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Old 01-26-2005, 08:19 PM   #1
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Question on inspecting newly arrived LR

OK- I think I will be able to recognize aiptasia, and I may be able to recognize sponges. Not so sure about mantis shrimp and rock crabs, though...

Point is ... if I spot these critters when unpacking my newly arrived box of treasure, what should I do about them?

I've read numerous artricles about how to start with LR. All mention these pests and how mean and rotten they can be, but few describe what to do about them to prevent their entry into the tank.

Aiptasia, for example. Does one scrape it off? I've read about "injections", but, I mean, geez- it's not like I have ready access to syringes (this ain't the 70's, man).

So when I am looking over my live rock, inspecting it for undesirable critters while spritzing it tenderly with salt water (a squirt bottle of seltzer water in my holster ready to be sprayed into the nooks and crannies wherein lurk the dreaded mantis shrimp), I have a feeling that I will feel totally inadequate and will likely deal a hammer blow to some of the very creatures I would enjoy seeing in my tank.

BTW: target day for rock is Weds/Thurs of next week. As I write this, my newly installed and debugged circulation and filtration system is gurgling in approval and anticipation. Freshwater, I'm afraid ... for now.

This whole learning curve has been an absolute pleasure. I'm especially pleased with and grateful for the responses and info on this board. I can't wait to get going!

Oh, and ... mantis shrimp? As an unthoughtful president now regrets having said:

"Bring 'em on."
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:38 PM   #2
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My mantra is to do everything to save the life on the LR as possible...and deal with the unpleasant guys later. Besides, what one person says is unpleasant really depends on what ELSE you want to keep in your tank. I have a number of crabs and worms in my tank that would cause some to be horrified, but I think they are great.

For example:

Mantis shrimp are incompatible with fish, crabs and snails, but ok with coral.
Some bristle worms are incompatible with coral, but others are actually good. Very difficult to tell them apart.
Some crabs are harmless, while others can damage coral or fish.

I don't think you'll be able to find and eliminate aiptasia on the rock before you put it in the tank. Any procedure that is capable of killing aiptasia on the rock would certainly harm other creatures that you might like to keep. Besides, you won't see any aiptasia for quite a while, even if they are there.

I would get that tank filled with SW ASAP. The best situation would be for the tank to have cycled at least mostly before the LR even arrives. That way, the rock has a good home to land in and you'll keep as many critters alive as possible.

I lot of people cycle their tank with their LR. I liken that to cycling your tank with a live fish. That process is going to be hard on the rock life, just as it would be hard on a fish.

If you're lucky enough to get a mantis, I highly recommend keeping him in a separate tank. They are very hardy. I kept mine in a 2.5 gallon with no light and no heater for 6 months before I upgraded his home to a 5 gallon with light and heater. Kept in this way, they make very entertaining pets.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:44 PM   #3
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If you come up with any mantis or unwanted crabs get ahold of me before you toss them...... there are people who keep them in the fuges and have mantis tanks. I got a mantis a couple weeks back but have not seen him in my fuge sense I put him in??? Must be a good at hiding. Unwanted crabs can be kept in a FO tank or a fuge.
Aptasis can be cut off but not in the water and rinse off the LR after you cut them. Try and get a piece of the rock to come off with them if you can.
They sell blunt syringes at some LFS and on the net.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:52 PM   #4
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...oh yes... you would recognize a mantis if you saw one. They are quite different than other shimp or crabs. I won't go into great detail. Do a google search on mantis shrimp and you'll find a ton of pictures.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:52 PM   #5
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One seeming contradiction (at least to a newbie like me) that comes up is the concept of cycling a tank using cured live rock. Since live rock is ultimately the bio filter, if the live rock is already cured, why isn't IT already "cycled"? After all, the process of "cycling" involves the development of a mature bilogical filter to process ammonia and nitrites. Isn't that the job of the live rock? Assuming no large additional sudden ammonia load from the tank, it would seem that bringing a fair amount of cured live rock into a new tank would make further cycling a minor task(in comparision to a "from scratch" cycle with uncured rock). Maybe my freshwater experience is a handicap here, but starting off with a theoretically active biofilter (cured live rock) gives the process of cycling a HUGE head start, doesn't it? It would seem that an additional light ammonia load ( dead shrimp or hardy fish) would encourage the development of the biofilter in the rock and in the sand bed as well.

