Bare Bottom Dry Rock?

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FWTXReefnerd

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Hello,

Im in the “gathering” phase of my 2nd tank & had some general questions about cycling the tank:

1) I want a 100% pest free tank. That’s why im going with dry rock. However I’ve heard BRS recently state that they had issues with the bare bottom /dry rock combo (used on BRS/WWC Hybrid method) & said they would’ve used live rock in hindsight. This kinda threw me through a loop. I’ve been sticking with that “guide” for this tank and now I’m kinda torn. Should I use some LR and the rest dry? If I use any LR is there a way to kill spiders & worms but keep the beneficial bacteria? Any one have any advice based on their experience with dry rock / bare bottom? Also, how long did you cycle the tank & what bacteria product would you recommend? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

-Nathan
 
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Welcome to R2R!

Another thing you can do is buy some sponges that have no chemicals and drop them in a established tank and let them soak till you got your system up and running. Then grab them and place them in your sump. Its not as good as placing rock in someone else tank, but it is an alternative.
 

Enchanted Reefs

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mainly about 18 months of instability, bigger opportunity for dinos and a very tough time keeping sps corals alive until that biological culture is achieved.
get a UV sterilizer and keep it running until your tank gets established. Will definitely help out whether you are going with all dry rock or not.
 

landlubber

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get a UV sterilizer and keep it running until your tank gets established. Will definitely help out whether you are going with all dry rock or not.
to avoid amphidinium dinos that might help but that is only one of many possible issues. unfortunately, a UV isn't going to do jack to expedite stability issue which is the biggest issue.
 

SPS2020

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Reference my build thread if you would like. I used dry rock on my bare bottom build, cycled with Brightwell Ammonia, Microbacter Start XLM, Microbacter 7 along with 2 liters of Seachem Matrix in two different bags in the sump. Dry rock in the fuge as well. I ran UV after the cycling was complete and continue to use it 24/7. My experience was a pretty quick cycle. I've had SPS in there for around a year; put in a couple of cheap monti's to test the water, then straight to Acros. The tank has been running for just over a year now. Minimal aquascaping, NSA.
 

Enchanted Reefs

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to avoid amphidinium dinos that might help but that is only one of many possible issues. unfortunately, a UV isn't going to do jack to expedite stability issue which is the biggest issue.
I've setup tanks with and without UV sterilizers. I've seen better results in terms on establishing the soonest with a UV sterilizer. I can't tell you the technicalities of why that is I'm just sharing what has worked for me. Cheers!
 

brandon429

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the unstated short in the circuit is that all hardscapes added...frags, snails, corals, all come from non-dry rock systems and they bring in the very invasions we went through this headache to avoid. get used cured rock, wet kind. have a plan to deal with the invasions that 100% get in anyway. your system will work better with live rock.


but

exceptions to every case

he's a clean-edger who's winning clearly lol howaboutme:
 
Lazy's Coral House

brandon429

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get a UV sterilizer and keep it running until your tank gets established. Will definitely help out whether you are going with all dry rock or not.

That would quite literally do the opposite of establishing a tank (sterilizing things in the water column). The whole issue of dry rock and no sand is lack of diversity, and sterilizing the water kills off diversity. I think the UV could help for the occasional bacteria bloom, but not for establishing a tank.
 

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the unstated short in the circuit is that all hardscapes added...frags, snails, corals, all come from non-dry rock systems and they bring in the very invasions we went through this headache to avoid. get used cured rock, wet kind. have a plan to deal with the invasions that 100% get in anyway. your system will work better with live rock.


but

exceptions to every case

he's a clean-edger who's winning clearly lol howaboutme:
I agree that snails are often overlooked and will undoubtedly bring in pests. For this reason it's incredibly hard to have absolutely no pests in an aquarium.
 

mindme

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Hello,

Im in the “gathering” phase of my 2nd tank & had some general questions about cycling the tank:

1) I want a 100% pest free tank. That’s why im going with dry rock. However I’ve heard BRS recently state that they had issues with the bare bottom /dry rock combo (used on BRS/WWC Hybrid method) & said they would’ve used live rock in hindsight. This kinda threw me through a loop. I’ve been sticking with that “guide” for this tank and now I’m kinda torn. Should I use some LR and the rest dry? If I use any LR is there a way to kill spiders & worms but keep the beneficial bacteria? Any one have any advice based on their experience with dry rock / bare bottom? Also, how long did you cycle the tank & what bacteria product would you recommend? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

-Nathan

Increase your surface area, you need a good bit more than normal to make up for the surface area that the sand would provide.

And then buy bacteria. Since you aren't using live sand, I would get Microbacter Start XLM. Then after that dose Microbacter 7 weekly/bi-weekly.

That's your best chance. You can get "live rocks" that have been soaking in water from places, but I have no idea what kind of biodiversity they have. They'll have bacteria on them, but are they going to have the diversity of an established tank? I think your mileage may vary there.

I find the BRS videos to be extremely good in general and watch/learn from them often. But I think there are a few times when they get caught in their own echo chambers, and this area is one of them. They are like soak your rocks all this time, but just like when you go and pay more for the ones places provide - where is the diversity?

You have to add the bio-diversity, and you need enough surface area for it to live on. That's really what it boils down to.

Personally I'd never go bare bottom again but not for this reason.
 

LuizW13

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Welcome to R2R!

I just want to set your expectations..no matter what you do, if you want a true reef tank, you will not be 100% 'pest' free for long.

I started my reef with dry rock and live sand, because I wanted to avoid pests at ALL costs, and for a good while, you'll be pest free, but not for long.

