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CenCalReef

Live rock/Dry rock aged old questions new or better methods?

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CenCalReef

Okay guys this is probably the millionth or trillionth post about dead/live rock. So I am hoping to get everyone from new to the old school reefers to chime in. Any ways I have kept tanks in the past and always started with "live rock" and have simply just thrown it in with "live sand" and let the tank sit and follow everyones different steps until reaching a "cycled" tank. Today I am getting ready to start a new tank my first "Not too worried about budget but still worried" reef tank, This will be my first done "right" although every single person has a different view about what is right and wrong and method this and method that. Now after spending my entire weekend in bed reading about cycling tanks and using live or dead rock i've come to the conclusion that some of us spend money on live rock and dont even benefit from it 100% let alone 50% because most of the "live" dies off during a cycle or transport. What I am trying to achieve here is to find out what is truly the most cost efficient way and actually sensible way of starting a new tank.

 

1-Buy live rock from a local FS and risk getting hitchhikers or pests, then adding it to a new tank to let it cycle with your live sand in a bag

 

2-Buy dry rock from BRS and cure it for an unprecedented amount of time and add that wait time to the "cycle" of your tank

 

3-Buy 70-80% dry rock and cure it with 30-20% of live rock inside a brute container with fresh saltwater a heater and a power head to help seed and get rid of hitch hikers from your live rock?

 

In theory all rock dead or alive should be cured?

Is live rock transported in water from a LFS then dropped into your new tank with fresh live sand and freshly mixed saltwater a good idea or even worth the extra money?

I was thinking that #3 kind of makes sense and in a way gets your dry rock going with benificial bacteria and helps establish the new live rock

 

or what? what in all reality is the best or the most efficient method?  Sorry for the long post this is my first time using a forum and cant wait to gain some interesting knowledge!

 

 

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sadie

I did not cure my LR.  I put my LS and LR in the tank and started the cycle with a raw shrimp from the deli.  I would not say that the life on the rock dies during cycling.  Almost everyday, even through the cycle, I saw things come alive.  It was awesome.  I had feather dusters, bristle worms, some kind of wing clam.

 

I don't really understand buying dead rock, unless maybe it's cheaper.  But LR is already established with organisms and coraline algae and tons of life.  You would have to wait for all that to buildup and grow in the dead rock.  Seems to me it would take longer.  But people do it.

 

Not sure I've answered any of your questions, but I guess it's just my 2 cents.  I like #1.

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Gravity

Live rock is generally more expensive per pound. Plus you have the added water weight meaning the rock is actually smaller than the same weight in dry rock. Assuming you can find quality live rock with little to no die off you have an instant cycled tank. You also get both interesting and scary hitch hikers. 
 

There are many options for dry rock. The man made and mined rock are generally clean and wouldn’t require curing. But if you got dry rock from the ocean curing would be a must. Dry rock would need some additive to have a reasonable cycle, <1 month. This could be anything anything from bacteria products, live sand, some live rock or media from another tank. Depending on the product chosen would determine the cycle time. 

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CenCalReef
10 minutes ago, Gravity said:

Live rock is generally more expensive per pound. Plus you have the added water weight meaning the rock is actually smaller than the same weight in dry rock. Assuming you can find quality live rock with little to no die off you have an instant cycled tank. You also get both interesting and scary hitch hikers. 
 

There are many options for dry rock. The man made and mined rock are generally clean and wouldn’t require curing. But if you got dry rock from the ocean curing would be a must. Dry rock would need some additive to have a reasonable cycle, <1 month. This could be anything anything from bacteria products, live sand, some live rock or media from another tank. Depending on the product chosen would determine the cycle time. 

Understood, for some reason when i look online everyone says to cure the rock dry/live/semi alive lol, anyways on BRS website the reef saver rock which is supposed to be mined and not taken from the ocean yet they recommend curing the rock, why? why does the rock need to be cured if it is already dry clean rock?

