Adding live rock to an established reef tank

ptrick21186

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Hi everyone. Quick question. I'm currently battling dinos in my tank. Tank is about 14 months old and was started with dry rock and live sand. Nutrients look good so I'm pretty sure it's just a biome imbalance from the dry rock start up. Would like to add a piece of live rock from my LFS for some diversification. What's the best way to ensure I'm not getting any unwanted hitchhikers and just the good bacteria? Quarantine? Fresh water dip? Hypersalinity? Or any other suggestions would be appreciated.
 

Uncle99

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The rocks not going to change your Dino’s.
Live rock will always have some risk short of killing what you seek to add.

Maintaining stable nitrate and phosphate levels as well as removing them daily when lights on and through a filter sock returning water to DT will rid them.
 
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Jekyl

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As mentioned above some live rock won't cure your issue.

That said if you want to add live rock, get the stuff that comes directly from the ocean. Then follow their recommendations for observation before adding to the display.
 
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ptrick21186

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I'm definitely not looking at this as a cure. Obviously if a single piece of live rock cured dinos there'd be no need for the countless articles on here. Just looking to add more diversity to my tank other than the natural progression of cycling and microbacter dosing. Figured some live rock from already established systems couldn't hurt.....unless I introduce pests.
 
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ptrick21186

ptrick21186

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The rocks not going to change your Dino’s.
Live rock will always have some risk short of killing what you seek to add.

Maintaining stable nitrate and phosphate levels as well as removing them daily when lights on and through a filter sock returning water to DT will rid them.
With the filter sock do you recommend swapping out a new one every morning?
 
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ptrick21186

ptrick21186

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As mentioned above some live rock won't cure your issue.

That said if you want to add live rock, get the stuff that comes directly from the ocean. Then follow their recommendations for observation before adding to the display.
Whos recommendations?
 

Rusty_L_Shackleford

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I'm definitely not looking at this as a cure. Obviously if a single piece of live rock cured dinos there'd be no need for the countless articles on here. Just looking to add more diversity to my tank other than the natural progression of cycling and microbacter dosing. Figured some live rock from already established systems couldn't hurt.....unless I introduce pests.
There is always a risk of pests...but dealing with then is just part of having a reef tank. And besides, the whole point of live rock imo is the hitchhikers. I started my tank with dry rock seeded with live from 2 different sources and have all kinda of worms and pods and starfish and snails, etc. Sure some "pests" get in but they will when you add corals anyway and most of them are trivial to deal with if you catch them early. They really only become a major problem if you ignore then and let them get to plague proportions and then try to tackle the problem. A couple of stray aiptasia are easy to zap. A thousand of them not so much.
 
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ptrick21186

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There is always a risk of pests...but dealing with then is just part of having a reef tank. And besides, the whole point of live rock imo is the hitchhikers. I started my tank with dry rock seeded with live from 2 different sources and have all kinda of worms and pods and starfish and snails, etc. Sure some "pests" get in but they will when you add corals anyway and most of them are trivial to deal with if you catch them early. They really only become a major problem if you ignore then and let them get to plague proportions and then try to tackle the problem. A couple of stray aiptasia are easy to zap. A thousand of them not so much.
So just add it and hope for the best? The good outweighs the bad basically right?
 

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So just add it and hope for the best? The good outweighs the bad basically right?
No matter what wet item you add from another tank, you take risks of bringing over not only new diversity or pests but you can also bring over disease.
So just think about all the risks before you do whatever you do.
I'd hate for you to "hope for the best " and regret it.
 

Jekyl

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Whos recommendations?
Places that sell the ocean direct rock like KP and Tampa have their procedures included before it gets added to the tank. Here are a couple retailers.


 
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ptrick21186

ptrick21186

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So I guess the original question still stands (in a now modified way): What's the best way to ensure I'm limiting the chances of any unwanted hitchhikers? Quarantine? Fresh water dip? Hypersalinity?
 

