Where do you look for stones? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Where do you look for stones?

Where in NJ is best to look for stones? Mountains? Beach? Do people find stones/rocks and then pick it up?


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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 01:39 AM
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I have never yet found stones in NJ that can match what ADA sells. In my African cichlid tanks I use stones I dug up in my back yard or collected from rock piles nearby. These are gneiss or granite. I have even asked permission of homeowners to take one rock from their rock walls. Sometimes it works.

This is a 65 gallon tank as I was placing rocks in for Tanganyikan cichlids back in 2009. This is a top view. Tank is still running. All of these rocks came from my backyard. I am in the Highlands region of NJ. The second photo is a front view taken a few weeks later.

There are some outcrops of pretty nice looking rocks in the Ramapo Mountains, but I've only seen the loose rocks, not where they are actually in an outcrop. One of these days I'll stumble over it.
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Last edited by jerrytheplater; 11-07-2017 at 01:51 AM. Reason: More info
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 01:54 AM
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I collect river rocks along the Columbia River around Vantage (there's also one of the few ginko petrified sites in the world here). There's also wonderful Coumbia River basalt/shale. If you want some I can get you some for very little money.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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I'm wondering if these rocks, etc changes pH?


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 04:35 AM
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I'm wondering if these rocks, etc changes pH?
Depends on the type of rock. Pyrite is actually used to make sulfuric acid so definitely don't put that in an aquarium. Most other minerals are fairly innocuous but it doesn't hurt to throw it in a bucket and monitor the water for a bit. Local streams are actually pretty good, I have a stream near me that has quartz embedded in some granite as well as occasional rocks that have fossil prints.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Depends on the type of rock. Pyrite is actually used to make sulfuric acid so definitely don't put that in an aquarium. Most other minerals are fairly innocuous but it doesn't hurt to throw it in a bucket and monitor the water for a bit. Local streams are actually pretty good, I have a stream near me that has quartz embedded in some granite as well as occasional rocks that have fossil prints.
To the river it is!


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 05:35 AM
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Landscaping stores are another good place to look for rocks.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 05:40 AM
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To the river it is!
Just be careful with major rivers near urbanized areas. There are a ton of contaminates usually in those waters. If you head further upstream to smaller wade-able streams you'll find good stuff.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Just be careful with major rivers near urbanized areas. There are a ton of contaminates usually in those waters. If you head further upstream to smaller wade-able streams you'll find good stuff.
Hiking trails, I'm sure.


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 02:22 AM
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Most rocks in the highlands rivers: Ramapo, Pequannock, Wanaque will be totally rounded and will all be fish safe. Also, those rivers are clean. The Pequannock comes out of the Newark Watershed and is a natural Trout stream. The Wanaque along East Shore Road out of Greenwood lake is another active Trout fishing area. Very rugged swiftly flowing there.

You need to get onto the hiking trails if you don't want rounded rocks. Go to https://www.nynjtc.org/ to see some maps. Dick's Sporting Goods, Campmor will sell their maps. Or you can buy maps directly from them. Remember that it may not be legal to collect from all places. Check it out first.

Even if it has iron in it. Iron will not be a problem. I tested my tank water via a commercial lab when it contained rocks with visible iron staining. Could not detect any iron. But the tank was a Tanganyikan cichlid tank and the pH was about 8.3.

These are the best rocks I've found in the Ramapo Mountains. Look in the area trails north east of Skyline Dr in Oakland off of I-287. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyline_Drive_(New_Jersey) In the photo, you can see an old 35 mm aluminum film container for size reference.

The second photo is of some freshly blasted (within 2 years) iron containing rocks collected at the Walmart in Riverdale, NJ
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Last edited by jerrytheplater; 11-08-2017 at 02:42 AM. Reason: Correct the direction
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 02:36 AM
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Raith, none of the rocks in the Highlands will change your tank water pH. There are limestone deposits further out in Warren/Sussex County. These will change your pH.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Jerry, my hero.


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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@jerrytheplater, what about Mt. Tammany, what about THOSE rocks? I suppose if it is not in the river, it isn't safe for the fishtank?


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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 01:12 PM
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Just some additions to Jerry's excellent suggestions :
The Palisades , pretty much everything's good . There's a strata of very compacted sandstone at the base of the Alpine approach road to the Alpine boat basin , right by the traffic circle . Usually there's pieces that have cleaved off the cliff right by the road ( if the Park guys haven't picked them up) .Won't break down under water.
Harriman Park in Sloatsburg N.Y. and Ramapo Reservation off 202 in Mahwah will get you pretty much the same stuff as off Skyline , but there's several bars of rounded stones in the Ramapo River .
Rt. 513 in Rockaway has some interesting metamorphic rock outcroppings , light colored quartz like stuff mixed into some reddish stuff . Same stuff pops up in West Milford along Warwick Turnpike .
There's an accessible shale outcropping that may or may not be good along Rt.57 heading south from Mansfield toward Washington .
More information than you need to know HERE :
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/njgs/envi...wn/psnjmap.pdf

Just a quick reminder to remember to use some bug spray if you're in the Ramapos , the area's loaded with deer ticks .
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 03:59 PM
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i got my rocks from a parking lot
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