Curing Live Rocks
Live rocks have lead to widespread success within the reef aquarium keeping. Live rock comes from tropical regions around the world. Its porous open structure allows the rock to host a wide array of beneficial bacteria, micro and macro organisms, as well as provide a stable base for coral growth.
Because the organisms found on live rock will quickly begin to die once exposed to air, it is always advisable to cure the live rock before use in your main aquarium display system.
Curing live rock may be done inside a large plastic bin/container or inside a newly set up aquarium. During curing process, do not add any substrate, since this will further elevate nutrients and lengthen the curing period.
To cure live rock properly, you’ll need the following equipment:
- Powerheads to create sufficient water flow to properly cure the live rocks.
- Protein Skimmer to remove the organic waste before it breaks down to ammonia.
- Aquarium Heater with temperature set around 24° - 26°C to encourage the organisms found on the live rocks to thrive in the same temperature range for the fish and corals that you will be adding to the aquarium.
Perform 25-30% water changes during curing process at least once a week. Remove any dead plants, sponges from the rocks and siphon off all the dead debris you can find, but do not scrub live rock unless you see obvious dead areas on it.
Monitor the rocks closely for any crabs or mantis shrimp, they are easier to catch and remove before you’ve meticulously arranged the rockwork in your display aquarium system.
It is very important to perform both ammonia and nitrite tests frequently during the curing phase. You will know the live rocks have cured once the ammonia and nitrite levels have dropped to zero.
You may also perform a “sniff test” cured live rocks have a fresh smell, but if not cured it will have a foul aroma of rotten eggs, so you know it will need more time.
If you are curing the live rocks in your main aquarium display, then limit the lighting to maximum 4 hours a day, this period of lighting is good enough to promote a healthy colony of algae, plants, corals, and other organisms you've nurtured during the curing stage. Your live rocks should cure in approximately 3 weeks.
Alternatively, we would like to recommend the use of artificial rocks; they are easily cleaned, cost effective, and are resistant to the addition of algae ensuring remarkable beauty and realism for years to come. Environmentally friendly and will not harm any form of life that inhabits your aquarium. These corals will last many years and will retain their spectacular colours so that you enjoy your custom design aquarium system for year to come, without the need of harvesting of living organisms from the natural reef.