Seeding dead rock...


New member
So this is something I've never done before and after everything I've read and with what I'm experiencing I'm slightly confused...

I've personally always bought live rock for all my tanks so this is something totally new to me.

Recently we picked up a used 36x36x24 for my mother in law, the owner was in and out of town and didn't have the time to take care of two tanks so he drained this one and from what I understand was empty for a month or two before we picked it up.

The tank was left with the rock and sand in it so I figured when I had to tear it down and pull the 150 pounds or so of rock and 200 pounds of sand it was going to be a nasty smelling mess. Surprisingly there was no smell of death and he had most of his corals and stuff die according to what he said.

I tossed all the sand cause that is cheap to replace and the stuff he had wasn't that nice anyways. I've had the rock in a rubbermaid tub with half freshly made saltwater and half from the last water change I did on my tank. I've added a dirty filter sock and a little live rock from my sump two large pumps, a heater and I'm running the skimmer as well. I need to pick up some more live rock form the LFS to help seed the dead rock cause I didn't have much extra in my sump.

So my confusion is that this rock has been in the rubbermaid for almost a week now and it still smells really clean, no smell of death or the rotting smell most have described at all. The skimmer is pulling some yellowish wet skim but nothing nasty or even anything that looks like skimmate at all...

So, I don't get it... I would think there would be a ton of dead bacteria and funk in the rock and it smells clean, the skimmer is pulling nothing but wet skim. What's the deal?


ReefKeeping Mag staff
Team RC
The rock might not had much die off. I would keep it in the tub for a few more weeks to make sure it is crude all the way. After that you can seed it with established LR if you wish.


New member
I guess that's possible... It just seems really weird that it smells pretty much like normal live rock and I'm getting nothing out of the skimmer.

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New member
most of the "smell of death" that comes from new liverock
is from sponges and plant matter. if this rock didnt have either of those, chances are it wont smell that bad.

new fiji rock is the same way, hardly any decomposing stuff
so no smell.