from what I recall, the rock was in quite rough shape.>
I wonder at this level if a phosphate reactor is even worthwhile.
Seems I could spend hundreds or more on Rowaphos to achieve small ticks down on the phosphate meter over time.
<Bulk GFO will be a cheaper option. Small ticks add up but I agree it is not an acceptable solution at this point.>
So, I am back to square one on plan of attack, and wondering whether I should either a) plan a Rowaphos/reactor approach in combination with macro-algae harvesting,
<I would do both regardless.>
 b) just acid wash the rock and start over, or
<I'm not a muriatic fan; I'm going to defer to another crew member.>
c) continue the cooking for much longer,
<Slow but safe option.>
 or d) ?... I believe Bobby and possibly even Bob weighed in at some point on suggested approaches. Could you mull this over with the Crew, and let me know what you suggest?
<I will send them a copy of your query for their input.>
Re: FOWLR Fish stocking 6/1/12
>    6/5/12
So, I am back to square one on plan of attack, and wondering whether I
> should either a) plan a Rowaphos/reactor approach in combination with
> macro-algae harvesting,
> <I would do both regardless.>
>  b) just acid wash the rock and start over, or
> <I'm not a muriatic fan; I'm going to defer to another crew member.>
> c) continue the cooking for much longer,
> <Slow but safe option.>
>  or d) ?... I believe Bobby
> and possibly even Bob weighed in at some point on suggested
> approaches. Could you mull this over with the Crew, and let me know
> what you suggest?
> <I will send them a copy of your query for their input.>
> <Jordan>
<<I wouldn't acid wash (and rinse, then soak) this olde rock unless you intend to add a considerable (a few tens of percent) of new to inoculate, re-seed the biota that will be entirely eliminated. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrselfaq2.htm
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>>
Re: FOWLR Fish stocking... now HPO4 control  6/5/12

> Bob and Jordan, thank you. It seems the phosphate levels have stayed
> the same despite the measures taken over the last 8 weeks. This is why
> I have given more consideration to the drastic acid route. I would be
> prepared to follow Bob's suggestion on a complete reset/reseed of ~20%
> live rock to start anew.
> I did read/reread the page Bob sent and the linked files, and one
> aspect I previously didn't consider surfaced. The pH consistently
> measures around 7.9 in the dark "cook tank", perhaps a pH adjustment
> may add prevention to phosphate release from the rock? <I would try jacking up the pH to 8.6-8.8 via Kalk... and see if this helps>Do you think
> this plus bulk GFO plus other measures (skimming/macroalgae) would
> yield a continued noble but fruitless run?<I am not a fan of GFO... much more so Lanthanum> I just wonder if more
> time/$ will not help me achieve a more acceptable continuous phosphate
> range.
> Ye Olde Tanke Rocke!!
<... Best of all is a long term, "holistic" approach, using macrophyte et al. culture, as large a DSB as possible... perhaps Ozonation... B>
Re: FOWLR Fish stocking 6/1/12   6/5/12

Bob and Jordan, thank you. It seems the phosphate levels have stayed the same despite the measures taken over the last 8 weeks. This is why I have given more consideration to the drastic acid route. I would be prepared to follow Bob's suggestion on a complete reset/reseed of ~20% live rock to start anew.
I did read/reread the page Bob sent and the linked files, and one aspect I previously didn't consider surfaced. The pH consistently measures around 7.9 in the dark "cook tank", perhaps a pH adjustment may add prevention to phosphate release from the rock? Do you think this plus bulk GFO plus other measures (skimming/macroalgae) would yield a continued noble but fruitless run? I just wonder if more time/$ will not help me achieve a more acceptable continuous phosphate range.
<I yield to Bobs response.>
Ye Olde Tanke Rocke!!
Re: FOWLR Fish stocking; HPO4 from new LR   6/1/12 6/19/12     7/9/12

Wow. I just discovered that my new live rock cooking tank (fresh from Fiji, cycled and cured) has phosphates at about 2 mg/L. I see brown algae growing on it. Is it common that new live rock would have such high phosphates?
<Yep, there is a fair amount of die-off during transport.>
I've retested my source RODI water. Phosphates untraceable.
This coincidence is too suspect. It is cooking in a new 100G Rubbermaid stock tank, that was used to do the muriatic acid wash on the old rock, and in which the old rock measured the same 2mg/L level before I pitched it.
<Change water and measure again.>
Seems my only course now is to employ the precipitate/adsorption methods and start an ongoing phosphates battle. I will transfer the live rock straight into completely fresh/new water in my new tank (not save any old). If I test low phosphates, I will know it was the Rubbermaid tank. But I do wonder if it is common for new, fresh live rock to have high phosphate levels (and wonder why this would be?).
<Cured rock straight from a LFS or a properly maintained tank should have minimal readings but rock that is shipped is going to have die-off. If your new rock came from a reputable source, the levels should return to normal after a water change or two.>

question about cycling   3/1/12
Hello crew/ Mr. Fenner thanks for answering my earlier question. I have another one if you don't mind. I'm in the process of cycling a 90g marine tank with plenty of live rock, it's been cycling for 3 weeks, unfortunately I didn't test any parameter during the first 2 weeks (letting nature run its course).
<I see>
During the 3rd week I tested a few times but the result boggled me. 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0,3 phosphate ca, mg, and Alk are good. If the tank is cycled, why I am not getting any rise in nitrates? Or is it possible that a cycle never started?
<Mmm, I suspect it did/is cycle/d... You're not seeing much NO3 due to the presence/vitality of denitrifiers... microbes that convert the nitrate into other molecules>
Additional info: I have plenty of life (hitchhikers from LR as in 4-5 snails, and even a starfish) in the tank, plenty of copepods, no diatom bloom, plenty of stringy (?) algae. I do run an oversized skimmer and a biopellet reactor with 500ml NP biopellet. I started the cycle using biodigest bacteria starter and threw in a frozen shrimp just to make sure.
Thanks in advance for your input :)
<I wouldn't be overly-concerned... There are a bunch of treatises on nitrogen bio-geo-chemical cycling... You can peruse what we have here:
scroll down to the yellow tray. Bob Fenner>

Cycling - Nitrates too high for live rock?/Nitrate Control 3/1/12
Hi Crew,
<Hello Dave>
Is there a nitrate level that is too high for even live rock?
I acquired a tank recently, and saved as much of the water as  possible. Base rock came with the system. I am guessing the water was very neglected at the end of the last owner's tank maintenance process, and the base rock was also left to dry for a few days.
<Are you using the same substrate that was present in the tank?>
The tank has been up and running at my house for a week, with full circulation but no skimming yet.
I plan to seed the base rock with a few new pieces, to hopefully bring the base rock back to life. I also will restore the skimmer functionality.
I tested the water with a kit that only read nitrates up to a ">100ppm" reading. I hit the highest reading.
Please let me know what level you think is too high for live rock, and I will test and change water to reduce the level to what you believe is acceptable (i.e., with a more precise test kit that shows exact readings over 100). Then, I will add more seed pieces of live rock.
<A nitrate level of 100ppm is too high for a system, period.  It will lead to excessive algae growth and most fish will not tolerate that level of nitrate.  If you are using the old substrate
which likely has never been vacuumed/cleaned, I would discard and start anew. I also suggest replacing at least one half of the water with newly mixed salt water and get your skimmer up and running. 
Do read here as well.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm>
Thank you!!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Cycling - Nitrates too high for live rock?/Nitrate Control 3/1/12

