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More FAQs about Curing Live Rock 6

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

Related FAQs: Curing Live Rock 1, Curing LR 2, Curing LR 3, Curing LR 4, Curing LR 5, Curing LR 7, Curing LR 8Ammonia in/and Marine Systems, Live Rock in General, LR Life Identification, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Curing Live Rock, Placement, Lighting, Water QualityLive Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & Charts, Sumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock,

A Trumpetfish (Aulostomus chinensis) and Golden Guinea Fowl Puffer (Arothron meleagris) in a not-uncommon association (the one following, opportunistically feeding) via the efforts of the other. MikeK pic in the Galapagos.

LR Stinks  12/18/05 Hi! I purchased precured LR a month ago.  The tank cycled 2 weeks ago.  Today I noticed that my rock still stinks.  The water does not smell any different than my other saltwater tank. Should my LR still stink? <Even with cured liverock, there will be die off due to the rigors of shipping as most live rock is just wrapped with wet newspaper and  the rock could several more weeks to cure.  A skimmer is highly recommended during the curing of live rock.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: LR Stinks  12/20/2005 When I picked up the rock to smell it, a lot of 'stuff' came off the rock.  My apologies for using the word 'stuff' but I don't know how to describe it.  It was not rubble.  It was a soft substance.  Should I scrub the rocks again?  <I wouldn't, may scrub off life that will come back.  I've had live rock for a year and lo and behold Rhodactis was sprouting up all over.  Nothing was added to the tank that may have triggered this.  Have patience my friend.  James (Salty dog)>

Re: LR Stinks  12/20/2005 No, nothing was added to the tank.  But the one thing I did do wrong was not add a protein skimmer.  All I have running is the filter (emperor 400).  And I have just recently (today) remembered to turn the pump back on.  And this weekend I will add live sand.  How long, from this point, should I wait before adding a yellow tang? <You definitely do not want to add a Yellow Tang.  Let your tank "season" for at least four months before adding any sensitive fish.  Continue to monitor ammonia levels.  After adding the live sand, I'd wait another two to three weeks providing all water parameters look good.  Avoid using the tank lights throughout this period.  With all the excess nutrients present you could develop a nasty nuisance algae bloom.  James (Salty Dog)> Live Rock, Curing And Regrowth - 12/12/2005 Dear Bob and Crew I am new to the reef aspect of fishkeeping and you have all been a terrific resource. <Thanks! We love it here, glad that you're a part of it.> I spend hours a week reading your books and posts and have learned an incredible amount. Thanks! <Bob and Anthony thank you for your kind words.> My question is about some rock I received last week, a full box of WSI Tonga Kaelini. I received it on Thursday, it had A LOT of dead stuff on it, especially bivalves that I had to knock out, etc, etc and looked like it had been out of the water for awhile. <At least a week, but probably more. All typical though.> Very nasty! Anyway I had it cleaned up and wet within an hour after getting it. <Good stuff.> My ammonia has kept spiking off the chart and I've been changing water twice a day to try and keep it down. Yesterday I pulled all the rock out and gave it another cleaning and found some more dead bivalves and a couple of really big stinky dead worms. Temp is 78-79. PH 8.3 Running big EuroReef Skimmer pulling coffee colored skimmate. Two other powerheads in tub to keep water moving. <Sounds good.> My question is whether I should see anything alive on the rock? <Anything alive on this rock is probably hiding as far down in the rock as possible.> My only other experience with uncured rock the rock looked dead but when I put it in the water there were tons of worms and snail and things. This time I have 90 lbs of rock and I don't see ONE SINGLE LIVING THING other than coralline. Not one worm, or duster, or pod, or snail, or spaghetti worm, Etc. Nada! <Just takes time. You may just have a batch that was very "live" and thus there is much to die off. Keep up those water changes to lessen the impact and hopefully save some of the other incidental life.> My question is, is this normal? Are these things that will show up later? <Quite normal. Do your best to help the process and they'll come.> Or is maybe my rock already dead from shipping or temperature or something? <Significant die off has occurred no doubt. Just wait.> When would I know for sure? <No set time frame.> Someone on another board chided me saying that I should only expect rock and bacteria. Is that true? <Well you should expect those of course, but not the only thing that you have I'm sure.> When I cured my other rock the worms and stuff seem to be an important part of the process. Otherwise it seems to me I could spare the reef and just get a bundle of filter floss and a pack of Bio-zyme! (a little tongue and cheek but you get my point!). Thanks for your attention. Jim <No worry here. Just wait. - Josh>

Nitrates/Curing Live Rock - 12/04/05 Hi Guys, <<David>> You know, I can't imagine how tank-life would be without ye. Although ignorance can be bliss.. <<And costly...>> Anyway, I have been setting up a 55g corner tank with a 10g Miracle Mud/Caulerpa sump over the last few months. For the last week or so I have had it running with just saltwater, getting everything sorted out. <<Ah, very good.>> In this state pH was 8.3, dKH 10, calcium 320, and temp 77F. <<Ok>> I am replacing all evaporated water with Kalkwasser generated with un-buffered RO water via an AquaMedic kalkstirrer and dosing pump, hoping to slowly build calcium levels. <<Excellent...am a fan of dosing Kalkwasser...specially through the use of a Kalk reactor.>> Water is made from RO water reconstituted with Kent Osmo-Prep and buffered with Kent Super dKh buffer and Instant Ocean. <<Ok>> Yesterday I added 10kg Aragalive (supposedly bacterially "live" sand <<Mmm, have my doubts as to the efficacy of this product...nothing more than a bag of damp sand to me...better off obtaining a cup or two of sand from friend's/LFS's tanks...much more useable bacteria/bio-diversity.>> <<Marina recommends NOT EVER using sand from a shop's tanks, unless they have a separate reef/invert system, and even then it's really questionable - you stand the very good chance of bringing in some bad critters.  MH>> and 30kg cured live rock that had spent 48 hours in transit at approx 7C. <<Unfortunate, but all too common.>> Within hours of adding it my pH fell to 7.9. <<Tis normal...a result of the microbial activity generated from the dead/decaying matter on/in the rock placing additional burden on the tank's buffer reserve.>> I added a dose of Kent Super dKH buffer. Twenty-four hours later readings are as follows; pH is still at 8.0, dKh 10, Calcium 300, BUT the puzzler (to me anyway) Ammonia is <0.25mg/l, Nitrites are 2mg/l and Nitrates 50mg/l. I tested my RO water for Nitrates and got a tentative 1mg/l and also tested the water removed from the tank when placing the rock and it too gives 1mg/l Nitrates. Kits are Salifert, pH is measured with a Reef Fanatic pH meter. Is it possible that the nitrates and nitrites came in on the rock? <<More than a possibility my friend. Under the best conditions a certain amount of die-off is expected...and your rock just spent two days at 7C (44.6F) before you placed it in the tank. So, what this means is you are "curing" this rock in your display. Which at this stage of your setup (no fish/inverts) is not so bad. All the same, do have read through our FAQs re this topic: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm >> I do not have any Caulerpa in the system yet as I thought I would have to wait a week or more before nitrates appeared in the system. Should I just carry out a water change? <<I wouldn't bother at this point. I would let the tank cycle for a few weeks (probably anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on the condition of the rock) while monitoring ammonia/nitrite/nitrate and perform a large water change once all read zero...and then watch again for a couple days to see that all have stabilized.>> Also what is an acceptable temperature for the tank. While it has been stable at 77F now that the lights are in action it has risen to 78.5F, that's with two 55W PCs, I have not introduced my 150W MH yet, which will no doubt raise the heat even more. I can run fans but a chiller is almost out of the question. <<I would strive to not let the temp exceed 84F as a general rule...you'll likely be fine, but have the fans ready just in case. My tank runs at 79F-83F depending on the time of year, with no mal-effect...and while diving in Hawaii this past October, the water temp was a stable 82F, and not just in the shallows, but down to more than 100 feet.>> Any advice is welcome.  Thanks, David <<Regards, EricR>>

