Soaking 4 lbs of rock and DW in pond bad idea? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Soaking 4 lbs of rock and DW in pond bad idea?

I have 4 lbs of river rock and two pieces of driftwood I need to rinse and place into my tank. I know I have to do a pretty thorough soak of the DW before it goes into my tank but once that is done do you think it's a good idea to place the DW along with the river rock in my outdoor pond for a few days to let some bacteria build up on them? Or is this a bad idea?

I did test the pond water and everything seemed normal, little to no ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. pH level at 7.6. Don't know if this is necessary or helps.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 11:42 PM
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I don't see why that would be a problem.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rcs0926 View Post
I don't see why that would be a problem.
Just didn't know if there would be any unwanted bacteria that grow outdoors attaching themselves to the rock and DW and then eventually ending up in my tank. I know using the pond's water is not a good idea but letting some bacteria build up on them for a few days can help with the cycling process.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 07:04 PM
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I wouldn't worry.

Just hose it off before going into a new aquarium.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jester946 View Post
I wouldn't worry.

Just hose it off before going into a new aquarium.
Thanks!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 10:57 PM
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I don't think there would be much problem with it, but I also don't see there being much benefit either (aside from maybe keeping the wood waterlogged).

You are only going to get (beneficial) bacterial growth appropriate to the level of ammonia/nitrites in the pond, so unless it has a really heavy bio load or something, I don't think you would really get much that would help your tank cycle.

But, I don't really think there is much harm in it. *shrugs*
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 01:43 PM
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The same stuff that is in the pond is probably already in the tank.
The sources of a lot of the microorganisms are similar:
Spores drifting around in the air, or settling on something that ends up in the aquarium or pond.
Purchased things that bring something with them. Fish or plants and the water that surrounds them, other things.
Cross contamination from aquarium to pond and back again.

I do that. I toss some wood into the pond to soak and water log before adding it to the tank. When the wood hits the bottom of the pond I know it is ready. Bacterial growth is not important, especially if the wood is only going to be there for a couple of days.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 05:43 PM
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I would only watch out for any hitchhikers like bug larva if you have any shrimp or small fish. Most other things will be eaten by decent sized fish.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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So I just decided to soak the wood for a few weeks and rinse and soak the rocks for a few days. The wood is in boiling hot water in a 5 gallon bucket in my garage... does this bucket need to be covered? Same with the bucket I am soaking the rocks in? I heard conflicting things about this from two of my buddies so I thought I'd ask the true experts haha

I am thinking about letting all the tannins leech out and then placing the DW into the pond for a day or so... it may be redundant and I may not even do that, we will see.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 09:58 PM
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Rocks- the only reason to soak them is if you are testing them to see if they add minerals to the water. Otherwise I just scrub them quickly with a plastic brush and add them to the tank.
Water test: Test GH, KH, pH, TDS before you start. Add rocks. Stir the water a few times. Test in 24-48 hours. GH, KH, pH, TDS. If any of these change in the bucket, then these rocks will be doing the same changes in the aquarium. Up to you if you want to use them.

Wood- hot water will soak in faster. If the water gets dark fast then the wood has lots of tannins. So do lots of water changes, several per day if you can. At least once a day, anyway. As the coloring gets less, the wood ought to be sinking. Use it when you are ready. If you have soaked almost all the tannins out then perhaps a little activated carbon or Purigen in the aquarium filter will remove the rest.

As for covering these buckets: If you are changing the water often enough then mosquitoes cannot grow in it. So do not bother. If they are in a very dusty area, then cover them.

If you want to grow nitrifying bacteria on the wood then follow the instructions for the fishless cycle and hope. The low pH may slow or stop the bacteria growth. I would stick an air bubbler in the bucket to keep the water oxygenated for the bacteria.

Here is the fishless cycle:
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Rocks- the only reason to soak them is if you are testing them to see if they add minerals to the water. Otherwise I just scrub them quickly with a plastic brush and add them to the tank.
Water test: Test GH, KH, pH, TDS before you start. Add rocks. Stir the water a few times. Test in 24-48 hours. GH, KH, pH, TDS. If any of these change in the bucket, then these rocks will be doing the same changes in the aquarium. Up to you if you want to use them.

Wood- hot water will soak in faster. If the water gets dark fast then the wood has lots of tannins. So do lots of water changes, several per day if you can. At least once a day, anyway. As the coloring gets less, the wood ought to be sinking. Use it when you are ready. If you have soaked almost all the tannins out then perhaps a little activated carbon or Purigen in the aquarium filter will remove the rest.

As for covering these buckets: If you are changing the water often enough then mosquitoes cannot grow in it. So do not bother. If they are in a very dusty area, then cover them.

If you want to grow nitrifying bacteria on the wood then follow the instructions for the fishless cycle and hope. The low pH may slow or stop the bacteria growth. I would stick an air bubbler in the bucket to keep the water oxygenated for the bacteria.

Here is the fishless cycle:
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
Holy hell, what a ton of info! Thanks a ton! I will probably use my bio balls and do the fishless cycle in a bucket.

I began soaking my driftwood today around 1 pm. When I placed the DW into the bucket it sank right away and the water did not turn brown fast at all. After 8 hours it reached only a very hint of tea color. I am attaching pics to show you but I know the sinking and the little to no discoloration is a good sign.

If I were to do a fish cycle what species of fish is best used to do this in a planted tank?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2uylmzlgjn...820_220822.jpg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/606qe5ve0d...820_220851.jpg

EDIT: Changed water for a second time this afternoon. Water was almost as clear as a regular glass of water out of faucet. Photos below... if you can't tell the one on the left is the water out of the DW bucket 12 hours after being last changed.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uepjxn8zgb...821_122140.jpg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2uwe9sx2oq...821_122541.jpg

Last edited by cwburns32; 08-21-2013 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Add photos and more info
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