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Old 04/21/2021, 06:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 104
Seeding old live rock

So I just set up a new aquarium using some dried old rock I had (very dead). I figured when I added the live sand it would seed the rock and I would be ok but now I am second guessing that.

Will live sand seed dead rock?

If it will not do the aquarium cycle kits that are sold (like bio-spira) do the same thing? I am kind of worried about not having some of the fun little hitch hikers tag along...

What are my other options to seed? My local shops arent carrying LR right now because there is a sales ban currently and I am not part of any local clubs because of the current situation. I was considering posting on the livestock threads here to see if I could buy a few small pieces but they all seem dead or not dealing in rock either. I read that if you buy inverts with shells some of the bacteria can transfer over but that it was a slow process

Thanks for all the help!

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Old 04/22/2021, 10:27 AM   #2
Michael Hoaster
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,735 sells farmed live rock from Florida. Their prices include shipping and are very reasonable. You can buy as little as ten pounds, which would be perfect for your situation.

As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 04/22/2021, 08:31 PM   #3
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Location: OKC, OK
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I've used jump start bottles that help...forgot the brand, but it was bought refrigerated from a LFS.

I wouldn't rely on live sand for your seed. I'm sure there's some viable bacteria in the sand, but probably not enough. My recommendations, in order:

Get real live rock, let it cycle, profit. I haven't seen it in a LFS in a LONG time, so good luck.

Get a couple of small rocks and a big ol scoop of sand from a well established tank. Toss it into your tank and let it grow. Toss in some fish food from time to time during the cycle to promote bacterial growth. Toss in a bacteria jump start for an added bonus...$20 can't hurt.

Get a couple of small, established the above things

Get a scoop of the above things

If all that isn't available, add a bacteria boost, feed the tank to facilitate growth.

Remember, the jump start still takes time to properly cycle. Take things slow no matter how you attack it.

"The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments." - John Galt

Current Tank Info: Cadlights 60G Arisan II mixed reef with 2x MP40s and 24" ATI
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Old 04/22/2021, 10:00 PM   #4
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Location: Spokane WA
Posts: 34,565
Blog Entries: 55
Back in the Jurassic we used dead dry rock and dead sand and just started with a gallon of water from the fish store display tank. It was pretty clean, as display tanks tend to be. Butt we've found better and faster ways since.


Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Old 04/25/2021, 08:11 AM   #5
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Location: Grove City, Ohio
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I start all my tanks with dry sand and rocks. It will become live soon enough.

I'll try to be nice if you try to be smarter!
I can't help that I grow older, but you can't make me grow up!

Current Tank Info: 120 mixed reef with 40b sump, RO 150 skimmer, AI Sol Blue x 2, and a 60g Frag Tank with 100g rubbermaid sump. 2 x Kessil A360w lights, BM curve 5 skimmer
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Old 04/25/2021, 05:00 PM   #6
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Location: NE, USA
Posts: 282
Of course you're second guessing. No critters, creatures, flora or fauna will be coming out of your dead rock but will contimue to ome out for years to come -- when you buy some real reef rock. Think of it as an investment if that helps. It's absolutely cruel to start a reef without it to the inhabitants you purchase. It is a giant filter in itself. Tanked only works for athletes and celebrities who can't be so bothered with actual reef life and conditions.

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Old 04/25/2021, 10:03 PM   #7
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The bacterial starter bottles worked really well for me. I was able to cycle my tank with dry rock and live sand within two weeks! I used a raw shrimp as an ammonia source.

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