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Cooked, Cycled, Cured, Baked... What does it all mean?
We often get asked if our rock is "cooked, cycled, cured, baked," etc.
Here's the full low-down on what these terms mean and a little background history on why MarcoRocks is the best choice in aqua-scaping for reef aquaria.
All rocks are not created equal! In fact, some are created by man and some by mother nature. MarcoRocks are 100% made by good ol mother earth. In fact much of southern florida as we know it is sitting on ancient coral reefs. This old reef, now only a mass of limestone skeleton, is the stuff of dreams for a modern day aqua-scaper. Once carefully unearthed and freed of sediment, it takes a shape not unlike those of regularly imported live rock BUT with none of the risks like pests, nasty die-off, while preserving our beautiful living reefs. Our rock is also carefully sourced to be free of anything that might effect its purity. This is one of best reasons to choose MarcoRocks.
Being a natural product, each batch or rock can vary somewhat from the last one. This is where our skilled team of experienced rock handlers come into play. MarcoRocks takes pride in selecting only the best raw material that will one day find their way into people’s home aquariums, and processing them in an environmentally friendly way.
Cycling- Since MarcoRocks is a dry, natural product from a non-living marine environment one would certainly need to give it some time to become biologically alive. Bacteria can be introduced to the system in many ways. The easiest and quickest is by dosing the bacteria into the system via a bottle. Many reputable brands are on the market that cater to this need. You can also seed a tank by introducing any surface area from another living, mature reef system. This includes bacteria contained on rocks, filter sponges, etc. will rapidly seed these porous rocks turning it quickly into a living substrate. Cycling time varies from system to system and regular testing of the nitrogen cycle (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) will determine when the tank is ready for serious stocking.
Curing- This refers to a process in which something would go from an unsafe state to a “ready to use” state. Since our rock is already safe to use out of the box, the curing word need not be something of concern. This term would apply to those man-made concrete rock-scapes seen throughout the industry. If not thoroughly "cured", these other types of rocks can leach chemicals into the aquarium and become harmful to your coral and/or fish.
Cooked- This one is a bit more out in left field and doesn’t fit neatly into the aquarium language. I suppose one could cook something to cure it, (add heat to it) to speed the curing process. Again, this is not something that concerns us since there is nothing to cook or cure out of MarcoRocks. It is 100% reef safe right out of the box.
As always, for beginners we recommend going slow with any marine system. Taking your time, understanding the fundamentals, and allow a beautiful natural system develop organically. This really is the best and most forgiving way to setup a marine system. But with experience, expert level hobbyists can use some shortcuts, times can be shortened and systems can be ready sooner.
Thank you for stopping in!