Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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Although not necessary, most people find it beneficial to lightly rinse the dust off under running water.
All aquarium rock needs to cycle, including MarcoRocks. We recommend using trusted bottled bacteria from such places like Fritz or Dr. Tims. Follow their instructions and within 4-6 weeks you should be cycled. If desired, during this period you can also add minimal livestock if available, to quicken the process.
This depends on personal preference and the look you are trying to achieve. Generally speaking we recommend approximately 1 lb per gallon. The goal is to create an aesthetically pleasing aqua-scape that has enough surface area to handle the biological needs of the tank while also leaving enough negative space for corals and fish. Remember that rock displaces water and the final result should be a coral tank vs a rock tank! Also keep in mind that the corals will take up space and grow so build a bit lower than you would think to account for this “coral room”.
There is no need to clean MarcoRocks before use, they are all natural and safe for any pet environments. If you prefer the very white color, you can soak or spray it down outside with some very diluted unscented Clorox bleach, then rinse thoroughly and leave in the sun to dry prior to use.
Every system is different but if you have coralline algae already present in the system it will speed up the process. 3-6 months for good purple coverage. Up to 1 Year for full purple coverage. Adding some existing “seed” rock, or rock from another existing tank, will also help in this process.