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themummra

Planning Ahead and Curing/Cycling Rock

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themummra

I picked up two bins of dry, old live rock that I want to start prepping for the future. I already have a batch of rock cycled for the 40g breeder I am building now. But I imagine I will want to upgrade even bigger in a year or so. I'd like to do everything right so I'm taking my plan to the forums before enacting it.

1st Stage - Cleaning
2nd - Phosphate Removal
3rd - Cycling
4th - Coralline Growth

1st: Cleaning will involve washing the rock off and scrubbing any old life that I can find. Bleach or vinegar solutions seem to be a common choice.

2nd: I am already using Lanthanum Chloride to remove phosphates on my cycled rock, I believe I will use this to remove it from this new batch. So far it has been working well. And it seems to be the most efficient method, combined with large water changes.

3rd: I prefer to do Cycling fishless, so I will be using a janitor's solution to provide ammonia to the bacteria. I want to get it heavily seeded and will dose ammonia multiple times to build up the bacteria

4th: Coralline Growth, what may be the hardest stage. If I could do everything I want, I would culture some coralline in its own aquarium first in order to get a clean sample. Probably won't have the resources to do that and will just scrape some from one of my tanks. I will also be adding a CUC to manage other algae during this ~1year process of growing out the coralline. The algae starter and CUC will be the first possible entrances of pests and something I would like to work on.

Did I mess any secret techniques or is this a pretty solid plan?

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themummra

Found this on Craigslist for $50, was it a good deal? They look expensive new but the average used price could be lower

I think the rock will fit with enough room for 1-2 heaters and 1-2 powerheads. What do people use to cover these? They won't need light until the 4th stage with coralline.

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Thrassian Atoll

Seems like a ton of work instead of just buying some reefsaver dry rock or something for $2.50 a pound.  

 

So your going to have rock in a tub for a year cycling?  I guess I am just not grasping the why.

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themummra
1 minute ago, TILTON said:

Seems like a ton of work instead of just buying some reefsaver dry rock or something for $2.50 a pound.


Most dry rock, especially reefsaver, would have to be leeched of phosphates too. That would save me on the cleaning step, but thats the shortest part of it all. 

I got this rock for .50cents a pound, if I can save a couple hundred with a couple hours of work I'm all for that!

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blasterman

Never bought into the phosphate leeching from old rock thing. The chemistry side isn't there for phosphate to bind readily to hard carbonate, but that's my opinion. I soak mine in vinegar in fresh water for a few weeks with circulation and call it done.

Rock that's kept in circulating water along with daily ammonia doses is likely to develop excellent nitrogen beds after a few months.

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themummra

It had to have come from somewhere. After washing the old rock off and letting it soak in RODI the phosphates were at .5+.  Where else would that be from? 

And would circulation with ammonia in freshwater be useful, or would all that bacteria die in saltwater?

 

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I'm Batman

I personally have only had algae problems after introducing new rock to a system. Even after curing for over a month.

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OPtasia

The watering trough tubs are what you see a lot of LFS's using to cycle out their liverock in around here. Places like Tractor's Supply and Gander have them. Your price was fair but i'd be worried what exactly went into that trough before you purchased it. Did someone wash their pets in it? Was it used for horses? Anyway, wash it out thoroughly, scrub the sides and maybe wipe it all out with micro cloth making sure you get into any scrapes or scratches inside the tub and you should be fine. You might also consider running some GAC in it to absorb anything unknown for a bit.

 

I think you'll be fine just scrubbing the rock with a soft bristled brush and making sure everything is rinsed out well. What you won't be able to reach is any dead life deeper than in the surface layer of the rock. That's going to cause a cycle in your rock as it matures into seeded live rock. This seeding process usually takes about a month or two, after which you can start maintenance dosing ammonia or adding a hearty small fish to the tub. A powerhead added to the tub for water circulation can help the process along and increase your gas exchange to help the aerobic bacteria.

 

I'd consider leaving your seeding liverock tub in a dark place while it matures. Darkness will help keep the nuisance algaes in check until you're ready to start seeding it with coraline algae. For seeding the coraline, you might consider doing the blender trick. Wash out a blender really well and add a few cups of tank water and a few flakes of coraline algae to it from another tank, a dead astrea shell or some other source would also work. Make sure your nitrogenous wastes are low (barely detectable anything) then blend the coraline algae source and saltwater up in your blender, then dose it to your seeded live rock. The powerhead will push it all over every surface of the live rock where it can take and grow. Then add your light source for 8-10 hours. What'll be key here is keeping your nitrogenous readings low. You might consider acclimating a hardy damsel or something to the tub and including a submersible heater to keep the fish warm.

