Treating rocks from the river - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Treating rocks from the river

Yesterday I collected rocks from a river. What should I do to make sure they don't introduce anything bad into the aquarium?

For now I placed them in water with some bleach, I plan to leave them there a few days then rince them carefully. Anything else I should do?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 07:19 PM
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I collect rocks from the ocean and soak them in clorox, scrub them, rinse and set out to dry for a day. Never had any issues doing this.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 08:17 PM
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bleach is good. just make sure to rinse and soak well, so there are not any bleach residuals left. You can also boil the rocks in a pot or pour boiling hot water over it and let it cook. That's what I did.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 08:38 PM
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I boil in huge pot for about 20 min. I think its not advised though cause some rocks with trapped air pockets can explode. No personal experience with that but its what I heard
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 08:50 PM
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After bleaching rocks you can soak them in a solution of Prime and water. 2 tablespoons of prime to a cup of water. This is the same formula for regenerating Purigen after soaking in bleach.

If you pour vinegar on a rock and it fizzles or bubbles you shouldn't use the rock in an aquarium.

I would not boil rocks as some rocks can actually explode. If there is a water or air pocket trapped in the rock when heated it can actually expand and cause the rock to explode. It would be better to boil some water and pour it over the rock in a bucket. There is not enough heat produced to typically cause an explosion.

I have also read that most rocks that explode are usually around campfires where rocks are continually heated to about 600 to 800 degrees. Boiling is only about 212 degrees.

That means that boiling rocks should not be a problem? I don't know which is correct but I prefer to err on the side of safety so I never boil rocks.

I usually soak my rocks in hydrogen peroxide.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 09:05 AM
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When bleaching I generally rinse/Prime until the chlorine smell is gone. Has yet to fail me... fingers crossed...knock-on-wood
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input! I will scrub the rocks, and soak them in prime to make sure the bleach is removed.

I didn't know rocks could explode when boiled! Anyway that would not have been practical as I have lots of rocks.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 03:48 PM
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What I have done to my rocks is 'bake' them at the 350F oven for half an hour.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 08:00 PM
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I always boil mine, never had an issue.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 09:49 PM
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Boiling rocks won't cause them to explode.

This is a bit of a myth stemming from the warning not to bake rocks.

Anyone who has done a decent bit of camping has probably heard a similar bit about being careful what rocks you put near a fire/don't put wet rocks near a fire, etc.

This is because there is a small chance that water trapped in the rocks (either in pockets, or just interstitial pores) can convert to steam without escaping, and cause the rock to explode. And only some rocks are likely to do this - after all, a lot of primitive camping/survival skills involve both baking and boiling rocks to use as heating surfaces, to make a warm bed, to boil water in a container that can't be placed over a fire, etc.

A trapped air pocket won't explode by heating a rock to boiling tempuratures. Neither will trapped water pockets. The rock would have to be heated to well over boiling temps to generate the heat necessary to convert water to steam under enough pressure to rupture the rock. Won't happen at ~373K.

Although I don't think there is any danger to boiling rocks, I don't really see much reason for it either. Just letting the rock dry sufficiently will probably kill anything potentially dangerous on it. Or giving it a salt water soak, a dilute bleach soak, or a hydrogen peroxide soak, and then another freshwater rinse (maybe with some dechlor if you used bleach). Just don't bake it. Pouring boiling water over it could work, but I'd be concerned that the rapid temperature change might cause the rock to crack (I've done this with glass and ceramic kitchenware before).

tl;dr: Boiling is perfectly safe, baking has a small danger of exploding, and I don't think any is really necessary, just give a good soak and scrub.
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