Do acid and bleach curing methods work better than natural cures? | BRStv Investigates

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by randyBRS, May 19, 2017.

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  1. Natural

    40 vote(s)
    47.1%
  2. Bleach

    11 vote(s)
    12.9%
  3. Acid

    8 vote(s)
    9.4%
  4. Combo

    16 vote(s)
    18.8%
  5. None

    8 vote(s)
    9.4%
  6. Other?

    2 vote(s)
    2.4%
  1. randyBRS

    randyBRS BRStv Apprentice :-P R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Hey guys!


    Today on BRStv Investigates, we finally get to see the results from the 8-week test on curing methods for Pukani rock! I’ll tell you, personally, based on these results I’m definitely changing the way I cure rock in the future!


    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts, so get to watching and let us know what you think!


     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
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  2. DarkSky

    DarkSky Well-Known Member

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    Great video, glad to see that curing rock has a measurable effect in reducing your nutrient levels.

    That said, I'll probably still continue to cure my rock using saltwater, a heater and a powerhead. I don't mind waiting a bit extra, and throwing GFO in the tank at the start if I need to doesn't bother me at all.
     
  3. tgionet

    tgionet Well-Known Member CTARS Member

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    I use acid -> bleach -> heated salt water for my rock.

    I'm curious as to what, if anything, the acid does to the internal pore structure of the rock. My gut says it'd increase the porosity and allow the rock to hold more water.
     
  4. DarkSky

    DarkSky Well-Known Member

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    Most likely correct, at the cost of reducing surface area of the rock.
     
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  5. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Vinegar. Mild to strong vinegar/tap water mix, circulate overnight or longer. Hose off everything that'll come off. Repeat if I feel it could use it.
    Then rinse in circulating tap water overnight to get rid of the vinegar. Then start the natural cure with heated, circulating saltwater.
    The testing didn't include any water changes, but I think that is a critical step. At least weekly, more often in the first weeks when the water is ugliest.
    At each water change I rinse/scrub the rocks again to get more organics off.
     
  6. blkhwkz

    blkhwkz Well-Known Member Partner Member

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    For my last build I used acid and then put the rock in heated salt water for 2 months in the garage. Dosed lanthanum chloride every other day. Had no leeching issues at all.
     
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  7. William Swartout

    William Swartout Member

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    I must have missed something. The phosphate levels pretty much stayed the same over the 7 weeks, so are those rocks ready to be used in an aquarium or would you continue to bathe them until the phosphates went away completely?
     
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  8. Clay12340

    Clay12340 New Member

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    I've wondered about this option. Seems like a less potent acid over a longer time frame would certainly be safer for handling. Would be interesting to see how it compares in removal rate to muriatic acid. Have you done any measurements by weight to see how much you're removing at a specific concentration?

    I've got a bunch of marco's rock that I'd like to do something with. Dissolving 25% of the surface area would probably be a benefit for it. It's just a bit too dense and the structure itself isn't open enough for my tastes.
     
  9. lambchops

    lambchops Well-Known Member

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    I used bleach on my current build.

    15 gallons water to one quart of bleach and let it sit overnight. I was under the impression that bleach breaks down quite rapidly when exposed to air and or light. I think by the time the week was up in the test the bleach was inert and not doing anything else. I imagine if you did a couple rounds of fresh water and bleach it would produce better results.
     
  10. Greaps

    Greaps Active Member

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    Thank you so much for the research. Surprised the acid soaking was not overwhelmingly more effective than the bleach. I was fairly set on going live rock again after massive problems with phosphates and dry rock in the past but this makes me more confident to try dry rock again. Scaping dry rock is way more fun than stacking live rock, it will save me money, and get me a stable tank quicker.

    Thanks BRS!
     
  11. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I don't think it removed any measurable amount of rock. But after a hosing off the rock looked 'clean' again - everything that had been growing on it just rinses off.
     
  12. Chitown tom

    Chitown tom Well-Known Member

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    I use bleach -> acid -> lanthanum chloride in salt water until get 0 readings of phosphates on the Hanna checker, then into the new tank for the new cycle.
     
  13. Velcro

    Velcro Well-Known Member

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    How about adding some biospira or similar bacteria and watching for a few months?
     