Live Rock Turning White, Fish Choking on Their Own Waste - 11/22/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I'm new. I have bought a 50g Uniquarium for a FOWLR system. The tank is cycling now with three damsels. <Please read up on fishless cycling in the future.> Ammonia is at about 2. <Poor fish.> I have added about 15 lbs of LR over the last few days. Today I noticed that the LR is losing much of the color and turning white. Am I killing the LR and will it be lost forever? <Yes and no. Some die off to be expected, again POOR fish.> Is there anything I can do to help? I'm buying a venturi skimmer in the morning. I have 1 50/50 fluorescent tube. Do you think it is the poor light or ammonia turning the LR white? <Lighting is weak but the initial cycle is at work here. The skimmer will help, but water changes and optimal conditions must also be maintained. All should be fine (except those POOR FISH).> What can I do? <Wait.> Thanks <Welcome.>   <<Who are you, you who answered this query?  Marina>>

Problem Curing Live Rock In a Small Tank - 11/16/2005 Thank you for taking the time to read this email. <Gladly Ron.> I have been trying to cure live rock that I bought from a wholesaler online. I received approx. 20 lbs of live rock within 1 day. Once I received it, I then placed all the rock into a separate curing tank. <Good practice to follow.>  The tank is a 10 gallon tank. I have one power head running constantly and the protein skimmer is always on. I have the tank kept in a semi dark area. The rock has been in the tank for approx 1 1/2 months. Since I can remember my levels of ammonia, nitrate and nitrite have stayed relatively the same. 0.50 ppm ammonia, the nitrate levels are reading at 10 ppm and nitrite levels area a 0 ppm. These readings have stayed the same for the entire time. I keep the tank temp at 78 degrees, the salinity level <Specific gravity.>  is 1.022 - 1.023, ph <pH>  levels read at 8.2 and all the water is deionized (I do add necessary electrolytes and trace elements back in afterwards). <You mean by mixing with salt, right?>  I have been doing a water change approx. 1 gallon every week for about 2 weeks hoping something will change (nothing has changed). <Not a large enough water change.>  I don't understand why things are staying the same. I have seen very little change and I'm worried I have done something wrong. <Well Ron, it seems you're on the right track; perhaps some minor tweaking to your procedure will help. This is a fairly small tank for this amount of rock, and with such small water changes things are probably having trouble keeping up. Have premixed water ready to go and drain at least half of the tank into a bucket. Remove each piece of rock and give it a scrub in the bucket (this will remove decayed matter and detritus that the powerhead was unable to free due to crowding). Replace them in the tank and fill with your new water, then just keep up daily water changes. This should clear you up in no time.> Thanks, Ron <Quite welcome. - Josh> 

Re: Mud/DSB/Refugium  11/16/05 Thanks for the response. Because of the bulk (all LR at once) I don't have and don't really want to buy a whole new setup just to cure it. Though, I've never experienced the smell. Is it likely to cause my wife to move out until it is over? <Heeee! I hope not... might be a good to better idea to "do in batches"... that is, a box at a time, adding another in monthly or so increments... less smelly. Or to opt (call the supplier re) for "better" or so-called "pre-cured" rock (will need to be cured nonetheless... just "on average" less so, smelly> In which case it may behoove me to foot the expense and do it in the garage. <Oh yes... can be done in most any non-reactive containers... e.g. new plastic trash cans...> I am expecting to set up a smaller QT tank in the future for incremental additions, but it certainly will not handle the initial LR load.   A couple of FUP questions, if you don't mind: 1) I've read much about using pipe etc to prop LR off LS. Is this to allow a water space between the bottom of the LR and the substrate, or other? <Mostly this function, yes... also helps stabilize the mass on top, allows for somewhat easier maintenance> If other, is there any reason "dead" coral couldn't be buried in the DSB and used as a support to the LR above? <Mmm, nope... just would miss out on the above benefits> 2) As many have suggested, I have added much of the Aragamax without rinsing first.  <Ughhhh! A mess> The first few times I did this, after some time the water did clear.  Now, however, I have had a perpetual cloudiness for several days. Recommend I just wait, with/without circulation, or buy/borrow a diatom filter, or is there a flocculant that is safe for this purpose? <Borrow/rent the Diatom... the cheapest, fastest fix> Thanks again for your help, and thanks for "Reef Invertebrates". Great book, I am waiting with anticipation for the next. <Unfortunately the series is "dead in the water" for now... Bob Fenner>

Re: Mud/DSB/Refugium  11/17/05 Are you talking about adding a box at a time in a remote curing device, or in the main tank with the other already cured rock? <Yes> I thought curing with uncured was a bad idea.  <Not ideal, but not avoidable in some circumstances... adding all at once can present too much a possibility of outright decay, death> Given the need to space curing LR out, how much can be practically cured in a garbage can? <About a box each...> Do people create an actual PVC platform above the sand (out of what)? <Some do> Otherwise how is the LR affixed to the horizontal pipes? <Not affixed, but laid on, stacked... covered on WWM> Very sorry to hear about the book, I hope the holdup is temporary. And thanks again. <Me too... and thank you. Bob Fenner>

