How to cure your live rock when setting up your marine tank?
Setting up a marine tank cannot be completed with having live rocks in your tank. Live rock to put it simply, it is rocks which are normally found on the coral reefs sea. These live rocks were colonized with naturally occurring marine life – invertebrates, corals, sponges, and millions of beneficial nitrifying bacteria which play an important part in the biological filtration of your tank.
So so may ask why do we need to cure our live rocks? When we place a piece of uncured live rock in our aquarium for the first time, there will inevitably be some die-off. This die-off will cause organic materials to build up in your tank and can lead to an ammonia spike which in turn can wipe out your tank. The best way to avoid having this ammonia spike impact your tank is to cure your live rock before putting it into your aquarium.
So How do can we cure our live rock to make it suitable to use on our tank ?
While you may cure your live rock in many different ways, the following method has been shown to be very effective. Curing of live rocks typically takes about one to three weeks.
- Place the live rock in a new 30-gallon plastic garbage can.
- Cover the rock complete with a freshly mixed salt mix or seawater.
- Create a constant water movement with a powerhead or air stone.
- Keep the area dimly lit to prevent algae blooms.
- Perform at least 50% water changes twice a week.
- Scrub the rock between water changes to remove dead material if any.
- Consider adding bottom drains to the container to speed draining and water changes.
- Do some water testing to check the quality of the water especially ammonia. When ammonia tests are negative, the rock is deemed to complete the cycle and safe for use in your aquarium.
- The cured live rock should not have any foul or rotting smell.
In addition, if you do not maintain proper aeration and temperature during the curing process, then high levels of beneficial nitrifying bacteria will die, reducing the initial effectiveness of the rock as a biological filter. Live rock is not difficult to cure properly and the benefits of high-quality live rock are well worth the effort. Be sure to follow the simple steps above, and you can be confident that you are adding clean, healthy live rock to your aquarium.