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joshnanoreef

My experience changing the live rock in my existing tank

29 posts in this topic

I have had a 10 gallon tank for about two years now, and I'm finally tired of the liverock in my tank. The problem is that it's one huge, ugly chunk and I would like to do some scaping. I bought 10 pounds of dry rock from reef cleaners and I plan to switch it out. How should I do this? can I cycle the rock in a bucket and then just add it to the tank? Thoughts?

 

Thanks!

 

Edit: I have livestock such as a fish, LPS, acros, softies, BTA, ect.

Edited by joshnanoreef

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I have had a 10 gallon tank for about two years now, and I'm finally tired of the liverock in my tank. The problem is that it's one huge, ugly chunk and I would like to do some scaping. I bought 10 pounds of dry rock from reef cleaners and I plan to switch it out. How should I do this? can I cycle the rock in a bucket and then just add it to the tank? Thoughts?

 

Thanks!

 

Edit: I have livestock such as a fish, LPS, acros, softies, BTA, ect.

 

Take it out of the tank and bust it up into smaller pieces. Thats what i would do

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Just to be clear, you want to swap out ALL of your current live rock for dry rock?

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if you swapped it out, you would crash your tank, has to be gradual/the dry needs seeding..

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Yes... I would like to switch all of it. My idea is that I can somehow cycle it outside the tank and then just swap it out...

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bump

you cant just cycle dry dead rock somewhere without some live rock. Dead rock needs to be seeded with live rock. What you could do if you really want to oust ALL your live rock, is to bust the big live rock in smaller pieces and mix some of it with the dead rock. You will still need some good 3 months to seed the dead rock though.

 

Dead rock is DEAD, no life so will not be able to maintain the bioload of your mature tank, so your tank will crash.

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That's what I thought, but what if I added some of the live sand and a piece or two of dead shrimp? The problem is that breaking up the rock would be hard in my situation. Thanks!

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Hey, you need to understand this: the new live rock has to be in your display tank for a period of time to get"the biological population"to support your system. Best way to go is little by little, one piece in, one piece out. Next month, repeat the process. You can speed things up a little by curing the dry rock as you propose but n no matter what the new rock needs to be with the old rock in the same display for several weeks to avoid a crash in your tank. Regards

Edited by djfrankn

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*sigh* I'll see what I can do. Note to new people: don't buy one big rock. lol

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Put your dead rock in a bucket and add a few cups of sand and a power head to get your cycle going on the rock. I wouldn'tadd shrimp just wait it out.

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I volunteer at a coral propagation facility, so I can ask the manager if I can stick the dry rock into their system for a few weeks. Other than that, what can I do to minimize a cycle? Honestly, I think it should be *possible* to completely cycle it outside the tank. After all, how is keeping it in a bucket with an ammonia source different than putting it in a tank? I can also try to move my delicate livestock to another reefer's tank temporarily...

 

I have another question: If I cycle the rock with a ton of ammonia and cause too much bacteria to grow, will putting it in the tank and having some of the bacteria die cause a mini cycle? Or does it only happen when there's not enough bacteria? I hope this makes sense.

 

Thanks! :)

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send it back and just break up your one big rock. It'll be cheaper, and with the money youre saving, use it for something to cover it if its old and ugly.

Edited by sdoubtit8

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Thanks for the advice, but I have already debated this for a long time. The question is how to make it work, not alternatives. :) Could someone please answer my question?

 

by the way, I wouldn't save money. The dry rock order cost $30, and I could sell the old rock for $50 including a few attached corals on craigslist.

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You've got a nice rock with bout two years worth of bacteria in and on it and ya wanna get rid of it ...?

 

Get a bigger tank and use it along with the dry rock ... go forward my friend, not backwards.

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I guess I'll keep that in mind. But I don't think I'll be upgrading the tank anytime soon. ;)

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What type of 10g do you have. If its just a regular aquarium and nothing special like a biocube, I would buy a new tank (15$ or cheaper if used) and add the rock to that, and slowly pull rock and livestock from your other tank. Thats how I switched out my 10g for a 20g and it worked out, but you have to have the equipment and space to switch over to another tank, and always patience while it sets up.

 

You can cycle the rock in a bucket with a powerhead and take some live rock from your tank or sand and use it to seed the new rock, or even some filter floss. Plus doing a water change in your main tank and use that water for the rocks in the bucket, that way they are exposed to the same water chemistry. You can buy ammonia to dose and help build bacteria, so if ppl are saying its impossible there wrong

Edited by Captain Hook

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Thanks captain hook! Your insight is just what I was looking for. I like your idea of just buying another standard sized tank. And I never thought about transferring water between the tanks to aid in cycling... I'll remember those tips. I should get the rock in the mail on Saturday.

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Thanks captain hook! Your insight is just what I was looking for. I like your idea of just buying another standard sized tank. And I never thought about transferring water between the tanks to aid in cycling... I'll remember those tips. I should get the rock in the mail on Saturday.

 

Put your dead rock in the same existing tank with your 'ugly/big' live rock. Forget about it for 3 months. Then remove your BIG/UGLY live rock. Good luck.

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Put your dead rock in the same existing tank with your 'ugly/big' live rock. Forget about it for 3 months. Then remove your BIG/UGLY live rock. Good luck.

I would do that, except there isn't much room. I might try to put the smaller pieces in and culture the rest with ammonia in a bucket.

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UPDATE: I received my order of dry rock (11 lbs.) from reef cleaners a couple of days ago. Shipping was just two days and the rock came in nice shapes. I highly recommend them.

 

I decided to set up a tub to cycle the dry rock with pure ammonia (no surfectants from what I've heard) from Harris Teeter. I added some live sand from my tank to introduce bacteria. Hopefully this experiment with changing the rock in my tank will be useful to someone. Here are some pics:

 

Ammonia from Harris Teeter and an API test kit (I raised the ammonia to 5ppm)...

DSCF1518.jpg

Everything together:

DSCF1519.jpg

The dry rock from reef cleaners:

DSCF1520.jpg

Here's what my old rock looks like. It's not a horrible shape, but it looks boring after after seeing so many scape ideas on nano-reef. ;)

DSCF1535.jpg

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UPDATE: after about five weeks, my dry rock is almost done cycling! Hopefully I'll have pictures of the new scape up within a week.

 

EDIT: I haven't actually made the scape, I'll be doing that soon. Right now the LR is still in the tub.

Edited by joshnanoreef

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UPDATE: after about five weeks, my dry rock is almost done cycling! Hopefully I'll have pictures of the new scape up within a week.

 

Do you have any pictures of the dry rock after it cycled?

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I can post some tomorrow when it's daylight, but it doesn't look any different. I cycled it in darkness to prevent any chance of algae growing. I'll try to remember to add some pics tomorrow though.

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Nice! You have nice dry rocks, too. Did you seed your dry rocks with anything to get the cycle going? When I started my tank with dry rocks and dry aragonite reef sand. I seeded with Bio Spira and then started doing a daily dose of 5ppm of ammonia. I didn't use 1 live rock at all and managed to complete my cycle in 10 days.

Edited by dfcn07

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I just used some really dirty live sand. It seemed to do the trick. :) thanks for looking.

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