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Rocks in aquarium - bought, wild-found, pH?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by FishtailBraid, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. FishtailBraid Valued Member Member

    I am thinking of adding gravel to my currently bare-bottom betta tank. I can't find any gravel at aquarium shops that I like (it's either too small, too rough, or it's coloured pebbles), but a hardware chain sells these pebbles which they say are fish-safe:


    (They have others that they specifically say are not fish-safe, which leads me to believe they aren't randomly lying.)

    I have a few questions about gravel:

    1. Does the above look safe?

    2. How do I prepare it to add to the tank?

    3. I have some nice pebbles I've found in rockpools and would also like to add, but my mum has been using some of them with candles and they might have wax on them. Is there any way to make them fish-safe again?

    Thanks! :)

  2. Anders247 Fishlore Legend Member

    I would personally only use gravel (If I used gravel) that is made specifically for aquariums, you never know what that might have.

  3. Dom90 Fishlore VIP Member

    If you cant find any gravel you like at your local stores, have you tried looking online, such as on Amazon or Ebay?

  4. Bijou88 Well Known Member Member

  5. Ovenmitts Valued Member Member

    I used pool filter sand that I bought at a hardware store. sand is only smaller gravel really. If the store says safe, I would use it. I just rinsed it really well. Rocks I get outside I boil first.
  6. Dom90 Fishlore VIP Member

    This one?

  7. Anders247 Fishlore Legend Member

    Black diamond blasting sand from Tractor Supply is very cheap. and looks awesome. Just $8 for 50 pounds.
  8. Geoff Well Known Member Member

    I agree! Got it in my tank.
  9. Dom90 Fishlore VIP Member

    Too bad there's no Tractor Supply around here!

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  10. Geoff Well Known Member Member

    There's one in Norco?
  11. Dom90 Fishlore VIP Member

    Yea Norco is at least 35 miles away from here. Don't plan on driving 70 miles just to "save" a few bucks. Would probably spend more on gas money than I would save on the sand.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  12. Geoff Well Known Member Member

    Road trip! Haha
  13. gypsy32 Valued Member Member


    Hi i am also in australia & have put these exact same stones in my tank that i bought from Bunnings,

    They are perfectly safe, just treat them as you would any other stones or gravel that you would buy from a pet store wash wash & wash them until the water is clear, then just pop them in your tank

    All the stones & gravel that i have in my 2 tanks have come from Bunnings, i used mainly the ones in the link you provided then added the largish flatish black ones that they have there in bags as well,
    I also used aquarium silicone & glued some of the bigger black ones together to make a cave. I used a bit too much silicone on the top of it but i don't mind too much 

    The finer gravel in this photo also came from bunnings, it was so much cheaper than any other place

    The place that supplies Bunnings with their bags of pebbles is the same company that supplies the pet stores except the pet stores add a huge mark up to the price,

    Just remember to wash them really well in tap water

    Sent from my SM-T113 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  14. FishtailBraid Valued Member Member

    Thanks Anders247, Dom90, Bijou88, Geoff and gypsy32!

    Petbarn is having a sale on gravel ( ) so I decided to go for that instead, as always this has led to more questions:

    1. Is there any risk of my betta EATING fine gravel? It's about 3-4mm pieces.

    2. It says it's "rich in iron and quartz" for growing plants - will this raise my pH or otherwise overly affect water parameters?

    3. Is there any restriction on "roughness" in betta gravel? It looks smooth on the site but in real life it looks "sharper", though that is through the bag which, as always with gravel in bags, is clouded up with dust and general muck LOL.

    I'm guessing you actually meant tank water? :) But also, since I only have a 15L tank I don't have a ton of old tank water available unless I drain the whole thing, so is it okay to just fill up my watering can with tap water, add dechlorinator and use that to wash the gravel? Also your tank looks beautiful; haha I am avoiding white substrate because I doubt I could keep it looking that nice! :p

    Sorry I'm so clueless about gravel! :O
  15. FishtailBraid Valued Member Member

    Clean new gravel to add to established tank?

