What are Aquarium safe rocks?

Chrisfish7887

I am setting up an African cichlid tank and want to buy some rocks for the scape. this pond store recently referred me to a rock supplier but this place looks like it’s pretty much a building material and rock vendor. I’m trying to figure out if all rocks are aquarium safe for hard water tanks or should I worry about iron and Lead in the rocks?
 

carsonsgjs

I don’t think you have to worry about metals too much, but generally with rocks you want to go for inert rocks that won’t leach minerals and therefore affect your water parameters by making your water harder.

With african cichlids requiring harder water though, rocks that aren’t inert leach minerals that help keep the water hard and can therefore be used. Limestone is a good choice for african cichlids for that reason.
 

Chrisfish7887

I don’t think you have to worry about metals too much, but generally with rocks you want to go for inert rocks that won’t leach minerals and therefore affect your water parameters by making your water harder.

With african cichlids requiring harder water though, rocks that aren’t inert leach minerals that help keep the water hard and can therefore be used. Limestone is a good choice for african cichlids for that reason.
Is there any such thing as rocks that lower the ph? if not would it be reasonable to just collect some for free in the desert? I was already gonna use aragonite sand or crushed coral for the hardness
 

Bgreen82

Is there any such thing as rocks that lower the ph? if not would it be reasonable to just collect some for free in the desert? I was already gonna use aragonite sand or crushed coral for the hardness
Not really, usually you would use wood and peat to lower ph but you wouldn’t want that in this circumstance. If you don’t like limestone, which I will second carsonsgjs recommendation, you could go find some rocks in the wild that you like but I would clean them extremely well. Try to get an idea what inert rock is in your area and go for that. I get almost all of my rock from the wild and have yet to have an issue. I think it adds to the hobby imho.
 

Chrisfish7887

Does the muriatic acid test work to see if they’re inert?
Not really, usually you would use wood and peat to lower ph but you wouldn’t want that in this circumstance. If you don’t like limestone, which I will second carsonsgjs recommendation, you could go find some rocks in the wild that you like but I would clean them extremely well. Try to get an idea what inert rock is in your area and go for that. I get almost all of my rock from the wild and have yet to have an issue. I think it adds to the hobby imho.
 

carsonsgjs

Does the muriatic acid test work to see if they’re inert?
It does - if it fizzes, it’s not inert. Using bottle 1 from the api nitrate test kit works as well if you have that.
 

mattgirl

When it comes to rocks usually the only thing we have to be worried about is raising the hardness. In your case that isn't a problem so just about any kind of rock should work well. I have collected all the rocks in my tanks from the wild. I just clean them well under hot running water.

Some folks boil them but some rocks have been known to crack or even explode if gotten too hot. I really don't think boiling will get them hot enough to do that but in some cases better safe than sorry. I have seen it happen when used around a camp fire but they get a lot hotter than just boiling water will get them. Really though, as long as they are washed with really hot water and all dirt is scrubbed off they should be fine.

If you can go out in the desert to get them I would go for it. Why pay for something you can get for free. Make sure there is no law against collecting what you need before doing so though. It is against the law in some places.
 

RonP

Agree with mattgirl...I collected rocks for my 2 main cichlid tanks on my property. I did soak them in a hydrogen peroxide solution, scrubbed and rinsed. No issues after 2+ years.
 

PAcanis

It does - if it fizzes, it’s not inert. Using bottle 1 from the api nitrate test kit works as well if you have that.


Good info.
 

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