Salty Dog,
Thank you for the comments, and the link.
<You're welcome.>
I did give the substrate a (heavy) cleaning before putting the whole setup back together. I will follow your advice, and understand that the tank is not ready for my first fish entry until Nitrates are reduced as low as possible (and not exceeding 20ppm for my hardy fish only system).
<Might also want to see if your kit is reading total N or NO3.>
That said, do you think I should do the water change before the new live rock seed is added, or after? In other words, is there nutrient benefit to getting the live rock system re-established from the seed by allowing the high nitrate levels for 5-10 days at the beginning of the cycle? Followed by big water changes, possible vodka dosing, etc?
<I would remove one half of the water before doing anything.  Then remove the rock and substrate and siphon the remaining water out and discard.  You can then rinse the new sand, place in tank with the saved water and continue on with topping off the system with new salt water.  I would hold off on carbon dosing until the tank gets stabilized and has a functioning
denitrification filter along with a couple of hardy fish such as Yellow Tail Damsels.   You are using a reactor for the  bio pellets, correct?
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Cycling - Nitrates too high for live rock?/Nitrate Control 3/2/12

Progress continues. I discovered today that I had a bad, old nitrate tester. Using a new kit, I found the nitrates to be 40ppm. Wow, a far cry from 100+. However, I will get nitrates managed way down before the fish are added.
<Good.  I suspected something may have been amiss with your test kit.>
 I did put fresh carbon and a live rock seed in the tank (covered with coralline algae etc). Tomorrow, I will leave on a 2 week road trip, and will have someone watch the tank, empty skimmate, etc. I will also have lighting cycle on the rock.
<I would not do this with nitrates at that level.  You will just be promoting nuisance algae growth and may keel over when you get home.>
When I get back, I will do a 30% water change to start...and continue at that level until the tank readings are consistently low.
<Sounds good.>
Tonight, I noticed some life springing from it, including a brittle star and a clam. Do you think the rock's life will survive the 2 weeks of nitrate levels?
Also, do you think I should put a small piece of raw shrimp in the tank before I leave?
<No, you have enough waste in the system as is.  If anything, put a Yellow
Tail Damsel in there to fuel the denitrification bacteria.  They are rather peaceful fish and you will not have to remove it when you begin stocking the tank.>
Finally, I don't see that the skimmer has been pulling any brown skimmate from the system over the last several days. Why do you think that would be?
<Several possibilities; dirty reaction chamber/neck, blocked air line, pump too small for skimmer....
Quite often, venturi inlets become clogged with calcium deposits and can easily be cleaned out with a
proper sized drill bit.  May want to skim through here. 
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Hi there crew, Nuked Live Rock 12/15/10
I recently took live rock out of my spare tank and kept it in a bucket of dechlorinated water with barely any salinity to kill off the Ich I had in my tank.
<This makes no sense. You burned down the house to kill a fly, and the fly is doing just fine.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm>
After sitting in the bucket for three weeks it developed a horrible smell.
<I bet, everything alive on it is dead and rotting now.>
Does this mean I shouldn't put it back in my display tank?
<Not until you have cured it.>
I don't care about invertebrate live rock life....just bacteria.
<It is probably dead to and will have to cycle again, the bacteria we try to establish in saltwater cannot survive in freshwater for long.>
I just don't want to harm my fish and pollute the water. Any suggestions?
Thanks a lot,
<See here and related FAQs for more.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm >

High Phosphate! LR Curing, H2O quality  7/12/09
Hi there.
Great site and advice!
<Thank you.>
I have searched your site but can't seem to find the answers to my problem.
I have just begun a new set-up. It is a 5ftx2ftx2ft tank with a 3ft sump underneath. I am running an Octopus skimmer, which is doing a great job!.
This will be a FOWLR and I am in the process of curing about 50kgs of LR in the tank. There is no substrate yet. It's been running for about a week and have noticed high phosphate levels; around 1.5! Nitrate is 0. Nitrite is 0.
Ammonia is 0. Although I'm expecting this to spike?
<Possibly, but you should see ammonia at the very least by now.>
Is this a "normal" level of phosphate for a new setup?
<Not abnormal.>
I am waiting for everything to be close to perfect before introducing my first fish. Do I need to minimise the phosphate at this stage via adding Caulerpa in my sump of buying sponges?
<If you have a place to put a macroalgae such as a refugium it is a great addition to any system. Do look into Chaetomorpha instead though, much less of a headache.>
I haven't done a water change yet as I was told it's not necessary when curing.
<I do disagree with that advice. See:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm on
the ins and outs of curing live rock. Water changes are not life and death right now, but I would probably start (it is good practice to get into) after testing your source water you are using for phosphate.>
Thanks again.
John Catanzariti
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Is my live rock dead? Algae Control/Live Rock System balancing itself after a crash. 6/22/2009
Dear my personal algae specialists,
<Hi Andy. personal algae specialist.....I'll have to add that to my resume.>
I have a problem that's been growing and growing (literally) for the past several months. I have a 90 gallon reef ready that's been set up since July 2008. Prior to that, everything was in a 110g (since April 2007) that sprung a leak. The new 90g crashed in September 2008 (some of you helped me with this) when I was away on vacation. My guess is the power went off during a storm on a Sunday, something tripped the circuit breaker when the power came back on, and I didn't get back home until Saturday . . .. I had 5 fish at the time - a Sailfin Tang, a Kole Tang, a Copper Band Butterfly, a Mandarin, and a Brown Combtooth Blenny (Atrosalarias fuscus); a large number of SPS, a few LPS, and 5 or so mushrooms; and about 90lbs of Pacific live rock. The tank was perfect when it crashed! No algae, no Cyano, water param.s were excellent--it was humming along without missing a beat.
When I got home from my vacation, the tank was a cloudy, disgusting soup of rotting everything. Everything was dead, except 3 polyps of Duncan/Whisker Coral (which are doing well to this day). I made up all new water using RO/DI, and did a 100% water change. I also ran Purigen and activated carbon for a good while, changing frequently (I still run carbon 24/7). I added another 10-15 lbs of cured live rock to re-seed everything in case all was lost. I waited a good 3 months before I added anything. During this time, my tank went through some crazy algae outbreaks--from Cyano, to hair algae, to you name it. With a lot of patience, elbow grease and a decent clean up crew, it all pretty much subsided. The first fish were/are 5 Bartlett's Anthias. They had the run of the tank until the Aiptasia that had previously been kept in check starting sprouting up. So, I added another Copper Band Butterfly, which made short work of all 100 or so Aiptasia in my tank.
<I'm with you so far.>
So fast forward to today. A good amount of my live rock and pretty much all of my substrate (just a dusting, maybe 1/4" deep, of aragonite) is ridiculously covered with hair algae,
<A deeper sandbed could help here, but you are stuck for the moment until the algae is taken care of.>
Grape Caulerpa and Feather Caulerpa, in spite of manually pruning as much as I can every week. The substrate is clumped together by the roots of the hair algae. It is really a mess. Thankfully, I don't have a bit of Cyanobacteria.
<The algae is taking up all of the nutrient, preventing Cyano. This is a good thing.>
I added a small Yellow Tang thinking it might put a dent in the hair algae
and/or the Caulerpa, but so far no dice.
<He should be munching on the hair algae, will not likely touch the Caulerpa until it gets bigger.>
I run an AquaC EV-180 that I constantly maintain, a 30 gallon refugium with a 5" deep sand bed, live rock and a huge amount of Chaetomorpha (which I prune every few weeks), and an ozonizer/controller (my ORP stays around 340 or so). I have an RO/DI filter which I maintain, change filters as needed, sterilize, etc. My tests (Salifert and Seachem) show 0 ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate; pH of 8.2-8.3; calcium about 400; magnesium at 1180-1200; and specific gravity is 1.025-1.026 (measured with a calibrated refractometer). I haven't tested for silicates. The TDS of my RO/DI water is 0-1ppm, and my pre-mixed salt water (Reef Crystals), which I keep/aerate/heat in a Brute trash can, shows 0 phosphate. My lighting is 2x250W 14,000K HQI, with 4x65W 03 power compacts. Temperature is 79*-81*.
<You may want to try cutting back on the lighting a bit - reduce your photo-period.>
I don't have a clue what I'm doing wrong.
<You aren't really doing anything "wrong". Your system is out of balance due to the die off, and is in the process of balancing itself.>
I know that Anthias need to eat a lot, so when I first got them (December 2008) I think I might have been feeding them a little too generously, but I have since cut way back, feeding my fish only once or twice per day--I try to mix it up day-to-day with Mysis, New Life Spectrum 1mm pellets, live black worms, and minced fresh clam. I rinse all frozen food, and everything but the pellets is usually soaked in Selcon, and I am very careful about the amount I feed. I change 10-15% water every week.
<You may want to up your water changes to 20 - 30%>
The only things I dose are ESV B-Ionic two-part buffer/calcium, and Brightwell Aquatics Magnesium-P (magnesium). Circulation is my Little Giant return pump (rated 1325 gph, but I'm guessing I've cut it back to about 600 gph), and 4 Koralia 3s (850 gph each). I have two Lysmata amboinensis, three Lysmata wurdemanni, three Emerald Crabs, maybe 8-10 Astraea snails which are reproducing, and a handful of red-legged and blue-legged hermits. I have lots of SPS, all of which is doing very well. In fact, everything is doing really well . . . including my algae, unfortunately.
<This is the telling clue right here - everything IS doing well Your system isn't broken, and you aren't doing anything wrong.>
So, here is my theory/concern--when my tank crashed, my live rock sat in that putrid mix of organic slop and soaked up all kinds of stuff, which it is now slowly releasing back into the water; this is in turn fueling algae growth;
Any hair algae or Caulerpa that would have grown in my pre-crash tank was being eaten by my Kole Tang and Sailfin Tang, respectively, neither of which I have now. Do you think this is what's happening?
<Likely so. You have an excess of nutrient and little, other than algae, to soak them up, and little to eat the algae.>
Will it eventually stop, or do I need to go drop $650 on all new live rock?
<It will slow, then stop in time. You can buy new live rock if you are impatient, but it isn't necessary in my opinion. Caulerpa and even hair algae, if properly controlled, can be attractive in a display tank.>
Can you think of anything I can do besides manual removal to reverse/correct this?
<Short of adding herbivores, manual removal is about the only option.
Urchins tend to be delicate, but could work in this setting http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm & http://www.wetwebmedia.com/urchins.htm >
Would adding additional snails, or the same or different type, help with the hair algae? I would love to add a Kole Tang, as it's one of my favorite fishes, but I think I am pretty much at my limit on fish as it is.
What about the Caulerpa?? Is my only hope manual removal?
<Manual removal of Caulerpa is best. You only need to focus on removing the green parts. The algae will not regenerate from the "roots".>
Thanks for your help.
<My pleasure.>