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>

Curing live rock, Is my rock toast  10/20/05 Dear Crew, <Jimmy>     I recently purchased and started to cure LR.  After ammonia and nitrite levels had come down to zero, Unfortunately, one of my two powerheads "locked up" one day and drove the temperature in the vat through the roof ( about 92 degrees F ) Ironically, neither nitrite or ammonia went up. The temp may have been this high for up to 3-5 days.  I now note that this rock is bleach white, except for some very pale green and pink coloration in certain areas.      I have now placed the rock in optimal conditions, and started to use good lighting in an attempt to "recover" it.  I note that there are some small areas of pink coralline algae growing in a few places after only three days.  Is my rock toast ?  Is this rock going to eventually recover or am I wasting my time ?  <Your rock will be fine.  Most live rock takes at least six months to develop with critters etc.  Keep your calcium/dKH levels up.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Jimmy Curing Old Live Rock 10/02/05 Hi Again Gang, <<Hello - Ted here>> As always this is my one stop shop for questions regarding my tank(s). Here's my dilemma ...Last week I was given about 70lbs of Fiji live rock from a friends tank that has been turned off and ignored for approx 4 months. This friend shut down his tank completely leaving the rock at approx 68 degrees with no light or skimming. So I took the rock off his hands and brought it home. Hope to use it for my 55 gallon FOWLR Trigger/Puffer tank. The plan is to add 40lbs of live sand and then the rock. The problem is that most of the rock is covered in a light green colored algae. I'm in no real hurry to use this rock however there are a couple of small pieces I'd like to add to my display reef tank. I am leaving this rock in the bucket at 77 degrees and a powerhead keeping the flow going. Also I leave the bucket covered so the rock is in complete darkness 24/7. Will this algae eventually die off or do I need to scrub it off and go from there? <<If possible, be patient, add a skimmer, perform water changes using RO/DI water and keep the rock in the dark. The algae will die off.>>   Could any of the invert life have survived the long term neglect? <<Some animals could survive at a cool temperature and high salinity if acclimated very slowly as would occur in a neglected tank.>> I truly expected some sort of spike but then again it's only been a week or so. It's beautiful rock and the best part is that it was FREE!! WOO HOO!!!<<The best kind!>> The bucket water looks like: 77 degrees, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=0, Phosphate=0.1, pH=8.2-8.4, SG=1.025. I haven't checked CA yet. I've been dosing the bucket with "Purple Up" I doubt it will do any good by I figured why not ...Pretty much the same as in my display tank! I can't get PO below 0.1 to save my soul!! Any suggestions?<<Elevated level of phosphate contribute to algae problems. Phosphates are introduced through poor quality water and prepared foods. Phosphates are best controlled by not introducing them which also will aid in eventually lowering the phosphate level in the system. Use an RO/DI system when performing water changes and replacing water lost to evaporation. Rinse frozen foods before feeding. You can also use phosphate absorbers like Rowaphos and Phosban. Please search the WWM FAQs for "Curing Live Rock" and "Phosphate Absorbers".>>\ Thank for your time!! <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>>

Skimming during Cycling  9/21/05 Hello there, <Greetings> Your webpage has been invaluable in the past. I'm a huge fan of your books as well. You all are an awesome resource for us hobbyists. <Ah, welcome> I've got a question about tank cycling that I couldn't find on your website anywhere else. I am an active part of a discussion group on another website (where "A Conscientious Marine Aquarist" is held akin to the Bible). <Mmmm> Now, here is my question: Should you run a protein skimmer and do partial water changes during your new tank's cycle (using live rock to cycle the tank)? <I definitely would... in almost all cases/circumstances, yes> The majority of posters say "No" it will only prolong your cycle. <Mmm, not doing so might kill off most all your "life" on the LR... precluding cycling period... Think about this... there is a need for some constancy that the water changes, skimming can best provide, along with checking pH/alkalinity, possibly boosting biomineral content> I disagree. I'm of the opinion that ammonia should be kept in check during a cycle. <Yes... we are in confluence here... more than about a (one) ppm becomes too toxic> The higher the ammonia, the more critters that die on your live rock. Uncured live rock is going to produce ammonia, but is their a reason to let that ammonia go off the chart? <Agreed> Am I mistaken? Does ammonia fixing bacteria grow faster in higher levels of ammonia? <Mmm, only up to a "certain extent"... under unfavorable conditions, including too high concentration of ammonia, their metabolic rate is depressed, they're killed> Or is the limiting factor in ammonia fixing bacteria reproduction rate? <Only at less than ideal/toxic conditions> Looking forward to your answer either way. I would love to be right, but I'm more interested in doing things the right way. <Good... we are also similar in this regard> Also, may I copy your response and post it, in its entirety? <You are welcome to re-state anything from me. Cheers, 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

Cycling a system/LR, livestock selection... WWM  9/1/05 Hi Have been reading through some of your articles and FAQs and have some questions that I was hoping you could help me out with? 1) I am currently cycling a new salt water tank. I am using what appears to be an unconventional method but I would like to understand your thoughts on my logic. - I have used some bio balls / filter wool, sponge, noodles, activated carbon in the filter - I then added a very small amount of low grade live rock which started the cycle. - I add daily Ammovec - which is a Sera product to introduce bacteria - for 7 days). I am currently at day 4. - Once both ammonia and nitrites are zero, I then intend on adding a lot of premium live rock and go through a mini-cycle with hopefully not too much die off. - Once the mini cycle is completed, I then, very slowly over time, will remove the bio-balls / noodles and just let the live rock do the job. Is this a good method? No one specifically gave me this advise, but I have read so many different methods that I am not sure of the way to go and I don't want to spend a lot of money on premium rock if it is going to die during the cycle. <Should work> I don't have the facilities to do a DSB as you recommend in your articles so I am trying to work with the resources that I have. I currently have ammonia and am about 4-5 days into the cycle. Could you recommend next steps? <Time going by> If you think I have done something wrong could you advise what I should do? Is it too late to remove the noodles? Can I back out if I need to? <?... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nh3marfaqs.htm> 2) I have quite a small tank due to lack of space.. So I plan to keep 1-2 small fish at the most. What would you recommend as a good symbiotic or interesting setup for a very small system. I would have obviously liked to get the clown fish/anemone combination but only have white/actinic fluors. So don't know if this is a practical option.   <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm> I have heard that the clown could take to some other corals.. is this true? <Possibly> What would you recommend? I have done a lot of reading on types of fish and their suitability i.e gobies, blennies, shrimps, Dottybacks, clownfish and cardinals but am looking for a good combination? 3) I have just added a powerhead to increase turbulence..  How do I know when I have too much turbulence? <You'll know> I am getting some tiny air bubbles with my AquaClear 20. Do you know the reason for this and how I can prevent it from occurring? <... Please search WWM re bubbles...> I appreciate your help. And I apologize for asking so many questions! I want to make sure I start off on the right foot before I go beyond the point of no return! Kind Regards Simon <Please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM... keep good notes. Bob Fenner>

Dead live rock 8/9/05 Great site, could not survive with out it. I have purchase your books of Coral Propagation (which I refer to all the time) and Reef Invertebrates. Can't wait until next book. <Me either> I recently was given some rock that two years ago was live. They had it in their garden outside for that long. Is the rock still good for my saltwater tank? If so, how can I bring it back to life? Will just curing it bring it back to life? Thanks for your help. Joe Othman <Not just curing... but the presence of other live rock ought to help... I'd be cleaning this old rock (new PBS series?) ahead of use/placement, per this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm Bob Fenner> Invert Questions - 08/04/05 Hello Bob, <<Eric here>> I'm so glad I found your site, it's very informative! I hope it's ok to send you emails. <<Yes, quite>> I have several questions regarding invertebrates, but I'm at the beginning of cycling the tank - I'm a newbie. <<Welcome to the hobby>> 1. I think I have a Christmas tree worm - it's fairly big and has those Christmas tree bristles and lives in this rock.  I like it, but I'm cycling my tank - is it going to die?? <<Possibly...cycling/curing live rock involves a certain amount of die-off.>> I can't feed it b/c I'm cycling - what should I do? <<Leave it be.  You likely can't provide anything not available (or not) in the tank already.  Christmas Tree/Feather Duster worms feed on micro-plankton/algae, bacteria, dissolved organics...most foods attempted by aquarist are too large/unsuitable for these creatures.>> 2. I have this weird grey matter on one particular rock that has this short grass on it, it just started showing up.  I think the grass is dying - is this anything I should concern myself with? <<Nope, all part of the natural progression.>> 3. On this same note with that same rock with grey matter on it - there are a lot of calciferous worms on this rock.  I don't mind them, but I wonder if they are spawning?? <<Or maybe just reappearing after disturbances from transport/handling.>> They seem bigger and I see little calcium tubes growing on other rocks - I think I even see a weird spore!  It's fuzzy, whitish, and has a tiny hole at the tip. <<likely a Syconoid sponge, nothing to worry about.>> Is this particular rock with all this life on it bad for cycling the tank? <<Rock with "life" is desirable...some life forms will disappear...others pop up later...all part of the "cycle.">> I think I'll end up w/a lot of worms. 4. I saw a reddish worm with lots of legs about 1/2" long.  Is this a fireworm and should I remove it?  I'm hoping it's harmless, I wouldn't mind keeping it. <<More likely what you saw was a bristle worm, a beneficial detritivore.  The "legs" are actually sharp, fragile "bristles" that can be painful to the touch...best not to handle with bare hands.>> Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you when you get the chance! Steph <<My pleasure, Regards, Eric>>

