River rocks?
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:01 AM   #1
emmynk
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River rocks?


Can you use river rocks for tanks? I thought it had to be a certain type of rock, but it seems like normal rocks can be used too. Is there a test or something? Do I boil them?

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Old 02-17-2014, 07:01 AM   #2
chale
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You can use river rocks. To test, just put some white vinegar on it and look for bubbles. Bubbles are bad and don't use. You can also use one of the vials to test. I believe it's one of the #2 bottles from either the ammonia or nitrate test. I can't remember. Don't boil them, they can explode. I normally boil the water, remove from stove then place the rocks in the water. Hopefully someone else will chime in as well.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:58 AM   #3
Raymond S.
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I guess that if I had a tank full of expensive fish I would do what you suggested and
put them in a pot that had boiling water in it but allow a minuit before putting it in to cool it just below boiling. Anything over 165F will kill anything on them.
I like the algae on them so I don't boil them but my shrimp eat it off quickly.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chale View Post
You can use river rocks. To test, just put some white vinegar on it and look for bubbles. Bubbles are bad and don't use. You can also use one of the vials to test. I believe it's one of the #2 bottles from either the ammonia or nitrate test. I can't remember.
Yep, also if they change color by going black (and don't bubble) they are also not suitable.

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Originally Posted by chale View Post
Don't boil them, they can explode. I normally boil the water, remove from stove then place the rocks in the water. Hopefully someone else will chime in as well.
I don't think this is true. More likely to explode if the rock is heated first then thrown into cold water.

Read the replies in this thread to see what others think on exploding rocks:
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/v....php?p=1481209
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:29 PM   #5
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I use river rocks all the time and never boil them. Testing with acid is helpful, if you are not sure. I prefer rocks of dark color, dark brown or black. I avoid high iron rocks. Sandstone is good, because moss or fern take a good hold on them easier. I also pick driftwood found in river. It is fun to pick up and choose the best shapes and texture materials made by nature.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:36 PM   #6
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I spray them off and throw them in...
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:46 PM   #7
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I use them. Just scrub them well and soak over night and repeat a few times.
Good luck...
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:39 PM   #8
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I don't see much point in boiling rocks, but it's perfectly safe to do so. I'd just give the rock a thorough scrubbing with a brush, and let it dry out at some point.

Baking some kinds of rocks when wet may cause them to explode due to expansion of water when it converts to steam, but this isn't an issue when boiling.

I think this myth is spread by people who heard about the 'don't bake rocks' bit, got confused, and thought it just applied to heat in general.

Anyways, if you have a hardwater tank, you can put pretty much whatever in it. If you are trying to keep a softwater tank, you want to avoid carbonates - rocks with carbonates (limestone, marble, dolostone, etc.) will cause the hardness to rise, and with it the pH.

Also avoid rocks with really bright colors or metallic bits - these are often due to heavy metals (copper, lead, iron, etc.) that could be a problem, but they are also pretty rare.

Try scratching the rock with a knife or nail (basically anything pointy and steel). If it won't scratch, or leaves a small metallic scrape on the rock, it's safe. If you can scratch the rock, it might be safe, but then you'll have to do an acid test (not terribly reliable) or a water soak and test.

Even if they are carbonate, you can still possibly use them in a soft water tank, but you'll have to keep up on the water changes. A lot of the fancy looking rocks people use in the ADA style aquascapes are actually weathered limestone.
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