River rocks safe to use?

ashley
  • #1
We have just recently bought a 180 gal. tank which we are going to put piranhas in. I am wanting to use river rocks, but wanted to make sure it is safe to use. I would be boiling/cleaning them before, but I thought everyone here is so good with fish that you all may think of something I hadn't thought about yet. Also should I purchase the rock or just get it from the river? Thanks
 
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TheEssigs
  • #2
At Petco, they sell river rocks by the bag... I think its a 25lb bag. I think its a Estes product. Try going into your LFS and browse the gravel and you might find them there. This way, they are already tank safe.
 
ashley
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I've looked at a few LFS and they just really do not have what I'm looking for. I want the larger rocks and have just not been satisfied with what I've found at local stores.
 
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TheEssigs
  • #4
The river rocks I had seen at Petco were about 1"-2" in size and mostly dark in color. Did you want bigger? Maybe, you can ask the LFS to order them for you... ?? Do you have a Petco or Petsmart near you?
 
ashley
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I am wanting slightly larger than that and being a larger tank I think it would look good. I am also needing some of the larger flat rocks to build some caves and such. There is a petsmart as well as some smaller stores, but petsmart didn't have anything close to what I'm wanting. I may try to see if they can order some.
 
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Butterfly
  • #6
As long as you clean them as you described river rocks will be fine. After you boil them let them cool naturally because if you rinse them in cold water they will explode
Carol
 
sgould
  • #7
After you boil them let them cool naturally because if you rinse them in cold water they will explode

 
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ashley
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
wow, that's a really good thing to know. I'll have to be sure my husband doesn't find out or he will want to do it just for fun. Thanks so much!
 
Isabella
  • #9
We have just recently bought a 180 gal. tank which we are going to put piranhas in. I am wanting to use river rocks, but wanted to make sure it is safe to use. I would be boiling/cleaning them before, but I thought everyone here is so good with fish that you all may think of something I hadn't thought about yet. Also should I purchase the rock or just get it from the river? Thanks

You can use rocks from the river as long as they're not calcerous (contain calcium). Calcium in the rocks will increase your pH too much for a freshwater tank. You can check if the rocks are calcerous by pouring a few drops of vinegar on them. If they will bubble/fizzle, then it means they're calcerous. If they don't contain calcium, go ahead and use the rocks. I have collected stones/rocks from a river too for one of my tanks. And they look very nice and natural.

Of course, you'll have to boil them to make sure they're clean and disinfected before they are put in your tank. When you've finished boiling them, do NOT take them out of the boiling pot right away. If you do that, they can explode! (Suddenly going from hot to cold.) Wait until the water in the pot cools off, and then take the rocks out.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #10
wow, that's a really good thing to know. I'll have to be sure my husband doesn't find out or he will want to do it just for fun. Thanks so much!

lol.. yea, I agree.. the thought crossed my mind.
 
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Tom
  • #11
I got some river rocks for cheaper at the local art store(LAS).
Tom
 
ashley
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I hadn't thought about an art store, I'll have to check there. Thanks. I may be in trouble now b/c my husband just read this post and now knows the secret about the exploding rocks. : I guess we'll have to pick up a few extra so he can try it. Thanks again!
 
Butterfly
  • #13
I got mine at one of those places that sell rocks for building houses for 20 cents per pound. Was a good deal because I bought 80 pounds
Carol
 
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COBettaCouple
  • #14
I hadn't thought about an art store, I'll have to check there. Thanks. I may be in trouble now b/c my husband just read this post and now knows the secret about the exploding rocks. : I guess we'll have to pick up a few extra so he can try it. Thanks again!

LOL.. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
 
ashley
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Thanks carol, that's a really good idea too, I'm going to try to go tomorrow and check out a similar store. And yes I am really worried about my kitchen-I think I'm going to make him try it outside if he insists.
 
Butterfly
  • #16
Outside would be good
Carol
 
COBettaCouple
  • #17
Thanks carol, that's a really good idea too, I'm going to try to go tomorrow and check out a similar store. And yes I am really worried about my kitchen-I think I'm going to make him try it outside if he insists.

LOL.. how about in the bathroom? talk about dropping a bomb!
 
Butterfly
  • #18
LOL.. how about in the bathroom? talk about dropping a bomb!
get out of the bathroom !
 
COBettaCouple
  • #19
I wouldn't sit there if I were you.
 
Tom
  • #20
I wouldn't sit there if I were you.
Now, just see if you can either find a pic that shows it flying off the toilet or get gammerus(spelling) to fix it up so that happens.
Tom
 
COBettaCouple
  • #21
 
Wolfman
  • #22
Guys I'm telling you pet stores make a ton of money off of rocks in my neck of the woods East Texas you can buy a sheet of flag stone for 45-65 dollars. Its about the size of the bed on my pickup truck 2 or 3 little pieces will cost you 30 bucks at the pet store
 
zzfive69
  • #23
Hay Guy's need your help making my new 37gal tnk. I want to put river rocks from were I live(lower louisiana) but do not know if they will work,The rocks line the river banks. The tnk will be for A.C. which I already have.Thanks
 
Isabella
  • #24
By "A.C." you mean African Cichlids, right?

