BRStv Investigates: What is the best way to cure dry live rock?

May 18th, 2017
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Today on BRStv, we have a brand new episode of our series, BRStv Investigates. In this series, we explore popular reefing theories, products, methods, and what the manuals are missing, with a focus on putting them to the test!

There are many different methods for curing rock out in the reefing community, and we are finally putting them to the test to see if they actually work! We are finally to the point where we can share the results of different rock curing methods between a natural cure, acid, bleach, and even using both (in separate steps of course).
First and foremost we do not recommend prepping your dry live rock in anything, but a quick rinse in RO/DI water to remove any dust and loose particles from the surface of the rocks. Using any of the methods mentioned below or in the video is hazardous and may cause damage to your property and even your health.
NEVER mix any type of acid with bleach. The gas formed is very toxic and even small amounts may be very harmful to your heath and can even be fatal. Always wear proper safety gear in a well-ventilated area.
The results of the natural cure were sort of expected with an increase in phosphates, but there was also a couple of unexpected dips throughout the 2-month test that we just cannot explain. We have a few theories that we may be testing further so make sure to keep an eye out for that!
The next method we tried was curing the rock in a strong acid solution that is very popular among reefing forums and the community. We diluted the acid with RODI water to what we found the common recommendation was and discovered that we lost quite a bit of the rock since the acid was dissolving the rock. We didn’t find the amount of rock we lost acceptable and went back with a weaker dilution which seemed to yield a much more acceptable loss. We then cured the rock the same way as the natural curing method with surprising results.
Another method that we chose to use was common household bleach in a commonly recommended dilution ratio with RODI water and let it soak for a week. We then drained and rinsed the rock with more RODI water and Hikari ChlorAm-X Dechlorinator until there was no detectable chlorine. We again drained the water and gave the rock one more rinse in RODI water before starting the curing process.
The very last method we tried was preparing the rock in acid and then bleach in separate steps. We started off by giving the rock an acid bath for about 15 minutes, then onto a bath in bleach for about a week. It is important to note that we did fully rinse the rock after the acid soak, and allowed the rock to dry completely making the acid inert.
The results we found were pretty amazing, and there are some definite benefits to using the commonly recommended methods, but in our opinion, they just simply are not worth the risk if you do not have the proper safety procedures and equipment in place.
This test now sparked some more questions about rocks and the different types in reference to the nutrients they can release when used. So make sure to follow along and keep an eye out for future episodes of BRStv Investigates!

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