De-contaminating rocks
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:36 PM   #1
BrentD
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De-contaminating rocks


In the large 500g aquarium I am in the process of converting from Salt to Fresh Water, there are several pieces of lace rock and limestone type rock that I would like to keep to re-use since I will be stocking this tank with cichlids. How is the best way to go about making sure these rocks are thoroughly cleaned of all the salt so it won't contaminate the new tank?
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:44 PM   #2
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The short answer is not to. But if you really must, you could try soaking them in a slightly acidic solution, in hopes that any contaminants will react off into the water.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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The short answer is not to. But if you really must, you could try soaking them in a slightly acidic solution, in hopes that any contaminants will react off into the water.
Well, given that these rocks are largely carbonate bearing rocks, soaking them in an acidic solution could damage the rocks. Maybe some boiling water and mild vinegar solution would take care of the salt?
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:58 PM   #4
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First of all, I said "slightly acidic" which is exactly what your proposed vinegar solution would be. And second of all, I know that these are largely carbonate bearing rocks... that's the whole point-- to cause the outermost layers of the mineral to react away into the acidic water, thereby taking any salt that might be hiding out on these surface layers with it.

I honestly wouldn't do it myself. Not on a 500g tank. But because of the size of the tank, I understand precisely why you want to keep using these rocks and not have to buy any more.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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I have done this in the past with little to no ill effect.

I started by putting them in buckets and putting a hose in a just running water for litteraly a few hours. I then scrubbed and repeated. A bit of vinegar sprayed on, allowed to sit, then scrubbed and rinsed off might be great too.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:19 PM   #6
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Church: No offense meant by my post. I was just sort of thinking out loud (or as loudly as typing will allow.)

My original plan had been to get rid of all the existing rock and replace with petrified wood or sand stone, but since I've decided on cichlids, I would like to keep at least some of the carbonate rocks to help with the water hardness. Our local water supply is river water so it's conditions can be a bit variable.

I suppose I could clean the rock as best I can then soak it in a bucket of water of known salinity and test it with a TDS meter every so often and see if minerals other than carbonates are leaching out of the rocks.

The salt to fresh conversion is going to take me awhile. The salt water aquarium has been up and running for probably 7 or 8 years so everything is going to have to be cleaned thoroughly.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:22 PM   #7
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No offense taken, dude.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:50 PM   #8
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If you are making an African Cichlid tank, you don't have to go crazy removing the salt. It will be removed quickly enough via water changes. Salt is water soluble, no need for the acid either. The acid will just leave another substance to be rinsed off. It would also sharpen the Lace Rock as it ate away the carbonate, leaving the sand grains more exposed.

Just rinse the rocks a minute or two in running water and use them.

I personally found Lace Rock to be too sharp and once my Malawi's got full sized and were breeding/fighting found too many injuries on the fish from scrapes on the Lace Rock. I got rid of all 150 lbs of Lace Rock and replaced it with local rocks from my backyard. This tank is no longer set up. I converted to Tanganyikans.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:50 PM   #9
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My daughter converted her salt to Cichlid last year. She put her rocks in the dishwasher (no detergent), poured in a little vinegar and ran them through 2 complete cycles. Then 1 cycle with a little bleach. Tank and fish have done fine.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
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My daughter converted her salt to Cichlid last year. She put her rocks in the dishwasher (no detergent), poured in a little vinegar and ran them through 2 complete cycles. Then 1 cycle with a little bleach. Tank and fish have done fine.
This is brilliant. Why didn't I think of that????
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:02 PM   #11
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I just boiled mine, no effects on my tank.
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