Live rock cycle jumpstart? Foundation equipment - 7/31/05 Hi guys, hope all's been well. <Hi Jon, Ali here> I have another question for you. (obviously)  I am setting up another tank.  It is a 140 gallon with so far a mag 350 and several powerheads, and 150 lbs of Aragamax. <Is this a reef or a fish only with live rock??> I will add more filtration, probably a sump soon, I was just trying to get a jump on cycling the tank. <If you plan on keeping corals, dump the mag 350, add the sump and a heavy duty skimmer. Read up on the Euroreef, AquaC models and invest in a good quality RO/DI water filtration system. Additionally consider having at least a 3-4" sandbed with the Aragamax. To achieve this, 300 pounds of sand will more than likely be needed.> But, my question is this:  I purchased 100lb of live rock, from an online store that I have used many times.  I never got an ammonia spike, or any change in ammonia at all for that matter.  On previous tanks I was usually off the charts within a day or two. Any advice would be appreciated. I have enjoyed your site for many years, your teams wisdom is impressive. <You want to jump start your cycle? Why? Stability is extremely important and generally nothing good ever comes from jump starting something in a saltwater aquarium. Add the sand bed, fill your tank up with properly filtered RO/di saltwater, add as much current/circulation as you can, add your live rock and let your tank 'run' with just the sand and rock for a good 2 months at least (keep your lights on no more than 3 to 5 hours a day during this time). Even if your levels appear to read low, maintain the tank for the full two months as stated above. After this time, test your water, and begin adding animals,...slowly. Once again, remember to invest in the skimmer and RO/di filter. These two items shouldn't be looked at as add-ons or upgrades. They should be looked at as foundation equipment, just as important as the main aquarium itself.> Thanks in advance.  Jon <Good luck Jon! Keep reading/researching and enjoy your new system - Ali>

Curing Live rock and crushed coral in a reef 7/29/05 Hello Crew, <Howdy Frank! Ali here...> Thank you for all for the effort that you put into this wonderful website! <Merci> What a wealth of knowledge! I have a quick question about live rock and substrate. I have a 90Gal marine aquarium with some soft corals and some fish. I started the tank with about 2" of coarse crushed coral substrate and 50 lbs or live rock. I have recently acquired another 150 lbs of live rock which I am currently curing. <Make sure you cure your rock for at minimum a full 4 weeks. Utilizing LOTS of circulation in the holding "bin" will go a long way. Additionally, it would be better to add 1/4 of your new rock per week, so that in 1 month's time all of the new rock will be added. This is AFTER the initial minimum 4 week curing phase. > The question that I have is if I add all of this live rock into my aquarium, I will be covering up a lot of the crushed coral on the bottom of my tank and will therefore be unable to vacuum most of the substrate in my tank. Is this going to be OK, or is it going to lead to problems in the future? Will I have to switch to a deep sand bed in order to add this rock? I am trying to do what is best for the marine life by adding the rock, I do not want to create any dangerous side effects in the process. <Generally speaking, crushed coral isn't something you want to utilize in a reef aquarium. You will have less problems in the future if you bite the bullet and do a tank renovation, removing the crushed coral and replacing it with a fine grained deep sand bed 3-6" or simply going completely bare bottom, or perhaps a shallow sand bed 1-2" of fine grained sand. The CaribSea Aragamax Select sand is ideal for this and can be found at most reputable dealers.> Thank you, Frank <No problem Frank! Good luck>

Skimmer Arriving After Tank and Live Rock 07.04.05 Hello again WWM Crew, I have a big problem I just found out about today. I am picking up my 95 gallon tank on Saturday from The Fish Store and More in Atlanta. However my protein skimmer was supposed to be here on Wednesday, but has now been delayed until next Monday. <Not that big of a problem, more of an inconvenience.> The obvious answer is to wait to set up the tank until I get the skimmer. The only problem being that I am picking up 100# of live rock also on Saturday. I am left with the problem of either filling the tank with sand/rock/water right away and waiting on the skimmer, or the other option is to wait on the skimmer to set up my tank leaving the live rock out of water for 2-3 days. Please advise me on the best route to take here. Right now I am planning on taking the first route and doing a 10-15 gallon water change after the first day. <Definitely keep the rock wet, either in a separate tub or just setup the tank with the equipment you have and add the skimmer when it arrives.  Your rock will be much happier this way. No worries, some folks don't even use skimmers. -Gage> Thanks, Cory

Curing LR... w/ or w/o sand present hello I just have a quick question.  I'm setting up a 150 gal XH and curing 100 pounds of live rock. Would I add my sand bed before the curing process or after. <After most likely... easier to cure the rock with nothing else present>> It will be about 4-6 inches deep. I would think to put it in before to seed the sand. <It will be seeded nonetheless> What do you guys think seeing your more experienced.  Thank you for your help. Andy <I'd wait... more trouble keeping the sand clean, removing accumulated gunk putting it in a LR curing tank, system. Bob Fenner>

Quick ?, is this rock safe? Greetings Bob & Crew! <Howdy> I bought a dry rock from my LFS a week or so ago.  It looks  like a piece of old, dead coral (really neat looking).  It only had some  dried green algae on it.  Was from someone's old tank that they broke down  & sold to the store. Anyway, took it home and tried scrubbing the algae off.  Then  decided to soak it in fresh water for to loosen it up.  Well, after one day  it reeked of dead fish!  I looked and found a dead fish (was dried up)  inside one of the rocks holes. <Yuck!> Well, I soaked it in bleach water for a few hours.  Then  rinsed in fresh water.  Then soaked it in water & Amquel+ for 2  days.  Rinsed and soaked again in fresh water & Amquel+.  Then  rinsed again.  I let it sit outside in the sun for 2 days. <Good technique> Now, the rock smells....well like a rock.  No chlorine smell  or dead fish smell.  On close inspection, nothing but rock. Is it safe to put in my reef tank now?  If not, what can I do  to see that it is? Thanks & sorry for a long story for such a short  question. <I do think this rock is safe to use now. I would use it. Bob Fenner>

