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Old 03-29-2012, 03:53 PM   #1
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Rockwork Advice for Noob

OK I'm going to ask a series of dumb questions. Bear with me, please.

I have a 55 gallon with a handful of Mbuna, but no rockwork. Oh I have ceramic (etc) decor that provides a few hiding places (artificial logs, caves, etc), and a good amount of artificial plants, but I feel like I should start adding/replacing with some rockwork. However, I'm paranoid about breaking the glass tank either by bumping the glass walls or by overloading it with weight.

My stand is completely open underneath the tank (maybe all stands are like this). Is there any need for concern about the weight blowing out the bottom of the tank?

I'm rather anal about water changes (Hi, Jess). I do 50% weekly, completely rearranging and aggressively vacuuming every inch of gravel every time. How do you folks with heavy stones go about cleaning? I about have a heart attack every time a piece of decor just bumps the glass wall. I'd have to be sedated before I could move heavy stones around to vacuum underneath.

I'm also debating on whether I should use round-type stone like river rock, or use slate, etc instead? Do necessarily need to buy new stone, or can I just go shopping in my yard? I have tons and tons of rock that one purchases buy the bag or truckload for landscaping islands. I also have a few big flagstones that I could potentially break up into manageable sizes.

I appreciate any advice!
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:16 PM   #2
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Well,

I have a tank with Mbuna, (Labs) and all of my Rock work is from my backyard. I use River Stone , Fieldstone and my neighbor gave me some rough cut granite I've used

I am sensitive about the weight. If you are looking for a way to "sanitize" your rocks. First I take the rock pour Straight White vinegar, no bubbles it is ok from my opinion. Then I soak them in 10% White vinegar and water for 12 hours...(Rinse) Then I boil them for a hour. Then soak in Tank water. Between processes I scrub with a Toothbrush...to brighten it up and remove any dirt and algae.

I have had no issues after this process. I use a dremel to sand smooth any rough edges and use either Silicone or Non toxic glue to secure them it needed.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:54 PM   #3
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I found a whole stash of forgotten flagstones behind my shed. Are flagstones safe to use?
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:30 PM   #4
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I use the round river stones. Make piles and the fish will dig out around them and create thier own tunnels. (if you have sand). Fake plants are good if you dont have the lights to sustain the few real ones that mbuna wont eat. I got mine from a landscape supply place. All i did was wash them in hot water and scrub them with a hard bristle brush. Soak them in aquarium water for a few hours. Testing them with vinagar is a good idea. If you get fizz just set that stone aside. I never had any reaction from any of my stones. A nice layer of thin brown/black algae will grow in time and make everything look very natural. I also added some red spider wood for decor. Good luck!
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labenator65000 View Post
I found a whole stash of forgotten flagstones behind my shed. Are flagstones safe to use?

Use the vinegar test....no white bubbles you should be ok

if no white bubbles and you want to be sure...Boil them, but I forgot to state in the last post open your windows and run a exhaust fan it chances are it will smell....I plan to use my gas grill next time.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:52 PM   #6
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I like to scrub them under some hot water (after a quick rinse under the hose). Then I soak them in bleach for 24 hours followed by soaking for another 24 in plain water. Air dried to make sure the smell of bleach is gone. For a quick assurance I boil them for 40 mins, scrub, boil again and they are ready to go. I'll soak in water for a few hours to make sure of no crazy changes.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:53 PM   #7
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I've found it easier to work with rounder style rocks as the flat ones make it tough to build up for a more vertical design.

If weight concerns you put some eggcrate under your substrate. It's cheap and really distributes the weight
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labenator65000
OK I'm going to ask a series of dumb questions. Bear with me, please.

I have a 55 gallon with a handful of Mbuna, but no rockwork. Oh I have ceramic (etc) decor that provides a few hiding places (artificial logs, caves, etc), and a good amount of artificial plants, but I feel like I should start adding/replacing with some rockwork. However, I'm paranoid about breaking the glass tank either by bumping the glass walls or by overloading it with weight.

My stand is completely open underneath the tank (maybe all stands are like this). Is there any need for concern about the weight blowing out the bottom of the tank?

I'm rather anal about water changes (Hi, Jess). I do 50% weekly, completely rearranging and aggressively vacuuming every inch of gravel every time. How do you folks with heavy stones go about cleaning? I about have a heart attack every time a piece of decor just bumps the glass wall. I'd have to be sedated before I could move heavy stones around to vacuum underneath.

I'm also debating on whether I should use round-type stone like river rock, or use slate, etc instead? Do necessarily need to buy new stone, or can I just go shopping in my yard? I have tons and tons of rock that one purchases buy the bag or truckload for landscaping islands. I also have a few big flagstones that I could potentially break up into manageable sizes.

I appreciate any advice!
I just saw this lol!
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tips!
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:09 PM   #10
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Sorry for the reply to an old thread. This may seem like a question that has an obvious answer. How do you clean the waste out of your rockwork? Just do it the best you can?
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