Will I Still Get Worms If I Use Dry Rock?

MossBall
  • #1
Hello all,

I am not new to fishkeeping anymore. I’ve successfully been running 3 freshwater and a brackish the past two years.

But I am looking for a new challenge as I take down 2 of my freshwater tanks.

So after doing research I know I want some zoa’s and maybe a few other corals. This means I need rock for them to grow on.
I am deathly afraid of things that look like snakes and spiders so that means no crabs, worms, or big shrimp for me.

My question is: if I get dry rock and soak it in freshwater for 2-3 weeks. Then maybe a ultra high salt soak for a week. Then put the rock into my set up with the correct salinity and let it cycle with good bacteria, will I ever run the risk of getting things like worms. Shrimp or crabs of any kind?

Lets assume I get photosynthetic corals that don’t need to be fed so there won't be extra food in the tank. Lets also assume it’s a bare bottom set up. I would just have corals and sexy shrimp in this hypothetical.
 
DutchAquarium
  • #2
dead rock is dead and therefore doesn't have anything on it. Your going to end up getting pests from the rocks the zoanthids are on. Just make sure your very careful and maybe get them on plugs are by themselves to avoid the pest problems.
 
Jesterrace
  • #3
dead rock is dead and therefore doesn't have anything on it. Your going to end up getting pests from the rocks the zoanthids are on. Just make sure your very careful and maybe get them on plugs are by themselves to avoid the pest problems.

Agreed. I only ever had 1 Aiptasia and it hitchhiked on a small zoanthid frag. I got it when it was young and before it spread with Aiptasia X and then as a precaution after it died off I popped off the frag and threw it away (the aiptasia had already killed it off). That was almost a year ago and I haven't had any aiptasia since. Zoanthids are all around bad for me so I steer clear of them. I do well with Euphyllia on the other hand.
 
MossBall
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
So dry rock is dead. Good to know. I will never have bristle or other worms if I just had a tank with dry rock in it. Good to know.

So now the issue is introducing them when I buy the coral frags or maybe even the fish if I ever get some.

How does this coral frag dip regiment sound?
1. Bayer insecticide 10 mins with tank water.
2. Coral RX 10 mins with tank water.
3. Fresh “tap” water 30 seconds.

With this regiment and dry rock, there should be in theory nothing in my tank that I don’t know about, correct? I don't want to see something I don’t expect while cleaning or watching or if I walk into the room and turn on the light in the middle of the night.
 
stella1979
  • #5
The dip regimen sounds pretty harsh actually and I'd be worried about the frags. What you have listed there is 3 back to back dips, while most new frags go through one dip, then a couple of rinses in tank water. So Bayer, Coral RX, or a Freshwater dip, but I would not recommend doing all three as new frags are already under the stress of moving. Some corals are also much more sensitive to Freshwater dips, so be sure to research first before getting a new species. Also, I would never ever subject coral to my tap water. Tap water can contain a number of things that could damage or kill corals, so when Freshwater dips are recommended, RODI or distilled is the water to use, just like with topping off for evaporation loss.

I've been sort of strict with my tank and it's about a year old now. I haven't dipped and quarantined everything, but I'm fairly certain I don't have anything creepy like bristle worms. Do things like featherworms, copepods and amphipods freak you out? These are things most are pretty glad to see as it is a sign of diversity and good for a healthy tank.
 
MossBall
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
After doing more research I think I might just use PolypLab Reef Primer. I have seen great results both in reviews and youtube videos. Maybe an easy dose of CoralRX too if I am feeling frisky but that Reef Primer looks amazing and it’s not said to stress the corals at all. Kills everying including Bristle Worms.

I am planning to use Tap with the cycle and curing(since I will be draining the water after anyway.) Then Distilled until I can successfully keep my cleanup crew alive and get used to keeping my perimeters constant with waterchanged and evap.(since freshwater and brackish the perimeters can fluctuate) Then move to RODI before introducing corals.

Have you checked your tank, stella, after a few hours of the lights off in a dark room with a red flashligh being careful not to turn on any lights? If not, you might have stuff you didnt expect. Most do and that’s what I am trying to avoid.

I am not afraid of most things smaller than a brine shrimp unless they specifically bite/sting me or try to crawl up my arm. But I don't think most copepods and such do. I have dafnia and other things in my freshwater that don’t bother me. And the little detritus worms in my freashwater don't bother me. Neither do banana worms which I’ve used as food before.
Bristle worms are much bigger than a brine shrimp lol. And Zoa spiders.... look like spiders lol.
 
