Are these safe to use?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by shrimp, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. shrimp

    shrimpValued MemberMember

    I want to make a nice sandy and rocky looking setup for the 20 gallon we just got! So today I went out to our local beach and gathered about 10 nice rocks and a nice amount of shells. And slo went to our local craft store and bought 200 sea shells for $2.00. Now here's my question if I scrub the rocks and shells really well and then boil them both, will they be safe to use? I want to make this tank for a 2 pairs of shell dwelling cichlids? Opinions please and has anyone ever used rocks and shells you've found successfully?
  2. Lisa MacAlpine

    Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    I'm not an expert, but I had seashells in my tank as a kid and was horrified to later read that the minerals in them are bad for freshwater fish. The fish in that first tank died on a pretty regular basis cause cause we knew nothing about stocking or compatibility so it's hard to say what the exact effect of the shells was.

    Some rocks are safe, but it depends on what they're made of. If you google it, you will find vinegar tests and such to help you tell.
  3. Yeoy

    YeoyWell Known MemberMember

    I believe it is dangerous to boil some rocks. Be careful and read up on it first!

    As for wild-found things, be careful because they could have anything in/on them. And store-bought shells can contain glues and paints too...
  4. SugarJunkee

    SugarJunkeeValued MemberMember

    I've read that it is dangerous to boil rocks also, because if there are any pockets of air they will explode, so yeah, I'd stick with the vinegar tests. I also have a link from someone (an awesome library of links from this person but can't remember who!) about rocks:
  5. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    The calcium and things like that in the shells can raise the KH and therefore the pH of the water. This is fine for hard water fish, especially if your tap is relatively soft, but it could adversely affect others.
  6. Yeoy

    YeoyWell Known MemberMember

    Best to stick with ornaments from petshops and aquariums. More expensive, much safer.
  7. JDcichlidlover

    JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    The african cichlids, your shell dwellers, love minerals in the water and a higher ph between 8 and 8.5. I pick slate up all the time from the creek. I just wash it with really hot water. You can bleach treatment it if you're worried. 3:1 water and bleach. Soak it for a week then rinse it well, leave it to dry then check the smell. If it still smells like bleach you need to rinse it again. That should kill just about anything bad. Africans live fine with a little salt on the water. Not as much as a brackish fish but not so little the salt off the rocks would hurt them. Hope this helps :)
  8. OP

    shrimpValued MemberMember

    All I plan on having in that tank is the Cichlids and maybe a couple of Amano Shrimp since i love those guys haha. So if I buy some slate from my local pet store I should be good? I read that I can use hermit crab shells for the cichlids also, is that safe to use? Will it affect my shrimp?
  9. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Rocks should be ok after a good hot water scrub, you can use the viniegar trick to show if the rock will possibly raise the pH of the water. As for the craft store shells, I would most likely say no but without seeing what they are cannot make a full determination on that.

    As for boiling rocks, please dont, it has worked for some and for others has been disastrous
  10. JDcichlidlover

    JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    Sure, I use the slate for flat surfaces so I can put more caves on top lol. I have 14 caves for 6 cichlids. I'm not sure about the hermit crab shells. If they're painted I wouldn't do it. I've never had shrimp so you'll have to wait for someone else to chime in about that. Cichlids will eat anything that fits in their mouths though so watch the size of your shrimp.
  11. OP

    shrimpValued MemberMember

    Okay thank you, I'm going to my local petco and seeing what they would recommend for me.
  12. JDcichlidlover

    JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    Make sure you get a fish specialist. I work at a petco. Look at his name tag and make sure there's a fish sticker on it. And ask about their tank(s). Chances are that you'll get someone who knows nothing about the ones you're going to get unless you find an employee that has them too. Since you're in new york i'd think there was a fish specialist store somewhere. One that only sells fish, not a chain store like petco. A lfs will be more interested in helping and probably know more too.
  13. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the forum

    Hahaha, we're all holding our breath....

    (pet store employees are notoriously uninformed)
  14. JDcichlidlover

    JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    And if you still want to use those ocean rocks they would probably love them. They're usually really good at breeding good bacteria. Just bleach treatment them. Cichlids love tons of caves so the more rocks the better
  15. OP

    shrimpValued MemberMember

    I do have a local Magic Isle right next to my job, its specialized in fish and other pets but mostly fish. Its where I got my current fish, I might stop by first and speak to the owner haha (would make more sense)
  16. JDcichlidlover

    JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    I wish there was a speciality store around me. I've gotta drive at least an hr to get to one. Lol. All we have is chain stores around me. Not much of a selection. And noone can tell male from female anything. So its a pain to buy cichlids for me. Grrr. Lol. Good luck :D
  17. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I've taught my LFS owner how to sex a number of fish. I think it's really best to not rely on them for that stuff anyways. Be as informed as you can be, and make the best choice.
  18. OP

    shrimpValued MemberMember

    You guys have no idea how excited I am to get the Shell dwelling Cichlids haha, I have fallen in love with them
  19. luke355027355027

    luke355027355027Well Known MemberMember

    Dont boil rocks the only thing more dangerous than boiling hot exploding rocks are. Boiling hot exploding rocks by a propane tank.

    I boiled a rock once. Dont plan to ever again.
  20. Cichlidnut

    CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    I pour boiling water over rocks.