Bleaching Live Rock?

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by mainn, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. mainn

    mainn Active Member

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    So I picked up some old dry live rock with some nice crusty gunk on it. The rock is totally dead at this point, it was sitting out of any tank for quite a while. I want to use it for a totally new setup which I can't get water in for about a month. I threw all of it in a bucket with an amount of bleach (a few glugs) last night and I am wondering how long should I let it set in the bleach. Should I pull it out today or let it sit longer? Or should I throw away this rock all together? I don't really have the space or desire to do an acid bath.
     

  2. mcarroll

    mcarroll PM me R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Can you get live rock where you live?

    Use your judgement to know if the bleach has done what you wanted it to do, but I'd get what you have into saltwater as soon as you can. The problem is that it's not going to help a whole lot unless you have the ability to seed it with some real live rock/sand.....or at least a good amount of detritus from a healthy tank. A percentage of live rock (>10%) would be more ideal, allowing you to do a more standard tank startup....the more live you use, the less concern there is about the issues attached to dead rock.

    Which gets me back the the question....if you have access to live rock, I'd use that instead and sell this. ;)
     
  3. mainn

    mainn Active Member

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    Ah the never ending debate. I have started other systems with 100% dead rock and have done alright. I will probably take some LR out of my main display to seed this one. I am just worried about leaving it long enough to get rid of the organics but not have bleach seeping into my tank when I use it.
     
  4. marinesnow

    marinesnow Active Member

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    I once had some old rock which was covered in hair algae. It sat in a bucket until the water evaporated and needless to say it was not suitable for my tank. I let it sit in a mixture of a 20:1 mixture of unscented Clorox bleach to RODI water for a week. After a week I soaked it in tap water with seachem prime for another week. After that I dried it out in the sun and then soaked it in RODI water for another week. (As you can tell I wasn’t in a hurry).

    That’s my process. I probably could have gone for a shorter amount of time, but this rock was covered in a ton of organics.

    It’s been a month now and everything is happy. Nothing has died—I have an acro garden and various other corals. Here’s some progress photos of the tank:

    Before rock
    [​IMG]

    Added bleached rock
    [​IMG]

    Today
    [​IMG]

    I’ll be doing another ICP test next month and we’ll see if it added any unwanted metals—I doubt it though. Most importantly, everything in my tank is happy, and my nutrients are close to 0.
     
  5. mainn

    mainn Active Member

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    Good to know. I pulled it out of the bleach today and it is a bit brown. I don't know if that is still organic matter or something else? Im going to let it sit in ro for a while and see what happens.
     
  6. marinesnow

    marinesnow Active Member

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    Mine turned white when it was done. Sounds to me like all of the organics are still in it. I’m guessing it either needs more time or more bleach. I used 1 gallon of bleach in a 20 gallon container.
     
  7. mainn

    mainn Active Member

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    I might toss the rock at this point and get new dry rock, it has precipitated calcuim all over it, either that or old corals/coraline, that I can flake off with a finger. Im worried that if its the first one the calcium will have clogged all of the pore space.
     
  8. Eggs

    Eggs Active Member West Palm Beach Reefer

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    I have a bunch of dead rock I’m going to reuse, and read up some on this. Many dip the rock in muriatic acid after bleaching which strips the surface layer off the rock, you may want to try that. The acid will dissolve the calcium which should clean it up for you. You don’t want to leave it in too long because it will remove too much. I think the ratio is 10:1 (water:acid)
    You can find it in the pool section at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
     
  9. uglyman

    uglyman Member MASOV Member

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    Muriatic acid first then bleach, the acid strips the top layer of rock off and exposes the pores in the rock then use the bleach to oxidize the organics inside and on the surface of the rock. I found that without using acid the bleach would just oxidize the outer layer and the inner porous parts of the rock would be left with heaps of organics in them.
     
  10. Jeepguy242

    Jeepguy242 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    50/50 vinegar and water for a week works great
     
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  11. Javamahn

    Javamahn Active Member

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    Marinesnow do you have full tank shows. The aquascape looks amazing and I am refurbing a stand that looks similar. My current 90 gallon has "pests" and I am debating starting with all new reef saver white vs reusing some of the existing purple which could bring the nasties (dinoflagellates). Anyone ever mixed purple and regular reef saver rock?
     
  12. marinesnow

    marinesnow Active Member

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    Thanks for the compliment! Here’s a shot of the canopy I built:
    [​IMG]

    Here’s a full shot of the tank when we first set it up(the gap in the canopy lid was fixed later):
    [​IMG]
     
  13. reef lover

    reef lover It's a reef thing.... R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award Hudson Valley Reef Keepers

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    Screenshot_20180315-145011.png not that this has anything to so with palys but this is what I did and my rock is clean and free of all organics good and bad.
     
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  14. Javamahn

    Javamahn Active Member

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    Quality work
     
  15. sloanhaus

    sloanhaus Member

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  16. Victoria M

    Victoria M Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    beautiful tank. I love how you displayed the star fish, and seating with the tank.
    @marinesnow how did you secure the arch?
     
  17. MrsBugmaster

    MrsBugmaster Active Member R2R Supporter

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    Vinegar will do the same as acid bath but will take longer. After all vinegar is an acid, just not as strong as muriatic acid
     
  18. JMetaxas

    JMetaxas Well-Known Member

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    Acid wash first, then bleach. As noted by others, the Acid wash takes off the top layer of organics, which hold a lot of nutrients.

    I've done this twice with good results.
     
  19. drtrash

    drtrash Valuable Member

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    How long with muratic? I did it for 20 min of brown foaming fear then bleach soak only been a week
     
  20. JMetaxas

    JMetaxas Well-Known Member

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    I did a weaker solution that most. One gallon to around 20 gallons of water. I let it sit overnight to a full day. It initially foams pretty fierce. I then flush it several times with water. ( I use a large 32 gallon trash can)

    The bleaching is one gallon to the same ~20 gallons of water, then I let it sit a few days. I then flush multiple times, then fill and dose Prime at 4X normal levels. I do this twice. Then I'll let it sit in saltwater and circulate for a few days before taking it out and letting it dry.
     
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