This thread is going to discuss what has been happening with two experienced reef keepers that have been having various issues with their two new builds; myself and @KJoFan. Last year, we both started new builds. New tanks. New rocks. New filtration. New excitement! But over the course of the past year, that excitement became confusion, irritation and frustration. Our systems have been plagued with various outbreaks like cyano, dinos, lyngbya and nuisance algae. Some of these are to be expected but with all of our experience, we should be able to quickly overcome these problems and begin growing a new reef. That has not really been the case; with either of us. Here's my "quick" story... (I think it's accurate, but you can find full details; here) In October 2018, I rebooted my 120gal system with a brand new tank, new rock (dry Tonga shelf; bleached and cured), new substrate (ReBorn media), a new sump with all new filtration (ATS unit, skimmer, CaRx, Cor pumps, etc.). The system was cycled using bottled bacteria cultures; Brightwell, Dr, Tim's. An initial bout of diatoms came and went so I started adding some LPS corals that I had rehomed while starting this system. The LPS corals did fine, so I started reallocating SPS corals that I had from the old system. Those corals looked okay for a short time and then they crashed and died. My rock started to get covered in a transparent "algae" that I hadn't seen before; turns out it's lyngbya. I treated my tank by running very little light and different chemical treatments which knocked out the lyngbya after a couple of weeks. Seeming on the mend, I once again added more coral frags and new frags I picked up from the Spring Expo. The exact same events happened; LPS corals looked fine, SPS corals faded and died. So further investigation proved that I had a nutrient deficiency (zero nitrates and zero phosphates) so I started tweaking my ATS unit to lessen it's efficiency. Also during this time, my new calcium reactor and dosing pump arrived so I added them to the system. The nutrient levels didn't increase and now my alkalinity levels started to rise. I started getting cyano on the substrate and rocks; now dosing Dr. Tim's again. I removed the ATS and calcium reactor from my system and waited for the parameters to level out. Once my alkalinity was back in my target range (8-8.5dKH), I added some new SPS frags. Same result; fade, die. It is now mid-June 2019. At this time, I was at a loss for what was happening. In my previous system, I could grow large montipora colonies in beautiful colors. In this system, they wouldn't last three weeks. During this time, I noticed Karen was experiencing some of the same issues with her new build; here. Old systems were successful, the new was plagued with various issues. So I asked her a simple question, "Is this your first build that used dry rock?" I noticed that both of us were having problems and a common factor was the use of starting out with dry rock. All of my previous systems have been built on collected live rock that was overnighted and properly cured. Maybe all of these issues we were experiencing had something to do with the rock we started out with. It was just a theory. (I know that there are tanks that were started using only dry rock and they didn't have issues, but I wanted to find out more.) Karen reached out to me and we started having a conversation about the rock in our systems and the possibility of adding some collected live rock. Maybe there was something in real live rock that was missing from our systems. We decided that we would order some rock together and try it out on our systems. A couple of quick searches and we decided on going with Tampa Bay Saltwater for our live rock. At this time, Karen stumbled upon this video. Everything that Mike Paletta was describing in the video was what was happening with our systems; mine, at least. I was convinced to order the live rock right away. I ordered a single box (25 pounds) of live rock that was to be shipped out for this week. I received an e-mail from Deb at TBS asking if Tuesday would work for delivery and I said "Yes!" They packaged the live rock and sent it via Southwest Cargo. I drove over to the airport (very convenient process) and picked up the box by 05:30PM that same day. The box of rock was in my curing container by 7PM; that's fast service! Here's some pics from Tuesday night. Here's information for Tampa Bay Saltwater from the label on the box. They were great to purchase from; timely responses to e-mails and up-to-date notifications on the shipment and follow up. One of the main reasons we decided to go with TBS for the live rock was that the rock is shipped completely wet; in water. The rock is packaged very well. Upon opening the first two thick bags, there is water filling the bags so that the inner bags are double insulated. Upon opening the second pair of thick bags, the rock is [almost] completely submerged. At this time, I was expecting the aromas that comes with opening up a box of fresh live rock. 9I actually enjoy that smell as it means I'm making another reef!). But to my surprise, there was no smell at all. The rock was clean and fresh; no die off. I could already tell that the rock was covered in life. For only 25 pounds of rock, there was a nice collection of pieces. All of the pieces were covered with a variety of sponges, barnacles, macroalgae and some corals. I could already see numerous snails and other hitchhikers crawling around. Here's just a couple of pics detailing the variety of life living on the rock. There's numerous colored and textured sponges on the rock. I would bet every rock has live barnacles living on them. And there are some coral species on the rock that are still alive as they produced a slime when exposed to the air. And what's a box of live rock without some hitchhikers; various snails, hermit crabs and other crabs. These guys were all picked off and placed into a deli container to await their fate. (My Harlequin Tuskfish might get some live food!) As of right now, I have the live rock curing in a Brute container with heat and circulation. I made a polycarbonate shelf that holds the live rock about ten inches above the bottom if the container so that if any more hitchhiking crabs find their way off of the rock, they will end up spending their days on the bottom. I am somewhat disappointed that there wasn't an octopus stowed away in the rock. My only complaint at this time is that I wish we would've ordered more rock; it's awesome! Once Karen is available, we will split the rock up and add it to our systems. My plan is to add the rock to my sump beneath my ATS unit. It's a cryptic zone that is directly fed from my drains, so the rock will receive plenty of flow and provide a great refuge for sponges, pods and other critters. Initially, I might place it in my display to help seed the rock in the display for a short time; it'll also give my tuskfish a chance to clean out any remaining crabs. I thought this new thread would be more useful than clogging up both Karen's and my build threads. After months of struggling to know what is happening with my corals, I'm excited to know that this might be a solution and get my reef back on track. I'll keep posting updates; and I'm sure Karen will as well. Wish us luck!!!