I have rocks from a river in my tanks too, and they're fine. You can have them too, only test them first to ensure they're safe for a freshwater tank. Pour a few drops of vingar over each rock. If it "fizzles" (i.e. "bubbles"), that means it has a lot of calcium in it, and that's why it's not safe for a freshwater tank. Calcium in rocks will increase your pH too much. If the rocks don't fizzle, they're safe to use. BUT: boil them first, before putting them in your tank. This is to make sure no potentially dangerous micro-organisms are getting into your tank from the rocks. Remember: When you boil the rocks, wait until the water cools off before you remove them from the pot. If you remove them right away, while they're still hot, they can explode! Be VERY careful.

Though African Cichlids like harder water than most freshwater fish. So, in this case I don't know if calcerous rocks would be dangerous. If I were you, I'd wait for another opinion in that matter as I don't know too much about African Cichlids.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #25
exploding rocks! ..really, that is something to be careful of. I have some african cichlids but don't have rocks (rock decor) so i'm not 100% certain of which rocks are good, but they do like harder water.
 
Sabi
  • #26
When you boil the rocks, wait until the water cools off before you remove them from the pot. If you remove them right away, while they're still hot, they can explode! Be VERY careful.

Though African Cichlids like harder water than most freshwater fish. So, in this case I don't know if calcerous rocks would be dangerous. If I were you, I'd wait for another opinion in that matter as I don't know too much about African Cichlids.

Explode?! Wow that's interesting! I'll second the vinegar thing.
 
Neville
  • #27
I have rocks in my 10 gallon too, they look nice, I boiled them before adding.:;co
 
zzfive69
  • #28
THANKS for the HELP.
 
Chrisson
  • #29
Are any rocks from the river safe when boiled? I've read that it is safe but just making sure because I live close to a river and can get some anytime. :-\
 
namehater
  • #30
do you live in a van down by the river? lol

they should be safe as long as there are no mineral deposits on the rocks, they will be kinda shiny like glitter. if you don't see any of that you should be fine. I would research and figure out what the rocks are exactly just to make 100% sure tho.

I wouldnt just boil the rocks tho. when I collected a bunch of slate and after multiple boiling I still needed to scrub them with a brush to get them clean.
 
Aquarist
  • #31
Namehater Hey now! I live on a creek bank! (but not in a van down by the river)Chris Farley
 
Llama
  • #32
As with all rocks, make sure its not limestone.

Add a bit of vinegar (or any acid) to it. If it FIZZES its not good.
 
namehater
  • #33
Namehater Hey now! I live on a creek bank! (but not in a van down by the river)Chris Farley

HAHA, I'm just glad somebody got my joke.
 
Chrisson
  • #34
I would research and figure out what the rocks are exactly just to make 100% sure tho.

I wouldnt just boil the rocks tho. when I collected a bunch of slate and after multiple boiling I still needed to scrub them with a brush to get them clean.
Yeah I should check what type just in case. Also what kind of places do you find slates like around a mountain, river, etc... I'm trying to look for them and I don't want to buy them. Buying rocks in stores feel weird. I think the pet stores just pick them up outside there store and say " this is $5 and this one is $2"

As with all rocks, make sure its not limestone.

Add a bit of vinegar (or any acid) to it. If it FIZZES its not good.
amazingly my house does not have vinegar. I'm not sure what other house hold fluids are acidic. :-\
 
namehater
  • #35
I found all my slate on the shore of a big lake in the mountains. I have some nice sized pieces of quartz as well, but I didnt like the look of them mixed with the slate.
 
kimb
  • #36
Good Morning, I live alongside the famous(?) MiramichI River here in New Bru nswick Canada. It is one of the most famous salmon fishing areas in North America (I might add I no longer eat the fish from here as they may be a long lost relative of one of my fishie friends) This river is fed from the Atlantic so the water is salt. Last night I noticed some lovely smooth beautifully coloured river rocks all along the shore. I am expecting my 55 gallon in this week and will be moving my rescued blood parrot in as soon as tank is ready. Since they enjoy a smoothee bottom, and I will be adding some corys could I use these rocks? I know there was a thread (can't find it) about how to test rocks for their used in tanks'...not sure how easy it will be to vacuum...I am fanatical about testing (could own stocks in API I go through so many). "Hermione" the BP is quite small right now, and she will be set up in another member's stocking suggestion with another parrot and 2 keyholes. Any advice appeciated as always. Cheers
 
namehater
  • #37
I think people say to pour vinegar on the rock and see if it fizzes. if it does fizz, don't use it, if it doesn't fizz then its safe to use.

I'm not 100% sure on that, just restating vague memory...

of course you should clean them appropriately before putting them in your tank as well. boiling is the best method I think. I boil my rocks for about an hour, let them cool down, then under running water use a brush to scrub them down. some people suggest using bleach to clean the rocks, just make sure all the bleach is rinsed off thoroughly!
 
Shawnie
  • #38
love the river rocks myself! there's some really cool ones out there....heres a link you might have been looking for
 
kimb
  • #39
Thanks again Shawnie, link very helpful. I may pm prairie to be sure. I love the natural look they would give, plus the benefit of smoother edges. I want this tank to be awesome not just in looks but the best possible home for my girl.
 
Fishies-for-me
  • #40
Be careful boiling rocks if that is the way you decide to sterilize...if there is water in the rock it can explode...not sure where I learned that but it is stuck in my head...lol
 

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