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cal1112333 02-21-2009 09:23 PM

Cured or uncured? Brand new tank.
I am setting up a reef tank (as well you may be aware with this being a 3rd thread in one day by me) And although I just realized exactly how much the live rock is going to cost me (about $350+) I have the option of buying uncured, I know that most people recommend curing it to avoid such monsters as a mantis shrimp but in a bare tank with only sand and LR would not this be a GOOD idea? The logic being possibility for desirable hitch hikers and undesirables (mantis shrimp) can be dealt with, caught, or sold. So would it not be the best option to buy the rock and cure it myself (reaping the harvest of unexpected treats)?

Can I cure LR easily in an aquarium with sand bed? What would cause me to not want to do this, and if i do it anyway whats the best way to do it?

It just makes sense to me that if theres nothing to protect in the tank why get tank "safe" rock when the dangers can either save money (if i were to get something like an emerald crab which I want anyway) or make money (capturing and selling a mantis shrimp).

Also a QUALITY first; however, less expensive source for rock would amazing! (if you can save me a handsome sum on great rock Im sure I can thank your efforts with a portion of the saved money. better to go to someone helpful than some company that just wants the profit)

onefish2fish 02-21-2009 09:34 PM

im really confused with this post. i believe your question is should i get cured rock or un cured rock/dry rock?

if this is the case, cured rock will be more the most expensive but be full of life, uncured would basically be wet dry rock in the curing process, its going to weigh more because its water logged. you can get dry rock but your going to want to cure it in a seperate container like a rubber maid bin WITH a power head, heater, saltwater and some cured lived rock ( the more the better )
your going to put it in and leave it for a month or two and your base/dry rock will become live rock.
dry rock wont come with any critters or hitch hikers.
i have only heard good things about this place EXCEPT that some have had experience with shipping taking forever. they say theres no communication but one day a box of rocks shows up on their door. i have not used marco but know a number of people that have, IMO very pourus stuff. i do not want your money, i want you to save it for a good protein skimmer and instead of your money i would prefer you to take your time and do things right, which so far, seems like your doing.

cal1112333 02-22-2009 04:36 AM

Thanks! I will look into it as soon as I have the time, however by uncured i mean live rock gathered from the ocean and shipped to me BEFORE it it quarantined for several months to rid it of hitchhikers, die off, and whatnot.

The main issue with uncured rock apparently is that mantis shrimp and pest crabs and the such often come with it. I am asking if getting these "unwanteds" would be a good thing considering a mantis shrimp sells for $30 or more depending on size. With nothing in the tank for them to demolish, a week or so of cycleing the tank before adding a cleaner crew should be more than enough to notice/"take care of" anything that i get and might not want.

The big thing I was looking for actually was someone saying something to the effect of "NO NEVER DO THAT uncured rocks some with a deadly parasite that will kill you and your whole family, making the progress of a new tank take forever!" maybe not as intense a reaction but thats why I was putting the idea out there to ask the advice of and judge the reactions of anyone who contributes.

And I am taking my time, mostly because I dont have 800$ on hand just to get it all at once, and my piranha are still in the tank, so until I sell them or find them a new home this project is stuck in the planning phase, however As soon as I can afford the rock I will make the switch buying what i need to start the project off the bat and getting less important things like lighting later (not saying lighting is not important but until its established fully lighting is the least nessasary componant as long as I dont leave the tank in a blackout, right?)

Pasfur 02-22-2009 06:59 AM

I think the term "cured" has different meaning in different parts of the country, because we keep running into this communication issue. Here in Louisville, "cured" means what cal1 describes it to mean. Rock that has been quarantined, allowed for die off to occur, and currently is tank-ready is considered cured. ALL rock that comes from the ocean has to be cured after shipping, to allow for die off of life that will not survive in captivity.

Personally, in my area, you do not get a discount for uncured rock. The price is the same. If you want the discount, I would say go for it, with a small change to your plan.

Under no circumstances would I cure the live rock in the display aquarium. As die off occurs you will be introducing nutrients into the system that are unwanted. You will experience endless cycles of diatom blooms and run a much higher risk of long term cynobacteria issues.

Buy a tote, fill it with saltwater and a powerhead, and cure the rock yourself before using it. You can do this now while you are waiting for a piranha buyer. Tip: watch Craigs List in your area. A lot of people will offer live rock when they downgrade their tank size or convert back to freshwater. I picked up some rock from a guy yesterday at the cost of $1.00 per pound!

cal1112333 02-22-2009 10:31 AM

They are the same price and here in Minnesota I don't have an easily available supply of LR so I have been looking desperately for somewhere to get it without having to bend over and take it in my pocketbook. I am willing however to save up for several weeks to spend 350+ dollars on quality rock, But alternatives will be explored until the last second. Money saved on LR is money that i could spend on rare corals or better other pieces of equipment Such as a cooling system (my dad knows an engineer who builds MH ballasts for a living so ill probably get 2x1000 watt dimable MH bulbs free for ballasts and assemble myself.... This is why its nice to be an aquarium hobbiest with an engineering backround and passion [on a sidenote if you have some super duper t5 HO DIMABLE ballast that you would like to trade for a MH ballast hit me up. I'm sure we can work out a trade])

