"Cycling" live rock

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by KevinW, 15 Nov 2007.

  1. KevinW

    KevinW

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    Does anyone else cycle (for want of a better word) their live rock. What I have been doing is rotating live rock between my sump and a "cooking tank". Live rock stays in my sump for two months or so and then it is replaced with a piece that has been cooked. Comments?
     
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  3. sihaya

    sihaya

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    I'm not sure if "cooking rock" means the same thing here as it does in the states, but if so, I'm against it. When you keep live rock in the dark with no food for weeks on end, this kills most of what makes live rock "live."

    What you should do is called "curing." That's when you put the rock in a tank (that's at least lit) and let it "cycle" for a few weeks. This lets whatever might be dead or dying on the rock to finish dying or degrading before you put it in your main tanks. However, keeping the rock lit (and possibly fed) during this time, helps preserves whatever might still be alive.

    If you're starting a completely new tank, you can cure the live rock in the display tank (as it will simply "cycle" along with everything else). If you want to add new, uncured rock to an old tank, I think it's ok to add it in small amounts (an established tank should be able to handle it). However, as with anything wet, it might be a good idea to QT new rock as you would any new fish/coral.
     
  4. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Damn good idea for many reasons, besides getting rid of the detritus it will also give the rock time to build up a supply of pods before being placed back into the aquarium. i think its a great idea.
     
  5. sihaya

    sihaya

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    I would agree except if "cooking" means keeping it starved and in the dark... here in the USA, "cooking" came to mean keeping the rock dark and starved for several weeks. This would not help build pod populations (or any critter populations) since these things need food. But, again, I don't know what "cooking" means here...
     
  6. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    sounds like a good idea but havent tried that out personally
     
  7. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Hmmmm, okay Kevin please give more detail.
     
  8. KevinW

    KevinW Thread Starter

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    The cooking tank I use has only indirect natural lighting, is heated, and has a skimmer and a small powerhead in it for water circulation. i do not add any food to that tank. The water is changed every couple of weeks using RO water/salt mix. There are some isopods and other small inverts in teh tank but not very many at all. I always wash the rock down with seawater and run the wash water through a net to catch any small invertebrates that are present. These I put into my refugium. The washed rock then goes into the cookig tank.
     
  9. KevinW

    KevinW Thread Starter

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    The reason that I do this is more to give the bacteria etc an opportunity to remove any nutrients that have accumulated in the rock/pores in the rock. I am not concerned about any organisms on or in the rock, other than the microbials, as the populations of these in my system are quite large anyway and the rock will rapidly be recolonised once back in my main system.
     
  10. sihaya

    sihaya

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    That might actually be enough (imo). But here, people do this crazy thing where they actually go so far as to put black tarps over the "cooking tank."

    Cool idea... then you get to pick out what you don't want and save the rest. I like it. :)
     
  11. Tom

    Tom

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    Note to myself: Remove black tarp! LOL! I am trying the same system Kevin. And I am using it as a opportunity to starve the Aiptasia on the rocks that have been taking over the tank. Grr! So I also change the water with nsw and scrub the aiptasia and wash the rock with the "old" water. This I intend doing on a rotational basis as soon as I see hair algae on a rock. Or is this a bad idea?
     
  12. sihaya

    sihaya

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    OOoooo... do NOT scrub aiptasia. They like that! Well, ok, maybe not "like" it but it only propagates them. Try killing them with vinegar or kalk paste first... if that doesn't work, you might have to break out the NaOH.
     
  13. Tom

    Tom

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    Ha ha! I am using the old water to remove the aiptasia. Will see tomorrow what the rock looks like. I scrubbed it last sat. Yes I normally use kalk and have tried pool acid as well, but I am scared of the acid.

    Oops sorry for the hijack Kevin.
     
  14. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i just found that out today.there was one on my sump glass yesterday so i kinda smashed it in,and today about a centimeter away there was another one.
     
  15. KevinW

    KevinW Thread Starter

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    Tom - does not work for aptasia! Also thought starving it may help but it does not....Left one piece of LR cooking for about three months, pulled it out and checked the rock out with a magnifying glass. All appeared clear of aptaisa. However it was growing back on the rock within a couple of days in the same places that it was before. May be new animals but seems more likely that it was the old ones returning given that it was in the same polaces on the rock.
     
  16. sihaya

    sihaya

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  17. KevinW

    KevinW Thread Starter

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    Sihaya - I agree it may be the most effective way but cannot bring myself to do it.....yet!
     
  18. sihaya

    sihaya

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    I understand, it is pretty caustic stuff. You guys ever see the movie "Fight Club?" ... "THIS is a chemical burn!!" Yikes!
     
  19. KevinW

    KevinW Thread Starter

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    Yeah - pretty nasty stuff. I have been trying to think of other ways of getting rid of them (aptasia that is..). Starting to think that methods that will result in the sterilising of an entire piece of infected LR may be worthwhile. The microbial fauna will return to the LR quite quickly provided that the method used is not something that taints the actual rock. The other fauna can mostly be washed off prior to sterilising the rock so that not too much else gets taken out.
     
  20. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hi Kevin - I have come to understand the importance of "cleansing" one's live rock every so often. As this seems to be the main cause of phosphates in my tank.... I still have to purchase some more live rock (will do at some stage), before I can try anything like what you are doing.

    BUT, I am all for it - IF one do not end-up killing the bacteria that actually "feeds" on the detritus that is indeed already inside the life-rock - clogging up the rock, and leaching a whole lot of "Crap" to one' tank.....

    I would also say that one can of course NOT do this with rock where there is other life attached to it, or growing on it - ie. any sort of coral-life, or other "wanted" invertebrates.... in this case you would have to think of some alternative method of "cleaning" this rock.

    One other thing that I have learnt from one of the other international sites I belong to, is that they very strongly believe in having power-heads or at least closed-loop outlets, BEHIND their live-rock, ensuring a constant decent flow of water THROUGH the live-rock - that the live-rock do not "clogged up" with detritus in the first place at all! This is something I am strongly contemplating in doing soon (if I can get the right pump, etc)...
    This is rather the way of "preventing" that "curing".....

    Cheers!
    Jacques
     
  21. KevinW

    KevinW Thread Starter

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    Hi Jacquesb, that is why I only do the cycling with teh LR in my sump - no wanted inverts are generally attached to that LR. A few mionths back (straight after IMACSA) relandscaped my display so that there is no LR against any of teh sides of my system. I still have to play around with random flow as opposed to the circular currents that I currently have in my display though.
     
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