How do I properly test and clean river rock for my aquarium?

dboll2

I just picked up a bunch of flat stones and other rocks for use in my aquarium tonight

how do I know if it's safe to use without using a quarantine tank?
and after I know that it's safe to use, how do I properly clean and sterilize the rock?

I have all of it soaking in a bucket full of really hot water
I figure that's not a bad start for cleaning it...
 

ryanr

Yup, hot water will certainly kill off any nasties that might be lurking on the rocks. Boiling water would be better. There is nothing on earth that can survive boiling water. [said very loosely, but you get the idea]

Some people will recommend a solution of bleach/water (1:19 ratio), but I personally do not like this approach, not saying it is bad, I just don't like the idea.

As for testing your rocks for suitability, using white vinegar, drop 1 or 2 drops on the rock. If it fizzes, then don't use it. If it doesn't fizz, then all good, just rinse again in hot water.

You can also use a brand new, never seen detergent scrubbing brush to really scrub it clean.

Hope that helps.
 

Aquarist

Good morning,

Great tips from Ryanr. I don't like the idea of using bleach on anything that may be porous. I think the hot water, or boiling water will do just fine too.

Ken
 

flyin-lowe

I was told to use vinegar to drop on a rock and see if it fizzes. However I was told that if it did fizz this meant that it would likely raise my pH, not make it useless altogether.
So I am just curious what causes it to fizz and why does this make it a rock you would not put in your tank?
Thanks
 

bass master

Rocks that will raise your pH are usually calcium carbonate based (a weak base), vinegar is a weak acid. When you mix the two, it's just like vinegar and baking soda, it starts to fizz like crazy from the CO2 produced. Those rocks are good if you're trying to raise your KH
 

lea

bass master, nice tip on the vinegar test!! I use river rocks from my old garden bad (which I scrubbed and boiled thoroughly) and they look great. No limestone (ca carbonate) as far as I can see, mostly various grey stone and quartz, and my tank is fine (running over 2 yrs), but a really great hint for new rocks.
 

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