Muriatic acid, Live Rock and Vermetid snails... oh my !!!

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by Trickman2, May 30, 2018.

  1. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Randy,
    Muriatic acid, Live Rock and Vermetid snails... oh my !!! How long after acid before you can use the rock again?
    I tore down my 90 gallon and was doing a reset when decided to go bigger. I had infants and had a big battle with vermetid snails, the tank went into maintenance mode only for a while. My kids are a little older and decided it was time to upgrade. At this point my live rock had been sitting in a dormant tank for about 5 months and then was transferred to a drum of salt water for a month or so. The issue is those dang snails....The old rock is encrusted with hundreds of calcium tubes and I am looking into drastic measures. At this point no Vermetid snail is coming into the new 280 if I have my way about it. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/trickman2s-280-gallon-upgrade.369124/

    So the rock is outside now sitting on my patio cover baking in the sun, etc for about a week and 1/2 now with mixed weather. It is still encrusted will snails and at this point (which I think are dead by now) Still I think it is time to break out the Muriatic acid. I would like to burn all those dang snail shells off and clean the rock completely.

    Online information is all over the place but a 10:1 ratio seems to be standard and 15 minutes or so.
    So my current thoughts are as follows get geared up. Have baking soda, acid, a large 55 gallon drum, add water, rocks and then acid. Let brew for 15 minutes. Dump a large amount of baking soda in. Drain and refill with fresh water, add more baking soda, Drain again....Pull Rock and place in Sun for a day or two. Rinse one last time.
    Now would the rock be okay at this point to go back into the tank?

    Any information on this would be awesome and understand that it needs to be done carefully and with precaution.

    Would love to hear your recommendation for dilution ratio and time in acid. Best way to neutralize acid afterwards. Also how long and the fastest and safest way to get the rock back into the tank.
    V/r
    Terry
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018

  2. Cnidoblast

    Cnidoblast Active Member

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    There is a very interesting evaporation table on Wikipedia for Hcl
    Might I recommend letting them dry outside for two weeks in the sun followed by a RO water soak before returning them to the tank??

    hvl28283838344343.png
     
  3. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Not being a chemist, can you explain the chart a little more.
     
  4. Cnidoblast

    Cnidoblast Active Member

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    it seems the higher percentage of hydrochloric acid to water - the more it will evaporate (so try to get strongest acid you can find)
    '
    I'd try to get like 35-40 percent if you can
     
  5. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Interesting, I wonder why that would be the case.
     
  6. siggy

    siggy The more I learn the dumber I become R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    @Trickman2 please excuse the cut-in. I found all the directions troubling and just added acid until I seen a reaction then reacted and I will never Hesitate to do it with any rock. First time is nerve racking!
    I did the acid baths a couple of times and worked well. I covered rock with water from garden hose in rubbermaid then added acid from hwd store until the water became violent (rolling) using hose I sprayed foam (mist) to keep foam from spilling over, thus reducing pointicy let sit 15-20 min then add more acid to get rolling again. First time I used baking soda to neutralize other times just diluted and let sit for little ( no soda ) and drained at the road drain rinsed then soaked for a week in old tank water. Question for the chemists the reaction between Acid and aragonite at some point doesn't it equalize and become neutral?
     
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  7. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Yeah, would like to understand the chemical perspective before I give this a shot.
     
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  8. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    ....and the thread goes silent. ;Muted Still hoping to get Randy Holmes to give us a answer.
     
  9. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Sorry.

    Yes, if you let aragonite rock or sand sit in acid, it will no longer be acidic when it stops bubbling and there's no concern about getting acid in the tank. If you want to double check; add baking soda, then no bubbling means it is neutralized.

    The more acid you add, relative to rock, means more of the rock will be dissolved. I don't have any special ratio that I recommend. A full one gallon bottle of muriatic acid (35% HCl) contains enough acid to fully dissolve about 10 pounds of aragonite rock.
     
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  10. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Thanks, I am assuming the acid will burn off all those nasty snail shells.
     
  11. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    If the shells are aragonite, likely yes. If they are calcite, they may be slower to dissolve than the aragonite rocks.
     
  12. rockskimmerflow

    rockskimmerflow Well-Known Member

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    It may, but having acid washed a literal ton of rock I wouldnt assume that in the slightest. Itll surely soften them up so they can be popped off easier but I havent experienced a strong enough acid wash that they melted right off. Then again I only use about a half gallon of muriatic per 40gals of water.
     
  13. Victoria M

    Victoria M Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I did this recently with new rock. It went well and was kinda fun. I did about one gallon acid to 20 gallons tap water in a brute for about 1o - 15 minutes all together. I added a container of baking soda to a gallon of tap water and put it in the acid bath and then started over filling the container of acid to dilute and drain it. You could try it on one rock to see what happens to the worm/snail shells.
     
  14. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    So once it stops bubbling the acid is neutralized and the water is no longer dangerous? Not saying I going to pour it into my tank but trying to understand the risks.
     
  15. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Correct. It is then basically a calcium chloride solution. :)
     
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  16. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Well that was interesting adding baking soda made it more volatile. Used one gallon of muriatic acid. Still everything went well and it is bubbling in the back still. Interested to see the final results.
     
  17. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    What do you mean?
     
  18. Victoria M

    Victoria M Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    The baking soda make it like a school volcano experiement. It started frothing and fizzing up like crazy. I started diluting it faster when that happened.
     
  19. Trickman2

    Trickman2 Active Member

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    Yep that describes it pretty well. It burned off the top layer of the rock but most of the snails shells remained. Going to take bone cutter to the shells
     
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  20. Victoria M

    Victoria M Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Figures. It was still good for the rock to burn off probably phos and what not. At least that is what we tell ourselves... :)
     
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