Can I Use Outdoor Gravel or Rocks in an Aquarium?
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Can I use regular rocks in my aquarium?
An aquarium acquires a personalized charm if its bottom is covered with stones that you have chosen yourself. However, there are inherent risks associated with using your own gravel or stones in the bottom of the aquarium if you don't test the stones first.
The composition of the rock could possibly change the hardness and pH of the water in a way that harms your fish. Collected exterior stones can also become covered with contaminants that can affect the aquarium water.
Experts have mixed opinions; Many argue that unless you are an expert at identifying rock makeup, it is best to go to a pet store and purchase rocks and substrates that are considered safe for the aquarium.
However, other authorities believe that the use of collected gravel and stones is acceptable, as long as you follow the instructions on how to test them to exclude hazardous components.
How to test rocks
The main danger of using your own gravel and stones outdoors in an aquarium is the possibility that they contain calcium, which can change the pH of the aquarium water. But before testing, also be sure to wash the stones well to remove all sand and contaminants.
Testing for calcium can be as simple as placing a few drops of vinegar on the rock or gravel you plan to use. If vinegar (an acidic substance) sparkles or foams on the rock, do not use it. The chemical reaction you see indicates that the stone contains calcium.
Another way to test rocks and gravel is to place the washed stones in a bucket, completely submerged in a small amount of water that you use in your aquarium. Test the pH and hardness first, then let the water sit with the rocks for a week and test again. If there is a significant increase, these rocks or gravel will cause problems in your aquarium.
Rocks to avoid, rocks to use
The rocks to avoid are very calcareous, that is, they contain a large amount of calcium. Also, always avoid sharp rocks that can harm your fish.
Rocks to avoid include:
- Crushed shells or corals (not ideal for most freshwater tanks, but can be used for African cichlid tanks, where higher pH and calcium hardness are desirable).
The safest rocks include:
- Lava rock (watch out for sharp edges, especially fish that have sensitive barbels, such as the Cory species).
- Onyx and frosted glass
- Stoneware (Always test before use, as it may contain traces of lime).
Many gravels and rocks contain a mixture of minerals, even in the same stone. Even if you think you have correctly identified a stone as a safe mineral, always do a test run to be sure.
Where to find rocks outdoors
Exterior gravel and polished stones can be collected outdoors. Try ocean beaches and lakeshores, in dry cleaning beds, or on the banks of streams and rivers. However, avoid collecting stones in underwater locations, especially in protected environments, as stone mining can alter the natural habitats that wild fish and plant life depend on.
You can also buy outdoor stones from a variety of sources:
- Landscaping companies selling smooth river rocks and other aggregates
- Garden centers and nurseries
- Home improvement centers with landscaping services
All of these sources can provide you with attractive and inexpensive rocks and gravel. Remember to make your selections carefully and always test rocks or gravel before using them in your aquarium.
Enjoy The Video Tutorial about HOW TO: Aquarium safe rocks TUTORIAL
Source: The king of DIY
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