How do you clean old live rocks?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Cleaning old live rocks is an essential step in maintaining a healthy and thriving aquarium. Live rocks can accumulate debris, algae, and unwanted organisms over time, so it’s important to regularly clean them to maintain water quality and prevent any potential issues. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean old live rocks effectively.

1. Gather the necessary supplies:
– Bleach: Use unscented bleach without any additives.
– Hot tap water: Hot water helps to dissolve organic matter more effectively.
– RODI water: RODI (Reverse Osmosis Deionization) water is free from impurities and minerals.
– Bucket or container: Use a clean bucket or container large enough to hold the live rocks.
– Scrub brush or toothbrush: These will help you scrub off any stubborn debris.

2. Prepare the bleach solution:
– Fill the bucket or container with hot tap water.
– Add bleach to the water, using approximately 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water.
– Mix the solution well until the bleach is thoroughly dissolved.

3. Submerge the live rocks:
– Place the live rocks into the bleach solution, ensuring they are fully submerged.
– Let the rocks soak in the bleach solution for about 15-30 minutes. This will help kill any unwanted organisms and break down organic matter.

4. Scrub the rocks:
– After the soaking period, use a scrub brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the live rocks, removing any remaining debris or algae.
– Pay attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas, as these tend to accumulate the most buildup.

5. Rinse the rocks:
– Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning, remove the rocks from the bleach solution.
– Rinse them thoroughly under running tap water to remove any traces of bleach.

6. Do a follow-up bath in RODI water:
– Fill another bucket or container with clean RODI water.
– Submerge the live rocks in this RODI bath for about 24 hours. This will help remove any residual bleach and further clean the rocks.

7. Rinse again in clean RODI water:
– After the 24-hour RODI bath, give the rocks a final rinse under clean RODI water to ensure they are completely free from any chemicals or impurities.

8. Test the water quality:
– Before returning the cleaned live rocks to your aquarium, test the water parameters to ensure they are within acceptable ranges.
– Monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, as cleaning the rocks can potentially release excess nutrients into the water.

9. Place the rocks back in the tank:
– Once the water quality is stable, carefully place the cleaned live rocks back into your aquarium, arranging them as desired.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean old live rocks and maintain a healthy and vibrant aquatic environment. Remember to regularly clean and maintain your live rocks to prevent any potential issues and promote the overall well-being of your aquarium inhabitants.