Rocks and Pebbles From a River

  1. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    I've lately been to a river (Delaware River, Upstate New York) - it's surrounded by a forest and the river's bed is rocky (although there are plenty of plants on the bottom as well). The water is not salty. Fish such as trouts and browns live there. I found nice pieces of wood there. I also found nice pebbles and rocks in the river. I am changing my aquarium setup and will be adding new rocks, wood, and more plants. Now, I know that neons and angelfish like low pH water (around and below 7.0). I have been told that wood brings the pH down - which would be good for the fish I have. And that rocks, instead, bring the pH up - which wouldn't be good at all for my fish. Firstly, if I use rocks, could I use the rocks I found in the Delaware River? Secondly, if these rocks are to bring my pH up, will it be safe to use these rocks together with wood and more plants? Will more plants and wood neutralize the strength of rocks and keep the pH relatively safe for my angelfish and neons?

    Also, when I am adding a lot of plants, will I need more gravel / substrate? If so, how much more? Is there any special kind of gravel necessary for the plants? Or will plain gravel suffice?
     
  2. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    The rocks shouldn't change the ph, and if they do, you don't want them in your tank. I think what you are thinking of is Texas holey rock which a lot of folks use in their african cichlid tanks. What you can do is collect the rocks you think you might want to use in your tank, and then pour a few drops of vinegar on each rock. If it fizzles, you don't want to use it. As for the wood, I think unless it's driftwood, it will probably rot in your tank unless you polyurethane it, and I don't know if I would put that in my tank. Wood you find can contain a lot of nasties, so be very careful. You will have to boil it and the rocks also.
     

  3. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Thank you for such a quick reply, Gunnie. I will put vinegar drops on the rocks. But how exactly will that "fizzle" look like? Is the vinegar supposed to start bubbling, or something of the sort? Like a little chemical reaction? (LOL) As for the wood, yes, I was going to boil, soak, and rinse it a couple of times before putting it in the tank. But if it really is going to rot, then I'll get a driftwood from my pet store. I collected the wood myslef because I didn't see anything attractive in my pet store. All they had was yellowish wood (ugly color) of quite a "boring" shape. But if there is no other way, I'll look in other pet stores. And as for the rocks I found, I'll boil them all (if they don't "fizzle" after putting vinegar on them). Will boiling them once be enough? Soak them too?
     

  4. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    Yeah, you are looking for a chemical reaction. Rocks that don't "sizzle" are hard enough and won't leech anything into your water. Softer rock like limestone leaches into the tank and can change the ph. I believe Texas holey rock is limestone. It is very popular for this reason and because of the holes. It helps keep the ph high for the african cichlids. It might work with the wood, but it's a risk, and to avoid stress worrying about your tank, I'd go with the stuff I knew was aquarium safe. Try aquabid and see if you can find a nice piece of driftwood there. I would boil the rocks once, just to make sure you didn't have any organisms on them that would wreac havoc in your tank. I don't think you'll have to soak them after that.
     

  5. fletch Member Member

    the best place to get accessories for your tank is the beach. The salt has eroded all the chemicals and heavy metals away and left you with the perfect specimen. also, when the rock or wood erodes slightly in your tank it will release a small amount of salt which will keep your tank healthy
     
  6. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Thank you Fletch and Gunnie :)
     
  7. 0morrokh Fishlore VIP Member

    I wouldn't collect anything from the wild myself. I think it is too much of a risk, since it is likely to harbor "germs." By getting stuff at a store, you can be sure that it is safe for your fish. I definately wouldn't collect wood from the wild. Rocks, if cleaned three times as well as you think is necessary, and if you are absolutely sure they won't alter the pH, can look very nice in a tank, though. About the gravel, planting medium can be a science in itself, and you should do some research to find out what gravel or combination of gravels would be best for your tank.
     
  8. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    I have used wood and rocks from the wild successfully. You have to clead them very carefully with a stiff brush to get loose dirt off. The rocks need to be boiled for ten minutes, let the water cool naturally(hot rocks exposed to the air or cold water can explode), rinse then boil again and cool naturally again. Now the rocks are ready to use. As for the wood... Boil, boil, boil. My bristlenose especially like the wood I picked up at the lake. The wood is a little softer than driftwood and if you don't have something thats going to rasp on it you might be better off with bought driftwood.
    I personally wouldn't use wood or rocks soaked in salt in my freshwater tanks unless it was for mollies or swordtails. Just my thoughts.
    Carol
     
  9. fletch Member Member

    from the beach they are more sterile than if you get them from a store. theyve been lying on a shelf harbouring germs from peoples sweaty fingers and dust creatures. At the beach they are washed and cleaned naturally.
     
  10. JustinT Initiate Member

    Everything in my tank (except for plants and fish of course) are from a lake or the beach. I keep some pretty sensitive fish in my tank and they do fine with stuff that I find. If you think about it, the wood and rocks from the petstores came from 'out there', and personally, I would rather use something in my tank that I sanitized myself, rather than assume that it was done correctly by a petstore owner (or from wherever they got the stuff from). So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, in my opinion, use the vinegar test like Gunnie said, and if the rocks pass, then boil them and use them. No problems. (remember the driftwood thread we had a few weeks ago? go about the rock sanitation the same way).
     
  11. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Thank you all for the replies :) Yes JustinT, I remeber all the talk about wood - it was very helpful. Thanks again for the advice. I was thinking myself - that wood and rocks picked from the wild, when boiled, soaked, and rinsed many times (and rocks tested with vinegar), should be safe. After all, they're straight from the nature's womb - and natural is better than fake. So how could that be dangerous if disinfected properly? It all makes sense to me. As for the wood and rocks from the beach, I - too - wondered if all the salt inside of them would be really safe for a freshwater aquarium. But perhaps it is safe - I am not an expert.
     
  12. 0morrokh Fishlore VIP Member

    I wouldn't use anything from the beach in a freshwater aquarium. They might leach too much salt into the water.
     
  13. fletch Member Member

    theyre fine mate. Ive had about 15 medium rocks from the beach in my freshwater for a month and no harm has come of the fish. If you rinse it first then it will get rid of most of the salt. any remnants will be so ineffective
     
  14. Miss Mouse Well Known Member Member

    Yeah we've always had rocks from the beach and I used some nice flint from a field in my tank too - never had a problem.
     
  15. JustinT Initiate Member

    Even my wood is from the beach....No problems. You would think that the salt would saturate the wood and be impossible to get out, but it's just not that way. Boiling and rinsing properly will get you some fine pieces for your tank. And I agree Isabella, the stuff I find in the wild is so much better looking in my tank than the things I find in the store.
     
  16. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    What about the wood found in the forest? Is it safe after a lot of soaking, boiling, and rinsing?
     
  17. JustinT Initiate Member

    Hehe, not if it's got a snake in it :)

    nah, I'm picking...but sure, I don't see why not. I would just make sure it wasn't beginning to rot though. That could be messy.
     
  18. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    Sure just follow your precautions and watch it for awhile after you put it in your tank to make sure its not rotting.
    Carol
     
  19. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    All righty :) Thanks :)
     
  20. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    ONE LAST QUESTION FOLKS! Sorry to be such a pain in the ... LOL! What about the seashells from the river? Boil, soak, and rinse them too? Or just rinse well?