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View Full Version : Cycling with uncured vs. cured live rock and live sand


smspring
02/03/2008, 01:35 PM
I'm planning on using live rock to cycle my new 75G tank. I'm considering adding some foundation/base rock along with some fully cured rock at my LFS. I've read that it's best to cycle with uncured live rock first (vs. cured). Can someone confirm this? If this is true, can I combine the foundation, uncured and cured live rock all at the same to cycle? Will that end up kiling a lot of the cured live rock? I'd like to setup all my rock initially, rather than adding more later.

Also, at what point do I add the substrate? Before or after the cyle with live rock? If it's after, do I need to drain all of the water out, add the sand, then add new water? I haven't decdied yet if I'm going to do a shallow or deep sand bed. I've read that I shouldn't add gobies or other sand sifting fish because they'll eat all of the detrius eating critters (required for DSB), and I really want to get a goby. Can anyone provide guidance here?

Thanks! -Scott

Fish_wiz2
02/03/2008, 01:41 PM
If your tank is new then uncured rock is a better choice, yes you can combine them, no but the organism on the cured liverock might die because of the cycling (ammonia kills and cycling requires that).

Add sand in too don't wait it will become hard to do later, before the cycle, and i don't know about the goby but i have a DSB with a goby and i see no effects.

PUGroyale
02/03/2008, 01:44 PM
Add the substrate at the same time... at the start IMO. As for the LR, if you add a significant amount of uncured LR with the cured, the resulting NH4 spike will damage/kill the life on the cured rock. Sounds like you should add in the sand, uncured, and base rock... cycle... then add the remainder of the cured LR. hth :)

fishkiller25
02/03/2008, 06:20 PM
How long does the process typically take once you are in the diatom phase?

Aquarist007
02/03/2008, 06:53 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11755322#post11755322 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by smspring
I'm planning on using live rock to cycle my new 75G tank. I'm considering adding some foundation/base rock along with some fully cured rock at my LFS. I've read that it's best to cycle with uncured live rock first (vs. cured). Can someone confirm this? If this is true, can I combine the foundation, uncured and cured live rock all at the same to cycle? Will that end up kiling a lot of the cured live rock? I'd like to setup all my rock initially, rather than adding more later.

Also, at what point do I add the substrate? Before or after the cyle with live rock? If it's after, do I need to drain all of the water out, add the sand, then add new water? I haven't decdied yet if I'm going to do a shallow or deep sand bed. I've read that I shouldn't add gobies or other sand sifting fish because they'll eat all of the detrius eating critters (required for DSB), and I really want to get a goby. Can anyone provide guidance here?

Thanks! -Scott

I think some off the terms are being confused here. Curing the rock means cleaning the dead stuff off the live rock.
Raw rock harvested directly from the reef would be uncurred
Base rock has been harvested from the shores etc--depending on where it is harvested it might have been part of a reef many years ago.
As rock cures in your tank the dead stuff on it produces ammonia and phosphates etc--these in term call into action the bacteria that are in and around the live rock--this is called cycling

Curing is a process that could take up to six months in your tank
Cycling or producing bacteria occcurs everytime there is a increase in biomass in your tank--eg you add a fish, something dies--it is a life long process

Depending on how much the live rock has been cleaned off the first cycling processes in your tank could take up to three weeks to occur. If the rock is base rock this cycling could take up to 3 months to occur
simply meaning the bacteria could establish itself in numbers to start add a clean up crew in 3 to 4 week or 3 months depending on the ratio of live rock to base rock you use

Aquarist007
02/03/2008, 06:56 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11756816#post11756816 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by fishkiller25
How long does the process typically take once you are in the diatom phase?

this depends on the degree of curing that was done on the live rock when you added it to the tank.

the breakdown of the live rock(curing) releases phosphates. this is the fuel for algae or diatoms. As the rock cures less and less phosphates are produced and the algae starves and disappears.

smspring
02/03/2008, 11:59 PM
Thanks for your responses... any other thoughts out there? I see people adding combinations of base rock (like from Marco Rocks) with other live rock without problems, and I'm sensing that is not necessarily the right thing to do here.

bertoni
02/04/2008, 12:52 AM
Adding combinations of rock is fine. Using cured or uncured is a personal choice, and either will work fine, but uncured live rock can be very smelly. :) I wouldn't mixed cured and uncured since the ammonia spike might undo the value of precuring, but it'd work. Adding some base rock or an artificial substrate is just fine, too.