00W

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Rock fallow, no meds for appropriate fallow period.
Hitchhikers may still make it but at least disease won't.
Hyposaliniry may do the trick.
Never done that with rock so you'll have to see.
Best I can do.
 

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Most rock from the LFS is just wet rock. Does it look like it has a lot of stuff on it? Bacteria alone is a small part of the equation. Does it have live coralline, worms, pods, starfish, etc? If in double get some from the ocean.

The worst thing that you are likely to get is some shrimp. Most are easy to catch with a bottle trap.
 

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The very notion of treating fresh live rock with anything hurts my soul...

You get live rock because you want more life, to increase biodiversity. Nuking it with medication, chemicals or other harsh treatments kind of defeats the purpose entirely.

A week or two in a quarantine tank/bucket with a pump to deal with any eventual die-off and observation for potential undesirables, is the best approach.
 

JoJosReef

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Probably best tondefine what you consider a pest. Bristleworms? Bubble algae? Dictyota? Eunice worms? Gorilla crabs? Isopods?...

If you are getting cooked rock froman LFS, I'd quarantine it for a bit to see if any aiptasia or bubble algae pop up. Take care of them, then dump it in the tank. If you want to minimize the risk of the rock carrying fish diseases over, run it fallow.

For your dino problem, have you ID'd it yet under a microscope? That's your #1 for this battle. If Ostreopsis go for UV. If prorocentrum go for UV, nutrient management and competition (like adding live rock and sand--ocean sand, not that garbage in a bag with dead bacteria). Amphidinium, start lighting incense and pray--and add the competition :)
 

Sophie"s mom

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Hi everyone. Quick question. I'm currently battling dinos in my tank. Tank is about 14 months old and was started with dry rock and live sand. Nutrients look good so I'm pretty sure it's just a biome imbalance from the dry rock start up. Would like to add a piece of live rock from my LFS for some diversification. What's the best way to ensure I'm not getting any unwanted hitchhikers and just the good bacteria? Quarantine? Fresh water dip? Hypersalinity? Or any other suggestions would be appreciated.
No personal exp. on this, but I have read that hypersalinity will do the trick. The claim is that the ramped up salinity will make the hitchhikers leave the rock in hopes of getting away from the salinity. :smirking-face:
 

Uncle99

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With the filter sock do you recommend swapping out a new one every morning?
Oh yes, that’s a good idea.
It’s all about two things happening at once.

1-keeping the pest stuff as low as possible continuously by direct removal and if possible, through UV sterilizing, is essential.

2-Ensuring all parameters (with a focus on Nitrate and Phosphate) remain stable and in the normal bands at all times.

The stability in 2, favors the population of good guy algae and bacterium, and at one point, will outcompete those Dino’s and they will clear. Pest stuff likes unstable and nutrient poor waters.

A daily small live phyto add over a month will help feed so is recommended.
 

LiverockRocks

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Hey there,

Just received another email today from a customer reporting that adding ocean live rock helped her tank overcome dinos. As for ratios, it was a 30gal and she added 8lbs premium rock.

Regarding live rock hitchhikers, weigh the risks:
  • Trusted reefer friend - did they QT or not? Probably safe.
  • Local Fish Store - imho high risk for fish diseases
  • Ocean harvested - depends on location and how they hold it
  • Ocean harvested from TBS - our holding system is full of 100% Gulf of Mexico inhabitants and natural sea water collected from the farm, not contaminated with potentially disease-ridden livestock from national/international wholesalers and tested by Aquabiomics to have 0 coral or fish pathogens.

Yeah, you're going to get ocean hikers, but they are trappable....or consider setting up a life supporting observation tank for the ocean live rock and watch it for a week to remove hikers.
 

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This Up Here GIF by Chord Overstreet
 

livinlifeinBKK

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In 5 years of using wild ocean rock straight from Indonesia less than a week after being in the ocean, the worst I notice is one or two hitchhiker crabs. Funny thing, I was actually trying to ask around to see if anyone knew legal importers who might be looking to import but from the comments I received I can only assume that rock from the most biodiverse marine ecosystem on the planet would never be desired.
 

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