BulkRate

Best synthetic/non-dredged dry rock?

26 posts in this topic

So I did it...I overthought the startup of my tank and opted for something different. Note different, not necesarily right but intended to be better. Good intentions, path to hell...you know the drill.

 

I built the aquascape for my 9 gallon quasi-cube out of Real Reef Rock. Hey, this stuff doesn;t get hacked off a reef or dredged out of the seabed...it must be good stuff. Heck, maybe it IS good...if you're putting together a 100 gallon tank and are already putting in bioreactors, a skimmer, a DSB and the like. But in a little nano tank, where that rock's expected to work for its living as the primary biofilter?

 

Not. A. Chance.

 

I got snowed into believing that the precured RRR product would not have a cycle, but still waited a month worth of weekly zero-result ammonia/nitrite/nitrate tests before getting water independently tested at an LFS and adding a basic CuC. Got a diatom bloom, a tiny bit of hair algae but al appeared to be going well. Added a porcelain crab and blue neon goby and then watched as total ammonia slowwwly increased to the end of my test kit's scale over the last 3 months despite weekly 20-30% water changes. Free always zero, nitrates/nitrites a the bottom end of detectability.

 

I've popped a basket of seachem matrix in a basket that seems to have corrected the immediate problem...NOW the tank looks like it's going through the latter-end of a cycle and all ammonia's down to undetectable and the CuC's starting to come out on top of the algae. But I have this nice looking but nonfunctional rockscape, and an ugly-a$$ basket of matrix hanging in my tank. And can't (shouldn't) add anything really, at least until I fix it.

 

So the big question that this has been leading to...what ecologically responsible option do I have? Leaning towards getting a 25lbs. box of nano-grade dry MarcoRocks (Key Largo, not the rubble), crafting it to look like I want (namely the scape I currently have or close to it), curing it in a bin of used tank water for a month or so and then replacing my exiting rockscape juust before doing a larger than normal water change (say 40%).

 

Any suggestions for type of rock, or wether this entire approach is hopelessly flawed?

post-70644-1330728049_thumb.jpg

Edited by BulkRate

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So you used some dry rock, thinking it would be cured/produce no cycle?

You waited a month, with no source of ammonia present and then added your CUC and fish.

 

Now you're basically in the middle of a cycle and wish to change to a different dry rock?

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So you used some dry rock, thinking it would be cured/produce no cycle?

You waited a month, with no source of ammonia present and then added your CUC and fish.

 

Now you're basically in the middle of a cycle and wish to change to a different dry rock?

+1

 

confused

 

 

The rock didn't have detectable ammonia because was nothing dying on it.

It will also take a while to support a full bioload because you have to cure itm which you are now doing. Just hang tight and be patient.

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-1 for you, siwelk for jumping to conclusions...just sit back, enjoy the story, laugh at the newbie nano reef tank owner and shut up if you're not going to contribute anything of value beyond a snarky remark or two.

 

-2 to me for not outlining the attached picture or going into every gory step of my mistake(s). So here goes:

 

The Real Reef Rock <1st part of mistake> product was sold from a LFS from standing tanks, plumbed into a stage of their water filtration as "ready to go". Pre-cycled. It was brought home in a bucket of salt water to prevent die off (from a rock with no life on it...part of my noobishness revealed). The problem with Real Reef Rock is that on closer and somewhat (now) more experienced examination essentially it's solid pressed/formed aragonite sand. Practically no pores/holes in the rock. Painted to approximate coraline's appearence until the real deal shows up.

 

Now, look in the front-left corner...that's a chunck of old, established live rock in the front of the tank. I put it there when I stood up the tank (in November) to...wait for it...seed the tank's biofilter, along with bagged aragonite live sand because I was doubtful of the claims regarding the rock. A tiny bit of ground up pellet food was put in every few days to help things along. On the fifth week of no detectable ammonia or nitrites/nitrates I figured that the myth might have been true, or the cycle so brief that whatever spike there was happened between the weekly tests <2nd part of mistake>.

