How To Easily Cure Live Rock in a New Saltwater Aquarium

When setting up a new saltwater aquarium, you are more than likely going to be adding live rock. There is an easy way to cure the live rock during the aquarium setup process, without having to use another separate aquarium or curing tank.

If you are a new aquarium owner, you might not have the resource of extra curing tanks. Or maybe you just don’t have the desire or the space to have a curing tank set up. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The First Step

When you first set up your aquarium tank, don’t put anything in it but about a half tank of saltwater, a protein skimmer and a heater. Also add some water pumps or powerheads to keep the water circulating well in the tank.

This is all you will need to begin the curing process for the live rock. Don’t add any substrate or anything else yet.

Clean off your live rock, which should still be out of the aquarium at this point. Once you have thoroughly cleaned and inspected your live rock, place it in the aquarium.

Don’t add anything else but the live rock. Once the rock is placed in the tank, top off the water levels.

Let the Curing Begin

Now, your live rock will begin to cure. There will be die off and the aquarium water will probably have high ammonia and nitrate levels. Test the water daily to track these levels.

Each day, siphon out any stuff that has fallen to the bottom of the aquarium. Keep an eye on the live rock and watch for any unwanted growth or undesired critters. Replace any water that you siphon out. You are basically doing mini water changes each day.

After a few days, the ammonia and nitrate levels will drop off. You will be able to identify this through the daily testing. This means that the curing process is complete.


Siphon out the rest of the junk from the bottom of the aquarium, and do a pretty decent water change, maybe even half of the water.

You can now continue with the rest of your aquarium setup process, and your live rock is cured!

About Luke

the owner and caretaker of a 75 gallon aquarium in his home studio. Good times.

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