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Uncurable rock


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#1
jestep

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I made this observation while moving some coral from one of my tanks to another. I have very porous tonga and figi live rock in my 28NC. Inherited the tank in poor condition and despite religious water changes (75% per week several months), aggressive rinsing of the existing rock, removal of all sand, and very low stocking, I had a constant NO3 and PO4 problem. I had 2 MP10's opposing in the 28, so there wasn't a single area of low flow where debris could collect.

Some have suggested that my rock is bad, or has become bad after years of usage.

Anyway, I have a colony of Nuke Greens growing all over one of the rocks, so I went to chisel off a the piece with them on it. Took about 30 seconds to carefully remove their piece from the main rock. Underneath, in the rock itself were tunnels of varying size and all were almost 100% packed full of detritus and sediment. I rinsed the 2" piece that I removed and it clowded an entire 5 gallon bucket, literally couldn't see an inch into the bucket. This sort of stuck home on the idea of bad rock, so I chipped off another small chunk and put it in a container of brand new RO/DI saltwater. After about an hour, I tested it and the NO3, and PO4 were completely off the chart, literally, off the scale. This is rock in the highest flow area in the tank. These tunnels were completely inside the rock, with microscopic access to the main volume of tank water.

So this isn't exactly scientific. I didn't use a huge volume of water to test in, but the fact remains that the rock is obviously leaching a lot of crap bank into the tank. If a 1oz chunk can make a half gallon of water read off the chart, 30 lbs has a lot of potential. I'd be willing to bet that rock like this is pretty much unrecoverable. There's no amount of blasting that could possibly dislodge the sediment and detritus. Even if the rock was completely cooked or dried, it wouldn't remove what's inside. I've read more than one article on overly-porous rock. This might just be the problem with it.

#2
QED

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Before giving up maybe you could soak it in bleach, thoroughly rinse it and then re-cure it? That should remove waste?

#3
Degener8

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Bleach will only kill live matter its not going to remove it necessarily. You would need a pressure washer to seriouslu put some power to it.. I don't think you would ever get it all but I am willing to bet with some effort you could get it clean enough to cure properly.

Also it could just be worth it to buy 30 or so pounds of dry rock and use it instead and bust all the other crap up and clean it real good.. re-cure it and make some wicked cool statuary scape with it.. BONSAI ! or do something really unique with it.

After all its rock.. I hardly thinks its totally unsalvagable..

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#4
Grumblecakes

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was reading something recently where someone was cooking their rock in HCl to melt the outer layer of crap off. While it may or may not help a gallon of muric acid should be less than 10$

edit: thread from RC talking about it http://www.reefcentr...k reincarnation

Edited by Grumblecakes, 30 March 2012 - 05:55 PM.


#5
acropora1981

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was reading something recently where someone was cooking their rock in HCl to melt the outer layer of crap off. While it may or may not help a gallon of muric acid should be less than 10$


+1 read up on rock cooking. I does not involve heat....
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#6
jec11718

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be really careful about acid....pour it in water not the other way around.

#7
rudeanduncouth

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be really careful about acid....pour it in water not the other way around.

+1 Drop acid not water B)

That link on RC is pretty interesting and brings up a point I think most people forget about: After x amount of years your rock will fill up with detritus and your available bacteria will slowly decrease, and eventually causing a crash, unless appropriate actions are taken.

#8
gbose

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Folks, I'm confused. Are we saying that 'live rock' becomes unusable after some number of years? and should be replaced? But aren't all rocks thousands of years old? where would one get a new rock?

GBose

#9
MedRed

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bio pellets, but it will take time.

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lol, methinks medred has a mancrush

 

 


#10
acropora1981

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Folks, I'm confused. Are we saying that 'live rock' becomes unusable after some number of years? and should be replaced? But aren't all rocks thousands of years old? where would one get a new rock?

GBose


The theory here is that live rock becomes loaded, eventually, with nutrients and detritus over time in closed systems. Our tanks tend to be more dirty than the ocean, so organics eventually get bound up inside the rock.

Its not exactly scientific, but rock cooking does seem to work. I would never do the harsh acid/bleach approach, but rather the more gentle lanthanum chloride and saltwater rock cooking treatment.
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#11
Grad

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The theory here is that live rock becomes loaded, eventually, with nutrients and detritus over time in closed systems. Our tanks tend to be more dirty than the ocean, so organics eventually get bound up inside the rock.

Its not exactly scientific, but rock cooking does seem to work. I would never do the harsh acid/bleach approach, but rather the more gentle lanthanum chloride and saltwater rock cooking treatment.


+1 i would never do any acid or bleaching treatments, that would simply destroy any good component remaining. I take my rocks out of my tank every 3-5 months and shake the hell out of them in a bucket of old tank water (do during h20 change). The amount of detritus is amazing of a single small rock. And unless yo have the mp10s pulsing or creating a wave like flow, you still have dead spots.

I would remove each rock from your tank and clean them off in old tank water before you attempt a bleach or acid treatment. Shake um like hell!

#12
coachfraley

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no pictures? :huh:

#13
lil_man72

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it's no help for old rock, but that's why you want to turkey bast your live rock regularly.
i know on my porous rock, i hold the baster right up against it and you'll see crap blowing out of holes you can't even see.
this is also a reason for doing minimal scapes were you can reach most of the live rock to clean.
old nasty rock does take a long time to get back to useable rock, and it's easier to just get new.
whatever you do don't throw away the old rock. if you don't use it keep it around and offer it to someone for shipping cost or something.
if i came across rock that seemed clogged up i would run it to the car wash/pressure washer.
then i'd put it in it's own tank/bucket at least 5 gallons or so. then i'd just blast it with a turkey baster whenever i remembered to or when i needed to take out my frustrations on something.
make sure to change out freshwater every so often.
when you think your close just put in saltwater and test in a week to see if it's still leaching.

#14
jestep

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no pictures? :huh:


I'm going to get some pictures. I found some more nuke greens that I want to frag off of it. I'll try to get some pictures of the tunneling and before and after rinsing it.

Just a little more background on this rock. It's been under very meticulous care since I've had it. The previous owner had his tank up for at least 18 months, and most likely he got the rock from someone else. More than likely the rock was in extremely poor condition long before I received it.

My biggest concern is that the tunnels inside the rock which are microscopic as well as large enough for higher life forms to move through, are physically filled with detritus and gunk and completely inaccessible from the actual rock's surface.This tank was running 2 - MP10's in opposition, as well as having bio pellets and GFO running for more than a year. You could power wash these rocks for weeks and there's no way enough gunk would be dislodged.

I may try to cook or revive it. There's several methods and it would make a good experiment to see which method proves most effective, or effective at all. As far as actual in-tank usage, it's not usable for a reef tank in its current state IMO.

#15
kingofphinland

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wow, i had no idea that live rock could do that. definitely going to follow this thread.
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In a reef tank - go slow and do research or your tank will crash and you'll loose everything.

#16
shaneandjohn

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I completely agree that using a turkey Baster as part of your regular maintenance is VERY nesasary.

The amount of build up will amaze you even in the highest of flow areas. Porous rocks will collect detris and it's our responsibility to our livestock to provide them with the best living conditions possible..:)
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