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I'm new to aquariums and I've just built an 85 liter. I'm wanting to put natural stuff on the floor and was wondering if it's ok to use wood and stones of different sizes. If I can, what do I do to prep them so as not to contaminate the water?
Congrats on new tank! There are woods and stones that are safe for aquariums and some that are not. driftwood, malaysian driftwoood, mopani driftwood and bogwood are all used in aquariums. They can be soaked in water for up to a month or more to release tannins that are present so as not to color your water even though these tannins are not harmful to fish. Others boil the wood before using for the same reason. Use of driftwood can also help to slightly lower the PH in water and is much safer than chemicals used for same. Rocks are also used in aquariums. Some are safe and some are not. rock such as slate, quartz, flagstone, and some smooth river rocks are all popular. I would not recommend pourus rock for it can release harmful minerals into your tank and also can trap fish waste and food particles that can cause water quality issues for your fish. Some rock such as coral can raise the PH of your water which may or may not be what you want. One way to test rock is to pour a cup or small amount of vinegar over the rock. If it begins to bubble ,it is probably best not to use it. You can also perform google search on different woods and rocks safe for use in aquariums. Hope some of this helps!
The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
Here are two articles I've found to be really helpful. By the way, completely ignore the guy's indication that you can "boil rocks if you want to." Boiling rocks can lead to an explosion and horrible, messy death.
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