So what is the benefit to getting cured live rock over getting dead rock and adding the beneficial bacteria as a suppliment? I do not trust this kid at my lfs at all (recommended a 2-3 wpg lighting for "just about anyhting, even some of those clams" and told me that a canister filter would be the way to go) But he none the less spoke from personal experiance when he told me that he took LR, sand, and this bacteria suppliment with a brand new tank, and added all his livestock same day and did not lose anything and had a cycle that was mild enough for the fish and inverts to just ride out. (he actually said it didn't even cycle but i find this hard to believe)

Would this work for me? If I can buy artifical, dry rock and just cycle it with this bacterial suppliment I would save about $200. What would be the downside of this? Again I'm a novice and this is just an idea but if the full benefit of LR can be cultured in a live sand bed with a bacterial additive then why wouldn't everyone do this? The live sand isn't something I am worried about I can get a 50 pound bag for about $50 dollars. Are the critters in the sand the same as on the rick? would they colonize the rock for me? What about buying about 20lbs LR and the rest dry artifical rock for building the structures then use the LR as front plates as it were to hide the taint?

Again however I want to look at as much LR as possible so any links to premium LR that I could order for shipping to minnesota would be greatly appreciated!

(and I have already decided to build my own sump system, I dont know if this would help hurt or not even effect this but it is a change in my tank plans for those who are helping me through the tank planning and no matter what I get, the sump will contain some live cured rock because I do want a sample of natural bio life)

Pasfur 02-22-2009 10:52 AM


Originally Posted by cal1112333 (Post 174446)
So what is the benefit to getting cured live rock over getting dead rock and adding the beneficial bacteria as a suppliment?

Would this work for me? If I can buy artifical, dry rock and just cycle it with this bacterial suppliment I would save about $200. What would be the downside of this? Again I'm a novice and this is just an idea but if the full benefit of LR can be cultured in a live sand bed with a bacterial additive then why wouldn't everyone do this?

You hit the nail on the head. You would not get the full benefit of live rock. In fact, you would not have anywhere close to the benefit of live rock.

Look, here is what you have to realize very quickly or you will waste a ton of your time. This kid at the LFS is approaching the marine hobby in a manor similar to a freshwater tank. The fact that he did not have a cycle is irrelevant. {Ok buddy at the LFS, so you didn't have a cycle. I'm proud of you. So what?}

There is no benefit to speeding up the ammonia and nitrite cycling process. The ammonia and nitrite cycling process in freshwater helps to determine when the aquarium is mature. In saltwater it tells you nothing about the stability and maturity of the tank. It is something you take for granted.

When it comes to a stable and mature marine tank, a tank that is ready for fish and corals, you should be looking at a whole other set of visual clues. Every tank follows a natural progression. You will have a diatom algae bloom.... it will come and go. You will begin to see copepods, amphipods, and other small life forms colonize the sand bed in large quantities. Coraline algae will begin to cover the glass and live rock. Nitrate (Nitr A te) will begin to drop and eventually read near zero. Alkalinity and calcium readings will stabalize and the protein skimmer will have broken in and become somewhat predictable. These are the signs of a mature aquarium. These things take time. And without actual live rock you will struggle to achieve this type of stability.

Yes, you can use a good portion of dry rock or base rock. Yes, the live sand helps seed life into the system to some degree. However, you don't want to skip on the long term stability of your system. Which is a deep sand bed, a high quality protein skimmer, and good quality live rock.

cal1112333 02-22-2009 01:15 PM

allright. How much sand should I be getting? In a 40 gallon I would think 50 pound bag would be enough.

And yes I am no longer trusting the advice of my lfs.

And great news, I found someone who's 70 gallon tank died awhile ago (he said he had to tear it down) but he has 100 pounds of fiji rock available for 3$ a pound or so (hopefully hell take closer 1to 1.25 a pound but we shall see)

I also asked him about his seaclone100 skimmer, koralia3 powerheads, overflow box by lifereef(flow rate is 600gph). Do i want this in a 40 gallon? too much circulation? and can you have too big of a skimmer? And what is this all worth? (just got done with a 2 hour powersearch to research the cost effectiveness of building my canopy out of LEDs... I just dont have the drive anymore to google them and I figure someone on hand would know what I should make for an offer)

Finally should I be worried about the live rock in storage? so long as he dosn't let it freeze or dry out or have completely stagnant water I would figure the LR should keep, is this a bad assumption to make?

Pasfur 02-22-2009 05:39 PM

The live rock may take a few weeks to "bounce" back, but it should be fine.

In the opinion of most, you can not have to big of a skimmer. I would skim as much as you can.

The overflow supports 600gph. Great. You can use a 400 gallon per hour return pump and have a good flow for a 40 gallon tank.

I would not pay more than $150 for the skimmer, overflow, and koralia combined.

I think he is asking way to much for the Live Rock. I would offer $100 for half of the rock.

onefish2fish 02-22-2009 09:34 PM

i personally would rather see a return pump rated 700 gph. the pump will have a head loss which means it will lose alittle bit of what its rated. you can always "T" off the return line with a ball valve to fine tune an even match between return and overflow.

cal1112333 02-23-2009 07:40 PM

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