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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Do any of you guys use lava rock in your aquarium? If so, where did you find it and how did you utilize it in your aqua-scape? I am looking for a decent amount to silicone together to make some hiding spots for some of my fish but more importantly to cover the one overflow box that is not being used. I also would like to tie some moss on some of the rocks to give it a grassy mountain top look.
 

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Your local landscape / rockery yard. About $0.30 / lb.
 

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i have some in my tank... got them from Menards, 5 or 6lb for $5 ) also saw them in Walmart at "garden" or "grill" section
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you everyone, for the responses. I'll make some calls to my local landscaping stores today and see if they have any. I did notice my outside landscaping does have some lava rocks but covered in moss. Any possibility I can clean them up and boil them to use?
 

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Thank you everyone, for the responses. I'll make some calls to my local landscaping stores today and see if they have any. I did notice my outside landscaping does have some lava rocks but covered in moss. Any possibility I can clean them up and boil them to use?
For the price of clean lava rock, I would just do that. Cleaning rock can be rough, and boiling can be dangerous. If any have pockets of air in them, you could have shrapnel flying everywhere ;)
 

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I think using lava rock in some fashion the hardscape is a niffty idea, not unlike live rock used in SW. Then again, also using small pieces in a filter as bio-media seems every bit as good or better than Seachem's Matrix or DeNitrate which seems to be merely a pumice stone.
 

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Lava rock is actually a pretty poor bio filter media. The folks over at MFK have a thread dedicated to various media types and how well they work.
 

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Link please?
 

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If the king of DIY can counter what's in this thread, I'm all ears.

Beginners Guide to Filter Media | MonsterFishKeepers.com

Lava rock (according to this) has some of the lowest surface area per cubic foot of material. Nylon pot scrubbers are the best, until you start getting into the ceramic, specially crafted stuff. (which gets pricey)

Just watched his video, he's included pot scrubbers, but I think he's making assumptions about the porousness of volcanic rock that aren't correct.
 

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If the king of DIY can counter what's in this thread, I'm all ears.

Beginners Guide to Filter Media | MonsterFishKeepers.com

Lava rock (according to this) has some of the lowest surface area per cubic foot of material. Nylon pot scrubbers are the best, until you start getting into the ceramic, specially crafted stuff. (which gets pricey)

Just watched his video, he's included pot scrubbers, but I think he's making assumptions about the porousness of volcanic rock that aren't correct.
So we'd be better off trusting the anonymous poster on another forum whose occupation is 'Kicking ass and taking names'???
LOL
 

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So we'd be better off trusting the anonymous poster on another forum whose occupation is 'Kicking ass and taking names'???
LOL
Yes, we are. We can get into the specifics at another time. But just because someone runs a successful YouTube channel and has been in the hobby for awhile, doesn't make his observations and opinions any more accurate. YMMV.


Check out pumice. There is a thread on here that shows great promise. It is most likely what I'll use on my next build and $25 worth will filter a thousand gallons or so.
 

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That thread has been around for 4+ years now, and the folks at MFK take their filtration seriously. (as required given many of the fish they keep.)

I'd trust that thread more than most sources.
 

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I use Lava rock In my sump for my 75g it does a great job of Bio filtration. Got it at Lowes or home depot can't remember it was some years back. but it is still in my tank and it is really good for Beneficial bacteria to colonize. Doing the way you want to do it would be like having live rock in your tank..
 

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Lava rock is good for decoration, second rate as a bio media Lava rock has much larger holes than you need for bacteria, they are uneven and not interconnected. You only get flow close to the outside of the rock. Its best attribute by far is the price. It's about the worse choice for effectiveness in a bio media but is often used in ponds because of the large quantities needed. I have a pond filter that had 27 cubic feet of lava rock in it. I changed to Japanese filter mats several years ago. They are an incredible media but somewhat expensive They are slightly heavier than water woven mat that looks a bit like a flattened out pot scrubber.
Lava rock may have worked out great for you, but that doesn't negate the fact that it can only support a fraction of the beneficial bacteria that other inexpensive media like pot scrubbers and pumice can.
 