  14. Bruce Burnett

    Bruce Burnett Well-Known Member

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    The problem is too many, or not enough test, variables. As the acid dissolves some of the rock, it also changes the PH of the solution. The rock my lose some weight, but that is hard to measure unless you wait for it completely dry. The rock does not lose surface area as you will be opening up the pores, I believe it should become more porous it should actually have greater surface area. A lid on the trash can when using bleach may help but also adding more half way through the week of soaking may also help. After the initial treatments and seven weeks of curing I would not expect much change in levels of phosphate as you are doing nothing to export them. I can think of a number of things that could be done, dosing lanthanum chloride, weekly water changes, using a protein skimmer. I would expect that as long as you work to keep phosphates in your display where you want, the levels in the rock would reach an equilibrium with the water in the display. My rock is made up of many purchases and when I took my old system down as I was going larger again I put all the rock in bleach for weeks as I had a bryosis algae problem. I had health problems and it was seven years before I got back to setting it up. The rock still did not look clean to me when I went to use it. I acid washed and bleached it a couple of times. I still went out and purchased a large flat piece of live rock even had aiptasia and bristle worms on it as I wanted to seed my tank with diversity. If this kind of cooking of rock is required to keep all pest out of tank then you will never keep everything out of your system. If you buy coral on plugs or rock you may be able to control many things but if things can be dormant on dry dead rock then you can't get it all off the rock or plugs your frags are on. If I was going to start over again, and time or money was not in question I would still start with real live rock with all the ugliness on it. I would more than likely cure the real ugly live rock as follows. First cure in dark container with good circulation for a month, do 100% weekly water changes and rinse rock off well inspect rock when rinsing, use a protein skimmer, treat with lanthanum chloride at each water change. Next step move all rock to a container where it can be spread out for good exposure, still use protien skimmer, do 50% weekly water changes, blow off rock, add a couple of wrasses like a six line or melanurus add a couple of peppermint shrimp. I would continue this until I am getting very little to no detritus on bottom of container. At this point I feel I would be ready to setup display and start adding live stock to display after water clears and temperature has stabilized. The rock is fully cured and cycled there will be very little if any cycle to display.
     
  15. Medic755

    Medic755 Well-Known Member

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    I'm with you guys. Please don't use acid, ever. This is definitely a case of the least common denominator.
     
  16. coolhand

    coolhand Member

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    Great video and insight. This goes a long way for me. I'm just starting my first tank build and have 60lbs of pukani I just put to soak in straight rodi water yesterday. In headed to the store for a couple of gallons of bleach now.
     
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  17. pfoxgrover

    pfoxgrover Well-Known Member

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    What I want to know is the best way to get from dry rock to live rock before I put the rock into the system.
     
  18. stunreefer

    stunreefer Reef Hugger R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor Photo of the Month Award

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    Whatever method you use, you can toss in a reservoir of RO/DI water after, then change RO/DI water (100%) every 24 hours until your PO4/NO3 drop to 0 (generally about a week). Does not get any cleaner than that ;)
     
  19. pfoxgrover

    pfoxgrover Well-Known Member

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    So here is what I have done preparing for a tank upgrade. I built the rock structure and made is sectional so I could break it down. It is a 4 foot by 18 inch arch with a open slot in the middle for flow and lots of hiding places for small fish. It is reinforced with some 1/2 inch acrylic hidden underneath.
    I put the rock into this 100g trough filled it with water change water and added some fish food, bacteria, and some live rock from my sump that has coraline algae and many sponges. I'm not sure how long it will take and if I will be able to encourage sponge and coraline algae growth without nuisance algae... I still have at a lot of work to do on my upgrade project so I can wait about 4 months for the rock to liven up. Any advice is welcome.

    IMG_20170520_112514.jpg
     
  20. droog

    droog New Member

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    A good video, but I feel it fell short in a couple of ways

    1] No cases resulted in in water low enough in phosphate to be suitable for direct use in a reef tank
    2] No mention of using lanthanum chloride

    I'd like to see the test extended using LaCl alone (natural cure) and LaCL after a acid/bleach combo treatment. Run the LaCL tests with 100% water changes say bi-weekly and see how long it takes to get a Po4 reading of <0.1 ppm after 2 weeks with no water change. Let's call that our target.

    Of course 0.1ppm after 2 weeks is fairly arbitrary thresholds, but I feel like they are somewhat reasonable. Starting a tank with that rock should be OK and minimize the change of algae outbreaks down the road. Bear in mind the reef setup will have a greater water volume compared to the curing vessel, and the reefer can use GFO and/or carbon dosing to fine tune the PO4 levels going forward.

    So... what is the quickest route to our target level? Give the community a BRS recipe or "How-To" on reaching the target...

    Good video, with a little bit more work could be a great one and a valuable service to the community.

    --
    Cheers,
    droog
     

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