curing liverock


i'm going to get strait to the point. is it possible to cure liverock in a active aquarium?

i have a tank with a preexisting nitrogen cycle. now I'm starting to feel like maybe i should add liverock, and i don't have a separate tank to cure it in. i was hoping that instead of starting a new tank to cure it in, i could just add the uncured liverock to my current tank and it would eventually cure. is this unrealistic?


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Is there anything in the tank? if so yes
if the tank has stuff in it then no


Colossal Squid
Staff member
OK if nothing is in the tank then you can Cure in the tank like such:

1. If the aquarium already has saltwater in it, and/or the system is set up and running, first turn off all the equipment, remove any devices that may get in the way, and take out and save about 1/2 of the saltwater in the tank. (The reason for this is that the water level will rise when the rocks are put into the tank.)
2. If the aquarium is empty, you can either fill it about 1/2 full with prepared saltwater, or mix the saltwater solution in the tank if you need to, then remove about 1/2 of the saltwater when it is ready for use.
3. Preclean the rocks, place them into the aquarium, and top-off the water level if needed.
4. Only turn on the heater(s), and water/powerhead pump for oxygenation and circulation.
5. Let the rocks cure! This means you DO NOT add live sand or other substrate, livestock, or anything else until the curing process is complete. So how do you know when it is "cured"? You can test for ammonia and nitrite, and when you get zero readings, the process has reached completion. Often you can also tell by smelling the water. If there is no odor to the water, it usually means the process is done.
6. While the rocks are curing, periodically siphon out any accumulated organic matter off the bottom of the tank, top-off the water level when needed, and keep an eye out and remove any unwanted animals or organisms that may have been missed when the rocks where precleaned.
7. Once the curing process is complete, siphon out any debris off the bottom of the tank, and do a substantial water change.
8. Now start aquascaping the tank.


1. This procedure is best done using a bare tank. Why? Because when die-off occurs, the dead or dying organic matter that creates ammonia can more easily be removed as it accumulates, which in turn helps to shorten the rock curing or cycling time. This also prevents excess organic matter from building up in the substrate, which can lead to high nitrate and problems with brown diatom and other type algae blooms during and after the aquarium cycling process.
2. Of course you can opt to bypass curing the live rock altogether, but it is suggested to consider allowing the rocks to cure for at least a few days in this way, before adding the substrate and aquascaping the rocks.
3. If you decide not to first cure the rocks, but intend to add the substrate and live rock to cycle the aquarium with, it is recommended to at least take the time to preclean the rocks before using them. This will help to eliminate some of the build-up of organic matter that will result from die-off, and you can inspect the rocks for any undersirable critters that may be present and remove them.
4. You should consider raising the rocks up off the bottom of the tank for this procedure. It will provide more water circulation underneath and around the rocks, and makes it much easier to siphon out the dead or dying organic matter that can build-up during the curing process.


Staff member
CaptFish - great write up!

Alternately if your tank is already functioning, gently scrub the rock with a vegetable brush to remove dead and dieing matter, especially sponge, take a large plastic bucket or Rubber Maid type container, fill with saltwater (you can use the water that you currently take off during a water change), put in a power head, Koraliea or something to keep the water circulating around and through the rock (lighting is optional but may help preserve some of the life and a small filter is also nice to use but neither are required) and let it run for a month. Change out most of the water about every two weeks without exposing the rock to air. After a full month check for ammonia (before, not after a water change). If there is no ammonia, check for nitrites. If you are ammonia and nitrite free, it should be good to go, otherwise, repeat with weekly water changes until you have neither ammonia nor nitrite. I usually like to do a second light scrub on the rock at two weeks if I am showing high ammonia.


Colossal Squid
Staff member
TY, I cant take credit for it though I got it from another fish forum.

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