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Light essential for liverock?
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KMV021203
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Joined: 25 Jan 2007

PostPosted: 2010.08.12(Thu)15:53    Post subject: Light essential for liverock? Reply with quote

To make a long story brief I have been caring for a 55G FW tank for about seven years. I am CYCLING my first 29G SW tank. This explains my wacky water parameters. I just got my skimmer this afternoon and will be setting it up tomorrow.

Now to my question. I am interested in a FOWLR tank. I was curious if light is essential to keeping live rock...well...alive? I currently don't have a lighting apparatus or live rock for this tank at the moment. I was hoping to buy the live rock now to help with the cycling and the light set up in a few weeks. I have also searched the forums and found no definitive answers.

Also, this is my general set up and all known parameters. All equipment is recycled except the new skimmer and test kit. The tank has been set up with live sand/heat/filtration since July 16th 2010.

29 Gallon tank
Hydor THEO 200W heater
Marineland: Penguin 350
20lbs Ocean Direct Caribbean Live Sand
Coralife Superskimmer 65G
Test equipment: API Saltwater Master Test Kit


Specific Gravity: 1.02ish
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: .75
Nitrate: 30


Last edited by KMV021203 on 2010.08.15(Sun)10:03; edited 2 times in total
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Osprey
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Joined: 15 May 2006
Location: Okotoks, AB

PostPosted: 2010.08.13(Fri)16:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope. Lighting isn't necessary for maintaining live rock- it's just for looks. Lots of light-sensitive critters can handle an extended dark period.

When I set up my first marine tank, my very first purchase was some used live rock I got for an excellent price. I kept it in rubbermaid tubs for three months before setting up my tank, and once I added lights, coralline algae spread, and several different species of macroalgae sprouted. Smile

Do make sure you check the rock over carefully- I had a couple of rogue crabs survive the prolonged "cooking" process, and they wreaked havoc with a couple of my corals later on.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2010.08.14(Sat)14:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Osprey is correct about those crabs, watch out for hitchhikers! Smile
More below from my archives...

Knowledge and research will keep your live rock living.
The thing you want to encourage on your live rock is coralline algae
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Caton
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Location: Washington State, USA

PostPosted: 2010.08.14(Sat)15:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heres a question for you (sorry, hijacking your thread):

If my calcium levels in my tap are already over 180ppm which is very hard for tap water, and then I add the salt, crushed coral substrate, etc. Could it be possible for my calcium levels be too high? Or would I most likely be getting a r/o system if I were to keep SW aquariums? Also, since I have a pH of 8.0-8.3 would my pH levels be too high or again would I be using r/o?
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KMV021203
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Joined: 25 Jan 2007

PostPosted: 2010.08.14(Sat)16:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was hoping you would respond Floridaboy. Sounds weird but I stalk your posts as I find you to be very knowledgeable and to the point. Also, thank you Osprey. It's official, light isn't essential to the life of live rock.

Good news...I found a VERY good LFS yesterday. I now have a local and reliable source of what appears to be years of experience. I explained that I was rather new to the salty tanks and they backed up everything each of you has said. Also, they tested my tanks water. I will include their results below.

Also, I bought my first tank buddies, three tiny hermits and about a pound of live rock that was aesthetically pleasing. I also couldn't turn down the purchase of one of the shops "used" Coralife lighting fixtures for $60. Very productive and happy day.

Specific Gravity: 1.023 (very surprising result as I'm using a hydrometer)
pH: 7.6
Nitrite: .5
Nitrate: 40
Alkalinity: 10

Thank you again for everyones help.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2010.08.15(Sun)1:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your kind words. Smile
For only 30 days your nitrates are getting up there; how much sand do you have in the bottom?
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KMV021203
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Joined: 25 Jan 2007

PostPosted: 2010.08.15(Sun)10:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

I purchased a 20lb bag of Ocean Direct Pacific Black live sand. Please correct me if I am wrong but I have been sprinkling some tropical flake food on the surface every other day to "feed" the bacteria living in the sand. Is this common practice or am I hurting myself in the long run?
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2010.08.16(Mon)4:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not an expert on substrates; but frankly, I remain skeptical of some of these products sitting on shelves for years; in sealed bags, capsules, containers, marketed as "live sand," or "instant aquarium biotope cultures," or "magical tank starters," etc.

Keep in mind, in this day of social media, some of the chat room proponents of retail products actually work for, or promote these companies via their forum comments. I have no such affiliations, so I am free to give you my honest opinions. And yes
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Last edited by FloridaBoy on 2010.08.17(Tue)11:47; edited 4 times in total
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Caton
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Location: Washington State, USA

PostPosted: 2010.08.16(Mon)4:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread regarding ""biologically active" substrates" but for FW tanks:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/substrate/113831-cautionary-word-about-biologically-active-substrates.html
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KMV021203
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Joined: 25 Jan 2007

PostPosted: 2010.08.16(Mon)13:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never thought of it that way. I've never really put much thought into that part of the equation. Was the sand really "ALIVE" when I purchased it? How long did it really sit on a shelf before I picked it up. WOW...possible these sand baggers are taking hobbyist for a ride?

Anyhow, now that my bubble has officially been popped, I guess I can just wait out the parameters to level out. I assume the light should help stable out the pH. Is there anything I can do to help level out or eliminate the nitrates? I really do shy away from using chemicals but if an expert recommends it I could give it a try.
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