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Old 01-15-2011, 04:00 PM   #1
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Use Rocks from Backyard in Tank

I would like to use a few rocks I found in my backyard in a 20 gallon cichlid tank. I have read several posts and websites saying some rocks are not considered safe for fish. I have not been able to tell if the rocks I have are safe. Would anyone be able to tell based on a picture I have taken? Any advise or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:03 PM   #2
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First off, welcome to AA.

To answer your question, several people may be able to help if you post up some pictures. Additionally, you may take one of the rocks, place it in a pan of boiling water and see what happens. If an oil film forms or the water has higher levels of Phosphate or ammonia or nitrates than when you started, it is probably not safe to use. HTH
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:11 PM   #3
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Wy Renegade,

Thanks - this really seems like a great site.

Thank you for the suggestion and I will post those pictures.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Pictures of Rocks from my Backyard

These are my rocks from my backyard. I was not sure if they were safe for my cichlid tank. Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #5
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They look like they could be safe.

You can try pouring vinegar on them to see if they fizz or not, that will also help test rocks for pH issues. Be careful boiling them or putting them in the oven (yeah, some folks do that), if they have gases built up in them they can possibly explode if those gases get concentrated heat.

I use landscaping rocks in our tanks. I scrub them in the sink, then throw them in the dishwasher, minus soap, and after all that, let them sit in buckets of water until I'm ready to use them.
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:40 PM   #6
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rocks containing limestone are unsafe because they will change the PH of the water. To test if they have limestone, drop some vinegar on them like said above the vinegar spot will slightly bubble. hope this helps, its kind of late im sure you already have those rocks in your tank by now!
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:25 AM   #7
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You can also drop sulfuric acid on them for the bubble test. Some say vinegar is not strong enought to detect organics and loose minerals.

I just use vinegar like the others suggested.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:58 AM   #8
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He did say he had cichlids... They like hard water, and limestone rocks are perfect.

This only applies to Africans, though, not S. American cichlids... Texas Cichlids are okay, though.

Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with your rocks at a glance. I would soak them in a 20% bleach solution in a bucket, rinse them well, soak them in clear water with a double dose of Amquel or Prime for a few minutes and they will be good to go.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:18 AM   #9
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I did the same thing with some rocks I found. The way I prepped them was running them under hot water, do boil if you can though. I took a very rough brush to scrub the impurity's like soil and other junk off.
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