I should have known better -is it true that you can't use most kinds of red rocks in an aquarium?

Jan Cavalieri

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Bought a new 55 gallon acrylic tank and they are so slow shipping I've been buying accessories for months - bought some red sandstone like rock and just opened it and realized this should probably not go in an aquarium but it was a bargain and said "sized for building caves" which is exactly who these problem fish like to do. The article I read said to sprinkle a few drops of PHdown on it and if it sizzles then you'll know you can't use it with fish. I was worried about the color bleeding into the water. It appears to be large squares of red sandstone which is exactly what I wanted! But boy did it fizz.

Can anybody suggest a type of rock that would stack well so I could do cavebuilding - or let them do their own- the Cichlid is a master destroyer/sort of bulder.. I currently have 1 cichlid and 5 Gourami. The Gourami produced some offspring (3) that we wished we hadn't saved because they will be just like their parents. All the adults are about5-6" long. the Cichlid is getting close to 1 foot long and continuing to grow. They are all aggressive to each other but not biting or any thing serious - obviously just miserable. Would like to find a cichlid that could keep the other company but I fear he is too grumpy. He bullies all the Gourami's who also bully each other. I suspect some of these fish look spectactular in a bigger tank (currently in a ridiculous 29 gallon tank.) Plan to add a couple more fish that would make this a prettier grouping: All the gourami are pale blue 3 dot or marbled, except for one and he is a tiger striped gourami lised as "Honey" in the listings. The Cichlid it was decided by this forum is a Geophagus surinammerists. And is a couple of years old; as are the Gourami. None are anything special to look at although the color's of the Gourami sometimes shift to nearly pure white.

Water:
GH: 110-282 ppm or 10.8-15.8 (average8;14)
KH: Range" 47-136 Ppm (KH:5.2, Range 2.6.7.7)
PH: 9.4 (Range 8.5-9.9)

I use an acid reducer then PHup to get the PH within some value close to 6.5-7.50 in my neighborhood the Ph is closer to 9.5 which would will kill every fish, Besides Prime, and Tetra Bacteria I rarely use any other chemicals to adjust anything, I have spent a LOT of money to try to keep these fish in good health given their poor living conditions and just received the aquarium - I totally wish I had all 55 gallons to myself but that's not how it's going to work out. If I have space I would love to get a couple of fun fish that will fit in with the rest - so any help with that would be appreciated.
 

Deanasue

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Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide is what I use to test my rocks. I can’t for the life of me think of what my stones are. Maybe it will come to me in the middle of the night. :)
 

Colin_T

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The reason rocks fizzle when you put vinegar or pH down on them is because the rocks are calcium based and there is a chemical reaction occurring when you put an acid (vinegar or pH down) on an alkaline substance (limestone, sandstone, shells or dead coral).

You can use limestone and sandstone in a tank, however they will cause the pH to go up, depending on how much you put in the tank. One or two small pieces can be added and the pH might not change, a couple of big pieces could cause the pH to go up a lot.

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You can make caves out of clay plant pots. Get a 8-10 inch clay flower pot and use a hacksaw to cut the pot in half (from top to bottom) so you end up with two ceramic caves.

If you don't want to use clay flower pots, get plastic pots and cut them. Then use silicon to glue some rocks on the pot to hold it down.

Pvc pipe can also be used. Get some 4-6 inch diameter pvc pipe and cut it in lengths about 10-12 inches long. You can leave it to get algae on the pipe or smear a thin layer of silicon on the outside of the pipe and then roll it in gravel or sand. That will help it blend in better.
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Good ideas Colin-! I may try some of them. I like a more nature lie look so figured just unfinished rock would do. I use slate in another tank and it looks farily natural. These are all big fish that seem to enjoy time away from each other and until now haven't had the space I also dislike the rough edges found in the modeled plastic covered with tree bark but PVC pipe won't cut them. We had an issue the other day that was almost funny - our cichlid uses an entire as his "cave" - it's a foot long and has 3 escape holes. picking up the log and this guy would not come opt; shook the log a while and there was this intense flapping going on - out of the 3 holes there is now only one hole he can escape from, Briused his little nose and felt pat - that's the biggest hole we have so maybe we can tri cvc tube covered in rock to prevent damage to his skin.
 

Colin_T

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If you are really desperate, you can still buy ceramic/ clay plumbing pipes from some places. Find a T piece or a short length about a foot long and put that in there. You can Superglue Java Fern, Anubias or Bolbitis onto it.
 

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