"Twice cooked" Live Rock Hi gang (Bob, James, Steve and Anthony...) <Anthony> I read all the Q&A about live rock and didn't find anybody writing you about the same unfortunate/stupid situation I purchased 30 lbs of Lalo live rock from Drs. Foster & Smith 2 weeks ago and in the process of curing may have cooked it with near 90 degree temps in 2 occasions within the last 3 days. First from a malfunctioning heater and second due to high outdoor temps. Prior to both incidents, the rocks had a lot of die-off in the 1st week. Though the water was clear of ammonia and nitrates and smelling good the day before the mishap.  Then after each incident, the rocks had that rotten egg smell. Here are my questions: 1. Are the rocks still live or mostly dead? <Likely mostly alive> 2. Are these Lalo live rocks "so nice" to warrant the effort or should I just go to the LFS and buy cured Fiji rock from? I'm setting up a 60g FOWLR and was planning on 60 lbs of Lalo. <Up to you> 3. How long can my first batch of pets last in a 20g practice/quarantine tank.  I have had the following for over 3 weeks now (they're all doing well): <Keep monitoring water quality, have new water to change out...> 3" coral beauty angel 3" royal Gramma 1.5" true percula 3/4" yellow tail damsels (2) 1.5" skunk cleaner shrimp I know this is a lot but I wasn't planning on them being there for longer than 2-3 weeks.  At the rate I'm going, the 60g tank won't be ready for another 3-4 weeks. Thanks in advance, Anthony <... I'd switch the rock out with the fishes... put the LR in the smaller twenty for curing. Bob Fenner>

Cold Soak For Tropical Live Rock? Hi Bob, <Scott F. here today!> I had a question in regards to liverock. Most wholesalers here in  Hayward, California Keep their liverock in the original boxes, Sometimes  even for weeks. Is the liverock still good?? <Well, this is certainly not an ideal practice. Weeks could result in much of the desirable life form expiring. The rock will definitely have to go through a curing process to salvage what is left, if anything. Remarkably, a good number of organisms DO survive, but great attention must be paid to the rock during curing to salvage them.> I need some bad for my new setup and was wondering if all of the life on it has died? <As above, a significant amount of the life is probably dead, but the rock may be a good "seed" for your system when cured and given the time to colonize new life forms.> Also, I live in Monterey Peninsula CA. If I buy uncured liverock.  Can I take it to the local tide pools and scrub off my live rock their? Will it be ok? The water here in Monterey is pristine. <And the surf ain't too bad, either!> But cold. <Yep...very cold! I would NOT commingle non-native life into local tidepools under any circumstances! Even though we are talking about tropical animals in a temperate environment, it is not ethical or responsible to do this. You risk the (improbable though it may be) chance of contaminating a native ecosystem, not to mention killing what may be left on the live rock. Better to mix up some synthetic sea water of the proper temperature in a nice plastic container to accomplish this!> Thanks, Lee                                                               <You're quite welcome! Regards, Scott F.> Salt substitute 6/13/05 Hey guys, long time listener, first time caller.  I buy/sell about 200-400lbs of live rock a week. Because of this, I am always receiving about the same in uncured rock each week. Besides heavy protein skimming, ozone use, a large Caulerpa sump, and large wet/dry filter, we do many water changes during the curing process.  <This is quite commendable!  Most folks don't provide so much good care to their rock.  You are just the kind of business we would love to have as an advertiser!> Even at "wholesale" prices, the cost of salt for several water changes a week is killing me. <Ahh.. the premium price for providing a premium product!> Is there a chance that I could use plain water softener salt. I could buffer it with Sodium Bicarbonate, and use CaCl to bring up Alk and Calcium to NSW levels, or not.  I would just be using this to do daily water changes on live rock.  Thanks, Robert Hill, Rob's Reef <This is a very bad idea.  Water softener salt often has corrosion inhibitors and other additives, and is not even the cheapest source of NaCl.  Also, there are other things besides Calcium and Alkalinity that would have to be added, and at great expense.  Do check out www.aquaticecosystems.com or other aquaculture sources.  There are at least two companies that sell a salt "concentrate" which has everything but the NaCl in it.  These companies will also advise you on how to obtain a good grade of NaCl locally.  In addition to a much lower product cost, shipping costs are greatly reduced.  I wouldn't recommend this stuff for reef tanks (for many reasons, but mostly because you have to make several hundred gallons at a time!), but it is a great solution for a rock system.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Curing Live Rock WWM Crew, I'm currently setting up a new saltwater tank and have a few questions on curing my live rock.  I've combed your web pages and just want to be sure on a few points. The Set up (new aquarium no critters yet.) I have a 35g hexagon display tank with a 12g hexagon sump. Water parameters are all up to par.  Lighting is a 150w PFO HQI mini pendant with an Ice Cap ballast and (10k) Aqualine double-ended bulb. Skimming will be tasked by an Aqua C Urchin Skimmer.  Circulation: Eheim 1250 return pump and Eheim 1212 powerhead. The heater is a 250 w titanium heater. 50+ lbs of live rock (soon to be added/cured) 40 lbs of live sand The Goal (suggestions/comments welcomed) Clown fish (A. percula) Anemone (long tentacle or bubble?) Cardinalfish (sp. ?) Gobies (sp. ?) Cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis) Hermit crabs (sp. ?) Snails (sp. ?) Feather dusters The questions Live rock curing -- Can or should I use the metal halide during curing (if it is raised to the ceiling) or should I put some lower wattage standard output bulbs on the tank for this process? 12 hour cycle? <Charlie, no lighting at all during curing.  Nutrients will be sky high during the process and lighting will just incite the growth of nuisance algae.>  If I can use the MH, should the light be lowered over time or all at once after the curing is complete? Can/should the sand be in place during curing or should I add it later? <I would have it in place.> Should I put on an Aquaclear 50 (other hang-on) for the curing process to add carbon? <I would just use the skimmer.  The carbon would be exhausted in no time.  Watch your stocking level.  With a small surface area you will be limited to four to five small fish at most.> Thanks in advance for the info/comments.  I spend way too much time reading your web page.  Love it! <Keep on reading my friend.  James (Salty Dog)> Charlie

