Adding live rock to an established reef tank

jda

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You can have rock shipped in newspaper and still get all of the good things and nearly all of the potential nasty stuff will crawl out. It needs cured a bit, but this is my preferred way. I never got anything that I did not want.
 

jda

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I hate to get all preachy, but if you want to get rid of dinos, then you need stuff to populate the rocks so that dinos cannot take hold. I know that the modern stupidity of early tank states (what some called cycled) is just to focus on ammonia oxidizing bacteria by adding in some stuff in a bottle, but this does not help with the ecosystem that much. AOB is not going to keep dinos, diatoms or hair off of rocks. There is much more to this than bacteria. Film algae and bacteria, coralline, other algae, pods, worms, starfish, matting bacteria and algae, etc. all work to keep nasty things at bay. ...think ecosystem and not just bacteria.
 

livinlifeinBKK

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I hate to get all preachy, but if you want to get rid of dinos, then you need stuff to populate the rocks so that dinos cannot take hold. I know that the modern stupidity of early tank states (what some called cycled) is just to focus on ammonia oxidizing bacteria by adding in some stuff in a bottle, but this does not help with the ecosystem that much. AOB is not going to keep dinos, diatoms or hair off of rocks. There is much more to this than bacteria. Film algae and bacteria, coralline, other algae, pods, worms, starfish, matting bacteria and algae, etc. all work to keep nasty things at bay. ...think ecosystem and not just bacteria.
This is one of the the primary reasons I'm a very big supporter of live rock....it already has natural biofilm and thousands of species covering it. I really do feel that gives a little head start...
 

paragrouper

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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.
I used their 8 lb. Premium live rock “treasure chest“ to increase biodiversity in my tank. The rock I received was top quality. I quarantined the rock is a large brute container with sea water matched to my tanks salinity, along with a powerhead and a heater. I also used an LED light to help with observation. While in observation, I put in traps to collect wanted hitch hikers.

worked like a champ.
 

jda

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I used their 8 lb. Premium live rock “treasure chest“ to increase biodiversity in my tank. The rock I received was top quality. I quarantined the rock is a large brute container with sea water matched to my tanks salinity, along with a powerhead and a heater. I also used an LED light to help with observation. While in observation, I put in traps to collect wanted hitch hikers.

worked like a champ.

I know that you know this, but care to explain to everybody how much easier it is to deal with these "pests" than with other pests like dinos and hair algae? :) The effort is not even close to the same.. you can be done with one in a week and a coke bottle... the other can take people out of the hobby. Why are people so scared of some crabs and shrimp? Is it really because they watched a BRS video too early and it stuck in their mind. If BRS sold real live rock they would have tons of videos telling you how awesome it is.
 

livinlifeinBKK

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Just do your research into what you're buying before you pay like everyone should. I think you're getting sound advice but if you want to try with live rock, geta good amount (even maybe replace some old rock)...I personally don't feel rubble does much and it's certainly pricey last I checked out of curiosity. I say go all in with live ocean rock!
 

paragrouper

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I know that you know this, but care to explain to everybody how much easier it is to deal with these "pests" than with other pests like dinos and hair algae? :) The effort is not even close to the same.. you can be done with one in a week and a coke bottle... the other can take people out of the hobby. Why are people so scared of some crabs and shrimp? Is it really because they watched a BRS video too early and it stuck in their mind. If BRS sold real live rock they would have tons of videos telling you how awesome it is.
Sure, for the critters, you can simply use a bristle worm trap. If you see any troublesome algae, you simply pull the rock out a manually remove it. Plus, not all hitchhikers are bad.

IMG_3151.jpeg
 

livinlifeinBKK

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Sure, for the critters, you can simply use a bristle worm trap. If you see any troublesome algae, you simply pull the rock out a manually remove it. Plus, not all hitchhikers are bad.

IMG_3151.jpeg
I started a thread or two a while back on the topic and people were overwhelmingly in agreement that hitchhikers aren't a huge deal to remove if you happen to be unlucky enough to actually even get the undesirable ones
 

JoJosReef

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There are a few baddies, like cirolanid isopods. But most everything else is relatively easy to bait out with a bit of patience. None of these things are as bad as day after day or yanking out chunks of GHA or dealing with dinos. And to think of all the $$$ I initially sunk into product after product to add into the tank to treat it? There's the cost of live ocean rock right there.
 