 

At this point I'm betting that most if not all of the tank's biofiltration is happening in that lone little chunk of live rock and in the basket of matrix media.

 

So I now ask (again)...if I am to fix this:

1. would curing some MarcoRock for a few weeks in bucket of used tank water with powerhead + heater keeping it at tank temperature and swapping it for the Real Reef Rock that's now had 4 months and shows no sign of be plausible.

 

2. Is there some other, better live rock product that I could or should use, that's not chopped off a living reef?

 

3. Is there another method entirely that I should be using?

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Daily water changes until it levels out.

 

Going with new rock is just going to restart your cycle.

 

Best bet. Get some rock from a local reefer from a tank that's at least a year old.

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Sorry about the semi-coherent question in point #1...severe tornado warning in our area and I kinda had to run/take shelter.

 

After 4 months, I just don't believe that the current rock's just going to "start working". This doesn't jibe with any other tank startup thread I've read on any reefing site, anywhere. There appears to be inherent problems with what this rock is and what it was intended for by the manufacturer that I didn't approach with enough research and skepticism initially. I effectively have a concrete statue in the tank pictured above. It has coraline growing on it now, and what biofilm it can support on what little surface area it has but that's about it.

 

I started out trying to obtain the 10+ lbs of live rock for the tank from ecologically sound sources. It's a principle thing and I'd still greatly prefer to see through. I've dealt with the current water parmeter issues and the livestock currently in the tank are living without visible distress in the best water chemistry my current setup's capable of delivering. At the moment and for the moment the water parameters are testing out at decent levels and I'm glad I caught this before adding something delicate/sensitive/expensive that wouldn't fare as well or completely collapse the entire tank.

 

So let me change the topic slightly...<pigheadedly> I'm going to seed a new scape's worth of dry rock in a plastic tub acting as a second tank, complete with powerhead and heater, using change water from my current tank to provide the cycle's needed input products and a second small chunk of live rock for the initial seeding. At the end of a couple months (namely when I can add an ammonia source to the seeded dry rock and it breaks down properly) I'll start swapping out my failed rockscape for the new one.

 

Other than MarcoRocks, who claim to be getting their product reasonably responsibly and appears to be well regarded on this site, are there any others I should be looking at?

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Sorry about the semi-coherent question in point #1...severe tornado warning in our area and I kinda had to run/take shelter.

 

After 4 months, I just don't believe that the current rock's just going to "start working". This doesn't jibe with any other tank startup thread I've read on any reefing site, anywhere. There appears to be inherent problems with what this rock is and what it was intended for by the manufacturer that I didn't approach with enough research and skepticism initially. I effectively have a concrete statue in the tank pictured above. It has coraline growing on it now, and what biofilm it can support on what little surface area it has but that's about it.

 

I started out trying to obtain the 10+ lbs of live rock for the tank from ecologically sound sources. It's a principle thing and I'd still greatly prefer to see through. I've dealt with the current water parmeter issues and the livestock currently in the tank are living without visible distress in the best water chemistry my current setup's capable of delivering. At the moment and for the moment the water parameters are testing out at decent levels and I'm glad I caught this before adding something delicate/sensitive/expensive that wouldn't fare as well or completely collapse the entire tank.

 

So let me change the topic slightly...<pigheadedly> I'm going to seed a new scape's worth of dry rock in a plastic tub acting as a second tank, complete with powerhead and heater, using change water from my current tank to provide the cycle's needed input products and a second small chunk of live rock for the initial seeding. At the end of a couple months (namely when I can add an ammonia source to the seeded dry rock and it breaks down properly) I'll start swapping out my failed rockscape for the new one.

 

Other than MarcoRocks, who claim to be getting their product reasonably responsibly and appears to be well regarded on this site, are there any others I should be looking at?

Reefcleaners rock is also mined from an inland source of an ancient reef.