"Cooking" Live Rock Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I recently purchased about 100 lbs of live rock from a friend that is decommissioning his tank.  I am awaiting my new, larger tank to arrive so I need to store the rock for about 1-2 months.  My friend had a hair algae problem, so I thought I could use this time to remove it from the rocks before putting them in my new tank.  The fellow at my LFS suggested that I put the rock in a Rubbermaid garbage container with a good pump, but no heat or light (room temperature is about 70 degrees). He said it could be safely stored this way and kill off the algae problem at the same time.  Does this seem plausible? Thanks, Dave <Well, Dave- you certainly can keep the rock in a dark area. The lack of light will certainly help wipe out the algae, but attention to water quality is important. A simple protein skimmer, water changes, and a heater will do the trick (keep the temperature at standard reef tank temps). Various techniques for "cooking" live rock like this are discussed in hobbyist circles, so do check out some of the message boards to hear how your fellow hobbyists are doing it. Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Feeding Live Rock During Cycling...? I was wondering if you needed to feed the tank when cycling it with live rock. I have read a lot of sites including yours that suggest using live rock for a saltwater tank cycle instead of fish but I have not seen anything that mentions needing to place some kind of nutrient in the water for the live rock? If there is something that I should put in there what would it be? <Personally, I've never fed live rock (or more precisely, the fauna that inhabit the live rock) during cycling. My thinking is that there is so much potential nutrient products being released into the water that it's really counter-productive to add more into the water at this time.> Also I was wondering if you have a really good example (diagrams would be good and pictures would be great) of a double sump type setup. I am trying to do something with my 180 Gallon tank so I can add some different items to a second sump but I can't seem to get a good way to feed the water from the first sump to the second one (mostly due to power outage considerations). <I have not seen a picture of a double-sump system on this site, but I have seen a couple of systems over the years that have utilized such a configuration. More commonly, you'd see a refugium located before or after the sump. Do check some of the DIY sites, like ozreef.org, or the hobby message boards (like the WWM Chat Forum, Reef Central, etc.) to discuss this concept with other hobbyists who might have pics of their systems to share with you.> I am really looking to go from my wet/dry to an open sump so I can add some other material and equipment. If you have a web site or something please let me know. Thanks in advance. Mike S. <As above, Mike. I think you'll find tons of good stuff out there! Have fun! Regards, Scott F.> New Live Rock + New Bristleworms = Dead everything Hi,  We are novice salt water tank owners.  Actually, my husband,  Jim, is the one who does everything and has been learning so much about this  year old hobby of his.  The only thing I do is sit back and enjoy as well  as having a keen sense to notice odd behaviors in the tank which helps Jim to  realize there may be a developing problem.  The problem is this:  Jim  just purchased a lot of live rock off the internet.  The advertisement said  it was ready to go.   <... but "ready" to go where? In almost all cases there is sufficient die-off in transit to warrant re-curing "cured" LR> He put it right in the tank after receiving it.   It was about 24 hrs. and the ammonia levels and nitrites or...trates whichever,  (I don't understand all of that yet), shot off the chart.  He used Ammo-lock <Won't work> and waited for a couple of days.  The fish started acting weird and  they began to die.  He did a water change and the next day the tank was  infested with these nasty looking white and pink worms.  The starfish was  covered in white mucus and when we checked him, he just disintegrated.  All  of our crabs were out of their shells and looked like skeletons.  All of  our fish were dead.  After finding your site, I think I have figured out  that these are bristleworms.  Your site talks about these worms being okay  but I found some other information that claimed them to be bad....... stinging  the fish and putting an anesthetizing mucus on them and eating them. <These worms were likely "poisoned along with the rest" of your livestock... not out and about consuming their tankmates>   We  are not sure what is going on and what to do with this tank full of worms.   Like I said, there is nothing else living in there.   Should we throw all of  the live rock away and empty the tank to clean it or can the live rock be  saved? <Can be> What does it sound like is going on to you and what should we  do?? <At this point? Let time go by... a few weeks... gives you time to read over WWM re what you're, your husband are up to here> Help!!!  My sweet "Sally" died....she was a sailfin tang who responded to my voice.  We also had a Picasso trigger and some  damsels.   Thanks for whatever you can do to help.  Karen and  Jim <Patience here... all will be well, with understanding, knowledge. Bob Fenner>

Ready To Rock! (Curing Live Rock) Gentlemen- Greetings, <Hey there! I don't know about the "gentleman" part, but you've got Scott F. with you today!> I've got some quick questions regarding cycling and curing. My goal is to cure 75 lbs of FIJI Premium Live Rock in my soon to be new FOWLR tank - with the additional goal of cycling my tank also. I will be using Live Sand also. I ordered the live rock (pre cured) from two sources. The problem is that even though I have my tank and skimmer, my sump/refugium and canister filter (additional chemical filtration only) has not yet arrived (long story) but one order of my Live Rock came in today. Since my Euro reef skimmer requires a sump and 6-8 ins of water - I made about 25-30 gallons of RO/DI salt water in Rubber Maid trash bin and placed the Live Rock (25Lbs) in it with 3 power heads for circulation . <A smart move. Even supposedly "cured" rock will cure some more after shipping. Remote cycling of rock is always a good idea, IMO.> Is this temporary holding setup on OK until I get my setup complete i.e. my sump? <I think it's a great idea.> Can I add additional LR - I have 50lbs in transit to the setup ? How long can I use this temp location and will the curing process have started? <If you have the room, add the new rock. You can keep the rock cycling in the container until you see zero ammonia readings. Conduct regular water changes and testing on the cycling water. When you're confident that curing is done (usually a few weeks-but no strict timetable), you can begin adding it to your display system.> Do I need water changes? <Absolutely.> Once my sump/skimmer is in place I plan to transfer the LR to my display tank so my cycling (and curing) can take place - any recommendations? <Set up your tank, but I'd continue to cure the live rock remotely.> Should I setup the refugium during the cycling process? <I would set it up.> Do you recommend any additives during the cycling and/or curing process - I want the purple algae on the rocks? <The best "additive" is freshly made saltwater, IMO. With frequent water changes, you are replenishing almost all of the compounds that the animals on the rock require. Many of the additives out there may not be necessary if you change water regularly. In fact, our adage is "If you can't test for something, don't add it into your tank".> Do additives like Kent Marine Reef Starter kit, SeaChem's Reef Enhancer, etc. provide any value in a FOWLR tank? <There are many good products out there, but they should only be used if testing indicates a need to use them. With the exception of Kalkwasser, many hobbyists never used additives of any kind in my systems with great success. Once again-in my opinion, the best "additive" is fresh saltwater added during water changes. Try it before you spend a ton on all kinds of expensive additives.> Finally when washing off the pre cured LR can I use fresh water or does it have to be saltwater? <Saltwater> Many, many Thanks <My pleasure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Live rock Yeah...uh...me again.  <James, today>  Hopefully you didn't run away screaming when you saw my email address again. I can't stop reading through your site...so much info...learning tons. But, of course, it has brought up more questions. I know live rock isn't susceptible to the fish diseases like ich, but is there any reason to quarantine live rock when you first buy it?  <Only if it is not cured>  Seems like a stupid question, I don't even know what you'd watch for...just wondering. Also, should I wait the 4 weeks for the tank to go fallow and all the ich to die off before adding any live rock?  <It's not necessary>  My thoughts was that this might help build strong bio-base for when the fish (the only one that is left) returns home from QT.  <Sounds good to me>  All that will be in tank during 4 weeks is Fire Shrimp. Thanks again and again and again.  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

Cooking live rock I had a friend store some live rock for me...he asked me if he could "cook" the rock...here is a thread on cooking live rock...I was just wondering if this has surfaced since I can't find much about it... http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=437342 if you need a password....use XXXX (**please don't post that password on the daily questions...) basically, you take live rock.......and put it in a large container with plenty of filtration and close the top so no light can get in.... apparently, some type of bacteria eats away all the phosphorous and your coralline algae goes into it's on pods?...anyway this bacteria eats all the bad things all inside and outside the rock...and you do frequent water changes...like once a week or so for about two or three months... <Mmm, doubtful> anyway, he did this to some of my live rock. he was storing it for me so I didn't mind.... have any of ya heard of this at all? this guy has beautiful reef tanks and is a very respected hobbyist in the community..... <Will result in loss of (too much) life...> I finally have got a 40 gallon tank started, and just put this live rock in today..... according to him, there is nothing really to cycle on my tank...  <? Am not following you here... your system still needs to cycle> just wondered if ya have heard of this or not...and should I have to cycle my tank if this is the only rock I have in it? <Monitor ammonia... as always... Bob Fenner, who is still a fan of lighting LR during curing... will gladly trade-off the appearance, annoyance of pests there from for vitality, interest> 

