High Salinity Live Rock Dip - Purging Unwanted Pests

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by dmhinsf, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    Hi Reefers,

    In a previous post, I mentioned that my live rock had some undesirable hitchhikers on it (well, really it was your feedback that helped me determine this). I had an aiptasia (I say HAD because I tossed the rock after hammering it to death). And I still have a small crab that looks menacing (species tbd along with photo)...I see him as a pest - moreso since I can't catch him in my dang trap (glass with pellet in it).

    So...I read about people dipping their live rock in high salinity water to make the critters fall out and off and in to the bucket. What d' ya think?

    Bear in mind, I am well in to my cycle and in fact, think I am done. I have some gorgeous purple algaes working the rock too that I would hate to lose. Right now, I have cleaners in there and nothing more. I have a total of 10 snails of 4 varieties, 2 hermit crabs (maybe only 1 now, 1 is MIA) and a peppermint shrimp.

    I am pondering this weekend, taking the rocks out one at a time and giving them a soak. If I do, how is this done? Quick dip, splash around, remove? Or let the rock hang out in the water a while?

    Thanks for any advice on this count? If I should just leave things be...that is an excellent idea too. But that crab does look menacing and who knows what other undesirables are in there.

    Thanks a mil!
  2. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    First of all, don't "toss" that aiptasia rock. Just leave it in the sun to dry up, then re-cure it and put it back in the tank. No need to waste rock!

    Honestly, if it were me, I wouldn't kill off live rock. FOR ME, part of the fun is seeing all the neat stuff that hitchhiked in from the ocean. I would observe the tank, maybe with cheap/free starter corals for a while to see which pests are really pesty and then deal with them. Your tank is going to go through a brutal cycle of green algae, puffy red algae, diatoms, bubble algae, etc, etc before it stabilizes. You might as well see what literally crawls out of the rockwork.

    Well that's what I would do, but I like my tanks to surprise me with little mystery critters ... obviously unless they are flatworms (which can be dealt with) or worse...something that eats coral like acropora eating nudibranchs. Still, you don't know for sure you have such brutal creatures until you wait and see. Reefing is a real waiting game. If you don't want to wait, then by all means dip your rocks. You can probably leave the rocks in freshwater for a few days to kill off a lot of organisms.

  3. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    I like your advice a lot, Vince. I, too, have enjoyed the "emergence" of stuff from the rocks. And I have learned many times the lesson of "be patient." Seems I may need to practice that yet again.

    I also am grateful to you for describing the "brutal" cycle for me. I just went through the green algae stage and definitely have plenty of diatoms in there.

  4. treylane

    treylane Supporting Member

    Hehehe, all crabs look a bit evil imop. >) But having hairy legs and beady little eyes doesn't make them bad for your tank. See if you can find out more about what kind of crab he is before tearing the tank apart to grab him. And if he is a "bad" crab - a quick dip into hypo/hyper-saline water isn't likely to permanently damage the life on the rock, and it may even dislodge the crab. I've had pretty good luck with just pulling the rocks (so they're out of water) and then prodding the crab onto a smaller rock in a tupperware of water.
  5. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    Thanks, Jess. I think I have a xanthid of some kind and those according to my research are in the "not so good" category.

    Good advice all around. I may try some strategery such as what you have done. That said, I am fine to let the experiment unfold and see what happens.
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I wouldn't trust a dried up aiptasia carcass either... remove the piece of rock the aiptasia is on and be done with it.

    As to the other pests, you cold always give them a dip in cold freshwater, that should help stun them off.
  7. nudibranch

    nudibranch Guest

    If you want to see what is in the rock without killing them you could try and putting the rock in a bucket and enticing them to come out by placing food in the bucket.
  8. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    When baiting my trap eons ago pellet food wasn't the most effective....I used a fresh popcorn shrimp or bay scallop from the store and rubberbanded them to a small rock to keep them from floating away. The butcher will give you an odd look when you only ask for 2 or three shrimp or scallops, but that's nothing to the cashier's look when ringing up a 3 cent meat package. I always told tham I was on a very strict diet. :)


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