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There is no need to seed more dry rock and swap it. Your scape + sandbed has plenty of surface area for the bacteria to colonize. If amonia isnt being processed in your tank then for some reason it was never seeded. The live rock you used to seed could have lost its bacteria before u added it somehow. If you however have the slightest amount of nitrite or nitrate showing up in tests then leave everything alone and wait. Otherwise try seeding your tank from someome elses like a previous poster said.

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-1 for you, siwelk for jumping to conclusions...just sit back, enjoy the story, laugh at the newbie nano reef tank owner and shut up if you're not going to contribute anything of value beyond a snarky remark or two.

Srsly?

 

 

Dude, GTFO with your pompous reply.

Maybe you should put some detail in your jank ass post and people could actually understand you.

 

Also, take the sand out of your vag.

 

:happy:

Edited by siwelk

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Srsly?

 

 

Dude, GTFO with your pompous reply.

Maybe you should put some detail in your jank ass post and people could actually understand you.

 

Also, take the sand out of your vag.

 

:happy:

Ha

Edited by GiantBen

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Oooooooookay...I'l just ignore the last two posts, as the original topic, following clarification, and indeed the whole point of an online community's been hopelessly missed by those two.

 

Much more detail in this thread and I'll need to publish a cliff-notes version. Even though things appear to be improving, I'm not sure sitting back and waiting will solve everything. Maybe my tank's the special case...but all other build threads, even those based on seeding dry rock tend to progress significantly faster. By about two months or so. Sure, it's possible that I picked the dud seed rock out of a tank containing hundreds, but doubtful.

 

It looks like I've done all the right things, except for not opting to cut up a reef in the wild to have a box of glass in my house. If curing the dry rock for a couple of months to make it into live rock isn't the right way to do it, then what are we doing when we set up a tank in the first place?

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In the end it is your reef and your choice. but I can tell you I am more than happy with my Marco rock. It has a cool look and is extremely porous. The only thing you need to be sure of is if you decide to rebuild your arch you leave some small ledges to attach your corals.

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It looks like I've done all the right things, except for not opting to cut up a reef in the wild to have a box of glass in my house. If curing the dry rock for a couple of months to make it into live rock isn't the right way to do it, then what are we doing when we set up a tank in the first place?

I'd be wondering if this rock can sustain the proper pacterial colony at this point. I'd try and buy base rock that isn't a "product" from a local reefer. If he already has it laying around, does that count as being eco-friendly? If not, I'm not sure.

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I have reefcleaners rock and it's been great. It was very clean when I got it and in a couple months it's totally covered with algae and life. It's also very porous and does no damage to reefs.

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No idea what the first few posts are about... And your OP is way too lengthy to read but to answer your original question in the title -

 

Bulk Reef Supply reef saver rocks and Marco rocks are the only two I'd go with.

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Seeing that you have very little in your tank right now, if you want to swap out the rock or whatever it was that your long post was about... Rinse it off and throw it in the tank. In regards to 'where's all the rock for biological filtration' - Keep in mind that the amount of rock should be somewhat proportional to the amount of livestock kept in the tank. Being you have a tiny tank, a very light bioload with a smaller amount of rock will be sufficient provided your husbandry is adequate.

 

Also, if you're concerned about being ecologically friendly, do some research on fish before purchasing. I think I see a cleaner goby in your picture and if so, those are one variety of fish with an extremely poor track record in captivity.

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I made a similar mistake with my tank setup my self. I got snowed into a ceramic aquascape that I am not happy with for many reasons. I have 40 lbs of dry key largo Marco rock that is cured/cycled just about ready to go into the tank.

 

Here is what I did to facilitate the switch for my BC 29. The Marco rock looks very clean but I wanted to take the time to make sure I did the aquascape right this time, especially since i have about $1000 of coral in the tank.

 

I did an acid wash for 24 hours with a 50/50 mix of RO/DI vinegar then rinsed the calcium precipitate off over a week by agitating the rocks and changing the water out several times.