Jesterrace
  • #7
After doing more research I think I might just use PolypLab Reef Primer. I have seen great results both in reviews and youtube videos. Maybe an easy dose of CoralRX too if I am feeling frisky but that Reef Primer looks amazing and it’s not said to stress the corals at all. Kills everying including Bristle Worms.

I am planning to use Tap with the cycle and curing(since I will be draining the water after anyway.) Then Distilled until I can successfully keep my cleanup crew alive and get used to keeping my perimeters constant with waterchanged and evap.(since freshwater and brackish the perimeters can fluctuate) Then move to RODI before introducing corals.

Have you checked your tank, stella, after a few hours of the lights off in a dark room with a red flashligh being careful not to turn on any lights? If not, you might have stuff you didnt expect. Most do and that’s what I am trying to avoid.

I am not afraid of most things smaller than a brine shrimp unless they specifically bite/sting me or try to crawl up my arm. But I don't think most copepods and such do. I have dafnia and other things in my freshwater that don’t bother me. And the little detritus worms in my freashwater don't bother me. Neither do banana worms which I’ve used as food before.
Bristle worms are much bigger than a brine shrimp lol. And Zoa spiders.... look like spiders lol.


Bad plan there on going to tap and then distilled, then RODI. The problem is that you are going to be putting water in there with goodness knows what in it and it can create some serious headaches for you in the long run. There is plenty of stuff in most tap water that will create phosphate problems for you even if you only do it for a little while. There is a post around here somewhere of a guy who did comparison with even Distilled vs RODI and the Distilled had nasty brown gunk all over his tank 2 days after a partial water change, conversely with a partial RODI water change after 7 days he was just barely getting a light dusting of brown algae. Also I don't think you understand how the cycle works in a saltwater tank, once the rock has bacteria established and the initial cycle has completed it needs to be kept submerged to keep the bacteria alive, so if you do tap water and then drain out you will potentially have another die off and cycle to go through as your rock gets exposed to air. It's not like freshwater where the filter is established in the filter media. Don't cut corners on this and do it right. If you have an LFS nearby you can purchase RODI/Salt premix water from them until you can afford to purchase an RODI setup.
 
MossBall
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I am still so used to Phosphate not being a big issue because the plants use it.(coming from freshwater) I would have never thought the small amount in tap water being a big deal. I guess I was wrong. RODI from the begining it is. This should be fun since I am kind of a neat freak and will enjoy knowing nothing is in my tank that I didnt put in it; not even trace minerals.

And you are correct, I didnt expect the bacteria to die off just because it’s been exposed to air for a few mins. Good to know. So how do people do massive water changes without exposing the rock to the air for a few minutes?
 
stella1979
  • #9
Have you checked your tank, stella, after a few hours of the lights off in a dark room with a red flashligh being careful not to turn on any lights? If not, you might have stuff you didnt expect. Most do and that’s what I am trying to avoid.

And Zoa spiders.... look like spiders lol.

I have checked my tank in the wee hours with a red light. Results may be skewed because my tank is never completely dark due to a refugium light that runs at night and bleeds some pink light into the tank. Still, it's as dark as my tank gets, and the only surprise I've had is seeing amphipods, which are larger than copepods, but I've yet to see one much larger than 1/4 inch long. They do look like bugs and are larger than brine shrimp... but they are generally safe and healthy for a tank, (though to be clear, there are many different species and a few are not safe.)

Zoa spiders... I almost mentioned these in my previous post, but decided not to freak you out about something you may never experience. I don't have a lot of zoas, but I have online buddies that are collectors who have never seen a spider. Of course, if you look, you'll see plenty of folks have asked for help with the little nasties. The big trouble with these guys is that they can hide inside a zoa... and a zoa will close up when exposed to air, dips, freshwater, you name it. With the zoa closed, a spider inside is protected from deterrents and can survive just as the coral does. This is one of the many reasons that reefers might choose to dip AND quarantine frags before they go in a display tank. A coral quarantine has to support coral of course, so this means a second reef light is needed.ead: I use fluorescent reef lighting over my own qt.

I am still so used to Phosphate not being a big issue because the plants use it.(coming from freshwater) I would have never thought the small amount in tap water being a big deal. I guess I was wrong. RODI from the begining it is. This should be fun since I am kind of a neat freak and will enjoy knowing nothing is in my tank that I didnt put in it; not even trace minerals.