Re: Is my live rock dead? Algae Control/Live Rock System balancing itself after a crash. 6/22/2009
Thanks so much, Mike, for the information and reassurance.
<My pleasure.>
I do have a large amount of Chaetomorpha in my 30 gallon refugium, but I guess my system is producing more than this can process?
<Likely so. It will improve in time. Remember, nothing good happens in a marine tank quickly.>
Also, you noted adding herbivores. Don't you think my tank it pretty much at its limit as far as fish go?
If not, could I add a Kole Tang (with my yellow . . . ) or a Foxface? If not, any other types of fish that would work, look good and will fit?
<I would say it is at the limit for fish, though you could add an Urchin and perhaps some Lettuce Sea Slugs - all are good herbivores.>
Thanks again!

Please help...Live Rock Concern... prep., water quality...  05/02/2008 I have a new 55 gallon salt water aquarium, no fish yet, sand bottom, 2 Hydor 400gph centrifugal pumps, and base rock all of which have been in place for over a month and salinity and water tests all within normal ranges. This past Friday (3 days ago) I placed into my aquarium some beautiful, colorful dense live rock that I ordered and had shipped to my home. The rock was packed in a plastic container wrapped in a damp towel. <<Sounds good>> I scrubbed the rock with Kent Marine rock prep and rinsed it in salt water before placing it into my aquarium. <<Rinsing in just saltwater will suffice, no need to waste money on other products>> The rock is arranged to allow optimum filtration/circulation and I have added Kent Marine Liquid Calcium, Iodine and Strontium & Molybdenum as directed on the packaging as well as one 5ml of PurpleUp Coralline Algae Accelerator one time. <<Stop adding these additives, there is no need. Only add trace elements when your water test results, e.g. Calcium, dictate that additives are required. Leave the "purple Up" out completely as there is no need. Good basic water parameters and sufficient lighting will provide coralline algae>> In about 24 hours the water was once again clear in appearance and yesterday my water tested as follows: Ammonia 8, pH 7.7, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 1. <<Wow, that's a high level off ammonia. There must of been a large amount of die-off form the newly added live rock>> I have noticed just a very few worms at night but nothing that seems uncommon based off my research. Up to 48 hours after placing the live rock into my aquarium everything appeared to be looking good. This morning I came to check things out and at least 80% of the surface area of one larger piece of my rock is completely blanketed in a fuzzy sort of cotton-like white substance. The substance even grew completely over a purplish colored worm that was attached to the rock. Another rock not in contact with the fuzz covered rock is beginning to show small spots of this same white substance. Can you please advise what you believe this substance to be and how I should address the issue? <<Its algae growth, remove it with an old tooth brush attached to the end of a syphon hose, scrub the rock and the syphon will draw out the algae>> Thank you for your time and expertise~ Monica <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. Regards, A Nixon>>

Dead Rock Introduction into Tank 04/05/2008 Hey all, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I recently bought 25 pounds of "dead" Fiji rock and I'm trying to find the best way to introduce it into my existing tank which already has about 60 pounds of live rock. <<Sounds good>> I scrubbed and cleaned the rock as best I could, did a mild bleaching, ran it through the dishwasher (with no soap), then let it soak in clean saltwater (with de-chlorinator) with a heater and powerhead. It had an odd odor and was creating some foam, so I changed the water completely and now it seems happy and smells clean(er) and has the same temp and SG of my tank. I believe it is now undeniably dead and fairly clean. <<A good cleanup method>> I was planning on placing a few small pieces of my live rock into the bucket to "seed" the dead rock, but the more I've been reading would it be a better idea to just slowly introduce it into my main tank? What are your thoughts on this? Would the seeding just be a waste of time? <<Yes, slowly introduced to the main tank will be fine>> What rate would you recommend adding the rock if I did this? <<As its dead, and wont cause a cycle, i would add 10lbs one week, and 1lbs the following week>> I kind of need the trash can they're currently in for water changes, so the faster I could integrate this rock the better (without causing any problems). Thanks for your site and all your help, Chad <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Cleaning Live Now Dead Rock 12/11/07 Hello... <Hi Chris> I recently received about 50 pounds of live rock that has been out of water for 3-5 months. Would it be ok to clean and add in small amounts to an established tank with live rock and live sand without any problems? <Yes, but do scrub the rock with a stiff bristle brush under running water to remove any dead matter. Let dry and smell it the following day. If no foul smell is detected, it should be safe to put in your tank.> Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Chris