RoweReef

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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.
I agree 100 percent. In the early 90s we all started with live ocean rock. I wish I could get some Fiji rock now. I have a 6 year old system and I would add it without a second thought.
 

steveschuerger

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Just added 20 lbs of live rock from @Gulf Live Rock and got a couple corals that are definitely alive, a Rose Coral and a probable Rhodactis shroom. I did end up with a Mantis that I’ll have trap, but I think I’m going to put it into the 22 gallon nano and take my jawfish and hectors goby out and into the 90. Still, can’t beat live rock for adding biodiversity. The first is from a previous shipment from Gulf Live.
IMG_3794.jpeg
IMG_3791.jpeg
IMG_3776.jpeg
 

livinlifeinBKK

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I agree 100 percent. In the early 90s we all started with live ocean rock. I wish I could get some Fiji rock now. I have a 6 year old system and I would add it without a second thought.
I'm beyond grateful that I luckily have access to rock like that. Honestly, years ago I just thought it was absolutely beautiful because of all the shades of coralline but after spending enough time on R2R I realize how fortunate I really am.
 

Rusty_L_Shackleford

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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.
This is the way. Just plop it in a spare tank or Rubbermaid tub or whatever with a powered and let it marinate for a few days or a week while keeping an eye out for any undesirables. Test for ammonia, if none go ahead and add, if you detect ammonia (.25 on the api test kit doesn't count they're notorious for false positives) then wait longer and retest. I'm an old school reefer and this is the way we always did it (back when the only rock you could get came from Fiji wrapped in wet newspaper after spending God knows how long in that box) and I haven't found a better way.
 

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Honestly, I'm not sure adding just a small amount of live rock will help his dinos significantly for little while (certainly not too quickly). It'll help the tank overall and will help in the long run but there might be a better way for him to deal with them in a 14 month old tank...I don't think he mentioned how bad they are either. Then again, I've never had to deal with them so I can't really offer a cure here...glad to see all the live ocean rock support though!
 

Peter Houde

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You can have rock shipped in newspaper and still get all of the good things and nearly all of the potential nasty stuff will crawl out. It needs cured a bit, but this is my preferred way. I never got anything that I did not want.
My experience exactly. I used it to cycle my sterile tank when I very first set it up. The stuff rotted for a month - it looked disgusting. Then suddenly, miraculously, it all cleared and all manner of imaginable creatures (except fish) bloomed. Even free-swimming jellyfish (for a very short while). Absolutely no undesirable hitchhikers unless you'd consider bristle worms in that category, but in fact they are great detritus CUC. In a clean tank with snails even the bristle worms all but completely disappeared. I would never go for the cultured stuff.
 

livinlifeinBKK

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My experience exactly. I used it to cycle my sterile tank when I very first set it up. The stuff rotted for a month - it looked disgusting. Then suddenly, miraculously, it all cleared and all manner of imaginable creatures (except fish) bloomed. Even free-swimming jellyfish (for a very short while). Absolutely no undesirable hitchhikers unless you'd consider bristle worms in that category, but in fact they are great detritus CUC. In a clean tank with snails even the bristle worms all but completely disappeared. I would never go for the cultured stuff.
Sounds much more interesting then pitching a few pieces of Marco rock in a tank!
 
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Honestly, I'm not sure adding just a small amount of live rock will help his dinos significantly for little while (certainly not too quickly). It'll help the tank overall and will help in the long run but there might be a better way for him to deal with them in a 14 month old tank...I don't think he mentioned how bad they are either. Then again, I've never had to deal with them so I can't really offer a cure here...glad to see all the live ocean rock support though!
I wouldn't consider it too bad. Nothing that's gonna make me sell my tank or anything. Most if it is on the back wall (plastic) of the tank with some one the rocks and a little on the sand. I'm pretty patient with the tank and understand it's still new so I'm ok letting it run it's course. Just seeing what I can do to help the process.
 
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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 :)
I have not specifically ID'd it with a microscope yet. That will be coming up soon.
 

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