To cycle with live rock or not? Please read

Danzig

New member
Starting back up after 8 years..

Im sure this has been covered but my question may be more in depth than most inquiries of this nature. It is my understanding that during cycle, most life besides bacteria will die off. So, aside from the bacteria surviving will all of the cool beneficial hitchhikers die? I really like the cool worms that build the tunneling calcium tubes everywhere, and all the other fun hitchhikers like mini feather dusters,crabs, limpets,pods etc. i find it really cool to see new critters i never noticed in the tank, its more like a natural reef, and i feel this is only/mostly accomplished by seeding with live rock. If this is the case, that it all dies, id rather use dry rock and bacteria additives, maybe one small LR piece to seed etc. have searched a lot but haven't found a solid answer on this. The reason i feel i dont want to use just one small piece of LR to seed, is im missing out on a lot of cool hitchhiker biodiversity that is more synonymous with what would be found in a natural reef setting.

The only 2 perks i can see to starting with dead rock is more aquascape options, as rock can be added and removed without worry of wasting it when youre making that perfect scape, and obviously startup cost.
 

doonan75

New member
I have done both if I were to do another tank I would use live rock. That being said I would get the live rock from a local shop that has kept it submerged and and already cooked and transport it submerged back to my house.

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Danzig

New member
To cycle with live rock or not? Please read

I have done both if I were to do another tank I would use live rock. That being said I would get the live rock from a local shop that has kept it submerged and and already cooked and transport it submerged back to my house.

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Doonan, ty so much for the speedy response, as i feel this forum activity has died off a lot since i was last here. I plan on waiting to find some live rock from an established tank someone is looking to re-scape on my local reef forum/club so i dont have to worry about negative/unsavory hitchhikers. I feel a LFS isnt going to be as diligent as someone local and reputed at my local reef forum club.

However i was more looking for some input on the science side, not just personal preference.
 

doonan75

New member
Depends on the store if you can get rock from an existing tank and you are certain that it doesn't have any unwanted inhabitants, just make sure to keep it submerged and wet

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aaronpentz

New member
Way back in the day when purchasing live rock they collected it from the ocean and then wrapped it in wet newspapers or the like and shipped it that way.

No matter what you'll have a cycle. So you might as well just wait it out

Rock is exposed for hours upon hours in tidal areas and the life is just fine. Don't let it dry completely and you might lose some sponges but it's not worth trying to drive in a car with a tub full of water splashing all over. Buckets with lids work but again the return on investment is very small. It will grow back

There is no replacement for real live rock if you're looking for all the cool critters. If you get a bad one you deal with it.

Most stuff you can keep in check by finding natural predators or there's always manual removal.

If you want a sterile tank and have perfect QT skills then go for the dead rock and wait. If you want all the cool stuff you'll be risking a bad hitchhiker from anywhere you get the rock so you might as well get exactly what you want and prep for whatever adventure might come.

PS. The only reason I've ever cooked rock is to deal with old tank syndrome from previous rock owners. And then I only do half. The other half I do at a later date once the fresh stuff has been seeded but Phosphate free.


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Timfish

Timfish
Premium Member
I definitely would use maricultured live rock. AquaBiomics has done a study and there are huge differences betweeen the different types of live rock with maricultrured being the obvious winner regards to the algae cycles in the first few months.

With regards to stuff dying off during the quarantine process ("cook" and "cooking" are terms that need to be done away with) for maricultured live rock there will be some die off but there is a lot more than bacteria that will survive. I've frequently seen corals survive along with clams and macroalgae. But what is most important are the cryptic sponges and endoliths that are so critical for a healthy reef ecosystem.
 

fisher99

Member
Live Rock

Live Rock

I am in the process of starting a new 125 gal tank.
I got a package from Tampa Bay Saltwater last weekend and it was full of things. They all seem to be doing well and ammonia has not gone over .05, which is enough to feed the bacteria[ 1 bottle of DR. Tims].
This the second tank I have done this way and the only way I would do it if I ever do it again.
Also I got no bad critters that I have seen so far.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
I've done it with dry unconditioned rock and a gallon of discard water from my lfs, nothing else. Worked fine in 8 weeks.
I've done it with live rock from an lfs, delivered cold in a snowstorm, and set up with bought water, also refrigerator-cold, and fed with daily additions of fish food, a few flakes. Both were satisfactory. Method 2 was splendid, rife with sponges, stomatellas and colonista snails, a few frags of lps coral, and xenia. The only thing that didn't survive was the xenia (old hand reefers will laugh)---even the bit of bubble coral made it through cycling. Which took 4 weeks.
Many methods work. The essential element is patience. And owning your own test kits and refractometer.
 
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Michael Hoaster

Registered Seaweedist
Premium Member
"It is my understanding that during cycle, most life besides bacteria will die off."

This is incorrect. Actually, most of the life survives just fine. And biodiversity is increased, which is very good. Dry, dead rock is a perfect, blank canvass for algae to colonize.
 
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