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Gravity

It’s probably just to cover them if there are any issues. When I setup my tank with dry BRS reef saver. I didn’t cure it and had no issues. 

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Thrassian Atoll

I think the issue nowadays is not having liverock available online besides Florida stuff. ¬†The ‚Äúliverock‚ÄĚ at my lfs look like dead rock sitting in water that had zero coraline or life anywhere to be seen. ¬†That and they want way too much for it compared to BRS stuff.

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CenCalReef
20 minutes ago, Thrassian Atoll said:

I think the issue nowadays is not having liverock available online besides Florida stuff. ¬†The ‚Äúliverock‚ÄĚ at my lfs look like dead rock sitting in water that had zero coraline or life anywhere to be seen. ¬†That and they want way too much for it compared to BRS stuff.

Straight up my LFS sells live rock for 7-8$ a pound, although I my LFS is actually really nice and they seem to do a good job keeping the live rock alive, although they don't run lights over there rock only tanks. So i gues my next real question for everybody is should i go ahead and just buy live sand in a bag and cycle my tank with half to three quarters brs dry rock and the rest live rock from lfs along with bio spira or what are some suggested  methods, i currently have a 24x24x12 Mr Aqua with a corner overflow to a custom 20gallon sump thats realistically 12-14gallons of actual water volume

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billygoat

I believe that aquacultured live rock straight out of the ocean from a reputable online retailer is the absolute best option for starting up a new system. Yes, much of the life on the rock will die off during transit, but that die-off itself is what will provide the initial source of ammonia needed to begin your tank's cycle. Plus, many of the organisms that come in on your rock will in fact survive, leaving you with an incredible smorgasbord of amazing microfauna. I started my own tank with aquacultured live rock from the Gulf of Mexico and CaribSea bagged live sand, and did not have to use any sort of additive or ghost feeding to complete my cycle. Now my system is at the ten month mark, and much of the life that arrived on my rock continues to flourish. Micro-sized feather duster worms, complex macroalgae like Halimeda and Botryocladia, colonial tunicates, tiny bivalves, coralline algae of all descriptions, chitons, brittle stars, bristle worms, even stony corals... the list of hitchhikers is endless, and the enrichment these otherwise-unobtainable organisms add to an aquarium cannot be overstated.

 

Granted,¬†pests are almost certain to arrive in your tank if you go down the aquacultured live rock route. Aiptasia is common, as are nasties like Eunicid worms, gorilla crabs, obnoxious nuisance algae, etc. But the constellation of beneficial organisms that enter your aquarium as a result of using uncured rock right out of the ocean is well worth this trade off, at least in my opinion. I believe that biodiversity, especially that¬†of microfauna, is critical¬†to ensuring the health of a reef aquarium in the long term. I know it's a bit more expensive to buy your rock from a vendor like kpaquatics or gulfliverock.com, but believe me, it's well worth what you pay.¬†ūüĎĆ

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CenCalReef
17 minutes ago, billygoat said:

I believe that aquacultured live rock straight out of the ocean from a reputable online retailer is the absolute best option for starting up a new system. Yes, much of the life on the rock will die off during transit, but that die-off itself is what will provide the initial source of ammonia needed to begin your tank's cycle. Plus, many of the organisms that come in on your rock will in fact survive, leaving you with an incredible smorgasbord of amazing microfauna. I started my own tank with aquacultured live rock from the Gulf of Mexico and CaribSea bagged live sand, and did not have to use any sort of additive or ghost feeding to complete my cycle. Now my system is at the ten month mark, and much of the life that arrived on my rock continues to flourish. Micro-sized feather duster worms, complex macroalgae like Halimeda and Botryocladia, colonial tunicates, tiny bivalves, coralline algae of all descriptions, chitons, brittle stars, bristle worms, even stony corals... the list of hitchhikers is endless, and the enrichment these otherwise-unobtainable organisms add to an aquarium cannot be overstated.