New Live Rock 12/5/07 Hello all, as usual love your site. <Hello DJ, thank you.> I have a small problem with my 125 gallon FOWLR tank. I have had high nitrates for awhile, and have been planning and buying pieces to make a sump in the nearest possible future, but its a work in progress. <OK, always fun to do it your self.> Well I recently came across a good deal on some Tonga Fusion Live Rock from a guy here in town ( Phoenix ) and he had said it was cured. There was very little dead material on it, and it didn't smell too bad save for one piece, but I put it all in anyways. I did a water test, and everything was fine save for my normal high nitrates. Well it has been about a week now and I did a 20 gallon water change last night and now my nitrites have spiked up to .025 and they normally ride at zero. I checked the nitrates, which are the same as they were ( red color, very bad, I know that's what the sump will be for with algae and a DSB ) and the ammonia is at zero as well. Could this small spike in Nitrites be from the new rock?? <Yes, even if it was truly cured you can experience die off from moving or orienting the rock in a different sort under different tank conditions.> If so should I worry? What else can I do to safeguard against anything bad happening? I have my eyes on two new fish and will not even consider putting them in if everything is or is about to go completely out of whack... <I wouldn't either until water parameters are good. > I also have recently set up a QT tank, and I have one teeny tiny piece of LR in it. I used water from the water change in the big tank (pre nitrate issue) to get it going along with some new water. The ammonia is a little high though as I think it still needs to cycle a bit. If the level in my main tank continue to rise, should I pull the new LR and put it in the QT tank until that tank cycles and then add it back into the main tank slowly when and if the levels there return to normal?? <I would.> As always any insight you can give will be much appreciated I can't wait to hear your opinion, and as usual thanks a million! Douglas M. Payne Jr. (DJ) <Welcome, best, Scott V.>

Live Rock Trouble, Stagnant Water -- 12/5/07 Hi, <Hello, Brenda here> I just recently (3 days ago) began my hobby with a 56 gallon salt water tank purchase. <Welcome to the addiction!> I bought 55 pounds of live rock and 40 pounds live sand from my LFS. They didn't give me much information about setting up the tank, and I'm beginning to think I made several big mistakes already. The rock was transported from the store in an open Styrofoam box, it was moist but it stayed in the car about an hour before making it to my apartment. <This is normal for transporting Live Rock.> I mixed the water with salt in a 5 gallon bucket and filled the tank about 3/4 of the way up. Let it sit about 15 minutes, then tested the salinity. I added all the live sand, waited 15 minutes then added all my live rock. I used tap water to fill up the tank. Does RO water make a big difference? <For live rock, at a minimum it needs to be dechlorinated.> I put a heater in the tank and set it to 78, and I kept a T5 light on it about 8 hours at a time for the past 3 days. <No need for light yet in this stage of the game.> I just realized that I needed a powerhead so I just bought a Rio 800 which cycles at about 200gph; the water was just stagnant for 2 days. <Ouch!> Is my live rock/tank in serious trouble already? <No, you are not in serious trouble yet, unless you did not dechlorinate the water. Using chlorinated water, you will likely have 'dead' rock, which can become live again, over time, and with the addition of some Live Rock. If using dechlorinated water, you will likely have some additional die off, but not necessarily a complete die off. You do need to have water moving at all times. I would do a large water change. Let the live rock cure for at least a month, while doing regular water changes. Test your water parameters regularly with a reliable test kit. I would also get into the habit of premixing your saltwater for at least 24 hours, and keeping extra premixed saltwater on hand at all times. Here are some links to help you better understand Live Rock: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm > Thank you for your help. <You're welcome!> I'm a true beginner. <We've all been there! Here is an additional link that you may find beneficial: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm Get in the habit of researching everything before you act. If you run into a road block, we will be here to assist. Good luck with your new adventure! Brenda>

Fish behavior... scrubbed LR, missing Clown   6/23/07 Good morning from Boston! <Hail in return from not yet sunny Southern Cal.> I hope this finds you all well and in good health. Thank you so much for your wonderful website and unending support for all of us still on the learning curve of this hobby. Your insight is priceless. Thank you! <Welcome!> I have a question that doesn't seem to have been asked before. I am in the middle of battling a raging attack of hair algae. I have discovered the most likely source of fuel to be phosphates in my tap water. Alas, a Kold Ster-il unit is on the way, along with their alumina media. I have added Chemi-pure to my Eheim canister filter, and am upping my water change routine to weekly rather than every other week. Hopefully I can win this battle because it is getting very old and very tiring!! <And us!> Part of my battle plan was to remove the liverock and scrub the algae off with a toothbrush. I just could NOT stand to look at it anymore! I scrubbed the rock in a separate bucket with aged and circulated salt water, then returned it to the tank. I did not perform a water change, as I wanted the "dust" to settle for a day or two before changing the water. <Mmmm> This is a 55 gallon tank that is a year old now. I have two false ocellaris clowns, a velvet wrasse, and a springeri Pseudochromis, along with two cleaner shrimp, one peppermint shrimp (attack of Aiptasia), and a handful of various small snails and crabs. The fish are happy and healthy, and have been in this tank for eight months. So here is my dilemma: The morning after cleaning the liverock, the springeri Pseudochromis and one of the clowns (the bigger of the two) are nowhere to be found! Poof - just disappeared! I'm willing to bet that the Pseudochromis is, and will remain in hiding for a few days. That would not surprise me. But I am very surprised that the clown is missing. <Me too> He is a big, goofy, social and playful clown.......always with his mate. I just can't imagine that he is hiding, and it certainly doesn't sound like normal behavior. Granted, I do realize how much stress I've created by disrupting their home by my cleaning session, but I really didn't think I had much choice. Do you have any thoughts on the missing fish? <Hopefully will show, is in hiding as well... but may have "jumped out"... be on the floor, consumed by another pet... Or died and quickly shrimp-consumed, otherwise dissolved...> More so with the clown, as I think (rather desperately hope) that the Pseudochromis will come out of hiding in the next couple of days. Any thoughts/advise you have is greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Kim in Boston PS...........the wrasse and the other clown are their usual selves, as if nothing had ever happened. <Mmm, I do hope that she (the larger fish is the female of these two) shows. Bob Fenner>

Impatient Cycling Causes Fish Deaths  5/10/07 Greetings from Manila, Jason here.  Hope you guys are doing good as usual! :) <Hi Jason, This is Jeni/Pufferpunk here today & I'm doing great, thanks for asking!> 4 months ago, I had some fresh live rock from the ocean, transported it back and placed it into my 30 gallon tank.   <Lucky you!  We pay up to $9/lb for nice rock here.> I only have the small powerhead, no filtration, no skimmer.  Tank temps ranged from 79F to 83F.   <83 is a bit high.  I'd aim for no higher than 80-81.  We're having a heat wave here & I have 4 fans on my tank, trying to keep the water below 82.> I thought the fresh live rock might not go thru a cycle process because I transported it myself and was submerged in ocean water for several hours.   <Any exposure to air will kill off some of the life & start a cycle.> My mistake was I did not use any aeration during transport. 2 days later, lots of die off.  Everything died, worms, crabs, sponges, except for the coralline algae. <To be expected.> After week 3, my water was now pretty clear because of the algae growth and ammonia and nitrates were heading low.  My readings were: Ammonnia-5mg/L, Nitrates-5mg/L, pH 7.6. <Actually, still quite toxic.> Is there anything else I should really check for?  I don't know why my pH was acidic. <You are testing for the correct things.  Ammonia, caused by die-off will cause the water to become acidic.> Anyway, at week 3, I decided to do a 80 percent water change to take care of the nutrient export and then get a baby Scopas tang and a couple Turbos.   <Did you test the water beforehand?> After a week, the tang died.  It started off swimming/nipping/eating for the 1st two days.  Then it got spooked out all the time and towards the end, would always be hiding in the rocks and never came out.   I checked my Ammonia went back up to 5mg and nitrates back to 5mg.   <Quite deadly--tank was not cycled.> I did another 80 percent water change and introduced another tang.   <Without testing the water?> He did the same behavior but died after 2 days.  I checked the water properties, nitrates were at 40mg/L!  It increased to 40mg after I introduced the new tang.   <Why do you keep putting these animals lives at risk?  You cannot introduce animals to a tank that shows even the smallest amount of ammonia/nitrites & nitrates should be below 20 for fish.> The first tang 2 days before it died started to develop an ulceration around it's eye and also its color started to get dark, with small white spots (but it didn't look like ich). <Ulceration probably caused by ammonia burn.> I thought it might have been HLLE, so I checked the water: ammonia, nitrates, pH.   <What were the results?> I also unplugged the lights, fan and used a different pump.  But then the next tang died too. :(  What could have happened here?  Are my rocks not cured enough to support even one fish?   <There is no such thing as "cured enough".  Either the rock is fully cured or it isn't.> Should I remove my 3 Turbos, which are happily munching away?   <There is nothing nastier than a dead snail in your tank.> What do I do moving forward, do I still continue to do water changes? <Suggested reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm   Please do not add any more livestock until your rock is fully cured.  ~PP> Jason

