Cooking Live Rock ?

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mrpizzaface

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I am working on setting up a 300 gallon reef. I have decided against using dead rock. I was lucky to get a bunch of Pukani from Birdfish that had been in his sump for the past couple years. I have also gotten live rock from two different tank breakdowns. The Birdfish rock is clean with minimal Coralline, one of the breakdowns is also clean with lots of sponges and coralline, the other breakdown has coralline and some pest algae as well as what looks like the hard remains of vermetid snails. I have all the rock curing in separate bins with flow.
I have a few questions.
Do I need to put lids (to block light) on my curing bins?
What is the minimum temp required for the bacteria to stay active? Do I really need to use heaters?
Do I need to feed the bacteria?
Should I add bottled bacteria
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I am working on setting up a 300 gallon reef. I have decided against using dead rock. I was lucky to get a bunch of Pukani from Birdfish that had been in his sump for the past couple years. I have also gotten live rock from two different tank breakdowns. The Birdfish rock is clean with minimal Coralline, one of the breakdowns is also clean with lots of sponges and coralline, the other breakdown has coralline and some pest algae as well as what looks like the hard remains of vermetid snails. I have all the rock curing in separate bins with flow.
I have a few questions.
Do I need to put lids (to block light) on my curing bins?
What is the minimum temp required for the bacteria to stay active? Do I really need to use heaters?
Do I need to feed the bacteria?
Should I add bottled bacteria
IMG_5143.jpg
IMG_5144.jpg
Do I need to put lids (to block light) on my curing bins? I would recommend it. Unless you have anything that needs light you'd like to keep alive.
What is the minimum temp required for the bacteria to stay active? Do I really need to use heaters? Bacteria are pretty hardy. Not sure about minimum temps but it is better to keep within 65-85 Deg. F
Do I need to feed the bacteria? Generally, yes, but there may be enough nutrients for the bio population from decaying materials within the rock itself. Testing will tell you when its time to feed.
Should I add bottled bacteria? Should not be necessary.
 

Gablami

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I did as you did, and scored a bunch of live rock for my build. I stored it for about 6 months in a covered bin without light, with just a heater and pump. I used lanthanum chloride to make sure that any bound phosphates were removed.

without light, all you coralline will die. Without feedings, a bunch of your sponges will go too. A few of mine survived.

I intentionally starved the rock for the first 5 months or so, in an attempt to starve out vermatid, and any other critters (never saw aiptasia, but just in case). amphipods, bristleworms and copepods survived.

Now that the rock is in the tank, it is behaving between true live rock straight from a mature tank/ocean, and dry rock. I still had an ugly phase, but no dinos yet, just the usual GHA and cyano.

I did not use any bottled bacteria. The last month I started feeding the rock with ammonia and reef roids.

If you want it to stay as “live” as possible, you should light it.
 
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I did as you did, and scored a bunch of live rock for my build. I stored it for about 6 months in a covered bin without light, with just a heater and pump. I used lanthanum chloride to make sure that any bound phosphates were removed.

without light, all you coralline will die. Without feedings, a bunch of your sponges will go too. A few of mine survived.

I intentionally starved the rock for the first 5 months or so, in an attempt to starve out vermatid, and any other critters (never saw aiptasia, but just in case). amphipods, bristleworms and copepods survived.

Now that the rock is in the tank, it is behaving between true live rock straight from a mature tank/ocean, and dry rock. I still had an ugly phase, but no dinos yet, just the usual GHA and cyano.

I did not use any bottled bacteria. The last month I started feeding the rock with ammonia and reef roids.

If you want it to stay as “live” as possible, you should light it.
what kind of water change schedule did you use?
 
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I would not cook/boil it as you may risk harmful gases unless area WELL ventilated. Soaking in bleach or muriatic acid is acceptable, in which I prefer bleach followed with flushing it with cold water until I cannot smell bleach any longer
 
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I would not cook/boil it as you may risk harmful gases unless area WELL ventilated. Soaking in bleach or muriatic acid is acceptable, in which I prefer bleach followed with flushing it with cold water until I cannot smell bleach any longer
I am using the term cooking live rock to reference the method of curing live rock in a dark bin with flow, to kill of pests but keep bacteria active.
 

vetteguy53081

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I am using the term cooking live rock to reference the method of curing live rock in a dark bin with flow, to kill of pests but keep bacteria active.
Thats the industry standard. That'll work. Generally most people do this for 2 weeks
 

Gablami

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Lanthanum chloride is way easier than doing weekly 100% changes. Every time I would dose, it’s essentially taking all the phosphates out of the water column by precipitating it. I would dose every few days, and once a month would do the 100% water change just to clear out the precipitate.

