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I have a few home depot buckets which contain aquarium rock from a previously running system... From three years ago...
These buckets have sat sealed for about 3 years in a climate controlled storage unit unopened.
Is there any danger in placing these rocks in a new aquarium with along with dry rock to cycle?
What do you all think is in there? Will it help to start the cycle, or should I dry them out?
I have a ~30g sump area w/ skimmer I can potentially cook them in.
Will I have a problem with the formation of sulfates?
Is there a way to recycle these without causing noxious fumes for my neighbors?
How long do you think good bacteria in there can hold dormant?
What would be the good/bad bacteria levels in a best-case / worst case scenario?
 

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If sealed the oxygen will be depleted over time and anaerobic bacteria will take over. So there may be a sulfer smell when you open them. If it doesn’t I would rinse well and cook. Is so you can wash with bleach water, rinse very well allow to dry and air then add to your dry rock. All the aerobic bacteria will have died off, most likely at least most of anaerobic also. Without food entering the system and without oxygen the aerobic bacteria will die off. The anaerobic will multiply and feed on the aerobic until their numbers drop and the anaerobic will begin to decline. I amm not sure how long the the cycle of bacteria feeding on dead bacteria can last.
Washing with a bleach solution should spare your neighbors the sulfur smell. Just have a big container of bleach water ready and open one at a time.
 

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I would probably put a clothspin on my nose and open the buckets and put the rock straight into a rubbermaid tub of fresh water with a water pump, filter if I had it, and skimmer if I had it. I would then do water changes on that tub until the rock stopped stinking and droping off gunk. I would definitely wear gloves for this, and maybe even cover my face and eyes.

If you had Zoas on that rock when it went into the bin I would be especially careful, some Zoas and Palayas are very toxic, and scrubbing live rock with them on it has caused some people health problems.

Whiskey
 
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