How Hot is Too Hot for Live Rock 4/26/07 Hi guys :)  Jason here, warm greetings from Manila! <Greetings, GrahamT with you tonight.> I've read on your FAQs about varying ideal temperatures for reef tanks containing corals, anywhere from 77F to 80F ideal.   <Yep.> Why can't people come to an agreement? :)   <Huh? I agree with that. What is the argument?> If my tank is starting off as FOWLR, what is the ideal range?   <Umm, 77F to 80F...? Is this a trick question?> My guess is from 80F to 83F.   <You don't have to guess, the info is available here and elsewhere. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/temp_faqs.htm > I will be moving my tank to a room where the ambient temperature is much higher.  Can my FOWLR tank do ok at 87F or is this just way to hot? <I wouldn't do it, unless you invest in a chiller.> I've got two cheapo floating thermometers in my tank, one says 78F, the other 81F :)  What kind of thermometers do you suggest for keeping accurate temps? <Digital. You can buy a good one for $5US from Hellolights.com that is completely submerged, or go with much more expensive setups. I use a RadioShack indoor/outdoor with a probe that is non-reactive with saltwater - read: plastic.> Thanks :) Jason <Welcome! -GrahamT>

LR, hazy water  3/23/07 Hey guys and girls, <Hello. Hello.  Brandon here tonight.> I am constantly learning from my own experiences and others that I introduce to the hobby. <Good way to do things.> 3 weeks ago I helped my uncle set up his 75 reef.  He started his cycle with 70 lbs of Fiji live rock. his has a 50 gallon refugium with a 6 inch sand bed. He also has a Euroreef skimmer. I told him not to run his lights or skimmer during the cycle. After about a week and a half we seen his ammonia spike and go down to 0. Never did see a nitrite spike but from what I know this is common. <I never saw either.> His nitrate has risen to about 10. <Acceptable, but a lower amount is attainable.  I would not worry unless you plan to keep coral.> After his ammonia drop to zero and seeing the nitrates start to rise he did a 10 gallon water change and started running his lights and skimmer. Now here is his problem. The water has been hazy the entire time with not much signs of it getting better. <This will clear up with time.> The skimmer is pulling stuff out but its brand new (break in time).  After excessive reading, I am assuming it is probably a bacterial bloom which is new to me as I have never experienced this or seen it in other tanks.   <I never had one either, but that does not mean that they don't exist.> Now what should I recommend he do? Run carbon and do water changes? <Give it some time, run Activated Carbon, and possibly Polyfilters.  This will pass on its own.> Any advice is always appreciated! Thanks, <You are welcome.  Brandon.> Greg

pH Balanced for a...(rock, but strong enough for a fish?) 3/21/07 Hey guys, <And gals... Greetings to you, Adam.> I really appreciate the Q&A section you have set up.    Really very helpful. <Is what we shoot for, thanks you for the props. Hobbyists need a place to sift through everything they read/hear/are told.> Ok question is this: I just set up my new tank, 24 gal saltwater, 40lbs live sand, 25lbs cured live rock.  It's been running for 2 weeks now with no sign of any ammonia or nitrite spike so I am still waiting to add my clown, brittle star, and frogspawn from my old tank.   <Ok, possible that the cured live rock and sand has cycled the system for you. Have you tested for nitrates?> My PH has tested at 7.8 and I wish to raise it up and keep it up.   <A worthy cause.> Is there a preference to Kent Marine Superbuffer or SeaChem's buffer product? If so, why the preference?   <Hmm, product research is something I personally leave to the individual aquarist. But here is some reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mphprods.htm Read to the bottom and every link in blue up above. Pay attention to the links that appear on each new page, because the cross-referenced links are very useful too.> Is it important for me to raise my PH at this point or will it raise with my weekly water changes? <Mmm, at two weeks, I wouldn't be concerned with a 7.8 pH yet. When you get some photosynthetic life forms in there; i.e.., algae, then you'll have a daily rise/fall in pH due to the production/metabolized carbon dioxide. They produce O2 by day, and CO2 by night. Also something to consider: you don't need lights on right now, as this may fuel a nuisance algae-bloom before you are inclined to deal with one.> If I do begin to use a buffer product, will I need to use it on a regular basis? <Only as your tests tell you that you need to. I find that a salt worth its "salt" is good at buffering when you do your water changes regularly. In addition to your pH test kit, you will want to invest in a carbonate hardness test kit. You will see why when you read the link above.> I really don't want to use a product which will make my tank reliant upon that product.   <Good thinking. I like to use the least amount of supplementation that I can get by with. -GrahamT> Thank you   so much, ADAM

