Cooking Live Rock

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by shan, 23 May 2013.

  1. shan


    Posts: 689
    7 Feb 2008
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    Given the discussion on MarkC's thread, i decided to start a new one to discuss the cooking of LR.

    Now the below is what i pulled out directly from reef central and the reason i am cooking my dead LR.


    "So it is his process that I am trying to make popular and cause fellow hobbyists a lot less heartache in the long term.
    The purpose of "cooking" your rocks is to have tha bacteria consume all (or as much) organic material and PO4 stored on, and in, the rock as possible.

    The first step to this is commitment.
    You have to be willing to remove your rock from the tank.
    It doesn't have to be all at once, but I feel if you are going to do this do it all. In stages if that is easier but make sure that all of it gets done.

    The new environment you are creating for your rock is to take it from an algal driven to a bacterial driven system.
    In order to this, the rock needs to be in total darkness to retard and eventually kill the algae's on the rock and to give the bacteria time to do the job.

    So basically you need tubs to hold the rock.

    Equipment needed.

    1. Dedication.
    2. Tubs to cook rock in. And an equal amount of tubs to hold the rock during waterchanges.
    3. A few powerheads.
    4. Plenty of buckets.
    5. A smug feeling of superiority that you are taking it to "the next level." [​IMG]

    Here are the steps, if you have any questions I will try my best to answer them. What I don't know I am sure Bomber can/will instruct.

    1. Get into your head and accept the fact you will be making lots of salt water if you aren't lucky enough to have access to filtered NSW.
    2. Explain to significant other what is going on so they don't flip out. This process can take up to 2 months. Prepare them in advance so he/she can mark it on the calendar and that they won't nag about it until that date arrives. [​IMG]
    3. Setup a tub(s) where the rock is to be cooked. Garages are great for this.
    4. Make up enough water to fill tub(s) about halfway and around 5-7 buckets about 60% full.
    5. Remove all the rock you want to cook at this stage. (The rock can be removed piece by piece until you are done.) I suggest shutting off the circulation beforehand to minimize dust storms.
    6. Take the first piece of rock and dunk it, swish it, very, very well in the first bucket. Then do it again in the 2nd bucket, then the third.
    7. Place rock in the tub.
    8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 to every piece of rock you want to cook at this time. The reason I suggested 5-7 buckets of water will be evident the water quickly turnsq brown. [​IMG]
    9. Place powerhead(s) in the tub and plug in. Position at least one powerhead so that it agitates the surface of the water pretty well. This is to keep the water oxygenated. You can use an air pump for additional oxygenation if you wish.
    9. Cover the tub. Remember, we want total darkness.
    10. Empty out buckets, restart circulation on main tank.
    11. Wait.
    12. During the first couple of weeks it is recommended to do a swishing and dunking of the rocks twice a week.
    What this entails is to make up enough water to fill up those buckets and the tub the rock is in.
    First, lay out your empty tub(s) and fill buckets the same as before.
    Then, uncover tub with the rock in it. Take a rock and swish it in the tub it's in to knock any easy to get off junk.
    Then, swish it thru the 3 buckets again, and place in the empty tub..
    Repeat for all your rocks.
    Then empty the tub that all the rocks were cooking in, take it outside and rinse it out with a hose.
    Place tub back where it was, fill with new saltwater, add rocks and powerheads, and cover.
    Wait again unti the next water change.
    You will be utterly amazed at how much sand, silt, detrius is at the bottom of the tub and every bucket. It is amazing.

    How it works:

    Some FAQ's.
    When re-introducing the rock to my tank, a month or two from now, should I do that in parts to help minimize any cycling effect(s)...if there are any?

    I never have. Really after a very short while, the ammonium cycle has been extablished. That's not what you're worry about though, it's the stored phosphates and that you have to wait it out.
    When they are producing very little detritus - you'll know - then I would use them all at once.

    Would running Carbon filtration and/or a PO4 reducing media help/hurry/hinder the process?
    I wouldn't fool with it. You don't want the detritus to sit there long enough to rot, release water soluble P again. You want to take it out while it's still locked up in that bacterial detritus.

    I hope this helps you out.
    It really is a "miracle" and a low cost one at that.
    The only monies spent are for salt and electricity for the powerheads which are nominal. Especially to rid yourself of Bryopsis.
    Time and effort is all it akes. And really not that much effort.
    I would say that 85% of my exposed rock had Bryopsis (hair algae) covering it.
    There isn't a single visible strand on andy rocks in the tubs now.
    Remember, the key is patience. Let this process run its course.

    And a few last minute tidbits I remembered.
    Your coralline will die back, receed etc.
    My thoughts on this are GREAT!
    Now my rock is more porous for additional pods, mysids, worms etc.
    Coralline will grow back.
    Throughout this process the sponges, and pods on my rock have not died off.
    Everytime I do a waterchange they are there and plentiful."

    (please note that the above is taken directly from RC)
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  3. MistaOrange


    Posts: 7,744
    20 Jan 2010
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    Somewhere in Cape Town

    There should be a few threads here on cooking LR. But thanks anyway:thumbup:
    Last edited: 23 May 2013
  4. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Posts: 16,761
    14 Dec 2008
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    what we need to do is remove the word "cook" and use the word cure or clean & cure
    cooking rock on any heat source is very dangerous, in the event of zoas or paly's on the rock, the heat and steam will aerosolize the palytoxin resulting is severe symptoms, here is just one example Steamed Palythoas send well-informed aquarist to the emergency room, nearly to the grave

    if one is needing to clean the rock, use bleach or hydrochloric acid with the NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS , then cure the rock in RO and use Seachem Safe or Prime.

    ONLY when all residual chlorine has been removed, can test at a pool shop, PO4 read 0 then its safe to use
  5. the fish

    the fish

    Posts: 2,074
    23 May 2012
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    Florida Hills Jhb

    this is what i meant with a previous thread that was posted about cooking. with the zoas. even when it is dead rock tose traces still remain??? and it could be fatal. thus what i said about doing it outside on a braai area awaye from the house... but i learned today that the cooking could mean something else also.. meaning having a drum with the LR and a heater just doing its normal thing of keeping a constant temp and a pump doing the flow
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