Live rock question

sweetcoralina

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Hi. After a long research I am finally adding stuff to my tank. Went to my local LFS and got some rocks. Stacked together to make a couple caves front and back. The thing is I kinda took my time to stacking them and it probably took me 6 hours before I actually add water, then another two hours for a power head in the tank. Are the live rock still “live” at this point or there will be die off? Not sure what that is exactly but I think it’s a thing.

I also can’t add heater as I don’t have enough saltwater to completely fill the tank and the heater needs to be fully submerged. Will that cause any issue? I’m filling the whole thing tomorrow. LFS also told me to run the power head but won’t it make the sand settle slower? Or it doesn’t matter because I’m pouring another 30g of water in there tomorrow.

And is the sand bed too thick? I have a 65.4g aio and I only got 40lbs of live fiji pink and it still feel quite thick. I tried to shove some around the rock too.

Thanks for any help in advance.

IMG_5148.jpeg IMG_5149.jpeg
 

Timfish

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If your rock has dried out completely then it is dead rock, but in the time you were setting up your system I'd be surprised if that happened. I'd think there would be areas that at least stayed damp.

There's huge differences in what's marketed as "live rock". Live rock should not be confused with "liferock" which is dead dry rock that has been colored the color of coraline algae. Basically, "Live Rock can be divided into three catagories:

Aquacultured - dry rock that has had nitrifying bacteria added (has teh same benefit of adding bottled nitrifying bacteria.

Maricultured - Dry rock that has been kept in the ocean long enough to grow marine organisms that cannot be cultured economically in aquaria but are essential to reef ecosystems. (Only a tiny fraction of the microbial stuff can be cultured and stuck in a bottle.)

Wild - Naturally occuring live rock that has been harvested and has all sorts of stuff on it. It's the most expensive and hardest to get. It has the advantage of having organisms, including sponges and microbial stuff that is from a specific locations so it's possible to set up a more natural reef biome if that is one's goal.

You will hear a lot of fear mongering regarding live rock from the ocean about all kinds of problem animals that might hitchhike on it. In my experience the vast majority of pests (>95%) I've had show up have come from other aquarists. And the "pests" that do show up may be fascinating animals in their own right. A friend has had a mantis shrimp in her reef system for over 3 years and it's one of her favorite animals. It's peacefully coexisting with small fish, hermits and snails (one spesies is reproducing in her system).

Here's an article on the benefits of oceanic sourced live rock:


 

Ben's Pico Reefing

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If the rock dried up as @Timfish stated, if there was any moisture, you will have some bacteria in those spots.

The cloudyness is just from sand. Add and swap out filter floss to help catch some particles. It will still kick up during maintenance for weeks but will clear up over time.
 

GARRIGA

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Doubt the entire rock dried out. Assuming it's truly porous. Some bacteria must have survived and to me the value of live rock is in the diversity of bacteria it provides. Assuming it came from the ocean which these days is limited as to places offering it. Otherwise adding bacteria in the bottle likely bringing the same diversity and I wouldn't be sweating it and lesson learned for next round of live rock added. Don't let it dry out plus can just go get some rubble from the same bin these came from and that would help bring the diversity sought. As for other life forms it may brought such as sponges, many of those may have survived except for the sponges since exposure to air would be detrimental. In the 90s when i saw live rock arrive. It often contained life that somehow made it through the day plus travel. Curing was to kill what did survive preparing the rock for it's intended use of bacteria to filter water along with slimming. Testing for ammonia would confirm if the death incurred didn't overcome the ability of bacteria that survived to filter the water.
 

Timfish

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. . . In the 90s when i saw live rock arrive. It often contained life that somehow made it through the day plus travel. Curing was to kill what did survive preparing the rock for it's intended use of bacteria to filter water along with slimming. Testing for ammonia would confirm if the death incurred didn't overcome the ability of bacteria that survived to filter the water.

I know scrubbing live rock to try to remove everything that might die was a common reccomendation back in the 90s. However, having worked in a LFS that promoted the use of and offered a variety of live rock as well as reccomendations on keeping it alive, I know if properly cared for most if not all of the organisms (sponges, tunicates, clams, worms, small shrimps and echnoderms) would survive. What we called "curing" was just QT to make sure if anything did die it wouldn't cause an ammonia spike in a display tank. Delbeek and Sprung discussed using live rock in their first book ('94) and they pointed out with live rock (wild) a reef system set up properly corals could be added within 24 hours. (This is something I still do currently with maricultured live rock.)
 