Re: pH Balanced for a...(rock, but strong enough for a fish?)  3/23/07 Hi again, thanks for the PH advice.  I will wait a little while longer before I become concerned.  And by the way, I have only been running my lights maybe 1 hour a day so could that give a lower PH reading just like a lower reading in the morning? <Mmm, to a small extent, possibly, yes> To answer your question, yes I have tested for nitrates and they are zero.  So no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate after 2 weeks.   I also added a few tiny  frozen shrimp which I feed my other tank to try and induce an ammonia spike last week.  Maybe my rock and sand has cycled it. <I do think you're right>   But I will wait at least one more week before I transfer my tank.  Now, I have a clown fish, a brittle star and a frogspawn which I am putting into this new tank.  Questions are this: Do you think I can add any of  them now or should I wait another 1-3 weeks? <Better to wait> And the day I transfer them, how much acclimation is needed for each species before they should be put into the new tank? <An hour or so> Once again thanks...you guys (and gals) are great.    Oh yeah, there are also a bunch of tiny starfish which came from the sand or rock in there, will they be reef safe? ADAM <Likely so... I would move them with. Bob Fenner, in for Big G as he moves into his new digs> New rock old rock and cycling problem?? -- 03/18/07 Hi guys. <Rochelle> I'm transitioning to a bigger tank. I set up a new 55g saltwater tank a week ago. I added from my established 30g tank... 10 gal of water, some live sand sprinkled on top of the new 40# of crushed coral, the rinsed carbon filter and a live rock, in hopes of moving things along a little quicker. after day 4 things looked great! no ammonia, no nitrites and on 10ppm nitrates, assumably due to the brown algae in the established tank from the water I used. so I added a damsel. Things went well... he lived. my best friend owns a pet store so I got the inside scoop on the new live rock coming in, I had to have some!! it's gorgeous Fiji! <Mmm... still... better to "cure" this elsewhere...> so I picked out about 5 pounds after we rinsed it off and I brought it home and picked off the dead plants and sponges, that was day 5. now my ammonia level, on day 8, is going up currently at 1.0 and my nitrites are 1.0 <Both toxic...> and nitrates are 40 PH is good at 8 4. I know those parameters aren't horrible, bit I have some fragile critters and I like near perfect water. <Move either the "old" life or the new rock, stat.!> I'm confused. my parameters in my other tank never increased or decreased no mater how much I was poking around in there, never ammonia or nitrites. do I do a water change if this keeps up?  do I leave it alone? is it cycling again? <It's toxified by dying life on the new LR...> maybe I interrupted something by using stuff from my established tank? still lots of dead stuff on the new rock? <Yes> eventually everything from my established tank will be going to the new one, slowly of course to prevent shock. <I wouldn't worry re this... move the new LR or "old stuff" now...> I feel uncomfortable adding any more live rock from the established tank due to the amount of baby sea stars living on them. and my brown starfish has split and is somewhere regenerating he could be on the rocks. I guess my question is.... do I leave my 55g alone a let the live rock cycle and cure? <I would NOT> Do I do water changes to reduce the ammonia and nitrites? if I do a water change will the ammonia and nitrites increase again? <Source needs to be separated... PRONTO> I have a yellow sea slug nudibranch thing, a 10" red sea star, 8-10 baby sea stars, pencil urchin, pincushion urchin, the dumbest hermit crab on earth, an emerald crab, 2 gobies, a brown star fish that his split into 3 pieces, and 4 damsels. they kinda need a bigger home. I don't want to kill anything, I know this will be time consuming since my live rock has to acclimated in cuz of the baby stars. I'm not sure what to do here. I want to do things quickly but safely. thanks for your help Sheli <Bob Fenner> Post cycling pH jump  -- 03/15/07 Hi crew, <George> I've been reading your FAQs even before I started my setup, and can only say thank you for all your efforts.  I humbly admit while I have kept a simple successful saltwater tank in my past for a few years, the one I am starting now is beginning to humble me more so. <One of the qualities I seek for myself in this involvement> Brief overview: 75 gallon hex tank, 95 pounds partly cured live rock (from a store my fellow reef nut has used for a decade) and 100 lbs live sand (Ocean Direct by Carib sea), sump (which I've used until my 24x12x17 refugium came in). Allowed it to cycle in tank and measured pH, refractive index kept at 1.23-1.24, amm, nitrite, and nitrate daily.  All went smoothly all along, not too much debris.  Used deionized tap water (large cartridge type system. no $ yet for an RO sys).  2 weeks ago, all readings finally rested at 0, pH steady at 8.2-8.4, sp. grav at 1.024.even nitrates, and almost simultaneously I began to see the beginnings of the diatom bloom.  Waited 5 more days to make sure readings stayed low, an then ordered cleanup crew. consisting of 10 Nassarius, 10 Ceriths, 5 Turbos, some micro stars and mini brittles (about 120 total), a bottle of live copepods and 2 scarlet cleaner shrimp as well as some rhodophyte and coin Caulerpa; 2-3 cups Chaetomorpha in the fuge (Inland Aquatics, and Live Aquaria source).  At the same time I began setting up a small acclimation/QT tank figuring by time that was done cycling I could start looking for fish.  Again, every single day I measured everything. and all parameters were in line.  The only negative seemed to be the diatoms starting to take off. <Not necessarily harmful> On the day all the inverts arrived, suddenly -i.e., within a 1 day period. the pH had jumped to 8.8.  I tested 3 times to be sure, tested the water I was using to make up the salt mix (which by the way is Reef Crystals by Kent). Immediately instituted a 30% water change, then began acclimation over 3-4 hrs (used very very slow addition of 10% bag volume every 15 min or so). All is still alive, but I can't stop the climbing pH.  I've been employing a stop gap measure of water changes and using pH down to slowly adjust (it's sulfuric acid, not phosphate based).  All the while Amm, Nitrite, Nitrate remain zero.  Any suggestions or clues or remedies?  100% water change? <I would not fool with the pH here... I suspect this is an effect, perhaps artifactual of the algae (Chaetomorpha) addition... At any length, the pH will drift down of its own accord... with time, reductive events in the system. Don't panic! Bob Fenner> Your advice is greatly appreciated !

Re: Post cycling pH jump   3/15/07 Cheers Bob.  I agree...I don't like altering acid-base chemistry by additives except on occasion, and this was one.  The pH bounce back suggested something more. <Yes> I've now noted the pH is the AM after a few hrs in the darkness is ~8.2...and after lights on a few hrs it presumably is climbing. <Bingo> Figured I should also do some testing of with/without aeration to see the dynamics there.  Seaclone skimmer has been running about 1 week also, producing a fair but not great yield of skimmate (yes...this will be replaced by a more efficient skimmer someday...maybe soon); thinking of adding airstone in sump section to test buffering and gas exchange (indirectly).  So I'll be wary of the O2/CO2 issue and carbonate/bicarb chemistry going on...without use of additives, I think I may be able to find a better balance. <Time will tell> Keep up the awesome & noble work.  You're reaching a wider audience than any classroom or publication could reach here! George <Ahh, the Net... what will come next? Something like "Star Trek"... and then? BobF> Live Rock with Copper 2/16/07 Hey guys, <Hi> I have a question about live rock and copper treatments. I looked over the other postings and I couldn't find the answer. Ok, so it's been over 6 months since I treated my quarantine tank with copper (I did have live rock in it at the time I did the copper treatment). I only treated the tank and rock about 3 times max. The rock now has brittle worms and copepods all over it and it's covered in coralline. So I'm wondering if it would be possible to put in into my main tank and still have it be safe for my inverts? <Probably not, not worth the risk anyways, at least in my mind.>  If it isn't safe why are there inverts on the rock now and why aren't they being affected? <Different organisms have different tolerance levels, many organisms might still be effected.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Chris>

Re: Adding live rock to cycled tank    2/2/07 Hi! <Hi Jennifer, Mich here again.> I need to add some live rock to my already cycled tank and I have come to the masters for advice! I have surfed the site and articles but I want to be perfectly clear in what I am doing since I have a lot of problems with my tank (all of which you guys have bailed me out of and I thank you!).   <Glad to hear things are improving!> I have a 55 gal which has been cycled for 3 months. I have been told that:   1. adding live rock will help with the filtration. <Absolutely!> and 2. not to add all the live rock at once due to nitrate spikes.   <If the live rock is not cured.  Can cure it easily in a separate Rubbermaid type container with a heater and a power head.>   So here are my questions: 1. How much Fiji live rock should I add at a time? 2. The LFS say they cure their live rock for 5 days, this being said, do I still need to cure it or should I play it safe and cure it again? If so for how long? <Measure your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, numbers should be undetectable for the first two and nitrates should be low.  Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm There are also many pages of FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm  >   Thank you for the handholding!!! <Welcome!  -Mich> Jennifer