You can do weekly changes, but that’s pretty backbreaking looking at the amount of rock and water you have. If you really don’t want to run LC, just use GFO.
 
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mrpizzaface

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Lanthanum chloride is way easier than doing weekly 100% changes. Every time I would dose, it’s essentially taking all the phosphates out of the water column by precipitating it. I would dose every few days, and once a month would do the 100% water change just to clear out the precipitate.

You can do weekly changes, but that’s pretty backbreaking looking at the amount of rock and water you have. If you really don’t want to run LC, just use GFO.
How did you determine the appropriate dosage?
 

Timfish

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My 2 cents, It's going in a system wtih light. Most of what grows in the dark is going to die off if it get a lot of light in your system and help contribute to jumps in nutrients and stuff. It may be impracticle but lighting it is what I do with with my live rock when I'm quaritining it. I also add some hermits and/or Sally Lightfoots and urchins and add small amounts of pellet food to help feed everybody.

And I gotta say something about the term "cooking" People have seriously injured themselves but taking this term literally and airisolizing palytoxin. Using the terms "Quarantine" or "Maturing" are much better descriptors of the process and can't be confused by inexperineced individuals and cause them to do something that may kill them.
 

EMeyer

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I second the notion that we should all stop using the term "cooking" to describe this practice. I know a guy who took it literally last year, and had serious medical issues as a result.

On topic, I certainly wouldnt bother adding bottled bacteria, this sounds like real live rock. Which contains hundreds of different bacterial types that actually survive in saltwater, unlike bottled products.
 
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Gablami

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How did you determine the appropriate dosage?
I used brightwell’s phosphat-E. I wasn’t that scientific. Just dripped in a few ml into the pump flow slowly every few days. In the beginning I would check phosphate levels before and after. After dosing phosphate would go down to zero on my low range Hanna, and a few days later it would be back up to 0.2-0.3. Normally dosing LC will also drop your alkalinity levels, but since it’s just rock, doesn’t matter much.
 
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My 2 cents, It's going in a system wtih light. Most of what grows in the dark is going to die off if it get a lot of light in your system and help contribute to jumps in nutrients and stuff. It may be impracticle but lighting it is what I do with with my live rock when I'm quaritining it. I also add some hermits and/or Sally Lightfoots and urchins and add small amounts of pellet food to help feed everybody.

And I gotta say something about the term "cooking" People have seriously injured themselves but taking this term literally and airisolizing palytoxin. Using the terms "Quarantine" or "Maturing" are much better descriptors of the process and can't be confused by inexperineced individuals and cause them to do something that may kill them.
I use the term cooking , because that is what I have seen it being called by reefers like @jda and others. As a novice I have had no problem recognizing that the use of the term cooking here refers to placing live rock in a dark covered bin of sea water with flow over a duration of time, rather than using the term to refer to placing live rock in a pot of water on a stove top.
 

jda

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You cannot idiot proof the world - if you think that you have, I will just find you a bigger idiot. Should we not use the term "balling method" so that people don't throw golf balls or basketballs in their tanks? What about "reefing?" Too many people probably just going to get a big fat joint and get high.

You say the term "cooking" so that people can google and find out how to do it - there is tons of information going back decades. Curing is different than cooking - this is what you do with fresh ocean live rock that is going to have some stuff die off that is not suitable for live in captivity. Quarantine is different too - making sure that pests and other things that you do not want are killed or not present. Idiots gonna be idiots on the rest of it.

It can take a few months in a dark bin for most of the nasty fauna and algae to die if the rock is really gross. The coralline, sponges and pods do come back. LC does work MUCH better than water changes since it can bind so much more - you have to remove the flocculant with skimmer or a small micron sock. Don't let the P get to absolute zero - the microfauna still need a tiny bit to build and repair tissue and also to multiply if needed.

If you have one rock that looks good with some sponges and nice coralline, then put it under some light and/or in a tank and that is more than enough to seed the rest later on.
 
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