Really cleaning stone - mutric acid? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Really cleaning stone - mutric acid?

I have some really nice Ryuoh stone. For those that have these stones they range from nice black color to a sort of dirty gray color.
I am wondering if I soaked my stone in a bath of muriatic acid would this "clean" the outside of the stone to the point of turning it black?

any thoughts on this? From all of the reading/research it seems this is a pretty standard way to clean stones. Wondering if it would ruin my stone and if i clean the acid off really well (washing with water and perhaps even adding a buffer like baking powder) would this have much of an affect on my tank?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 03:20 PM
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mutric acid???? I presume you mean muriatic acid?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Correct, muriatic acid.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 04:12 PM
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Instead of baking powder, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). I would take a small piece of stone and put a single drop of muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) and see what happens. If your stone is not affected by acids then you are safe to dip the rock. I do not know the rock type you are working with so I cannot comment on what will happen but its pretty easy to test the reactivity yourself.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks... It is Ryuoh Stone -

So if it does not bubble, than it should be safe to bathe the stone it?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 04:46 PM
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I found reference to someone performing an acid bath here, pictures are included. I'd still do the test first, then proceed with a single stone before doing them all.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! Thanks Darkcobra! That is exactly what I was looking for. I will try this and post pics and results. His stones look exactly what I want my stone to look like...

Sick!! I will test on a small piece and if it works... I'll go for the whole bunch. I live in a city so I will have to do this over a weekend at my parents house in the suburbs...
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 05:50 PM
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before and after pics would be awesome...
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 06:44 PM
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+1 to pics, as well as a description of what you did. You never know when the next person will be helped by your experience.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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100000% - I will document this. I have just signed up for an account at SCAPE and contacted the OP from the link you sent me Darkcobra. I am hoping he can provide some more info than what was in his thread.

I believe that my first attempt at bathing the stones will be this weekend.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 09:01 PM
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Hey guys,

Its nice to see such high interest in the Muriatic Acid bath I used for my Ryuoh Stones.

I am by no means a rock/gem experts just a hobbyist and will be happy to provide any feedback on the acid bath for my ryouh stones.

Chaintrades, I will try to answer your questions from your pm.

1. Did you use something like baking powder after washing the stones to counter act the acid? Or did you just simply wash them off with water afterward?

I did not use any chemical to nuetralize the stones. After the acid bath I rinsed them in water and used a toothbrush to brush any stubborn areas. Then I soaked them in water (completely submerged) for 24 hours. You can do a second 24 hour soak if your anal, I did just as a precaution.

2. Did you wear gloves when handling the stone? Would rubber gloves even protect me?

Yes. I used my wife's long cuff PVC coated cleaning cloves, they are a thicker rubber than the standard latex gloves. They are used when working with bleach and other chemicals. The rubber gloves did protect me. No skin burns, ha!

3. How long did you leave the stone in after the initial 2 hours?

I left the stone for the rest of the night at least 12 hrs or more. However, once the bubbling stops the acid basically becomes "inert" or not as strong, and it loses its acidic properties.

4. Have there been any negative effect on the tank water parameters?

No negative effects whatsover, I kept espeis and flagfish in my tank as well as shrimp.

5. In your posting you mention you bought the acid at Home Depot but I am confused with the amounts you used? Can you provide a little more detail please?

Sure, the muriatic acid box comes with two 1 gallon containers, I believe I used both 1 gallon containers. I would say the amount you use depends on how dirty your stones are. If after you bathed them in acid they still appear dirty, give them a second acid wash, or third, or fourth, basically however clean you would like them to be. I felt mine needed a second acid wash to get rid of the hard stuff. I also used a tooth brush when I rinsed them to brush off the hard spots but the acid really cleaned them up. Then I soaked them in water.

6. Sorry for all of these questions! We are having a discussion on plantedtank.net and everyone is asking me to really document this process. We can call it the "Retzius Acid Bath" or RAB for short!

No problem, always glad to help and give back to the community.

I do advise that if you do the acid bath, to do so in a well ventilated area (outside) and wear eye/hand protection. You are working with a strong acid and it does release fumes when it cleans/reacts with the rock.

I hope this helps and good luck with the acid baths! Feel free to ask any other questions.

-Saul
aka Retzius
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 10:40 PM
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Just to add some comments:

Nitrile gloves will provide adequate protection against the acid (moreso than latex). Of course, this does not mean I would suggest you dipping your gloved hand into the acid!

Once the bubbling of the acid stops, it does not necessarily mean that all the acid has been neutralized. It is very possible that the acid is still very strong, and that there is simply nothing left to react with the acid.

Finally, in Retzius' original thread, he mentioned he added the hydrochloric acid to a container first, and then the water. It is always acid to water. For hydrochloric acid, it is not as bad, but with acids such as sulfuric acid, adding the water to acid can cause local boiling, causing hot (!!) acid to spray everywhere.

Some interesting rhymes I found:
Always do things as you oughta, add the acid to the water.

and

If you think your life's too placid, add the water to the acid.

Anthony


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 11:11 PM
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Thanks Darkblade48

Safety first
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 11:32 PM
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It might be worth the time and effort to invest ($1.50 locally) in a session at the local self serve car wash before acid soaking.
post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be safe, thanks for rooting for me!

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