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Old 01-08-2005, 06:15 PM   #1
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Cost of decorating a tank

Hi,

I'm new at aquariums. I bought a book to help me out. It specifies that one should buy the decoration stuff (gravel, rocks, wood, articicial plants, etc.) from a pet shop. Their point being that anything coming from a non-specialized place could deteriorate the water, leaching bad chemicals.

I don't know for you, but to me it's seems silly to buy a normal looking sandstone that will disolve slowly in the water from a pet store for 40$ while I have a bunch of nice rocks at home for free! Can't I just wash it really well, rinse it really well and maybe even bake it a while in the oven to make sure I kill any bacteria?

How about gravel? I think I'd like to get something that looks natural (the colored gravel is out of the question to me... anyways won't the color dissolve and deteriorate the water?). Could I buy something at Home Depot or similar store?

Maybe wood is a different matter... do you think the pieces sold in a pet shop for 25$ have something special done to them?

I'd just rather spend more money on good and nice fishes and on good filters and equipments.

Thanks for your opinion

Vero
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:26 PM   #2
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I tell ya, I went to a local constrution site and picked up peices of scrap flat stone that was used for creating edging around a garden area and layered them around my tank. I only have a 10 gal tank but I don't think they look so bad.

I rinsed them off with very hot water and used a scrub brush on them, but that was it. I think the fish love to hide under them. I have built some bridges and stacked them vertically up the back of the tank for a more natural background.

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Old 01-08-2005, 06:34 PM   #3
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AS far as rocks go you could possibly use some found locally. First you would want to make sure they wont alter water chemistry. I believe you could put a little vinegar on the rock and if it fizzles or bubbles you would'nt want to use it. If you can use it just boil the rocks(if practical).
For wood its probably better to buy at the store. Driftwood wont rot and decay like most wood found locally like softwood(pine,firs,etc).
you could get sand at home depot and use that and I believe they might even sell pea gravel. Just rinse it well before using.
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:42 PM   #4
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I have a few black basalt stones (aka Mexican River Rocks) in with my gravel that I got from a stone quarry source, but the gravel I bought online for about 1/2 the price my local fish stores charge. If you want to use "found" rocks, you may want to visit a stoneyard - something from your own yard may have been coated in lawn fertilizer or bug killer, weed killer, whatever...

If there are real pieces of wood at the LFS, it has likely been coated (I think in polyurythane?) to prevent leaching. If you use any wood, you will need to do at least three coats as well. I'm just not positive what coating is used so check on that.

Also remember if you build caves and structures with stone, you may want to adhere them using an aquarium-safe silicone so there's no chance of collapse and damaging the tank or hurting any fish.

You can buy playsand at Home Depot, but I know you have to go through a treatment for it. Since I use gravel I can't give you any info on that.

If you want to see natural gravels, I found plenty of choices at this website:

http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...tegory_id=1675

In fact, the second one down was 22 lbs of natural gravel for $5.

HTH and welcome to AA!
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Old 01-08-2005, 07:17 PM   #5
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Lowes Hardware (or Home Depot) will have 50 pound bags of rocks for about $3.50 and I think you can find them in different colors. The only thing you need to worry about is any porus (sp??) type of rock that can raise your pH (but is good if you want african cichlids) or anything with metal in them. Also, I wouldn't recommend any gravel over half an inch to an inch because it will make it hard to clean your tank.

You can also always go hiking and if you find some neat rocks, pick them up and take them home. I've heard you can test a rock to see if it will change the pH by pouring some vinegar on it. If it fizzes, it'll raise the pH.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:14 PM   #6
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I disagree about the driftwood, you should not coat it with anything. I would suggest buying a nice piece from your LFS, but there are also several threads on the board about finding your own. Try a search.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:17 PM   #7
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I defer to the more experienced, I just restated what I had read...
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:55 PM   #8
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Try this article
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=34
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:27 PM   #9
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You can find your own rocks. Stay away from soft crumbly stuff . You can test for lime with vinegar, or better, pool acid. Limestone rock will harden your water. Drs. Foster & Smith and Florida Driftwood have nice wood at a fair price. A lot of the wood you find at pet stores is coated and intended for reptile use.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:49 PM   #10
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To clarify pool acid = muractic acid = concentrated HCl.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:14 PM   #11
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Thats affirmative on the acid
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