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If the LR is going to be out of the tank very long you may consider making SW to sit it in like in a rubbermaid tub. You may think about using a turkey baster to blast out the rocks while they are still in the tank. You may be surprised what all is in there. ANother thing to consider is adding a rock lift to keep the rock off the substrate. If rock has to be piled against the back glass you may have more rock than you need.

I would do a big waterchange while you do this.

If it were me.... I might be tempted to just suck the CC out and replace with sand or go barebottom and be done with the CC.:D
 

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A falling rock can break glass... though I don't know how likely it is. Many people use starboard (like a cutting board) to prevent this. Here is a pic of my rock lift (so I could have sand but not let the rock touch it)


There is a DIY thread on making rock lifts.
 

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BB is simpler IMO, but I could not stand to look at one in a display. Looks are a matter of opinion. A poorly maintained BB will look worse than a poorly maintained DSB for instance... but in a certain way the DSB is only storing those nutreints. Out of sight out of mind can be a problem. THere are +s and -s to any set up.
 

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There are two things I consider with sand. THe holding and hiding of detritus and the binding of phosphate. Once phosphate is bound there is little that can be done to remove it from sand. But detritus can be siphoned out regularly and can be relatively little problem. It can take years for sand to bind up so much PO4 that it is released depending on your maintenance. If you keep your system pretty clean it really improves the success of substrate.
 

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how long can lr stay live in a bucket?
Depends what on it is "live" If we are just talking bacteria... somewhere between months and forever :thumbup:

Algae needs light and most other critters on a rock need some type of food on top of oxygen. I have had rock in tubs for months that holds only bacteria that is still a good filter if it is fed once in a blue moon. Of course it is not maintaining the levels of bacteria that it would in a well fed reef tank. But basically if you have some movement and some temp control (even just being in the house) then you should really have minimal die off over the course of days for anything and practically no die off of nitrogen processing bacteria.
 
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