06-06-2007, 09:32 PM
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Rocks from a creek
I have been wanting to add some larger rocks to my tank for decoration but my wallet has been suffering from my previous aquatic escapades. Instead of buying rocks, I decided to pick up some rocks from a nearby creek. Multiple posts have pointed out to check that the rocks are aquarium safe (they do not contribute to water hardness or contain heavy metals). I am going to test the rocks using vinegar for signs of rock that will increase the pH of my tank and also for shiny flecks to indicate if any metals are present. Aside from that, what other steps should I take in preparing the rocks for my tank? Most of the rocks were taken directly from the creek bed and contain little critters and other slimy matter. It has been said to boil the rocks/bake them although I read some horror stories of rocks exploding in the oven if they are saturated with water (I'm guessing mine are since they are directly from the creek bottom). Instead, I think I'll throw them in a fire outside and let them bake for a while. Other than that, would a thorough scrubbing and soaking them in a bucket of bleach make them safe for my tank? (water hardness/acidity aside) What other steps should I take? Do I need to be concerned about anything else regarding the effects of introducing rocks to my tank?
[My tank is still new, ~1 week old. It is a 29 gallon tank that I received secondhand (airpump and power filter are brand new). I have a basic gravel substrate, a piece of bogwood, 4 live plants, and a few goldfish still living (recent outbreak of ich has knocked off a few). The tank hasn't cycled yet (I don't think atleast). I plan on introducing tropical fish to the tank once it has cycled; specifically schooling fish such as tiger barbs and tetras.]