Taking live rocks out when doing a full clean

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sim2142

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Tank is around a year old now and I’d like to clean some algae off the rocks and just generally clean the dirt around areas which I can’t normally reach like under the rock, back wall etc. (bare bottom tank).

Im thinking of doing a big water change first and then taking all the live rock out for a quick scrub down in the used tank water as well as cleaning the surfaces of the tank while it’s empty. Is it safe to have the rock sitting out of water for a few minutes? There are no corals attached to the rock but might be a few stomatellas and brittle stars.

Also do you guys even bother cleaning these unseen areas in your tank? Like the overflow or back wall etc. or is there no point
 
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Azedenkae

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Tank is around a year old now and I’d like to clean some algae off the rocks and just generally clean the dirt around areas which I can’t normally reach like under the rock, back wall etc. (bare bottom tank).

Im thinking of doing a big water change first and then taking all the live rock out for a quick scrub down in the tank water as well as cleaning the surfaces of the tank while it’s empty. Is it safe to have the rock sitting out of water for a few minutes? There are no corals attached to the rock but might be a few stomatellas and brittle stars.

Also do you guys even bother cleaning these unseen areas in your tank? Like the overflow or back wall etc. or is there no point
It should be fine to sit outside of the water for a few minutes, but I was just thinking, what if you have a container to hold all those rocks (in the old tank water) until you are done cleaning your tank, then you can scrub those rocks and put them back into the tank one by one? Essentially what you are planning, just reversing the steps a bit.
 

Rob.bucek

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It'll be fine for 20 or 30 minutes at the least. Some call this rip cleaning. I used to do it with tons of things growing on it. I scrubbed a little more precisely but it's fine. If you need longer just get a cheap $8 walmart tote and let them rest in there while you work with some fresh salt water.
 

xxkenny90xx

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This won't hurt anything (other than stressing out your fish) but I don't think it is all that necessary either
 
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smoleral

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Live rock should be safe as long as it stays kinda wet through the process. I’d just be careful cleaning it too much. With a bare bottom tank, your rock is pretty much the heart of your bio filter. So personally I wouldn’t mess with it too much. I don’t really clean in the overflow unless sludge and detritus really starts building up in the bottom or blocking the vents, in which case I just siphon it out.

Consider adding some more flow in your tank, and direct it more towards the bottom and back wall... reef tanks generally should be turbulent enough that the build up you’re talking about never really becomes a problem even after a year.
 

Tony11

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How’s it going? I your rock can live with a little water or wet a towel with saltwater and lay it over your rock. Good clean up crew is good for that algae unless you have fish that way hermits.
 

90's reefer

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My 120 is 14 months old.
I could not take out the rocks if I wanted to.
That said I would just set them in some tank water in a bucket just in case it takes longer than you estimate.
With a bare bottom it should not ever be needed if you set up your tank right.
I can get the detrius out every couple months as it builds up in one area.
I may add one more powerhead and that should keep it all suspended.
 
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sim2142

sim2142

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Thanks for the advice guys, might leave in the big rock as it’s fairly clean and has quite a lot of sponges attached to it and no dead space underneath it.

Most of the algae/dirt problems are coming from a smaller second rock which has a void sitting against the bottom of the tank.
557A5864-6E0C-4CD7-AF5B-6694C6B8F387.jpeg

Guess I need to put it on acrylic stilts to get rid of that dead space.

Certain areas of this rock always gets an algae growth in the exact same place so I’m guessing it has nutrient deposits?
 
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