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Old 12-18-2007, 12:00 PM   #1
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"Dry Rock" into "Live Rock" in days.

It takes me 8-10 weeks to turn dry rock in to live rock before I can use it as a Nitrogen Cycle filter in my aquariums. I set up bins filled with saltwater and a power head for about 2 months to cycle the rocks. It takes a long time.

So here is my idea. Oxygen is a key factor in the nitrogen cycle. Submerged rock receives less O2 slowing down the process right? What if I stacked my rocks high in a (polyethylene non toxic) trash can and let the water trickle over the rocks rather than submerge them to start the nitrogen cycle? Just as we would set up bio balls in a wet/dry filter just on a larger scale? This would cycle the dry rock in 5-7 days rather than 6-8 weeks. Then submerge them and complete the live rock process.

My question is? Is the Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria on trickle filters (bioballs) the same type of Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria growing on submerged live rock? If so I just figured out a way to shorten the cycling time on live rock down to just a week or so. Please tell me your thoughts. Thank you.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:10 PM   #2
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Are you using an ammonia source to cycle the rock? To answer your question about the bacteria, yes, they are the same. I don't think the trickle method would be as effective fully submerged. The cycle should only take 4-6 weeks. Are you testing the water parameters?
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:28 PM   #3
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I'm using a product called Stability by a company called Searchem. I mix in a small amount for 5 days and it cycles the rock or bioballs completely. Then I sprinkle in some fish food to make extra ammonia. I've had bio ball tanks cycled in 3-5 days doing this. I do the same thing for dry rock but it seems to take so much longer submerged. I was thinking how much faster I could do it if I stacked up the rocks in a trash bin with a power head like a water fall. I could cycle the rock in days as I would with bio balls. This idea seems perfect so I thought I would see what the experts say.

PS. I an testing the water for NH3, NO2, NO3, every few days.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:48 PM   #4
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The term "anaerobic" means "without air" or "without oxygen." That is why Bioballs create nitrate, they do not have any anaerobic bacteria that would convert nitrate to nitrogen. Porous rock on the other hand does have places for anaerobic bacteria to grow.

The bacteria are the same regardless of the surface to be coated, rock, plastic, ceramic, sand, etc. It may just be that the rock offers a much greater surface area than the bioballs.

Are you aiming the ph toward the surface to get a good gas exchange?
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:12 PM   #5
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I just thought of that the other day to speed things up. I redirected the PH upwarded rather than downward. I noticed NO2 was dropping a slight bit faster over the past 2 days. That's what lead me to the idea if letting the water spill over the rock like a water fall rather then keep it submerged for even more gas exchange.
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:08 PM   #6
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I think the whole point is that the bacteria that you "want" is not going to grow unless the rock is submerged. If you want to speed things up add another PH and keep the surface agitated so that there is good gas exchange!

The only other thing I would suggest, what I did, is I put a couple pieces of LR that came from my sump into the tank that I was curing the dry base rock in.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:37 PM   #7
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Thank you's. I changed the PH to shoot out of the water like a fountain (950 GPH PH in 20 gallons of water. The aggressive splashing and water movement not only speeded things up faster, the last cycle completed over night submerged. This will be my new way of cycling dry rock. Thanks
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:04 PM   #8
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Interesting. I've never cycled base rock. I just added it to the tank as there's no need to cycle base rock for an established tank.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:39 AM   #9
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That was what I thought originally as well but I guess some people like to cycle or at least "liven" up their base rock. All of the dry rock that I have added to my system (over 100lbs) I have just put it right in the tank. After rinsing it off of course. It doesn't take long for it to become LR in an established system. I also like to keep a good bit in my sumps so it is ready to go when I make changes.
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