Bigger Rocks For Freshwater Aquarium. What To Use?

Starletta

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I've been reading a great book - "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums". Excellent book with easy to understand information.

The author mentioned adding bigger rocks to the aquarium, instead of the typical gravel, etc. Looking at the pictures, I'm guessing 4x5 inches, or so. I thought my fish would also enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies.

The Pet Store where I get my supplies has them, but it would be costly to do two aquariums, but, if I have no other choice, I'll buy them.

Could rocks from my yard, or from the beach be hazardous? Would throughly washing or soaking the rocks for a period of time be enough? Or could toxins, or salt from the beach rocks leech into the water?

Thank you for your opinions... :)
 

techen

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for FW I highly suggest you do not use rocks from the beach as it may have salt and a lot of fish dislike high amounts of salt.

You can use rocks from your yard but I forgot what to look out for, Most LFS sell rocks for fish tanks that are clean and ready to go although not that cheap I prefer them as half of them are fancy :p
 

Jenste

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Make sure you do not "boil" clean any rocks you find. Rocks could shatter.

I know that you can do a vinegar test. Put a drop of vinegar on and if it fizzles then you can't use the rock. I don't know about other tests that have to be done but this is what I have remembered from the past.
 

garyspence84

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Most garden centres sell 'pond safe rocks' which can be used in aquarium and there half the price of pet stores. You should take a look there before getting them from your lfs :good:
 
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I found a handful of hard, dense (not crumbling), rocks in my local woods, scrubbed them clean, then boiled them (note some say boiling can cause rocks to explode) for half hour, then soaked them in used tank water in a bucket for a few days, then added to my tank. No problems, and the shrimp like to explore the nooks and crannies!
 

fluttermoth

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It's definitely not a good idea to actually boil rocks; most won't explode, but it can happen and is very dangerous if it does.

There's no need anyway; just scrub them in very hot water and let them dry out completely.

Rocks from beaches are fine to use (as long as it's legal to collect them, where you are), but do need soaking for a week or so, changing the water every day, to get rid of the excess salt.

All rocks, except ones that have metallic veins in, are 'safe', but some (the limestone types) will affect the hardness and pH in your tank and some (sandstone and shale) will break down.

The 'vinegar test' is often recommended, but vinegar isn't really a strong enough acid to test rocks properly. You can either use rust remover to test them, or you can leave them in a bucket (have a bucket of plain water too, for control purposes) and test the pH or hardness after a few days.
 
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Starletta

Starletta

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for FW I highly suggest you do not use rocks from the beach as it may have salt and a lot of fish dislike high amounts of salt.

You can use rocks from your yard but I forgot what to look out for, Most LFS sell rocks for fish tanks that are clean and ready to go although not that cheap I prefer them as half of them are fancy
Thank you everyone for your advice. And thank you for sharing your aquarium pictures. That is the look I am trying to achieve. Natural, not a "Pet Store" look. I went to my local Pet/Aquarium store and bought some very pretty rocks, that changed to beautiful once I soaked them in water. Zebra rock, and a beautiful red rock slab that looks like red cedar after soaking. Felt a little silly spending $70 on rocks, though....
I have some River Rock in our outdoor garden which I plant to dig out of the snow...eek! Thanks again... I appreciate it.
 
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