What piece of the puzzle eludes me?
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:14 PM   #6
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When I originally setup my tank I cycled it with 160lbs of LR.com rock. I did a carbonated water dip but only managed to find 1 rock crab by doing so. Most of the hitchhikers I had were either easy to pull off in a holding tank or were in the small pool of water at the bottom of the box.

I had a huge collections of stars that all died because my tank wasn't pre cycled, now theres no way to say they would of survived the ammonia spike from the LR but they would of had a better chance had the tank been pre cycled.

Alot of 'bad' hitchhikers got through the dip, including 2 Mantis, and 2 rock crabs. I caught both Mantis. The first one I caught I put in an elipse 3, Hes doing well and spends his days watching me. The second did not survive in my fuge. 1 rock crab got turned into a kabob and then I toseed him to my Mantis. The second is still in the main. I rarely see him but when I get the opportunity to catch him hes going in with Mr. Mantis as well.

Sorry about getting off on a tangent. To sum up, pre cycle your tank it will lessen any spike when you add the LR and more will survive. I'd recomend rinsing the LR is a rubbermaid bin filled with tank water. It will clean off some junk and give you a chance to pick off some bad stuff. You'll have plently of time to hunt down anything bad in your tank once its setup.
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Old 01-26-2005, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
starting off with a theoretically active biofilter (cured live rock) gives the process of cycling a HUGE head start, doesn't it?
There is no question this is correct.
Quote:
if the live rock is already cured, why isn't IT already "cycled"?
because the nitrifying bacteria population need to catch up with the water volume in the system. For example, if you set up a tank with cured live rock and new salt mix then dump in a bunch of fish, you would still get a big ammonia spike. This is because there is not a good enough population of the bacteria established in the system at this point. This is the reason to add the cocktail shrimp as well, it give the bacteria something feed off of and multiply. Thus turning the ammonia into nitrite and eventally to nitrate.
With uncured LR, you get the same bacteria, but it can then feed off the ammonia that comes from the die off. Rather simplistic explanation................
Does this help, or am I just jabbering... hard to tell, I'm tired.
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Old 01-26-2005, 11:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
After all, the process of "cycling" involves the development of a mature bilogical filter to process ammonia and nitrites. Isn't that the job of the live rock?
One more thing to add. The LR is the media where the nitrifying process can take place.
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Old 01-27-2005, 11:46 PM   #9
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I advocate a two step process.

1) Get some base (cheap) rock in the tank, cycle the tank with a dead shrimp. Build up your bio-filtration capability on the base rock...or build up your biofiltration in your wet/dry or canister.

2) Then...Buy high quality LR and get it into that tank as quickly as possible. The moment you pull LR out of the ocean, stuff starts to die. No matter how quickly to get it from ocean to tank, there's going to be some die off. Less is obviously better because less die off means less spike of ammonia when it hits the tank.

When that new LR hits your tank, your established filtration base rock is better prepared to handle the sudden hit of ammonia and you'll be more likely to keep more of the LR life alive.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-28-2005, 02:19 AM   #10
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Midi

Sump design looks great! Should work well for you. That fuge is the place to put any "bad" hitchhikers.

You are totally on with your research, but I guess it comes down to this. Every time you add something to the tank, it is going to produce the ammonia. whether it is alive or dead. You certainly can reduce that cycle time by getting a lot of live sand, and high quality live rock that will have very little die off. The ammonia will spike, as QS said because the tank is not used to having that bio load in it. Things may die because of it. Hitchers are a bonus, you can always get more.
Don't expect a lot, and be pleasantly suprised when something makes it. Fish cost a lot and they are a different story.

It would be a good Idea to get salt in there and get it all settled, because the process will start faster.

It would be impossible to get live rock and expect everything to live, but by providing the bacteria in live sand a little while ahead of time you will help.

You did not mention any live sand. You also did not mention how much rock you are getting. In a 29 gallon, if you add 30 lbs, it certainly has a different effect than a 150 gal adding 25 lbs, or 100lbs.

I don't know how to link a thread, but in the last few days, I know that I saw a thread on how fast people had cycled there tanks. The overwhelming majority said that if they used ls and lr, there cycle was minimal. That is what I would expect for you.

Last, remember, Opinions... everybody has got one.

Worst case scenario, you do your best. Best case scenario, You do your best!

The whole thing is a learning process and I do not claim to be a master.
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