Cycling A Reef Tank Hello, Quick clarification question. Upon cycling my newly established reef tank should I cycle the tank with lights on or off.  <I prefer no lights, especially if uncured rock is used.>  I have a 754 gallon show tank, 40 gallon sump. 120 pounds of rock where 6 pounds is currently live rock. I am trying to make the other rock 'LIVE' rock through cycling the tank. I have a 3 inch bed of sand and another 3 inch bed of live sand in a mini refugium that was made within the sump. Thanks in advance.  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

Dictyota Hi Crew <Joe> I am at the verge of tossing all my live rock in the trash. I have had a Dictyota outbreak in my 90 gal for a while now. I bought a small Naso that wiped it out but as we know the Naso was too big and now resides in a 200 gal. I have an ev120 skimmer and a 30 gal sump with macros growing. I do 10/15 gal water changes weekly with 0 TDS. I don't know what to do. <Re?> Joe Culler, <You could kill off this brown algae by placing your LR in the dark for a few weeks... Bob Fenner>

Strange algae on surface in LR curing process tank Hello crew, <Hi Jim> I have a 50G tank that had about 25 lbs. of live rock. I purchased some more locally that was in good shape. I had it in a separate Rubbermaid tub for a few days, scrubbed it down, and added about another 30 lbs.  My remora skimmer is handling the remaining "gunk" very well.  I am seeing a very small amount of nuisance algae, but it appears to be going away. <Sounds about par for the course> My question pertains to the strange algae slick I have on my surface water.  I took one of the MaxiJet 1200s that I normally use in the tank and I'm using it to mix water in a Rubbermaid tub, so water movement is a little slow (although there is surface movement). When I get home from work , there is a very visible, bright green algae growing on the surface of the water.  It is very noticeable on the sides of the glass, but you can clearly see it anywhere the surface is not disturbed. I can wick the algae off with a paper towel (which is what I've done for the past two days).  It is definitely photosynthetic, so I left the lights off today.  Also, my water will be finished mixing tonight, so I'll be doing a water change. Ever heard of this before?  I couldn't find anything in the FAQs or on the WetWebFotos forums. <Have seen this... not uncommon but rarely discussed> Thanks! ~Jim <Bob Fenner, who would keep dipping away, wicking away...>

More on Curing Live Rock Hey guys! Here I am again looking for good advice. <<Hello. Let's give it a go.>> I've read a ton of your FAQ's about curing live rock, but I'm still not sure what I should do with what I have. I ordered 50lbs of live rock from www.oceanproaquatics.com that will arrive in a couple days. My question is where and how I should best cure the rock? <<Open question, or...?>> Here is my current situation. My 120 gallon corner tank has only been filled and running for two days. There are about 50lbs of lace rock in it with nitrifying bacteria (from my 8 month old 80 gallon tank) to help with cycling and form a base for the reef. It has one damsel and one torpedo goby in it. The skimmer I have is designed to sit in my CY192 filter and the 80 gallon doesn't have one so my skimming possibilities while curing are only in the 120.  OPTION 1: Would it be ok to cure in the main tank since it's just beginning the cycling period? I do want to avoid having to change out the whole 120 gallons (plus sump) just for the curing phase because I don't want to add a bucket of salt to my expenses (no budget). <<I treat live rock like any other acquisition. It MUST go through quarantine. When curing, this makes q/t easy-peasy, you have to keep it separate from the main display. Don't make the mistake of trying to cure it in a tank that already has other rock AND inhabitants. It only has to just be covered, a couple of Rubbermaid (or similar, doesn't HAVE to be Rubbermaid, just water-tight) bins should do the trick.>> OPTION 2: I still have the 80 gallon running with just water and coral substrate, but that tank was always maintained with tap water and I never really monitored the chemicals. The pH is also 8.0 while the pH in the new tank is 8.25. Should I use the 80 gallon to cure it or will it be healthier for the rock to go in the new tank that is running with new RO water? <<I'd use the old 80 at this point. Don't worry about the pH, and you can even lower salinity slightly if you'd like to save some moolah on salt mix. If you're really worried about a pH shock (assuming it's super-primo live rock), then buffer it up.>> OPTION 3: I have an empty 50 gallon long that I could use and put fresh salt water in for curing. This would give me the identical water of the 120 setup and keep salt costs down because it's only 50 gallons. I could even keep it only half full for curing because 50 lbs of rock isn't all that much. I could run my Fluval 304 to mechanically remove a lot of the junk that comes off, a strong powerhead or two and the 100 watts of 50/50 light I have from the old tank. Again, I don't have a skimmer I can run on it. Right now, this seems like my best option because it's affordable and will closely resemble the water quality/pH/salinity of the 120 that is cycling. <<Then that seems the best option, my friend. I'd skip the particulate filtration, it's likely to get gunked up REALLY fast. If you simply must, then I'd do ONLY mechanical filtration, and be ready with new water for daily water changes (I do encourage being ready for daily, especially sans fractionation).>> OPTION 4: Your suggestions? <<I prefer to use trash/plastic bins, but hey, you've got the tanks up and running, so why not? Worried about scratches/ing? Line 'em with a bit of indoor/outdoor carpeting, but know that they'll latch onto all kinds of gunk, make curing go a bit longer. Seems you've got that 50gallon best sorted, and it makes the most sense (plus a lot easier to replace should something happen). Other than that, get a skimmer! Or, if you can't afford, go onto www.WetWebFotos.com, search the forums for the soda bottle skimmer.. bet you can find it via Google, too.>> Thanks for your help! Clint <<And you are WELCOME! Marina>>

Live rock Hi Crew,  <Hi Sam> I have live rock curing (4 weeks) in a small tank with a sponge filter and 18 watt fluorescent.  <Never use lighting when curing live rock. With all the excess nutrients you will have an algae explosion.>  Ammonia and nitrates are zero and nitrates at 10. I have not decided what to do as far as how to stock it . Is it ok to leave it continue as is until I decide. And I would like to stock it with pods and snails before I add fish. My concern is that nothing big will be generating ammonia until I put in the fish and would I lose my bacteria.  <If you have a couple hermits and snails it would maintain a small colony of bacteria. When adding fish, do it one at a time until the bacteria colony readjusts to the new load. James (Salty Dog)>