 

Then I placed the rock in saltwater and cycled it with Dr. Tims nitrifying bacteria. About this time I read a good post on RC about curing dry rock and they mentioned the use of lanthium chloride to precipitate phosphates. I order a product called Sea Klear which can be found via a pool supply place. I dosed the sea klear for a week and did see precipitate come off the rock.

 

At this time I got my Hana phosphate checker in and tested my water that had been in the bin for a week. Phosphates tested at 0.03. I wish I would have had the Hana checker from the get go to know what the Marco rocks would have initially tested at.

 

Now I feel I have fully cured/cycled rock and the process took about 3 to 4 weeks. It was a bit of work but I feel it was worth it in the end. Give me a PM and I can give you more details if needed. I also have left over supplies that I could ship you to facilitate the process.

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There is, I did, and it's supposedly tank raised according to the store I got it at (and the price it was sold at). The overarching philosophy of this tank was to use aquacultured rock and stock mostly aquacultured fishes and corals (nobody tank-rears porcelain crabs). It's important to me and to the wife, so I do it.

 

Not gonna go out and chain myself to a tree at a contruction site or give up the eating of tasty animals, mind you.

 

Sorry about the longwinded posts to any who find/found them not worth the read...I write a lot in my job, it bleeds over here.

 

EDIT: 1fishmonger - cleaner goby or cleaner wrasse? I agree, the latter's a horrible choice in most cases especially in a little nano tank like mine. A cleaner goby however, seems to be doing fine. Everything I've read says its a hardy little fish with a low bioload and it has grown noticeably in the past two months. Mind giving me a reference to look at for the concern you raised? Not to challeng your advice, but would really like to know.

Edited by BulkRate

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Red Sea- thanks for the offer. Given how little rock I'm going to be using, my plan was to simply run seagel in the filter to help with the phoshates once the rock was added to the tank. That and periodic water changes in the curing tub during the process.

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Sorry, mis-typed.. Yes, a cleaner wrasse.

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Sorry, mis-typed.. Yes, a cleaner wrasse.

 

Not a problem...I did about as much book-learnin' as possible before starting this tank. I'd hate to put something in and have it die simply because I didn't bother to know or meet its basic requirements. For the record, it's a goby, not a wrasse in the pic and it appears to really like NLS pellets, especially if they're lightly crushed.

 

One of the reasons the rockscape issue has become sooooo frustrating...I knew better. I know what the live rock's supposed to do in a small tank like this, and I know the nitrogen cycle and the timeframe for starting a tank. Then at the last minute I impulse bought something on "Aha!" hunch that I THOUGHT would be better and now my tank's on life support with a janky basket of psuedo-rock.

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http://cerameco.com/

 

Synthetic, porous, gorgeous.

 

I have some for my 40br that isn't set up yet :(

 

This is where I bought mine:

http://aqua-tecture.com/

 

Their stuff is WYSIWYG, and once it's sold they take it off the site :)

Edited by sanchez

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http://cerameco.com/

 

Synthetic, porous, gorgeous.

 

I have some for my 40br that isn't set up yet :(

 

This is where I bought mine:

http://aqua-tecture.com/

 

Their stuff is WYSIWYG, and once it's sold they take it off the site :)

 

Neat. I may wind up going this route vs. the Marco Rocks.

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http://cerameco.com/

 

Synthetic, porous, gorgeous.

 

I have some for my 40br that isn't set up yet :(

 

This is where I bought mine:

http://aqua-tecture.com/

 

Their stuff is WYSIWYG, and once it's sold they take it off the site :)

That stuff looks really nice. One of the biggest down sides I see though is it's 7-11$/lb for dry rock. :bling:

 

Other than that, it looks really nice. I might have to try some of those frag plugs, they look pretty neat, especially the frag station. Would be able to do grow out in your tank without it looking like a frag rack, lol.

Edited by Veng

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