I'm thinking of changing out everything except some of my corals and fishes after a bad bout with hair algae, as I want to go with all new rocks. I'll be going to the Caribbean next week and want to collect some new rocks. Since I want to quickly change over everything, these will be fresh rocks and might contain pests, such as mantis shrimp, crabs, worms, etc. I am a little bit concern about these pests and do not want to have them in my new setup. What do you recommend I do with these rocks first? Maybe put the rocks in a separate container with saltwater and pour some sort of liquid/Clorox on them to kill these pests? I appreciate your time.
Panama City, Panama
Thanks for your letter and there's an easy way to get rid of these pests before placing them in the aquarium. First, scrub the new rocks to get rid of any unwanted sponges or algae, then lightly rinse with freshwater or some of the older saltwater. Then take each cleaned rock and drop it into a bucket that is filled with common club soda (get the cheapest brand possible). Within a few minutes every crab, worm, or mantis will be jumping out of the rock! After a soak of about five minutes, lightly rinse off the rock with some water as noted above, and place them directly into the aquarium. Net out the monsters from the pail, and continue with the other rocks. Replace the club soda when it losses its fizz. Any club soda still in the rock will not hurt the aquarium water, as its only carbon dioxide (CO2) and water to begin with. Believe me, those unwanted pests will quickly abandon their home in the new rock, as they can't breathe in that super-saturated solution of CO2! And the bacteria on/in the rock won't be overly harmed either, as the soaking time is quite short.
If there will be a lot of rock, and club soda is too expensive to use, simply get some compressed CO2 bottles and dispense it with some aerators into a water filled container. It works either way, but the club soda is faster as its super-saturated.
Good luck with your project.