Ammonia Hello again, <Hello John> I am setting up a new 90 gallon AGA tank. After putting 90 pounds of live Fiji rock in the tank this week, the ammonia has spiked to about 5.0 ppm. I have a mature, thriving 40 Gallon tank from which I would like to transfer most of the substrate to my new refugium. Is the ammonia too high right now to safely do this and expect the bacteria to survive? I purchased a bottle of Amquel+ but have been reluctant to use it yet. <Sounds like the rock is not fully cured yet.  I'm assuming there are no fish in the tank.  Just let the rock finish curing.  For more info, do a google search on Wet Web, keyword "liverock".  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again, John BTW - One evening as I was scanning through the message boards; I noticed that someone had asked Bob if the live rock from Foster and Smith was quality. I received 90 pounds from them this week and was very impressed with what I received. 90% of the rock was between 6 - 10 inches with several very large pieces measuring 12-16 inches. Only a few ounces of rubble in each box. Curing live rock 4/4/05 Hi Crew, I am on day 24 of curing live rock (15 pounds) which was in transit 4 days till curing started. By the way, would you still consider it live rock?  <Absolutely. Most live rock spends many days out of the water during shipping and handling.> And I decided to cure with the lights off. I have only been testing nitrites and they went sky high after a week and I added a product called Right Now which is supposed to seed you with bacteria. Now nitrites are down to zero and the same for ammonia. I took out one piece of rock to check it over and it did not smell good but not as bad as the whole room did during the first week of curing. So does that mean I still have die off and the numbers are zero just because the bacteria can handle the load? I have a small tank (10 gallon) with some fish and am afraid to put in any of the rock. Would I be better off leaving it cure longer or can I start putting in the rock into my tank. With a small tank there is not much room for error. Thanks.  <The naturally occurring bacteria on your rock probably was plenty to complete the cycle. You should be able to safely add it to your aquarium. For the first couple of days, do be aware of Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate since there may still be a small amount of wastes being processed. I would also watch the alkalinity a little more closely than normal as well. Best Regards, AdamC.> 

Curing Live Rock part 2 4/6/05 Hi Adam or any of the Crew, I put in 1 rock into my 10 gallon. I did not check PH before but it is usually between 8.2 and 8.4. Today it was 8.8 or maybe higher since that is the highest my tests show (and nitrates are down to 10-usually at 20). Most PH info is regarding raising it, will do more checking.  <Alkalinity should be measured. This is different than pH. Alkalinity is the ability of the water to resist change in pH. Nitrates of 10 (or even 20) is nothing to worry about.> During my cruising the Google results I found a number of statements regarding the life span of liquid testing components-6 months or less. I do not know when those were posted but is that still true? There are no expiration dates on the product that I have.  <Ahhhh... yes. Very astute of you! Most manufacturers don't put expiration dates or lot numbers on their test kits. Better companies like Salifert, LaMotte and Hach do. Depending on the reagents, they do have a limited shelf life. Six months sounds a bit short though. It is always a good idea to double check a questionable result with another kit.> While I have your attention I have an ick question. A few weeks ago my neon goby got it. I tried using Greenex in the tank (after which you told me that was a mistake) and I lost a chalk bass who did not look sick. The neon goby died after 2 weeks. Then my clown goby got it and I removed him (into a small bowl with a heater and airstone) and treated him with copper and after 2 weeks he looks good. I have two pajama cardinals still in the tank and they did not get ick. So the tank has not been fallow and I do not have space to keep another tank for the cardinals and goby. So what are my chances when I put the goby back in the 10 gallon? <The Greenex probably wasn't bad, just not very helpful. I would keep the goby in quarantine for at least a total of three weeks. If the cardinals still seem to be 100% Ick free at that time, then you can move the goby back. Best Regards. AdamC.> <<RMF disagrees... all fish need to be removed... the tank left fish-less... or the crypt/ich will be back>>

Cycling a New Tank/Curing Rock...At The Same Time! Great website. <Glad to hear that you like the site! Scott F. here today!> I'm trying my first reef tank (have had fish only saltwater in the past), and have a few questions. I've read through most of the FAQ's already but will probably ask a few repetitive questions - sorry.  <No problem> I have set up a 20 gallon AGA, Instant Ocean salt to 1.023 in DI water (Tap water filter), CPR BakPak 2R, Hagen Aquaclear 70 (approx 290 GPH circulation / plus extra 1/2 gallon water), Maxi Jet 1200 Powerhead - (Extra Circulation). There is no substrate as I have just tanked a shipment of 30 lbs Uncured Lalo Live Rock from LiveAquaria.com , formerly FFE. <Nice rock...> I received the rock in excellent condition - very little smell - probably due to only 18 hours in transit (FedEx overnight) Scrubbed most of what appears to have died - a few sponges, and what appears to be algae? Black colored spots encrusted on rock - doesn't seem calcareous but clings on pretty well. <Could be some form of encrusting algae or sponge material...> I didn't want to remove everything - why buy uncured rock if scraping it all off. Added some "live bacteria starter" (Stability by Seachem) but don't really expect much help from it - only $5.00. <Well, it could help provide some support for your biological filter during the curing process.> Water test results are Salinity 1.023 Alk 3.5 pH 8.3 Ammonia: Off the scale Nitrite/Nitrate: not tested Calcium: Awaiting a test kit by mail order Phosphates / Silicates: Undetectable (only Day 1) Questions: After placing the rock in the tank, my Seachem ammonia alert monitor (supposedly reads only "free ammonia" reads grey - alarm -but my total ammonia Seachem test reads purple - off the chart. I've already changed 50% of the water on day one - this is going to be expensive! Skimmer is already removing a ton of skimmate.  <Well, in a tank that's cycling-and I'm assuming that you're curing the rock in the display tank-you'd probably not want to do too much in the way of water changing, or you will greatly prolong the cycling time. On the other hand, since you are curing the rock, you'd probably want to do some smaller water changes (like 10%) just to get some of the organics out of the tank so they don't overwhelm your skimmer.> Do you recommend or the use of Purigen (Seachem polymer to control ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate etc) right from the start? I ask because I fear the enormous ammonia spike will kill everything and leave me with base rock. <I have always used chemical filtration media (basically carbon) from the start in all of my tanks. It helps remove some of the excessive organics in the water.> Also is it acceptable to use carbon and mechanical filtration ( sponge in AquaClear) in the beginning to help speed the removal of nutrients - and then to be removed later? <I'd use it continuously> I would like to keep as much life alive as possible but wonder whether these additions will compromise my live rock bio filter down the road. <No, I think that they will be helpful for the aforementioned reasons.>  I have even seen the use of Amquel advocated on other sites with the only caveat being the difficulty in determining when the cycle is over, how do you feel about this? <I would not use any chemical additives to assist in the removal of ammonia. Let the natural bacteria do the work.> I expected to do 2 -3 25% water changes weekly until the cycle is over - what do you recommend?  <No. If you must, make them small water changes, and only because you're curing the rock in the tank. That's my strategy.> I am also just about finished building my light canopy which will house 2 55 Watt Compact Fluor., 1 10000K, 1 Actinic blue. I've seen mixed advice on whether the lights should be run at all during the first few weeks. What do you recommend? <Your call. If you are curing rock in the display tank, I'd probably not run the lights. Better to discourage the growth of nuisance algae. I think that helping suppress potential algae outbreaks is far more beneficial than lighting the rock for the benefit of any organisms on the rock. Most will rebound just fine after being under room ambient lighting during curing.> Sorry about he extra long email - I look forward to your advice. Thanks. <Glad to be of service! Hope that things go smoothly for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Dead Rock Cure? Hi, Read the FAQs, didn't' see anything about curing completely dead rock (as in been in my garage during blizzards for about 5 months). Can I add in 10-20 lbs of this rock (do a scrub job in the bathtub first?) every 3 weeks into my 150 gallon display tank (has live soft coral, ~150 lbs of live rock with coralline, no fish)? Or must I recure it (no extra skimmer right now) in separate tubs with vigorous water changes, etc. The website rocks!  <Yes, I think a scrub job and rinse will work. I'd put the scrubbed rock in a pail of fresh water for a few days and then pick the rock out and see if has an odor, if not, put it in the tank. James (Salty Dog)> 

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