Re: Adding live rock to cycled tank    2/2/07 Hey Mich! <Hi Jennifer!> Thanks for the super fast reply!   <Welcome!> I read the links as suggested just wanted to double check, if the live rock I get from the LFS (which they say they have cured) has an ocean smell and not a stinky smell it's ok to put in my tank? <Yes, should be, just keep an eye on your parameters.> Also, would it be ok to start with 5 or 10 lbs or is that too little? <Anything is better than nothing.  Adding slowly is fine.> Thanks! Jennifer <You're welcome!  -Mich> Copper and Live Rock 9/25/06 Hi Bob, <Hi, Chris here> Is it true that copper can kill your biological filtration system?  (Live rock, Bio Wheels). <Yes>  I have a 55 gal.  FOWLR, emperor 400, SeaClone 150 skimmer, 18 watt turbo twist, 2 Hagen 802 powerheads.  I can not keep more than 3 fish alive in there then they start dying off. <Tank infected with Ich.> My local source told me that the copper killed my live rock.  Could that be the case... <Probably> Thanks Aaron <Chris> Live Rock and Low Calcium/Adding Livestock to a New System...And The Need to Read! - 09/22/06 Hello There, <<Howdy!>> I'm hoping you can help? <<I'm here to try>> I recently set up a 74 gallon SW tank at my home using RO water and adding salt.  What I neglected to do was add the calcium which came with the salt, as I'd been misinformed that "the salt would already contain enough calcium". <<Mmm, yes...most mixes don't have separate components to be mixed by the consumer though at least one has a bottle of "trace elements" kept separate and added at time of mixing.  What brand of salt mix did you use?>> I added 20 kilos of live rock to my tank and 3 days later added some cleaning crew - 2 cleaning shrimp, 1 blood shrimp, 6 red-leg hermits and 6 turbo snails. <<Hmm...Likely a bit early to be adding macro-biota to your tank.  Are you testing/did you test water parameters beforehand?>> All of the cleaning crew died except for the hermits which hadn't moved at all since their introduction. <<Indeed...poisoned by the excess of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate present in a new and un-cycled system>> After 2 more days the calcium content was checked at the aquatics shop and found to be at 50 points. <<Is this ppm?  Incredibly low...>> I immediately added the calcium and this brought the reading up to the 400 point mark as you'd expect. <<Ahh...>> I have since added another blood shrimp, 7 turbo snails, 2 Percs and a Regal Tang; all of which have been doing fine I feel. <<Yikes!  Aside from the fact this tank is too small for the long-term good health of the tang...are you familiar with the need to cycle this system/establish bio-filtration before adding livestock?  Please read here and the linked files above: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm.  You need to slow down and acquire some books on marine startup/new systems and READ before proceeding any further my friend>> My main worry now is that, I have inadvertently, caused damage to my live rock, keeping it in the water for 5 days with a calcium reading of 50 points. <<Not likely>> Can you please advise if my rock will still be ok to filter my aquarium efficiently or has the rock been damaged irreparably? <<Dissolution of the carbonate material in your rock is more affected by pH than the level of calcium in the system.  The subnormal calcium level will have had little (if any) effect on your rock, or the life on/within, in this time period.  No need to be worried about the rock...but I am concerned for your livestock...please do check ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, if any of these read above 'zero' remove your livestock until this tank is finished cycling.  Learn for yourself (study/research) so as to become less dependent on the "sometimes not so good advice" of others>> Thank you in advance, Regards, David <<Happy to assist.  EricR>>

Formalin and Live Rock 9/10/06 I really enjoy reading your advice. It has helped me as a novice to marine tanks a great deal, but I think I still did something stupid. <We all have at some point.> I had a clownfish with signs of the parasite responsible for clownfish disease. So I did the formalin dip exactly as I was supposed to. He died within a minute of exposure to the dip. ( to be fair he was doing very poorly immediately before the dip) The stupid thing I did was take a piece of live rock from my tank and put it in my QT. I did this because someone told me I it would help to keep stress down with the rock in there since before I just had a stark 10 gallon qt with nothing in it. <For future knowledge, it is much better to use a piece of PVC in QTs, non-reactive with medications and disposable.> Well since the fish appeared to be so distressed I hurried and just grabbed the piece of rock he most liked from my main tank. That piece of rock was exposed to formalin on Wednesday. Is it safe to return it to my main tank? (It is my favorite piece of rock) Have I tainted it by exposing it to the formalin or can I safely add it back to my tank with endangering my other fish or invertebrates? <Would probably be safe after several water changes and using a PolyFilter.  However, I would not use it, the risk of carrying either the formalin or the clownfish disease back to the main tank is too high compared to the cost of a new piece of LR.> <Actually... the formalin "dissipates" or otherwise reacts so quickly with "life" that it is likely long since gone. RMF> <Chris>

Coppered Tank - 25/08/2006 Hello WWM crew, greetings from Macedonia     <Hello Boris, You've got John from Shanghai here.. dusting himself off after an extended absence> I have a question for a friend of mine. The situation is like this: He has a system previously run fish-only, in which he regularly dosed copper-based medication. <Yikes!> After that he acquired some live rock but contrary to recommendations he didn't change change 100% of the water, but only 50%. <I fear that even a 100% water change would not be sufficient. Likely even the very silicone and glass in the tank is contaminated.> Then regularly for 7-8 months each 10 days he change 10% of water. This system does not work well for him with corals, which is to expected. <Yes, most invertebrates will not tolerate copper> We wonder now, as he is planning a new system, should we use this live rock in a new system? <I wouldn't. I also wouldn't use this tank in a reef system again. Should be OK for a fish-only system, but the live rock may be... rather "dead."> Thank you in advance <You're welcome! Thanks for writing. John W.> Boris

Re: Coppered live rock follow up - 1/9/2006 Hi John, <Hi again Boris.> Thanks for the reply. One more question, LR is somewhat full of live, small amphipods and copepods are crawling. There is Coralline algae growth too. One more suggestion please? <Hmmm it doesn't sound too bad if 'pods are surviving. I still would be very cautious about putting coppered rock in my tank. Perhaps you could set up a small holding tank and introduce a fish /invertebrate as a bio-assay? Best regards, John> Cheers Boris Live rock turning white... happens   8/18/06 I'm running 55gal tank + 10 gal refugium with 5 fishes (snowflake eel, harlequin tusk, <Both/either of these species needs more room than this> ocellaris clown, cardinal and a blue damsel), 50lb of live rock, lots of red mushrooms and xenias, some yellow polyps and a crocea clam. This system have been running for 2 years <The first two fishes stunted...> and was very stable. The problem is that 2 weeks ago my chiller that was set at 79 deg) stopped working and 2 days later all the xenias and mushrooms just died, <Yikes> I managed to remove to another system the polyps, the clam and a sand star, but the harlequin and the blue damsel passed out. I can understand why all this is happening, the temp went up from a stable 79 deg to 88, but what I will like to know is why the live rock is losing the coralline it had covering them, is it for the change in temp also? <This and the chemicals released by all...> When I started the system and didn't have the chiller I did get lots of coralline growing in the rocks or maybe part of the problem is a re-cycling that is occurring because of all te die-off of the corals? <Ah, yes> The rest of the fish are holding on so far but don't know for how long. The chiller is still in repair with a refrigeration tech but don't know why is taking so long. <Takes time... may not be able to be economically repaired... Bob Fenner>

