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Dry rock aquascape


mitten_reef

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mitten_reef

I like live rocks from LFS, they've been good enough for me.  But just wanna share a little bit of thoughts on dead rocks.

 

Call them what you will...  dry rocks, dead rocks, mined rocks, etc.  I've seen many anecdotes on how these contributed to long maturation process, tank stabilization, or that they're leaching nutrients, etc.  I decided to give some a try anyway.    

 

They may look clean enough, but are they?  No, I don't think most of these will even make it to the tank, but I'm treating about 2/3-3/4 of the rocks for my aquascape.  


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I gave them a vinegar bath, sorry video is on the third slide

 

 

 

And this is the sediment left from the first bath, including some pieces of who-knows-how-old algae floaties.  Think of this sediment as a pile of detritus stuffed in the cracks of rocks in its previous life, and now you'd realize why dead rocks could be leaching nutrients.  the rocks are now in second bath, and still producing quite a bit of silt in the tub.  I'm not sure if i'll be able to test for N & P. since the water pH may be a little off from what those tests are made for (no longer have pH test to confirm).     

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the moral of the story, simply rinsing your dry rocks may not necessarily clean them as well as you might think.  Good luck aquascaping.

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mitten_reef
5 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

What is the water for second bath. Vinegar, fresh, or salt? Will you do another bath after the second? Are you using a power head?  

Good questions.  The second bath is still white distilled vinegar diluted in water, (1 part vinegar + 3 part water = 2 gallons total).  I didn't measure the first one, but it was roughly 1 part vinegar, 4-5 part water.  I felt like there are a few areas that seem to have more "caked-in" stuff that may need a little stronger acidity to loosen up.  I'm not using any powerhead during the vinegar bath (probably not good for the powerhead either?).  I will probably rinse it in tap water, then dunk in RODI before use.  

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Every once in awhile I use vinegar to clean my power heads. Place it in my water change bucket with a power head running 1/3 vinegar/water run about 30 minutes, then just tap water for 30 minutes, take every thing I can apart, clean with a tooth brush, Q tips, and face cloth. Put back together and run in tap water again before putting back in tank. I haven't noticed any bad effects. Have you seen damage?

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mitten_reef
4 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

Every once in awhile I use vinegar to clean my power heads. Place it in my water change bucket with a power head running 1/3 vinegar/water run about 30 minutes, then just tap water for 30 minutes, take every thing I can apart, clean with a tooth brush, Q tips, and face cloth. Put back together and run in tap water again before putting back in tank. I haven't noticed any bad effects. Have you seen damage?

oh yeah, true, I have used vinegar to clean pumps and other equipment...doh.  but also this would be sitting in a tub of vinegar for hours/days.  and TBH, I have no room for one in the tub either.  I gave the tub a few shakes every time I go down to the basement for something, or just to get up and away from the desk to look at the tank (working from home has the perks of some midday tank-watching).   

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This has been my experience with dry rock, too - it's generally loaded with nutrients. I have some BRS dry rock and some other dry rock I got from my LFS when I was re-scaping about 5 years ago and it was all loaded. I didn't even bother with the vinegar bath though, I did an RODI soak and tossed all 20 pounds of it into a tote with a heater, powerhead, and light and tucked it in the back of a closet for few  months with a couple of pieces of mature live rock and let the hair algae burn through all of those nutrients.

 

I've also put a few smaller pieces of dry rock into my tank with nothing more than a rinse in RODI like the small 6x6" shelf for my nems, my blasto rock, and my platy rock from a bunch of different sources and every single one had a major algae bloom on it. The algae would be confined to the rock (usually GHA and green film), and would burn itself out in a few months. I would imagine it would be a pain in the ass if your entire tank was dry rock, but as long as you are expecting it to happen, you can just plan around it.

 

I'm sure the vinegar and RODI baths are going to help a bunch with the nutrients, but honestly, I'd be willing to bet you are still going to have some gross algae for a bit once you get it under a light.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The only time I've put dry rock into a tank without much prior treatment, I was putting it in my brackish water opae ula tank. It was some ocean rock I'd found washed up on the beach, completely dry and free of any noticeable dead things or smell. I soaked it in a couple gallons of non-salty water for a week, and it turned the water vaguely salty, but didn't put off any smell. So it went into the tank, and promptly grew a ton of weird slimy green algae. The shrimp loved that, so it was fine. 

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mitten_reef
On 7/13/2020 at 11:02 AM, jservedio said:

I'm sure the vinegar and RODI baths are going to help a bunch with the nutrients, but honestly, I'd be willing to bet you are still going to have some gross algae for a bit once you get it under a light.

This is something I'm trying to avoid, in fact I'm trying to bypass the algae stage altogether (for the future display) by curing the rocks in a tub, with heater and flow, along with the some pieces of more mature rocks from my display tank.  altho right now the tub has no light....I will consider putting a light bar over it, now that you mentioned it.  