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Lava Rock is very porous as Long as it is true Lava rock. If you ever look at it under a microscope You will find A lot of Small holes, and a lot of metal and other things, It also depends on where the rock came from as every Volcanic events produce different forms of rock and pumice, True Lava rock will have certain pieces that float I know i got pieces in my sump that will still float if I disturb my sump. Not because it has air or gas trapped but because it is Very light weight and is very porous, to clam that it is not as good as pot scrubbers, is far fetched. if you look at pot scrubbers under a microscope vs Lava rock pot scrubbers do not have the surface volume nearly as much. And the fact that you can have a lot of Lava rocks in a small area vs pot scrubbers in the same area you really don't get as much with the scrubbers. (i'm not saying pot scrubbers aren't effective I have used them and they do a great job.) But the reason why most don't use Lava rocks is the metals that can be in the rock, again it comes down to where the rock came from, Most Lava rock sold at lowes or Home depot, are very porous, But I will say they are not good for Saltwater. to many metals, that can affect corals. But in planted tanks and reg freshwater it Does not matter as it isn't going to harm anything. I'm not trying to Be mean or anything But My grandfather use to raise Oysters off the Nanticoke river for the Chesapeake bay, He was an advocate for the Farm bureau of the county he lived. and For all my childhood I learned how to work in his hatchery and use his microscopes and other instruments. And As a man who would not spend money on anything if he didn't have to He use Lava rocks A lot for his freshwater ponds and even used them as a backup filtration for His blue crab hatchery. He would never use them for oysters as they are very sensitive to metals. It wasn't until I got into this hobby that I learned more about Lava rocks and i did compare the 2 pot Scrubbers vs Lava rock, and Pot scrubbers are made of very thin flat pieces of plastic. the plastic is very smooth compared to Lava rock and under a scope Lava rock as more surface to air ratio vs one pot scrubber. How ever Please do not take my word for this. I Beg You to do your own Research. and not just trust what some people say. AS i wouldn't want you to just take my word. But I got carried away from the Op's original question. I just Don't think it right to believe everything others are saying with out really doing your own research. What i learned in this hobby is Most people will believe something with out any proof and just hear say. Its like when one person jumps off the bridge and says this is the way everyone else jumps to. it isn't until more research is done and full study's that really make whether it is good or bad. Now I am truly Sorry if I have offended anyone. I did not mean to sound like i was arguing. I am just passionate about this hobby So forgive me of sounding argumentative.
 

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Yes, we are. We can get into the specifics at another time. But just because someone runs a successful YouTube channel and has been in the hobby for awhile, doesn't make his observations and opinions any more accurate. YMMV.
Neither is the post of an anonymous hobbyist. I think the scope of Joey's work and his book yield a fair amount of credibility. But I will concede that perhaps lava rock may not offer the best bio-filtration platform, even if it is far more cost effective than some other forms.

Check out pumice. There is a thread on here that shows great promise. It is most likely what I'll use on my next build and $25 worth will filter a thousand gallons or so.
I spent well over a year attempting to culture anaerobic bacteria in a large volume of a Seachem Matrix and DeNitrate (a type of pumice) mix and failed. It may be 'okay' for aerobic bacteria, but frankly I've come to believe you can do just as well with sponge material at a significantly lower cost.
 

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the info is around, but the problem is finding an original source. I have yet to find any comparison of filter media that shows lava rock as having more sq. ft than pot scrubbers. If it's out there, I'm happy to look it over.

Biological Media Options [Archive] - SimplyDiscus

Discus keepers are pretty picky about their filters as well, similar info posted at their forums.

Lava Rock has a surface area of 16 sq. ft. per cubic foot. It's approximate cost is $5 per cu.ft. and it's cost per sq.ft. of surface area per cubic ft. is $0.31.
...
Nylon pot scrubbers have a surface area of 370 sq.ft. per cubic ft. It's approximate cost is $25 per cubic ft., and it's cost per sq.ft. of surface area per cu.ft. is $0.07.
Can't beat them for bang for the buck.
 
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