And you are correct, I didnt expect the bacteria to die off just because it’s been exposed to air for a few mins. Good to know. So how do people do massive water changes without exposing the rock to the air for a few minutes?
I agree that you don't want to start your tank with water that is different from the water you will eventually use. It's just good practice to keep everything steady. Like Sheldon Cooper, lol, saltwater tanks are big fans of homeostasis... or in other words, don't change anything you don't have to. Phosphate is a great example. If you cycle with water containing phosphates, algae will take hold, and it will be much more difficult to get it gone rather than to limit growth to begin with. Also, you are totally correct. It's great knowing that nothing goes in the tank that we don't purposely add. My tap water has crazy high nitrates and who knows what else?!?!!!

Hmm, it's not that all of the bacteria will die immediately, but it is greatly dependant on not only staying wet but having oxygenated, flowing water available. I don't personally have experience with this, but know that live/cycled rock is sold, transferred, exposed during large wc's, and even removed and replaced when folks want to re-scape the tank. The key is to keep the rock very wet. You don't want even the surface to dry, so folks will use wet (with tank water) towels or similar to drape over the rock when it's out of the tank. Then, of course, you'd want to get it back in flowing water ASAP. There may still be some die off, but the efforts are to limit that. Also, in the re-scape example, folks will do like half the tank at a time, so it never happens that ALL of the rock is disturbed. The other thing many do is keep media in a filter or sump. Reef tanks may not always need media, but it's not a bad idea to have some for backup reasons or when heavily stocked.

What size tank are we theorizing about here? A 20 gallon long is a perfect size for a first reef tank... I may be biased because I have a 20 gallon long reef. Anyhow, in bringing up media, it occurred to me that you may not be planning on a sump that can easily house media. I've found that the Aquaclear 70 HOB is great for my sumpless tank. It is big enough to hold a large bag of media and leave plenty of room for macroalgae to grow in there too. This makes the HOB a refugium as well. It is also why there is a plant light over my HOB which bleeds pink light into the display at night.
 
Jesterrace
  • #10
I am still so used to Phosphate not being a big issue because the plants use it.(coming from freshwater) I would have never thought the small amount in tap water being a big deal. I guess I was wrong. RODI from the begining it is. This should be fun since I am kind of a neat freak and will enjoy knowing nothing is in my tank that I didnt put in it; not even trace minerals.

And you are correct, I didnt expect the bacteria to die off just because it’s been exposed to air for a few mins. Good to know. So how do people do massive water changes without exposing the rock to the air for a few minutes?

You don't do massive water changes with saltwater. About 30% is the max that can be done at a time. As mentioned by Stella it's not that all the bacteria will die immediately, but there is going to be some die off if the rock is completely exposed, which will likely cause some die off and as mentioned by stella you are saturating your biological filter with phosphates, which will only cause long term complications.
 
MossBall
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Now I think I understand a lot more. Thank you. I am so used to 20-75% water changes with fresh water, I assumed it was the same with salt. I am kind of glad it’s not. That was my biggest issue with getting a large tank. I didnt want to be filling it back up every week. My 33 long is big enough for that kind of water volume changes. Takes me a good two hours.

I will be making a new thead in about 2 months once I have my tank made but it will be a 25g Pentagon. 18” front, 18” tall, 18” back panels, and I fogot how big the front angle peices are. I think 6-8”. This way I can document the whole process. This thread was just to see if I even wanted to try saltwater since I don't want big worms in my tank.

I did just google Amphipods and they would not be my first choice to add to the tank but they are not the end of the world in very small numbers if I see them. The ladybug ones actually look cute. Now are amphI and cope pods avoidable? I know they are super helpful in so many ways but I would much rather only add the cute ones if I could. I am sure you can buy individual types online. Just curious of they somehow appear without me doing anything no matter what.

I’ve already seen Zoa spiders online since I’ve done extensive zoa research. They are my favorate coral. I plan to have my biggest “centerpeice” rock covered in them. I also wanted to house sexy shrimp because I love freshwater shrimp and sexy seem about the same size but they are well known to eat Zoas so I guess I won’t be doing that anymore.
I have a 2.5g with a light that I can hide and use as my coral quarantine tank. I already planned to do that just as a extra precaution. How long should they stay in quarantine? I was thinking until they open fully and you can inspect for spiders and see if anything else survived the dip so like 3 days?