 

Granted,¬†pests are almost certain to arrive in your tank if you go down the aquacultured live rock route. Aiptasia is common, as are nasties like Eunicid worms, gorilla crabs, obnoxious nuisance algae, etc. But the constellation of beneficial organisms that enter your aquarium as a result of using uncured rock right out of the ocean is well worth this trade off, at least in my opinion. I believe that biodiversity, especially that¬†of microfauna, is critical¬†to ensuring the health of a reef aquarium in the long term. I know it's a bit more expensive to buy your rock from a vendor like kpaquatics or gulfliverock.com, but believe me, it's well worth what you pay.¬†ūüĎĆ

Yes, I would agree that the microfauna and beneficial organisms that arrive on the rock are what help establish a good or great filtration system for any saltwater tank, but does that outway the pests and unwanted hitch hikers that can eventually ruin a tank to the point of breaking down and restarting? This is where i read that "most experienced" reefers prefer to start with a dry rock to ensure a clean safe tank along with the obvious qt of future fish and corals. So is it worth the extra dollar to have those micro fauna and hitchhikers that can ruin a tank or is there a better method that we should all look into? I also still wonder why are there so many post of other reefers curing there rock and is it really necessary? Isnt that die like you stated part of what helps a tank cycle?

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Clown79

Hands down I'd choose liverock over dry, you just don't get the same biodiversity of life from dry rock. 

 

I've used liverock (not clean, not alot of coralline) added sand and let it cycle on it's own. This type of rock from the lfs had die off on it, no need to do anything. Cycled in 4 weeks

 

I've done mostly dry with a small piece of liverock. Cycled in 6 weeks. 

 

I've done liverock that was established with a few small pieces of dry rock, cycled in a week

 

Each tank had it's own issues. Never had a hitch hiker that was an issue.(aiptasia and pistol shrimp)

 

The tank/rock that took the longest to see a decent amount of life was the tank with mostly dry rock used

 

 

 

 

 

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jservedio
9 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Hands down I'd choose liverock over dry, you just don't get the same biodiversity of life from dry rock. 

Definitely this! On a budget, a great option is to buy dry rock from somewhere like BRS and then buy a few pieces of live rock either from the LFS, or just extra rock from a fellow reefer, to seed your dry rock.

 

All of the hitchhikers everyone is afraid of are going to be able to enter your tank anyway on frags, rubble, fish, etc. Dealing with Aiptasia or some other pest for a few weeks in the beginning while your tank is free of coral and fish is far preferable to having a sterile tank with no biodiversity 3 or 4 years on while your tank is full of coral.

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Clown79
2 hours ago, jservedio said:

Definitely this! On a budget, a great option is to buy dry rock from somewhere like BRS and then buy a few pieces of live rock either from the LFS, or just extra rock from a fellow reefer, to seed your dry rock.

 

All of the hitchhikers everyone is afraid of are going to be able to enter your tank anyway on frags, rubble, fish, etc. Dealing with Aiptasia or some other pest for a few weeks in the beginning while your tank is free of coral and fish is far preferable to having a sterile tank with no biodiversity 3 or 4 years on while your tank is full of coral.

I know many fear hitch hikers but they can come in on anything as you said. Corals, rocks corals are on, and even frag plugs.

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Orangutran
On 10/21/2019 at 2:21 PM, Clown79 said:

I know many fear hitch hikers but they can come in on anything as you said. Corals, rocks corals are on, and even frag plugs.

Which side of the country are you on? I'm looking for some quality LR, and can't find any in the LFS...

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MrObscura

I started my first, current, and only reef tank with dry rock largely to avoid unwanted hitchhikers, and it was cheaper. But that didnt work out, I still ended up with aiptasia and vermitides.

 

In the future I world strongly consider live rock from a trust worthy source, if I had one available, as it just gives your system a leg up. You have a mini ecosystem ready to go. 

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Clown79
23 minutes ago, Orangutran said:

Which side of the country are you on? I'm looking for some quality LR, and can't find any in the LFS...

I'm in Canada.

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