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FAQs about Live Rock Replacement/Renewal/Augmentation  

Related Articles: Live RockReef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, Live Rock 1, LR 2LR 3, LR 4, LR 5, LR 6, Curing Live Rock, LR Life Identification, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & ChartsCopper UseMarine Landscaping, Marine BiotopeSumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock, Base Rock

After a year... maybe 1.5 year, it's a very good idea to add to, replace about 10-15% of your LR to supplement soluble materials, renew biota, biodiversity

Old Aquarium Being 'Brought Back To Life'.... Re-us LR      7/11/15
<Ohm; oh wait/ that's the old unit for resistance. What's up?>
I have a rather odd question, it will likely turn into a string of questions over the next several weeks, but one has to start somewhere.
<Ah yes>
I have a 110 gal tank, with a canister filter and a protein skimmer. Ran great as a FOWLR for several years.
Due to some incidents several years ago I would rather not go into, all the fish eventually died (natural causes), but were never replaced. In essence, I have been running the filter for the past 3 years w/ no fish.
The (live?) rock is still in the tank.
<Not so live; but highly likely useful still... as base rock... I'd bleach, rinse (see the SOP on WWM) and use underneath some pounds of new LR>
I am now in a position to bring this thing back into operation. But, where do I start?
<Siting, cleaning, checking out all the gear...>
I assume with a major water change followed by a real good water chemistry test, but do you think the microorganisms in/on the rock & filter would even still be viable?
<Mmm; not much, no... but not to worry; can be restored via the above new LR>
How do you test that - run a test before the H2O change, or after, or both?
<Way after... all is cleaned, refilled>
Should I plan to add more rock?
Or get a few damsels to start the tank cycling, or both?
<The rock>
I also plan to switch to LED lighting - they have really come down in price over the last several years.
<Yes; tis so>
<Keep your biers in a cool, dark place>
<Bob Fenner>

Strange sand like material from live rock       4/8/15
I have a severe Aiptasia problem that I am trying to get rid of (and I am
also buying state lottery tickets, probably have a better chance with those).
When I received several Berghia I ordered, I placed the majority in
my main tank, and put 4 in a 10 gallon tank with no substrate to keep a "breeding" group going. I have been careful to do a very strong Iodine dip on small rock with Aiptasia growing on it before putting them in the holding tank for food for the Aiptasia to ensure there are either few or no copepods/amphipods to eat their eggs. I am seeing a great deal of "sand" that comes off of these rocks over time, it is literally making a substrate on the bottom of the tank. Is this the norm for "live rock"?
<Can be.... this product is most often an amalgamation of living and not matrix... though highly variable... Does "fall apart" as well as "devolve" biologically; or should I write/state through biological actions>

Is there
something boring holes in the rock that could be harmful to my main tank?
<Not likely>
Thanks for all of the help that you have given all of us who have written in
to you.
Richard Manning
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Re: Planning Question, LR additions, renewal, placement       3/9/13
I have a quick question. I'm re-reading "Reef Invertebrates" focusing on the section on LR and the curing process. There is a paragraph that explains that LR will get "old" over time and that augmentation or rotation with fresh LR is desirable once or twice a year. How exactly is that accomplished?
<Just adding some new/fresh on top of the existing, or taking out some of the old to make space for the new>
 I'm planning my aquascaping so I'll be happy with the formation long-term - am I supposed to take portions apart 6 months from now?!
<Ah no... in about a year and a half... then some new every six months or so>
How would that work if the LR has some corals spread over it?
<The rock can be excised, broken, with the coral bases attached to part>
 I'm also unclear what would be done with the "tired" LR? Is it discarded or repopulated somehow?
<Best to move it to some other purpose... it just isn't "that" useful after awhile... in terms of solubility, nor biota>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Planning Question      3/9/13

Thanks. Sound like that would be too difficult with the rock on top of the aquascape,
<Mmm; nope>
 but more challenging for the larger base pieces.
<Just a small percentage (5-10) change/out. You'll find that this amount has dissolved/disappeared (!)>
My tank is 6 ft long and one side will be difficult to reach since the tank is built into the wall. Sounds difficult.
<... Stop saying no to yourself... Doing so closes ones mind to infinite possibilities. BobF>
Re: Planning Question       3/10/13

Meant to say "wouldn't be too difficult for top pieces"
<Ah good>
 - I'll need to video the current in-wall set up to get your thoughts. 
<Mmm, I spent/invested my life in the trade (ornamental aquatics). Our businesses fabricated, installed and maintained hundreds of such systems>
I guess it all depends how difficult it is to separate the rock.
<Not hard>
  If I end up with 150lbs of LR swapping out 15lbs wouldn't be too daunting.  I was thinking it'd need to do a much larger percentage than that. 
<Ah no; only a small percentage makes a huge difference. A few doctoral theses>
I was planning to epoxy the LR together to make it strong and stable, not sure if that will that make it difficult to separate down the road.
<Am a very negative fan of such epoxying... better to drill/peg and stack if pieces are unstable... >
<And you, BobF>
Re: Planning Question... LR renewal, and now placement    7/10/13

Good to know re: epoxy.  I want to have a lot of openings through the aquascape so I was thinking I'd need something to bond the pieces together.
<Rarely necessary... again, if bommie like arrangements are desired... see WWM re placing LR>
  I've never done it though so maybe I'm wrong.  What would you suggest to use as a peg?
<PVC pipe of small diameter, acrylic doweling... are best>
  Are zip ties good as well if they can be hidden?
<Aye. B>

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