You’ve received your dried reef rock and you are eager to get things moving, there are few do’s & dont's when it comes to introducing dried reef rock and it depends on which stage you are at with your aquarium.
First and foremost your dried reef rock will need to be soaked to remove any dust build up and dead organics, most people will choose to do this in fresh RO water, it’s also common to use a diluted vinegar solution to soak your rock in.
There is no fixed timescale for this process, it’s recommended to change this solution midway through, so if we are working on a 2 week soak time then 7 days in.
Once this part of the process is complete then it’s time to cycle the rock, now this is where things can vary a little! If you are setting up a new tank and will be cycling an empty aquarium then it’s perfectly safe to do this in the aquarium. If you are adding your new dried rock to an existing aquarium then it is strongly advised to cycle the rock in a separate container.
It is a common misconception that dried reef rock does not go through a cycle, adding it to an existing aquarium can cause a mini cycle of your display and cause irreparable damage just as adding an uncured piece of wet rock can.
When you are at this stage you should treat your dried reef rock as you would live rock, using a bacterial booster can help speed up this process but you must be 100% certain that the aquarium has cycled before adding livestock.
It’s also worthwhile considering doing a partial water change before adding any livestock, this is standard practice that should be observed.