ocean beach rocks -- safe? part II - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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ocean beach rocks -- safe? part II

Remember and the beach rocks? Back for round two. I collected some more smaller one from the same Maine beach. Here's the link to the old thread with the pictures of the bigger rocks I'm using up close. The pics are on page 2:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ht=beach+rocks

And then here is a picture of all the rocks I am hoping to use:



So I don't have any HCl on hand to test them but I did stick the big ones from the first thread into a bucket of tap water. At the same time I also filled up another empty bucket with tap water. Now my water can be funky. It tends to have the KH and pH raise without anything in it. I'm on a well. I'm going to be using RO water in this tank.

Here are the test results:

No Rocks Rocks1/9:
pH - 6.0 pH - 6.0
GH - 6 or 107.4 GH - 6 or 107.4
KH - 1 or 17.9 KH - 2 or 35.8*

1/23:
pH - 7.2 pH - 7.4
GH - 6 or 107.4 GH - 6 or 107.4
KH - 2 or 35.8 KH - 3 or 53.7

1/29:
pH - 7.4 pH - 7.6
GH - 7 or 125.3 GH - 5 or 89.5**
KH - 2 or 35.8 KH - 4 or 71.6

* not sure why the KH would rise the moment I put it in the bucket? Maybe I didn't scrub them well enough and they had come into some contact with calcium carbonate??

** I swear I counted the drops correctly and didn't have the tubes mixed up. Why did the GH go down?

I should have probably done it in lidded buckets to slow down evaporation but I'm not sure if I still have lids for these buckets. I could have found something to work if I had tried. I'm a terrible scientist.

But anyway, it does seem the KH is being increased. Do you think it is a significant amount? If I am using RO water will it be ok if I just make sure I keep it in check and maybe I could adjust the Seachem Equilibrium? I should get a TDS meter I suppose.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:32 PM
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My advise may seem to be a total brushoff but bear with me, please. I recommend using these rocks as they all look safe to me. Unless you have a really special need for special water, I find letting the plants and fish adapt is much easier than fighting nature. If you are experienced and finding a special plant or fish that you can't keep and really want to, there may be need to worry the issue but for most of us, that is not true. We often worry and deferr when just trying it would work better. I think a bit of added GH/Kh might be just what you need and that it the most likely change, if any, you will get from rocks. Keep in mind that those rocks have been out in the weather a whole lot longer than they will be in your tank. If they have been on the beach at least a couple hundred years, will they degrade and go to mush in a few years in your tank? I find too much worry about rocks is not needed.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply Plantedrich. I am glad to hear you say not to worry about it too much. And I should have mentioned this tank is for a betta. Just your common veil tail, pet store betta, not even a fancy one. So I'm sure as long as the water isn't like liquid rock he'll be ok. He lived in a cup of water for however long he was at the store before I got him after all.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 09:11 PM
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Honestly, I wouldn't even bother with the acid/bucket testing if it were me. Pretty much all of those rocks look like something known to be stable/inert/safe. All igneous or metamorphic silicates. I'm pretty sure the mostly whitish with dark specks are granite, not certain about the others, but I highly doubt you have any carbonates in there. There may be some traces on the rocks/in their pores, but that would have a minimal initial effect on water chemistry.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 12:12 AM
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You touch on one of the points that I find fault with when the acid test is mentioned. If a rock is totally inert and has been rolled around in a store bin with the limestone or coral chunks, what will the test show? At least folks should be told to wash the rock before any testing.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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What do you guys think is the best way to clean them? I know people suggest boiling but also a lot of people say it could be dangerous. I've read bother arguments for whether or not the exploding thing is a myth. And then also there is the guy who had live rock and boiled it which released toxic fumes into his house (see first thread).

There is bleaching it but what is the concern about getting rid of all the bleach? Most of these rocks are smooth but some do have little crevices. But should they be fine if given a bath in water with prime (or other de-chlorinator) afterward?

Or should I use something like H2O2 or alcohol? I don't know how effective that really is for making sure everything is absolutely dead.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 03:02 AM
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I've boiled rocks I collected at the beach with no problems. Provided they were slate type rock but nothing exploded. Thats not say I didn't take precautions and I boiled them outside in a lobster pot on top of a mini portable camping stove I use for my boat. Regardless nothing exploded and boiled over 200 lbs of the stuff in about 5 batches fora good 30 minutes each (probably over kill).
Those rocks look pretty safe to me though and you should have no problems using them. Especially since they're so smooth with few pores to contain critters and unwanted debris.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 03:07 AM
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Bleach is my goto for easy, convenient cleaning.
Let's look at the worries you hear. One is that it is chlorine. So most of us have chlorine or worse, chloramine in our water and we deal with it easy enough. Some say it soaks in and won't wash out. They need to think about chlorine and what it is. It is a gas that they have to tie to sodium to make it last longer in the jugs. The jug says Sodium hypochlorite on the side. So you got what lots of us call salt and chlorine in water. So the water is no problem, the chlorine is a gas and blows away so what can be left in this mystery substance that soaks in but won't wash out? A tiny bit of salt?
If a guy tells you chlorine does not gas off and blow away, ask him how he smells it so strong around a pool or spa. Is he snorting the liquid up his nose or is it gassing off so he can smell it? Bet your white handkerchief is washed in chlorine bleach and you don't find any in it !
Many of us do collect wood and rocks and do a bleach soak without any harm.
Just use the cheap stuff with no colors added and let it dry till you don't smell bleach.

Note: don't get it on your clothes! It does eat organics like cloth.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 03:32 AM
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[QUOTE=PlantedRich;5195121]Bleach is my goto for easy, convenient cleaning.

If a guy tells you chlorine does not gas off and blow away, ask him how he smells it so strong around a pool or spa.

+1

ive been a pool guy for years. chlorine is a gas bound in a solid or liquid form to provide longevity, period. using a good dechlorinator or even just letting it off gas for a few days works perfectly well.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much everyone!
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 05:20 PM
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Ask a pool guy why he has to keep adding more chlorine to the pool. He may tell you it is because it's hard to keep the stuff from gassing off!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 09:32 PM
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I doubt there is much to worry about organism-wise. You're taking rocks from a temperate/cold ocean environment, and putting them in a tropical freshwater environment.

I'd probably scrub them with a brush, but just letting them dry out would probably kill anything. Sitting in the sun a bit (er, if you can find any...) might help. Boiling is perfectly safe, it's a myth about them exploding. My best guess is that people took the warning about baking rocks (slight risk of certain types exploding when interstitial water converts to steam), and extended it to any form of heating.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 10:19 PM
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I agree with the thoughts on little danger from heating rocks. I think that one comes from the old Boy Scout campfire trick of heating a flint rock in the fire and then dropping water on it. But then it makes and an entertaining story to pass along like it happens all the time.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the input.

I decided to just boil them as that seemed a lot easier. Everyone survived ok.

The only concern I have is that after you handle them they leave a very slight feel of dustyness on your fingers. Not sure how to describe that. I guess that's just the nature of rocks? Hopefully not something that will be a problem with the water. But then like you said plantedrich, I'm not trying to grow anything difficult. This is for a riparium so it might have just a few easy, low-light aquatic plants but the rest are riparium plants and then just the betta.
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