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Thread: Rocks for the tank, safe ?

  1. #1
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    Rocks for the tank, safe ?

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    Hi all,
    i've picked up some pieces of rock along the river and actually thinking of using it in my 10 Gallon tank.Driftwood are quite expensive here so I thought of using these free rocks.
    I dropped a small piece of the rock in to some vinegar and I think the rock was kind of dissolved a bit. I thought I read about the vinegar test somewhere but I cannot remember much about it.
    Are the rocks safe for use in my tank ?
    Waiting to do some aquascape with the moss i received from some of the gentlemen here.

    Thanks ,
    Kenny
    Kenny

  2. #2
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    Hi Kenny,

    Since you've already tried out the acid test, that means the rocks are unsafe for aquarium use. If the vinegar fizzles on contact with the rock, that means that the rocks contain some type of mineral.

    I would go for granite rocks instead, which seem to be inert in property. I use some in my tanks with zero problems.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  3. #3
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    I have found vinegar is usually too weak to show proper bubbling, so I use the cheap hydrochloric acid sold for pH adjustment in swimming pools. I can't remember whether it is 3 or 5 normal. Now that I can see fizzing on soluble minerals. [Wear eye and skin protection for it can burn.]

    Just because it fizzes does not mean a rock is unusable. It just usually means it contains some calcium and/or magnesium carbonate, and will be slightly soluble in water with an acidic pH. As it dissolves, it adds both GH and KH, which is exactly what many of our Fp. and Nothos want. The higher tds seems to ward off velvet for them.

    Testing for foaming just lets us be warned to watch the hardness and do regular water changes, so it doesn't get too bad. After my tds meter, I find my GH/KH test kit most useful (I'm on a well with no chlorine). My pH pen is my least-used test, most of the time.

    Two things seem to stop the rock from dissolving. As the carbonate/bicarbonate in the water (KH) builds up, it tends to buffer the water up toward a pH of 8 and solubility drops to near zero. Also, an insoluble skin seems to form, over time, so initially fast-dissolving rock or even sea shell becomes less soluble in even acidic water.

    This latter effect seems to make stuff collected from fresh-water sources generally pretty inert. Beach rocks and gravel, OTOH, have been only exposed to alkaline sea water, so they can be pretty active when first dropped into a tank.

    I would avoid heavy-metal ores like lead, zinc, copper, etc. I grew up in the mining business so I can recognize many of them, but I despair trying to describe them as they are so highly varied in appearance. They are also unlikely to fizz under acid conditions, so that test is mostly good for spotting carbonates. A long soak in low-pH soft water will generally make them pretty safe, as long as you do reasonable water changes, too. BTW, some shale and dolomites never seem to become less active. IDK why.

    My Daphnia tubs have a lot of pretty rocks soaking in them, awaiting a home in an aquarium.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

  4. #4
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    I have rocks in my tank. What i read was that as long as the rock has soaked in water for a long time, maybe months, it is safe for aquarium use. i have used the rocks for about a year now and i am having no problems with my tank conditions.

    Wei Ping

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys, for the info.

    My current inhabitants are a few ramshorn snails, so I guess even if the rocks will dissolve to release calcium/ magnesium and carbonate, it probably does more good than harm ?
    I don't know how much KH or GH that will raise , but will cherry shrimps and mosses be able to take the presumably higher PH and hardness ?

    I'll post pics of those rocks/stones later and let you guys "inspect" first, good ?

    Cheers
    Kenny
    Kenny

  6. #6
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    Kenny,
    If your water source ph is neutral and no intension of acidifying it (CO2, peat, etc), chances are the rocks are fine, especially, when they are from river. So long the water ph stay neutral, it should not add much hardness/minerals to it.

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