I was planning on doing a lot of macro algae in my display tank since I really like the way it looks. And you are correct, I was not planning a sump or ref. I’m still learning saltwater and trying to keep it as close to what I know(freshwater) as I can. So I was thinking two HOB filters facing different directions to help create flow and also so I can change them out in intervals to keep the bio load safe. I would probably just have some bio media and carbon in there. Maybe a peice of filter floss that I would change weekly to act as kind of a skimmer in a sense. That's what I do with my brackish and the filter floss looks just like skimmer water within a week which is how often I change it.
 
Jesterrace
  • #12
Now I think I understand a lot more. Thank you. I am so used to 20-75% water changes with fresh water, I assumed it was the same with salt. I am kind of glad it’s not. That was my biggest issue with getting a large tank. I didnt want to be filling it back up every week. My 33 long is big enough for that kind of water volume changes. Takes me a good two hours.

I will be making a new thead in about 2 months once I have my tank made but it will be a 25g Pentagon. 18” front, 18” tall, 18” back panels, and I fogot how big the front angle peices are. I think 6-8”. This way I can document the whole process. This thread was just to see if I even wanted to try saltwater since I don't want big worms in my tank.

I did just google Amphipods and they would not be my first choice to add to the tank but they are not the end of the world in very small numbers if I see them. The ladybug ones actually look cute. Now are amphI and cope pods avoidable? I know they are super helpful in so many ways but I would much rather only add the cute ones if I could. I am sure you can buy individual types online. Just curious of they somehow appear without me doing anything no matter what.

I’ve already seen Zoa spiders online since I’ve done extensive zoa research. They are my favorate coral. I plan to have my biggest “centerpeice” rock covered in them. I also wanted to house sexy shrimp because I love freshwater shrimp and sexy seem about the same size but they are well known to eat Zoas so I guess I won’t be doing that anymore.
I have a 2.5g with a light that I can hide and use as my coral quarantine tank. I already planned to do that just as a extra precaution. How long should they stay in quarantine? I was thinking until they open fully and you can inspect for spiders and see if anything else survived the dip so like 3 days?

I was planning on doing a lot of macro algae in my display tank since I really like the way it looks. And you are correct, I was not planning a sump or ref. I’m still learning saltwater and trying to keep it as close to what I know(freshwater) as I can. So I was thinking two HOB filters facing different directions to help create flow and also so I can change them out in intervals to keep the bio load safe. I would probably just have some bio media and carbon in there. Maybe a peice of filter floss that I would change weekly to act as kind of a skimmer in a sense. That's what I do with my brackish and the filter floss looks just like skimmer water within a week which is how often I change it.


If you are going with a small tank and preferrably FOWLR then you can keep it pretty close to freshwater for maintenance (other than salinity and topping off with RODI Water), it should be good. As I'm sure you are learning the old adage that you need to have x number of years of experience with freshwater to start saltwater is an old wives tale. I recommend the same thing to freshwater folks as I do to newbies who are looking into saltwater, which is to research the heck out of everything before you take the plunge. You are doing things the right way as you are getting to make your mistakes virtually with no money involved instead of putting in lots of hard work to get setup only to have very expensive heartbreak and disappointment.
 
Floundering_Around
  • #13
Even photosynthetic corals enjoy being fed and definitely benefit from doing so. Bristleworms don't usually come in big. I have quite a few in my tank that I watch pop their head out of rock crevices and crawl around. Thy'reno bigger than black worms for freshwater. What will probably freak you out are the tube worms (the ones without the fans. I can't remember what they're called for the life of me). Plus, if you have fish or a CUC, depending on what they are they'll go after and eat bristle worms, pods, etc.
 
Jesterrace
  • #14
You are referring to Feather Dusters, I believe. I also agree on corals being fed. LRS Reef Frenzy is one of the best all in one food sources for corals, inverts and fish. I noticed a big difference with which my Frogspawn and Hammer Coral frags (aka Euphyllia) if I do two small feedings a day of the Reef Frenzy as opposed to one. Mine also seem to like their nitrates a bit higher than most other corals.
 
MossBall
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I have no problem feeding my corals once a week. I just bought baby brine shrimp for my brackish bumble bee goby and had no idea how small they really are so I was planning to use that as coral food since my goby doesn't even notice them. Also, I have a freshwater flatpack medley. Is there a problem feeding that to my saltwater tank on occasion? It’s “small” chunks of like everything imaginable in there.
 

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