Big Tank, Water Quality/LR, Ozone, Curing LR    8/13/06 I am curing around 1500 lbs of rock in about 1200 gallons of water. <Mmm, a note for browsers... such large amounts of LR can be cured "in place" in large systems, but I encourage this elsewhere... much easier to manipulate, much less messy/stinky> There's about 40,000 gph of water movement. I've got two AquaC skimmers rated for up to 1000 gallons cranking overtime (with ozone on when the ORP drops below 390 and off at 400). <Rather a "tight" setting... I'd move the lower value down to the 350 or so range>   I scrubbed it all pretty good before I put it in, but have only done minor incidental water changes (leaky plumbing and VERY aggressive skimming). Its been almost two weeks since I first introduced the rock. Nitrites are around 4.0 ppm, <Too high> nitrates are around 20 ppm <Way too high... these values spell the doom for too much of the "live" portion of your rock. Should be kept down...> (both have seen a huge decline in the past few days. The pH has been staying high - ranging from 8.1 - 8.6. <This is the ozone, not biomineral effect> My real query is about my ORP. Until this tank I've never had the equipment to monitor or regulate my ORP before. Its currently at 419 and still on the rise from what I can tell. <... too high...> Honestly I don't think I fully understand the concept from reading the article on the site, but from various Q and A's on the site I gather that this is not that big of a deal as long as its not ozone that's raising it that high (which it's not in this case - at least not from the ozonizers). <... Really? What is "it" from? Have you tried turning off the ozonation?> My water is still quite yellow however, despite running carbon and PolyFilters and ozone off and on. <Massive die-off effect> Due to the location of the tank it would ideal if we could expedite the un-yellowing of the tank. Thanks for your help, Scott Sent via Blackberry from T-Mobile  Â²[% <Neat... Well... to start with, though it may seem expensive, I would make a very large water change here... perhaps half... Next, I would carefully (like two separate test kits) measure alkalinity/acidity, and look into the means (there are a few... and this can be confusing for sure) of bolstering the same... with a source of carbonates and bicarbonates. I would look into your calcium, magnesium concentrations as well... these are likely out of whack, and relying on the water changes alone will too-likely drive you bonkers as well as to the poor house... When you have occasion/time, do take a read over WWM re the concepts of alkalinity, this and pH... the use of supplements for same. Bob Fenner> Tank Overheated to 110 degrees...Hard Boiled Eggs, Anyone?  6/15/06 Hi, <Hello Travis> I know this overheating question gets asked all the time but it usually doesn't get to 110. <Yikes!> I purchased 60lbs of live rock from another local aquarist who had it for years so it had a lot of life in and on it. I was storing it in a 20 gallon tank until the plumbing was done on my 65 gallon. I had no problems with nitrates. We experienced a power surge which fried the microprocessor in my new digital Finnex heater. The water temperature got to 110 degrees for about 3 hours until I discovered it and cooled it. I know all the worms are dead but I was wondering about the coralline algae. Should I scrub it all off and try to reseed the rock with fresh live rock or do you think it might recover. I hope it will recover and I will still buy a couple more pieces to help it along. <Would not scrub, coralline will return in time.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Travis

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

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

Live Rock... cured quality  - 5/12/2006 After adjusting my 90gal saltwater tank for a sump setup, I purchased some larger pieces of live rock.  I have 4 large pieces about 12-20lbs each. The rock appears greeny/brown, slightly slimy.  The dealer said the rock was cured. <<If it is slimy and smells foul, it is not cured.  I always cure live rock for an additional few weeks after purchase before adding it to my stocked tanks.>> I've made frequent trips to this dealer and I'd believe the rock has been sitting in one of their tanks for about two to four weeks. If I recall, there wasn't much water flow in the tank the rock was being held in. <<I do not think the rock is fully cured.>> Before introducing the rock to my tank, I completely submersed the rock in a bucket of warm (24oc) fresh water for a few minutes. <<Does the potential of hitchhikers out weigh bio-diversity for you, then? I do not FW dip my live rock.>> I also closely examined the rock for worms or possible critters.  I couldn't see any.  The dealer mentioned that they always go through the process of checking as well. At the moment, I have the rock all setup in my main tank with my sump and skimmer working.  My water flow rate is about 13 times an hour.  After reading over some of your articles I'm wondering...  I left some small clam/muscle shells attached to the rock and there appears to be the odd little skinny stem or branch hanging off the rock.  Is this fine to leave as is? <<It is LIVE rock.  Critters are a good thing (with a few notable exceptions).>> The only critters I have in this tank are a sand sifting star and a larger serpent star (whom I can't find). <<I would remove the sand-sifter.  They deplete the sand bed of life and starve in all but the largest of tanks.>> The rest of my critters are anxiously awaiting their new home in a 20gallon tank.  I plan on doing a series of water tests tonight and again in a week.  If both tests show the water quality is good, am I ok to start stocking my tank slowly with fish? <<I would wait at least a few weeks with an addition of that much live rock.>> Would my water quality appear to be fine and then have a huge ammonia spike after a week if the new rock was rotting or would I expect to see the high ammonia spikes immediately? <<Die-off doesn't all happen at once.  I would wait a few weeks to be sure.>> Dave <<Lisa.>>

Salvaging "Old" Live Rock  - 04/16/06 Howdy, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Got a question concerning live rock that's been stored for about 2 years in a Rubbermaid container. A buddy offloaded some live rock on me that he's had in his basement for 2 years in a closed container with no fish (but kept a 802 powerhead in the container for circulation). I'm concerned about putting this rock in my main FO tank. <As well you should be with anything added to your system! Good attribute to have- paranoia!> I've been trying to cycle it in a 29gal (some of it anyway, it'll fully load a 55gal to the rim) for the past 6 months, even tried a refugium on the tank with Chaetomorpha and a 50w daylight floodlight a friend recommended. Nitrates shoot thru the roof 80ppm + (with water changes it drops 20ppm. but within a few days it's back to before I did anything), also get Cyano growing like weeds. I even tried putting a clown in the tank (poor little guy) hoping that maybe with a small bioload the organisms would start to grow and take care of the nitrate (clean cycle of course). <Not a bad thought, I guess.> Can't be the water I'm using, only use R/O water (and change the filters on it as recommended). So I'm guessing it comes down to the rock itself. Should I kill off the rock (bleach and dry) and start from scratch with a small piece of good LR? Or go get a small piece of good rock and add it to the bad in hopes that it'll re-seed what this rock is missing? <Well, there are a lot of theories about phosphate/nitrate accumulation occurring within live rock, and some of them probably have validity. This is the "theory" behind the concept of "rock cooking" that you'll hear a number of hobbyists discuss on various hobby message boards. The thought is that by leaving the rock in a closed dark container for extended periods of time, you'll kill of undesirable algae (duh) and give the rock time to "leach out" trapped detritus and organics. I suppose there is some validity to this practice, although I've never subscribed to it. The fact that your rock, which has been "cooking" for years, is a possible source of organics seems to contradict this theory, however. Hmm. I suppose that you could either place this rock into a much higher flow/light environment to see what happens, or you could "nuke" it with bleach and start over with truly "dead" rock that is devoid of all life, microbial or otherwise. If it were me, I'd try to work with it in a more conventional reef tank setting first before giving up on it.> There's no odor from the rock I have, it's teaming with bristleworms and MiniStars, but I can save some of them from the sand and just dip the rock to get what Ii can out of 'em if I have to bleach. <I'd really try to avoid the bleaching, if at all possible.> Also,  the main tank has a 3 inch sand bed (sugar sized and the sump has a 5 in) could part of the problem be lack of sand turning? <I doubt it. It could be an issue of the sandbed being excessively disturbed, for that matter, or even an exhausted RO/DI cartridge (do check your source water for nitrate and phosphate before use, just to make sure. Aggressive nutrient export (protein skimming, sue of water changes and chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or PolyFilter) can also help you salvage this rock for future use without resorting to the "nuclear" option!> If so, would trying a fresh cycle with a goby to shift the sand that's already there maybe help? that's the only other thing I could think of that might fix the problem (but afraid that if the bed is established it'll cause trouble in the layers) John <Agreed, John. Try the nutrient export approach first. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Medication/Live Rock    4/4/06 Hello crew,  <Hello Dan> You have literally been a life saver and hopefully can help me out once again. About a month ago I had to QT two of my clowns because of a parasite problem (which you helped me through, thank you), I treated them with Maracyn-Two. To help the filtering process while they were in QT I added a couple pounds of live rock from my 90 gal reef tank. My question is, can I return the live rock to my display tank, or has the rock absorbed the Maracyn-Two and could potentially affect my inverts. I would just leave the rock in the QT but I don't want to leave the tank set-up.  <Shouldn't be a problem Dan, copper sulphate would be a different story.> Thanks for all your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dan

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