    Hey guys! I have an established, bare-bottom betta tank and I want to add some gravel.

    My main question is, is it okay to wash the gravel in TAP water then add it to the tank (my betta will be in a separate container during this process) and Prime the whole lot in-situ, so to speak?

    That is, is the following a good plan? :

    1. Remove betta to fish-safe container, place container in insulated bag so he doesn't freeze in the likely event that this takes ages. :p
    2. Empty tank 50% and dispose of water.
    3. Empty rest of tank and store that water (about 7L) in my watering can.
    4. Rinse gravel in colander under TAP water, bit by bit, then add each bit to tank once thoroughly rinsed.
    5. Refill tank using stored and new tap water, and add enough Prime to dechlorinate the whole lot (also possibly stirring up gravel to make sure Prime touches any surfaces touched by tap water) - should I double-dose the Prime to be sure?
    6. Turn on heater and filter.
    7. Return betta to tank once temperature is back up to normal.

    Main problem is my gravel vac still hasn't arrived (ordered online accidentally to my dorm address when I am home for holidays, whoops) - do I need a gravel vac to do initial clean of gravel if I am rinsing it in a colander?
  16. FishtailBraid Valued Member Member

    Will a betta eat 3-5mm gravel?

    Hi everyone!

    As anyone who has seen my threads in the Beginners forum knows, I'm planning on getting gravel for my currently bare-bottom tank. I was just wondering if it's likely that my betta will eat or try to eat 3-5mm gravel? Also will he hurt his fins on it? I'm not sure how smooth it is... just normal gravel-texture I guess.

    Thanks! :)
  17. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Good morning,

    I have merged 3 of your threads all dealing with the same fish, tank, and substrate issues. I think it will be less confusing to other members to have all of this information in the same thread.


  18. FishtailBraid Valued Member Member

    Thanks Ken!

    So after all the panic, I found these ones:  

    They seem to be pretty simple; rather than promising to change the water parameters they promise NOT to, they're quite a bit bigger (6.3-9.5mm) so I can't see my betta trying to eat them, let alone successfully swallowing one.

    Do these sound good? Aqua One, which I think is a better-known brand, makes a similar product but they don't come in such nice colours.

    Thanks so much everyone for all your help; as always I am a big panicker about my betta.
  19. gypsy32 Valued Member Member


    The pebbles in the above post seem fine, a little large though, they are almost a cm in size but if that is what you are after then thats fine.
    I have a betta & he sucks my gravel up to get food of them but then he just spits them out,i am not an expert but i really don't think any fish would actually swollow their gravel

    Yes you can wash the gravel in tap water, it will take quite a bit of water to get them clean, much more than you would have in your tank so pop the gravel in a bucket, fill with tap water & swirl around with your hands then tip the water out, repeat this process until the water you tip out from the bucket is absolutely clear,

    because even though these pebbles are meant for aquariums they are just dug up from a river bed & popped in bags, so be very thorough in washing them, it will also ensure your water in the tank doesn't go cloudy

    Pour all the water out after the final rinse, the amount of water left on the pebbles is absolutely minimal so don't worry about conditioner but if you are concerned just do the final rinse with dechlorinated water.

    The pebbles from bunnings are perfectly safe to use & a bit cheaper as well, but go with what you like, its your tank & you have to look at it every day, i don't think your betta will care too much what his gravel looks like, as long as its not sharp otherwise he can damage his skin :eek:)

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  20. gypsy32 Valued Member Member


    In one of your post above where you adk is the following a good plan, i'd say yes

    There is no need for a gravel vac at the moment as you will clean the gravel outside the tank anyway, i wouldn't double does the prime there is no need is would just be a waste,

    your betta will be fine in a bag for awhile, just make sure to acclimatise him properly when the tank is ready, this will take about 45mins to 1hr

    If you have anymore worries just ask:)

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