 

21 hours ago, Tired said:

The only time I've put dry rock into a tank without much prior treatment, I was putting it in my brackish water opae ula tank. It was some ocean rock I'd found washed up on the beach, completely dry and free of any noticeable dead things or smell. I soaked it in a couple gallons of non-salty water for a week, and it turned the water vaguely salty, but didn't put off any smell. So it went into the tank, and promptly grew a ton of weird slimy green algae. The shrimp loved that, so it was fine. 

Thanks, but I'm not quite sure how this is related to the topic here, other than dry rocks seem to carry enough embedded nutrient to grow algae for you?  I tried to look for some historical information on your tank to try to find any connection I might have missed, and I couldn't find a single tank journal even among 4 pages of topics/threads/discussions generated by you.  Please consider sharing some information on your personal tank(s) for other to see.  

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The opae ula tank isn't mentioned anywhere because it's not a reef tank. It's brackish water shrimp. 

 

And I thought "I also had dry rock that seemed to have a lot of embedded nutrients" was relevant. Part of the topic of this thread is a discussion about nutrients in dry rock. And in my case, it was rock that wasn't that nebulous "was this in someone's tank at some point? was it cleaned?" background you get at pet stores sometimes. 

 

Oh, just remembered- I did put a piece of that in my reef. I soaked it for over two months first, in a tub of water with highly varying salinity because I kept topping it up only after it was mostly gone, and that piece didn't grow a notable amount of algae when it went in the tank. But that piece was a clean coral skeleton, and the pieces that were soaked for less time and grew a lot of algae in brackish water were that sort of twisty "who knows what made this" reef base rock. 

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mitten_reef
25 minutes ago, Tired said:

The opae ula tank isn't mentioned anywhere because it's not a reef tank. It's brackish water shrimp. 

 

And I thought "I also had dry rock that seemed to have a lot of embedded nutrients" was relevant. Part of the topic of this thread is a discussion about nutrients in dry rock. And in my case, it was rock that wasn't that nebulous "was this in someone's tank at some point? was it cleaned?" background you get at pet stores sometimes. 

 

Oh, just remembered- I did put a piece of that in my reef. I soaked it for over two months first, in a tub of water with highly varying salinity because I kept topping it up only after it was mostly gone, and that piece didn't grow a notable amount of algae when it went in the tank. But that piece was a clean coral skeleton, and the pieces that were soaked for less time and grew a lot of algae in brackish water were that sort of twisty "who knows what made this" reef base rock. 

are you even aware of the first post on this topic and the context of discussions I'm trying to get going here?  

 

yes, I can link the same relevance of your "dry rock" nutrient - that's about all I got from it.  thanks for confirming that.  

 

Your newer comment here also didn't seem to remotely use the same type of rocks, as I highlighted here in bold - not related to the dry rocks I started the topic about.

 

No, your tanks are not documented anywhere on this forum.  I don't care enough to track every time you mentioned about your tank or tanks, because ALL of your topics are just a bunch of rambling thoughts/ideas.  And until you start showing your coherent tank information or start a journal (or journals), I'm not interested in your elaborate, long-winded explanation about anything.  To be frank, people with too many opinions/comments without any substance (in this case, an active tank journal) to back it up is the cause of the decline this used-to-be-great forum.       

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TerraIncognita

I'm curious once you put them in the tank now and take your measurements.

 

I just put this AJ10 in and didn't have NEARLY that much detriment. I'm not sure what rock you are using though exactly. I think it maybe depends on the source? That's really interesting to think about. Maybe they mix in dead particles to kick start an ammonia blast for a tank?

 

This was the dry rock i used. The first filter sock was FILLED with "dust" and detriment" also the tank had about  a 1/8inch dust settle at the bottom I vaccumed out before I put in my sand and water. But honestly you might be on to something. We might be spiking our params unnecessarily before we even know it.

 

 

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mitten_reef
15 minutes ago, TerraIncognita said:

I'm curious once you put them in the tank now and take your measurements.

 

I just put this AJ10 in and didn't have NEARLY that much detriment. I'm not sure what rock you are using though exactly. I think it maybe depends on the source? That's really interesting to think about. Maybe they mix in dead particles to kick start an ammonia blast for a tank?

 

This was the dry rock i used. The first filter sock was FILLED with "dust" and detriment" also the tank had about  a 1/8inch dust settle at the bottom I vaccumed out before I put in my sand and water. But honestly you might be on to something. We might be spiking our params unnecessarily before we even know it.

 

 

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my rocks are from caribsea - south sea base rocks (https://caribsea.com/aquarium/#marine-rocks-and-more).  The reason I have much more silt and dust is likely because I was treating 25-30 lbs of rocks in a tub (vs your two rocks shown in the tank)

 

Seems like you were on to something here as well.  by not having sand in the tank when you added the rocks, you're able to identify all the dust and silt that came off of them.  If you had sand in there, much of the dust would have incorporated into the sand bed. 