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sweetcoralina

sweetcoralina

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If the rock dried up as @Timfish stated, if there was any moisture, you will have some bacteria in those spots.

The cloudyness is just from sand. Add and swap out filter floss to help catch some particles. It will still kick up during maintenance for weeks but will clear up over time.
Yeah I don't think it's completely dry but probably only a bit moist. It's still way heavier than dry rock of same size though. I do't have a filter cup to put filter floss in, will a filter sock fine for now? The filter sock came with the tank (waterbox) are notorious for slowing down the flow though I think.
 
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sweetcoralina

sweetcoralina

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Doubt the entire rock dried out. Assuming it's truly porous. Some bacteria must have survived and to me the value of live rock is in the diversity of bacteria it provides. Assuming it came from the ocean which these days is limited as to places offering it. Otherwise adding bacteria in the bottle likely bringing the same diversity and I wouldn't be sweating it and lesson learned for next round of live rock added. Don't let it dry out plus can just go get some rubble from the same bin these came from and that would help bring the diversity sought. As for other life forms it may brought such as sponges, many of those may have survived except for the sponges since exposure to air would be detrimental. In the 90s when i saw live rock arrive. It often contained life that somehow made it through the day plus travel. Curing was to kill what did survive preparing the rock for it's intended use of bacteria to filter water along with slimming. Testing for ammonia would confirm if the death incurred didn't overcome the ability of bacteria that survived to filter the water.
I'll test for ammonia later when I completely filled the tank. If ammonia is high it's fine because the tank is empty right? As I didn't add bacteria yet so I don't know do I need water change. It's the dry rocks put in the system of LFS I believe, not directly from ocean. I do notice one shrimp looking creature (copepod?) floating on the surface and seems to be dead, also there's a bit of foam in there.
 

GARRIGA

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I know scrubbing live rock to try to remove everything that might die was a common reccomendation back in the 90s. However, having worked in a LFS that promoted the use of and offered a variety of live rock as well as reccomendations on keeping it alive, I know if properly cared for most if not all of the organisms (sponges, tunicates, clams, worms, small shrimps and echnoderms) would survive. What we called "curing" was just QT to make sure if anything did die it wouldn't cause an ammonia spike in a display tank. Delbeek and Sprung discussed using live rock in their first book ('94) and they pointed out with live rock (wild) a reef system set up properly corals could be added within 24 hours. (This is something I still do currently with maricultured live rock.)
Read the same book back then but some live rock arrived not so alive and most of that die-off needed to be resolved before the true benefit of the bacterial could be utilized. This was at a transhipper that handled the rock before making it to the LFS. Your experience may have been different because of that. I was experiencing first hand as raw as that material came in. Plus today's live rock not as porous as then and likely not as effective. Pure speculation based on experience from the 90s and fact porosity (within reason) adds to a larger available bio-media.

Although I now have my doubts about how effective that porosity may have been due to biofilm clogging I've since been educated on. Could have been mostly the skimmer pulling out the bulk of the gunk why it worked and still does considering we still promote using so called live rock even if started out dry. Some old habits don't go away.
 

GARRIGA

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I'll test for ammonia later when I completely filled the tank. If ammonia is high it's fine because the tank is empty right? As I didn't add bacteria yet so I don't know do I need water change. It's the dry rocks put in the system of LFS I believe, not directly from ocean. I do notice one shrimp looking creature (copepod?) floating on the surface and seems to be dead, also there's a bit of foam in there.
If it started as dry rock then highly doubt it has the diversified bacterial population of wild rock unless their system had a diversified population to start. I'd play it safe and add bacteria in a bottle and go from there. No need to add ammonium chloride. I'm sure any die-off will be contributing to that.

To solve diversity. I'm going to add rubble from Tampa Bay or potentially any site that opens up. Theory has it that's why we avoided dino and other issues in the 90s and I'm not able to confirm but going to go with it. Dry rock is painful. Takes too long to get established. I'm too old to wait. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
 

Ben's Pico Reefing

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Yeah I don't think it's completely dry but probably only a bit moist. It's still way heavier than dry rock of same size though. I do't have a filter cup to put filter floss in, will a filter sock fine for now? The filter sock came with the tank (waterbox) are notorious for slowing down the flow though I think.
Filter sock can work. You can add filter floss in sock as well. Just rinse sock out as needed to clean the dust out.
 

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