Are Rocks from the Smoky Mountains safe for tank? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-27-2010, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Are Rocks from the Smoky Mountains safe for tank?

Hi, I'm new to the Forum but it looks like a great place to educate myself and make new friends. I'm in the process of setting up a 55 gal freshwater tank primarily for plants but will have a few tropical fish in the tank. I recently went to the Smokies and gathered some grayish slate looking rocks to adorn my tank with and create terraces. Recently I read somewhere that any rocks with rust stains or a metallic look to them should not be used in tanks. The rocks I have could be described as having both metallic and rusty coloring in places but for the most part they look rather like slate. They're grayish-blue and have the occasional silverish lines flowing through it. Any help would really be appreciated! Thanks in advance! Cricket
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-28-2010, 12:28 AM
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There's a couple ways to check rocks. You could get a bucket of water and measure the water's ph, general hardness (gh) and carbonate hardness (kh). Add the rocks and give it a few days soaking and re check those readings. If they are up or down the rocks shouldn't be used. You will want a liquid aquarium water test kit as those strip tests are inaccurate.
Some people pour white vinegar on the rocks. If it fizzles it's not usable. I have read that vinegar isn't really that strong of an acid and it was suggested to use Ph down.
Keep in mind that using ph up/down products is not recommended as it causes ph swing in the tank and is very stressful to fish.

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Last edited by Mean Harri; 03-28-2010 at 12:33 AM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-28-2010, 01:00 AM
Hello and welcome to TFK.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-28-2010, 04:25 AM
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welcome,and +1 for what Harri said.

when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-28-2010, 05:10 AM
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Welcome to TFK!

Depends on the rocks. From what I know the Smokies are mostly metamorphic rocks so are probably ok, but there are probably limestone deposits here and there. Basically, you don't want to use rocks that will raise your pH/hardness like limestone unless you're setting out to do so (say, if you're setting up a Lake Malawi tank or something). The vinegar test can work but you're better off using a stronger acid than that. If you've got a liquid test kit, test bottle #2 for the nitrate test (in most kits anyway) is a strong acid. Drip some of that on your rock and see what happens. Fizz = bad.

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post #6 of 9 Old 03-28-2010, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much everyone for your replies! I'll let you know what I find out! My next questions will be about CO2 use for my plants. Is it as difficult as it seems?
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-28-2010, 03:43 PM
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Welcome! Most rocks you see around the Smokies are tank safe but I'd still test them before adding to be safe there.
CO2 question: Assuming you'll add fish to the tank that's your source of co2 right there; no high tech needed unless YOU have to have high tech Here's my tanks http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...hp?userid=1029 just to give you an idea what planted low lights, no ferts, no co2 can be like if that's what you like.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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I have a new question for my new friends out there in FishLand ... I now seem to have a PH level issue. My water, straight out of the tap, reads 7.2 at testing. Aquarium water tests at 7.8 ... am I correct to assume the increase is perhaps due to the rocks from the Smokies? I did the tests with both the vinegar and the nitrate and didn't get any fizzy effect but I realize that the PH level of 7.8 is quite high for the fish I plan to put in my tank. I'm wanting to put angels, cardinal tetras, some swords, mollies and a few scavengers like pleco and cats in there. I'm thinking that a low PH of about 6.2 would be good for all concerned. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Next question am I safe to leave the rocks and adjust the PH with a Lower PH solution? And, then, everytime I do water changes I will have to add that to adjust the PH before adding new water to the tank right? Oh, forgot to mention that I've used 100 lbs of Flourite as my substrate plus a 20 lb. bag of complimenting pea gravel purchased from Petco. Would that effect PH? Thanks for all your help!! I'm anxious to get it established and get my fish in there but I know it's worth the time to make sure everything's right.
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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PH issuesI have a new question for my new friends out there in FishLand ... I now see

I have a new question for my new friends out there in FishLand ... I now seem to have a PH level issue. My water, straight out of the tap, reads 7.2 at testing. Aquarium water tests at 7.8 ... am I correct to assume the increase is perhaps due to the rocks from the Smokies? I did tests with both the vinegar and the nitrate and didn't get any fizzy effect but I realize that the PH level of 7.8 is quite high for the fish I plan to put in my tank. I'm wanting to put angels, cardinal tetras, some swords, mollies and a few scavengers like pleco and cats in there. I'm thinking that a PH of about 6.2 would be good for all concerned. Please correct me if I'm wrong. With my tap PH being so high I wonder if there's another way to get around this? My dad used to use Baking soda to lower the PH if I remember correctly. Anyone heard of this?

Next question am I safe to leave the rocks and adjust the PH with a Lower PH solution? And, then, everytime I do water changes I will have to add that to adjust the PH before adding new water to the tank right? Oh, forgot to mention that I've used 100 lbs of Flourite as my substrate plus a 20 lb. bag of complimenting pea gravel purchased from Petco. Would that effect PH?

Thanks for all your help!! I'm anxious to get it established and get my fish in there but I know it's worth the time to make sure everything's right.
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