I won a battle with aptasia, won a war with vermited snails that basically forced me to do soft reset, all this with dry rock. And now i'm battling a bubble algae infestation.

That being said though, you'll definitely reduce the chances and numbers of pests with dry rock. And live sand is just bacteria.
 
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mainly about 18 months of instability, bigger opportunity for dinos and a very tough time keeping sps corals alive until that biological culture is achieved.

I dunno, in almost 20 years I've done a lot of tanks with dry rock, and not had problems, or had to wait 18 months for sps to do well. Little tanks, big tanks, hasn't made a difference. Is this really a popular theory? Not being snide, just generally curious.
 

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I'm 8 months into a 130 gallon BB dry rock build.
I cycled my tank with two bottles of Fritz Zyme 9 and two 4" tangs.
I never had an amonia reading, the tank was cloudy and after 4 days I turned on my skimmer and it cleared up immediately.
Those two fish are still alive and kicking. I had never even heard of Fritz Zyme but my LFS guy said it worked and it was the only piece of advice he ever gave me that was worth a hoot.

Tank cycled IMMEDIATELY. It works.
Now with that said. I had two months where the tank looked great and the first obstacle was a huge algae bloom that lasted over a week, it was bad. Rather than wait it out I bought an inexpensive UV, hooked it up and the bloom was gone over night.
Then came Dynos, that lasted over two months, i just used a Turkey baster on every surface two or three times a day, changed filter socks daily and limited lights until it was gone, but it took time.
As soon as the Dynos were gone and I mean the second the last Dyno died, GHA came in like a wrecking ball and it took its turn. That fight was bad, I pulled weeds daily, removed rocks and scrubbed them clean and repeated .
Finally I just let it grow as large as it could get and then used Vibrant and Hydrogen peroxide and vacuumed daily, after 7 Vibrant doses and several Hydrogen peroxide treatments, it went away. At the end the GHA was just sloughing off of the rocks.
Finally the tank truly matured and I have been algae free for a month or more.
BB will take time, you literally have to go through every Ugly stage before you have success.
This was my journey, I hope it helps.
I love my BB. it's so easy to maintain now.
Good luck with yours. If you have your mind set on BB dead rock, do it!!!
 
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FWTXReefnerd

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Welcome to R2R!

I just want to set your expectations..no matter what you do, if you want a true reef tank, you will not be 100% 'pest' free for long.

I started my reef with dry rock and live sand, because I wanted to avoid pests at ALL costs, and for a good while, you'll be pest free, but not for long.

I won a battle with aptasia, won a war with vermited snails that basically forced me to do soft reset, all this with dry rock. And now i'm battling a bubble algae infestation.

That being said though, you'll definitely reduce the chances and numbers of pests with dry rock. And live sand is just bacteria.
Do you think your issues came from live sand? I’m not doing any sand but I’m considering doing some refugium substrate but that’s not live. I just invested a lot to be “pest free” bc some spiders wrecked my zoas in my existing tank & i want to avoid that at all cost in this new tank.
 
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FWTXReefnerd

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I'm 8 months into a 130 gallon BB dry rock build.
I cycled my tank with two bottles of Fritz Zyme 9 and two 4" tangs.
I never had an amonia reading, the tank was cloudy and after 4 days I turned on my skimmer and it cleared up immediately.
Those two fish are still alive and kicking. I had never even heard of Fritz Zyme but my LFS guy said it worked and it was the only piece of advice he ever gave me that was worth a hoot.

Tank cycled IMMEDIATELY. It works.
Now with that said. I had two months where the tank looked great and the first obstacle was a huge algae bloom that lasted over a week, it was bad. Rather than wait it out I bought an inexpensive UV, hooked it up and the bloom was gone over night.
Then came Dynos, that lasted over two months, i just used a Turkey baster on every surface two or three times a day, changed filter socks daily and limited lights until it was gone, but it took time.
As soon as the Dynos were gone and I mean the second the last Dyno died, GHA came in like a wrecking ball and it took its turn. That fight was bad, I pulled weeds daily, removed rocks and scrubbed them clean and repeated .
Finally I just let it grow as large as it could get and then used Vibrant and Hydrogen peroxide and vacuumed daily, after 7 Vibrant doses and several Hydrogen peroxide treatments, it went away. At the end the GHA was just sloughing off of the rocks.
Finally the tank truly matured and I have been algae free for a month or more.
BB will take time, you literally have to go through every Ugly stage before you have success.
This was my journey, I hope it helps.
I love my BB. it's so easy to maintain now.
Good luck with yours. If you have your mind set on BB dead rock, do it!!!
Okay thanks for the advice! I kinda expect those types off issues but I’d rather put in the work on the front end than deal with it later. And I’d prefer to fight those issues than the ones I’ve seen from using live rock (Zoa eating spiders, etc). What other filtration did you use in your sump? Also what did you do for a clean up crew?
 

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Okay thanks for the advice! I kinda expect those types off issues but I’d rather put in the work on the front end than deal with it later. And I’d prefer to fight those issues than the ones I’ve seen from using live rock (Zoa eating spiders, etc). What other filtration did you use in your sump? Also what did you do for a clean up crew?
I have a DIY algae scrubber that is a nitrate eating machine
I have a skimmer and filter sock. That's it.
As far as CUC I have an urchin who is a GHA eating machine and 10 Mexican turbo snails.
I have a GFO reactor that I have never employed because I got the phosphates under control without it and now it's collecting dust.
 
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BRS

IS RTN/STN MORE COMMON THAN IT USED TO BE?

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