Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Egrant 03-13-2012 10:17 PM

Lave rocks
Hey guys, yes another rock question (well 2)
I read the post it about not boiling rocks and I am not going to try. I did get tired of reading everyone try to argue the fact so onto my questions. I bought some smooth river rocks from the landscaper. RINSED thoroughly with a hose and have them soaking in water, and I plan on re-rinsing tomorrow. Once scrubbed with hot water they should be good to go right?
Also, they had a bunch of lava rock that would be cool because of the misc shapes and itís lite. Can I use this? It looked a little dirty so I stayed away but might add some if itís ok.

beetlebz 03-14-2012 06:36 AM

I would think so. Ive heard of lava rock that wasnt aquarium safe, but ive never seen it. I would just make sure that its clean, I like to pour boiling water over anything I put in my tanks, but even thats probably silly.

the other rocks I would think will be fine, as long as they are clean and arent going to alter the ph (vinegar test).

Egrant 03-14-2012 08:33 AM

Does the vinegar test just simply fuzz or not once pored on rock??????

Fuzz = no good
No Fuzz - Good

willow 03-14-2012 09:11 AM

no fuzz is good. :-)

Byron 03-14-2012 10:48 AM

I just posted in response to your [Egrant] similar question in the other thread, but will repeat and expand a bit here, since you've also raised some other issues.

First on lava rock, I have read that this is calcareous. Calcareous means the rock is composed of minerals like calcium and magnesium which will slowly enter the water, raising the mineral content and thus making the water harder. This may or may not be what you want, depending upon the fish species. The issue with rock is basically the hardness factor with fish.

Some fish need medium hard or harder water; livebearers, rift lake cichlids, and a few others fall into this group. For tanks with these fish, calcareous rock would not normally be a problem, and depending upon the hardness of the source water, may be an advantage. Using gravel or sand made from calcareous rock is usually an advantage.

Many fish are soft water in origin, and while it varies from species to species as to how much hardness they can tolerate, the aim in all aquaria with soft water fish is to keep the water soft, so using rock that is calcareous is not normally advisable. However, if the water is very soft (near-zero hardness), having some calcareous rock is not necessarily a problem as it may help. This is very general, but sufficient for this discussion at this point.

So back to the lava rock, if this is the brownish/reddish porous rock, I believe it is calcareous. The vinegar test may show this if it fizzes; vinegar is a fairly weak acid so if it does not fizz, I would go to a stronger acid. The Regent #2 in the API nitrate test kit works for this, a couple drops on the rock.

River rock is usually inert (= does not affect water chemistry). I have several pebbles of varying sizes of this in some of my tanks, and I bought it from a local landscape/rock supply. The acid test can still be used to make sure.


1077 03-15-2012 12:11 AM

Agree with all of the above ,and would only add that lava rock is rough on skin of some fishes such as loaches,plecos, some catfishes that like to work over the rocks while searching for food and tiny aquatic creatures.
They can scrape their bellies,barbels, on the lava rock, and secondary infections can occur.
I would have no problems using it with cichlids but not perhaps with loaches,plecos,catfishes.

beetlebz 03-15-2012 09:22 AM

I would think that natural lava rock can and will (this is only theory) have different compositions. I have to believe that the effect on ph or dgh, would be almost completely dependent on what it was made of. Especially the odd colored stuff.

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