 

Yes, my running idea here is that much of the excessive nutrients people are facing dry-rock setup could have come from the embedded silt, that most people may have failed to remove because these dry rocks are quite clean visually.

 

 

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2 hours ago, mitten_reef said:

This is something I'm trying to avoid, in fact I'm trying to bypass the algae stage altogether (for the future display) by curing the rocks in a tub, with heater and flow, along with the some pieces of more mature rocks from my display tank.  altho right now the tub has no light....I will consider putting a light bar over it, now that you mentioned it.  

That will work, but definitely add light since it'll speed the process along - I would think 2-3 months total, maybe less since you are heavily cleaning before hand.

 

I don't think it's really possible to avoid that algae stage all together when starting with dry rock and is is just part of the process - but doing it in a tub instead of your display is pretty ideal when you have mature rock to play with.

 

IME, it takes about a year or so to mature dry rock when it's with mature rock and lit to become indistinguishable or close enough, possibly less. For me it is normally 1-2 months of GHA while the nutrients burn off and then back to white rock with sporadic life starting to take hold and steadily increasing. I think heavily washing will probably cut ugly period back some, but I really don't think you'll totally avoid it. At least you don't have to look at it 🙂

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TerraIncognita
6 minutes ago, mitten_reef said:

my rocks are from caribsea - south sea base rocks (https://caribsea.com/aquarium/#marine-rocks-and-more).  The reason I have much more silt and dust is likely because I was treating 25-30 lbs of rocks in a tub (vs your two rocks shown in the tank)

 

Seems like you were on to something here as well.  by not having sand in the tank when you added the rocks, you're able to identify all the dust and silt that came off of them.  If you had sand in there, much of the dust would have incorporated into the sand bed. 

 

Yes, my running idea here is that much of the excessive nutrients people are facing dry-rock setup could have come from the embedded silt, that most people may have failed to remove because these dry rocks are quite clean visually.

 

 

Idk where I picked it up (I think BRSTV), but since my first day in this hobby I never add sand until the very end. I always do it around 7PM and then when I wake up in the morning it's crystal clear.

 

The idea was always Rock first, make sure it's stable then add sand. I also always keep burrowing fish. I think they're the cutest little hiders, and they poke out their faces! 😄 so I always put rock first, because I could NEVER live with myself if I ever crushed a burrower with shifting sand and rock on accident. I've never seen that happen, but only heard (probably also from BRSTV) about it and just pictured my goby being crushed under rock and said "no way"

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@mitten_reefOk just going to throw my 1 time experience out there with dry rock. I used brs dry rock. Rinsed in the sink real quick and that was all. Besides the little bit of diatoms I had this tank has been almost alage free..  I might not be able to grow sps but by god I have a clean tank!!!  Hahahaha..

 

The whole reason I started my reefer was bc my cube was covered in algae and made this hobbie not fun..  since I started the reefer with dry rock I have been alage free and I have not changed my maintenance at all ... 

 

Maybe I got lucky but I'll tell you what i will be using dry rock next time..

 

Oh and blast from the past.. can you believe some nerd was trying to get me to use my old alage infested rock to seed my clean new dry rock!!!😋😋😉🤗

 

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I don't understand what you're upset about. You said something about nutrients in dry rock, so I commented about nutrients in my dry rock. Were you not looking for that? 

 

Yes, the rock in the second example was different. It was a dead coral skeleton, found in the exact same place as the other rock. That's why I said it was different. But I was under the impression that a dead coral skeleton can generally be considered dry or live rock, depending on circumstance. 

 

I do have a tank journal. It's in the wrong section because I made it when I had just joined the forum, and I didn't notice there was a place specifically for journals. I've been meaning to put together a nice, coherent journal, but I've been a little distracted by the global pandemic. 

(Correction: it's in a subset of the journal area, so it is in the right area. My bad on that.)

 

And isn't a forum like this meant to be used to share thoughts and ideas? I'm not forcing anybody to participate in my threads. I'm sorry if you don't like my thought process, but it's not exactly intentional. 

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TerraIncognita

as a note mitten, I've been basting the rocks daily for 3 days in my 10G, im convinced there is leaching decaying matter. Every time I do it, there's cloud of white particle, some people are saying it's just sediment settling, but why over and over and over and over and over and over in the same spots.

 

My fish go crazy like I'm trying to feed them. meaning something must be triggering their sense that there's a boost nutrients in the water. Even after I remove the baster (which is a different baster than I use to feed) but obviously they see a baster and think food right?

 

They will still swim for about 15 minutes through the clouds of murk looking for nutrients, pecking at "something" in the water. So you might be onto something else. I'd be interested to get more of a background on where these rocks are coming from, and how they're made. It seems like I've never seen a Rock being made anywhere. Anyone know?

 

This is a new tank and I've only ever fed my clowns in here twice about a total of 16 tiny garlic pellets.

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