Playa-1
02/04/2008, 12:58 AM
There is no right or wrong answer here. I just put in 60 lbs of cured base rock along with 50lbs of fresh live rock. All is going just fine. I would think that the cured base rock might actually speed up the cycling process just a little since the bacteria is already established. Either way it's a waiting game. I have not experienced any horrible odors from the rock and it's been in the tank about 10 days.

drillsar
02/04/2008, 06:14 AM
I would cycle the rock without the sand because you will have die off and its alot harder to clean the sand, once cycled add the sand it's not that hard, if you have to just add per section, you will be better off.

Savas
02/04/2008, 07:23 AM
I have two cycled two tanks with dead rock with no problems. I never had an ammonia spike or any issues at all. The process worked so well, I will never buy live rock again. I found the dead coral peices on the beach in St. Thomas, brought them home and scrubbed them in warm water - letting them soak of two days. Some detrius floated to the top and some was on the bottom of the bucket, but all in all, the rock was cleaned and did not smell at all. I took a 1 inch paddle bit and a hammer and made some cool looking rock.

Three months later and the rock has some coraline algae on it, tons of brittle stars, and even some macro algae. The key to the process is buy corals attached to live rock - the corals wil then seed your tank.

smspring
02/04/2008, 07:40 AM
Savas, when you say "dead rock" what exactly are you referring too? If the rock is dead, how can there be coraline, stars, corals on it to seed the tank?

Can anyone recommend a good online store and the type of rock for this?

Aquarist007
02/04/2008, 07:46 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11759738#post11759738 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Savas
I have two cycled two tanks with dead rock with no problems. I never had an ammonia spike or any issues at all. The process worked so well, I will never buy live rock again. I found the dead coral peices on the beach in St. Thomas, brought them home and scrubbed them in warm water - letting them soak of two days. Some detrius floated to the top and some was on the bottom of the bucket, but all in all, the rock was cleaned and did not smell at all. I took a 1 inch paddle bit and a hammer and made some cool looking rock.

Three months later and the rock has some coraline algae on it, tons of brittle stars, and even some macro algae. The key to the process is buy corals attached to live rock - the corals wil then seed your tank.

I agree to what you are saying----the key here is the three months later---that's the difference between completed cured rock or dead rock what ever you want to call it--it just takes longer to establish the bacteria in high enough numbers to support a reef bioload, unlike partly curred rock.

great point about the corals and live rock--I think I increase my tanks live rock by about 25 lbs that way
(oh I think you meant to say that the leive rock that the coral are on will seed the tank)

Aquarist007
02/04/2008, 07:49 AM
smspring--there are some good articles in the first thread of this forum on live rock

Savas
02/04/2008, 11:37 AM
Capn, thanks for interpretting. You are correct. You need to add some live organisms to the tank and wait. My coral was mounted on live rock and with time, the whole tank was now live.

I just gave away about 8 pounds of live rock due to crowding. I recommend people buy about 20% less live rock then they need on day 1 and just plan on adding corals mounted on live rock.

smspring
02/04/2008, 10:04 PM
Thanks to everyone who has responded. I've read a lot of the threads on cycling with live rock, including the first LARGE threads under "New to the Hobby". I understand that the purpose of cycling is to produce the beneficial bacteria on the rock (correct me if I'm wrong), but here is what I don't understand...

If cured rock already has this bacteria on it, especially if I can bring it home quickly from the LFS, why would I want to use uncured rock and have everything die off because of the intense ammonia levels? It seems like cycling with cured would be quicker because the bacteria is already there and less would die off? Maybe I'm missing something, so if there is a thread or link that already explains this, please feel free to provide that.

bertoni
02/04/2008, 11:45 PM
"Cycling" with cured rock can be very fast, but live rock is variable, and so is the definition of "cured". I agree that spiking the ammonia level in a tank with cured rock might kill off a fair number of animals.