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When I start my 20L, would I be able to mix the salt and set everything up, then put in the cc mix and uncured live rock, then let it cure in the tank? I'm planning on leaving the tank be for 1 month anyways. Just wondering if I should get some "precured" online or if I can just get the uncured...




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some people preferred cured just because it cycles in little or no time... i personally prefer it being uncured only because i can find better looking pieces when it's fresh and filled with life. it's all about preference... if you're going to just leave it in the tank for a month or so, it doesn't really matter what rock you should get, it will all "cure" in time, the only differences is the waiting period.

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it all depends on the rock.. sometimes a LFS will say it's cured but when u add it in ur tank you'll test positive for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. every rock will go through different phases and some LFS will put "un-cured" rock straight from the pacific into their "cured" tank... so it really all depends.


so to make sense of it all, the *SOME LFS* have a huge tub that is filled with LR, in that tub, they will have some LR that has been there for MONTHS, while they might have a couple pounds of LR in there that's fresh and recently placed in the vat. they'll usually label the rock as "cured" since it's sitting in the curing vat... but in reality it's not filled with rock that's 100% cured. so you never really know what you're getting when u reach into the tub...

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It's probably worth noting that uncured rocks also put out alot of nasty smell during the curing process. No biggie if the tank is out of the way, but if you're setting this up in your dinning room you might want think invest in cured rocks :0

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Well I have 5lbs of cured rock in my tank right now (smelled like the ocean, not like nasty ammonia lovin) and I'm going to get about 10lb more in a day or so - just was wondering if this would speed up the process (I know the person who sells the rock so I know it's all been cured for a while)

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I've read that the smell from curing rock can vary. I have 20 lbs in my new tank, and when I first took it out of the box, it was fairly bad, but in the water, I don't notice it too much (except when I accidentally took a big whiff from the skimmer cup).

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Gotta love the smell of skimmate in the morning ;)

The bad smell seems to appear around day 3-5 (for uncured) and will be smelt further away if you're running fans (e.g. as a cooling mechanism for your tank).


Chromey: If you're going to add more later, logically you will extend the TIME until the cycle finishes. "Cycle" is really all about dead stuff dying and decomposing (you can do a google on the "nitrogen cycle"... there's lots of good stuff about it on the net). If you buy "cured", the "time to cycle" is less because most of the dead stuff has already decomposed, but it'll still go through some cycle because it will be out of the water for some time period (and sea critters generally don't live long out of water). In short, the first 5lb will go through a cycle, the second 10lbs will go through a cycle (although to you it'll just look like a longer cycle).


For example, if both batches take 5 days to cycle, and you add the second batch is added 2 day later, it'll take a total of 7 days (the first batch finishes on day 5, the second batch finishes on day 7). Real life isn't as simple as mathematics (too many variants like how long both batches were out of the water, what was living in the rocks to start off with, etc), but it's a close enough approximation.

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So even if I waited for this 5lbs to cycle and added in 10lbs afterwards would it go through another cycle because of this?

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Yes....like artarmon said, anytime you take rock out of water, you get some sort of die-off, so anytime you add any appreciable quantity of rock to a tank, it sets off a new "cycle". (God I hate that word..it gives people the impression that once their aquarium grade test kits show 0 nitrites they can go out and grab an Acro and toss it into the tank). I'm a big proponent of not putting any corals into a system for several (3-4) months..in letting the system mature..and in not rushing. Only bad things happen quickly in reefing.


sorry...*gets off his soapbox"




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Yup. Anytime you add anything to your tank, something is bound to die. If you're lucky, it'll be microbes that are so small that the cycle is "negligible". If you're unlucky (let's say a sponge inside a rock) it could introduce a proportionately huge amount of ammonia that could last days or weeks before the thing fully decomponses.


That is one of the reason I'm an advocate of putting in a clean up crew during the cycling process. Besides keeping the algae outbreaks in check during cycle, they'll also be able to hunt down all the dead/dying things and eat it (which should reduce the decomposition time to a minor degree).

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So what kind of clean up crew should I be looking at in a 20gal tank then since I'm about a week into cycling? Should a cleaner shrimp, a few turbos and a peppermint shrimp be good?

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When I was shopping for rock for my 20T, I went to the general pet store (not lfs). They have a coral tank in there. I saw a little tag that said live rock 5.99/lb. But I didnt see any tanks with regular live rock.


I asked where the live rock was. He pointed to the coral tank. I said "Your not selling that are you?!?!". His response was that it was the only liverock he knew of. This stuff was perfect. It was very pourous. Kind of like really nice fiji. Tons of mature coraline. Polyps and shrooms all over it and even more healthy critters all over it.


I bought 30 lbs of all show rock. I had 2 days of diatoms and with the live sand that I had in my refugium and main tank, Id have to say my whole tank was cycled in less than 10 days.


It also came with emerald crabs, turbo snails, good sized turbo snails, stars, everything.


I should have tipped that guy. I am willing to bet he got canned for selling the show tanks liverock.



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For the cycle, I like to put in:

1) Hermits: I like small blue-legs because they've been the most busy during the cycle.

2) Nassarius snails: Maggots of the sea, they can sense dead material from far away and are pretty vicious in devouring that stuff.


I think Emerald crabs might also be good during cycle (never tried it, can't say for sure). I have also never tried shrimps (they're more expensive and I have never been game enough to risk that kind of money during a cycle).

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about 2 weeks after I place my liverock I put in clean-up crew based on growth. I have had several tanks over the years. Here is what I usually have:


1. 1 to 2 Emerald crabs for bubble algae and stuff. (I like to take them out after 6 months)


2. Peppermint shrimp for apstasia and grooming of algae. I dont life to remove all of the hair algae that grows at 1st cause I have read in several places that it is the primary place that pods brood.


3. 2 of each snail I can find.


If you cannot get cheap shrimp where you live you can substitute them with borgia nudies. But just know that they will die off eventually. They dont have long life spans and they are very inquisitive. This means they will seek out the intake of your power heads.



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