Curing dry rock

Hey guys,
I have been curing my dry rock for almost a week now in a tube in the garage. They went from solid white to having some color on them but it seems to be a diatom algae prob from the water spiking? I had a piece of wet live rock i picked up from LFS but while epoxying them together that rock set out of water for about 3 days.

My question to all you is, how long would y’all recommend leaving the rocks in the tube? This really makes the call for when i start making fresh saltwater for my 45g. BRS videos suggest 1-6 weeks so I’m over their min of 1 week. The rock never took on any kind of stink.

Once i setup the tank i understand it should run for a few weeks so the tank can spike before i add fish. Any comments or concerns are appreciated. Ive been doing this a while but I’m just wanting to take extra careful steps this round to be sure to do it all exactly right.

Thanks everyone in advance.


Casey, did you change the water at all in that tub with the rocks in it? I think you suppose to change the water and test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate while its curing. Once that water is zero it should be good to go. Correct me if I’m wrong guys.

Testing the level of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will let you know when the die off has completed and the bacteria have consumed it. When ammonia and nitrite have returned to 0 it should be ok to put in the tank.

My rock took about 5 weeks to cycle (it is arguably still cycling because I have GHA now). I used microbacter7 to speed the cycle up. I had about 50 lbs of dry base rock and 25 lbs of live rock.

If you have nothing in the tank, you could cycle in tank instead of in a tub. I kept my rock in tubs for about 2 weeks before moving them into the tank.

My cycle more or less stalled before I started adding bacteria (ammonia stuck around .75, no nitrite, no nitrate).

I can think of a few ways that might speed the clean up of the rock and cycle.

  1. tub in dark, lots of water changes with bacteria culture added. Optional protein skimmer running.

  2. tub well lit with some macro algea growing in there too. along with protein skimmer, bacteria dosing and water changes.

well, maybe just two … but both need lots of oxygen. bubblers or skimmer.

I always dose bacteria. Microbelift gravel cleaner, reef special blend and Nite-out are my current favorites.

Thanks for the response guys. I was kinda going off the BRS videos they posted about curing dry rock and that was to throw it in a tub in darkness with heater and powerhead for 2 weeks then move it to tank and let it cycle for 4-6. All i had in the tub was a huge powerhead but never added any kind of bubbler or oxygen type equip. or skimmer. I have my tank plumbed and ready to go just waiting on the rocks to be ready i was hoping to not have to pull the skimmer out. There are no fish in the tank it is actually still dry, doesn’t even have water in it yet.

Guess i just wasted a week haha, back to square one.

Thanks again everyone

I bought the Pukani dry rock and after an attempt to cure it, decided to etch it in some vinegar and water, power washed it then cured it.

Pukani dry rock is notorious for being loaded with bound phosphates often taking months to get leached out, you will also need something for the phosphate to bind to as it’s leached out.

Lanthanum Chloride?

This rock was super clean before i started the curing process. There was only 1 piece that may have had anything live in it and it was from a LFS. It set out of water for 3 days while i was glueing all my rocks together, i seen 1 bristle worm hanging out of the rock, i tried to get him out of the rock and he retracted right back up in the rock and disappeared. So that rock should be my only rock that has anything live in it.

Sense i started this thread, i went out done a 5 gallon water change on approx 20 gallons of water, added an air pump for oxygen and threw on a HOB filter with carbon pack to help pull stink out.
Questions, comments, concerns?


I didn’t run my skimmer once I moved my rock to the tank. I would recommend dosing a bacterial additive since you have very little existing bacteria.

[quote=“Hudzon, post:8, topic:5475”]
Pukani dry rock is notorious for being loaded with bound phosphates often taking months to get leached out, you will also need something for the phosphate to bind to as it’s leached out.[/quote]

It was pretty low after the etching process, around .03 on a Hanna, after a month of curing in my 55 with 15 gal. weekly WC’s it was undetectable.

I threw in some sachem stability hoping that will help, thats all i have on hand.