 

Sounds like a good long term project but you sound like you're patient. :)

 

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themummra
On 12/9/2017 at 11:55 AM, OPtasia said:

The watering trough tubs are what you see a lot of LFS's using to cycle out their liverock in around here. Places like Tractor's Supply and Gander have them. Your price was fair but i'd be worried what exactly went into that trough before you purchased it. Did someone wash their pets in it? Was it used for horses? Anyway, wash it out thoroughly, scrub the sides and maybe wipe it all out with micro cloth making sure you get into any scrapes or scratches inside the tub and you should be fine. You might also consider running some GAC in it to absorb anything unknown for a bit.

 

I think you'll be fine just scrubbing the rock with a soft bristled brush and making sure everything is rinsed out well. What you won't be able to reach is any dead life deeper than in the surface layer of the rock. That's going to cause a cycle in your rock as it matures into seeded live rock. This seeding process usually takes about a month or two, after which you can start maintenance dosing ammonia or adding a hearty small fish to the tub. A powerhead added to the tub for water circulation can help the process along and increase your gas exchange to help the aerobic bacteria.

 

I'd consider leaving your seeding liverock tub in a dark place while it matures. Darkness will help keep the nuisance algaes in check until you're ready to start seeding it with coraline algae. For seeding the coraline, you might consider doing the blender trick. Wash out a blender really well and add a few cups of tank water and a few flakes of coraline algae to it from another tank, a dead astrea shell or some other source would also work. Make sure your nitrogenous wastes are low (barely detectable anything) then blend the coraline algae source and saltwater up in your blender, then dose it to your seeded live rock. The powerhead will push it all over every surface of the live rock where it can take and grow. Then add your light source for 8-10 hours. What'll be key here is keeping your nitrogenous readings low. You might consider acclimating a hardy damsel or something to the tub and including a submersible heater to keep the fish warm.

 

Sounds like a good long term project but you sound like you're patient. :)

 


Thank you for taking the time to reply with that! It is going to be a longterm project for sure. But having a bin full of beautiful purple rock at the end will be so worth it.

On adding the fish, I had planned to add a CUC of snails in there after cycling. Would a fish, or both, be better?

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OPtasia

You can do either or both. A fish will help keep the bacteria fed in your live rock after it's been seasoned. 

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themummra

Had a warm today and sprayed all the rock today. 

Next is bleaching it

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themummra

Started the bleaching process two days ago. Just in time for some sub-freezing temperatures!

3.5qt of bleach/8-10 gallons of water

 

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GraniteReefer

Alot of that looks like pukani, I also have many extra pounds of pukani that I received for free when I purchased my IM40 and plan something similar, though not a whole year.  I already used some 2 years ago to start the 40, unfortunately I started with it uncleaned and the leaching has been a nightmare(finally have it clean).  On the remaining rock I have pressure washed and bleached, then placed in a dehydrator which is where the excess sits now.  I would reccomend a muriatic acid bath next as what I have used from the dehydrated stock in my pico competition tank I acid bathed first and no issues were had after, so it's a definitive solution IMO.  I also have seaklear(lanthinum chloride) but haven't used it yet.  I like your plan, but can't stress the importance of an acid bath enough, even after bleaching the residue from the acid bath will be a brown gunk

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themummra
5 minutes ago, GraniteReefer said:

Alot of that looks like pukani, I also have many extra pounds of pukani that I received for free when I purchased my IM40 and plan something similar, though not a whole year.  I already used some 2 years ago to start the 40, unfortunately I started with it uncleaned and the leaching has been a nightmare(finally have it clean).  On the remaining rock I have pressure washed and bleached, then placed in a dehydrator which is where the excess sits now.  I would reccomend a muriatic acid bath next as what I have used from the dehydrated stock in my pico competition tank I acid bathed first and no issues were had after, so it's a definitive solution IMO.  I also have seaklear(lanthinum chloride) but haven't used it yet.  I like your plan, but can't stress the importance of an acid bath enough, even after bleaching the residue from the acid bath will be a brown gunk


It would be nice to have it all the starting the same fresh white , and getting that remaining stuff off.

I had passed off doing a muriatic acid cure but I will look into that

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