Tips on choosing and using found rocks and wood in a planted tank?

ForestDave

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Hi.
It's probably been asked a million times but I was wondering if there was a thread with recommendations on choosing and using found rocks/slate or wood in a planted tank. I am looking to keep my costs down a bit and live in a forest with lots of old quarries dotted about so it would be great to use some of what's around me.
Thanks
 
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As I understand it you should thoroughly boil found items to avoid transferring any parasites to your tank, and that wood should have the bark removed. There is probably more advice than that but those two stuck in my memory

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noodlesuk

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You can also place them in a bucket of water for a few days/week and monitor the PH, see if it is affected. Also some people recommend testing for reactions with vinegar.
 
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If the stone bubbles or fizzes when you put vinegar on it then it will dissolve slowly in water and raise your pH and hardness

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PARAGUAY

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Garden centres and builders merchants have rocks that can be ok inert Granite Slate hard sandstone often sold for landscaping walling or rockery . Often they let you take the odd piece free
 
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Garden centres and builders merchants have rocks that can be ok inert Granite Slate hard sandstone often sold for landscaping walling or rockery . Often they let you take the odd piece free
This is exactly what I did. I went to a local hardscape center and they let me pick out whatever I wanted for a flat rate. I filled a 5 gallon bucket with medium and small sized stones, and then grabbed a couple larger stones. That cost me $20!
I got what I believe is a quartz based sandstone. It’s VERY hard, I've tried my damndest to break it up but no go! Granite can be attractive if you can get darker colors. It’s hard to get dedicated aquascaping stone here in the US, the prices are completely unreasonable.
 

ForestDave

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I'm way over budget on this tank so cheap/found rocks are a must. This was meant to be a cheap joint christmas present for my daughter and myself but I've ended up getting obsessed with aquascaping! I always feel happier looking at tanks where the fish have a natural landscape to live in.
 

Wolf6

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Round river rocks are often safe to use, just boil em and use em :) Often people are giving them away on second hand sites (at least here in NL), as they're no longer as popular in gardening as they once were. I've also used stones I collected from the ardennes, they supposedly influence water a tiny bit but I never had any issues keeping my values at what I aimed for. You can usually find those for little money in garden stores. Good luck :)
 

Wolf6

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I would soak them with boiling water rather than physically boil them. Some could explode when heated up.
By boiling I mean pouring boiling water over them, I didnt imagine someone having a big pan boiling a pile of rocks :) But can they actually explode? Or just crack?
 
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But can they actually explode? Or just crack?
Not sure mate, I have heard stories of people trying to cool the down with cooler water and them shattering, either way just soaking in boiling is a far safer option, definitely letting them cool gradually if nothing else.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Round river rocks are often safe to use
I'd go further than that, round cobbles are always safe to use, and any <"effect on water chemistry will be"> , at most, negligible. Only really hard rocks form cobbles.
I would soak them with boiling water rather than physically boil them
Yes, they just need a soak. It is for the same reason, if they were permeable they wouldn't have formed cobbles so any salt etc will just be a surface layer.

In terms of rocks, if you have hard tank water you can use any rocks you like the look of. Limestone rocks won't <"make your water any harder">, the water is already saturated with Ca++ and HCO3- ions.

cheers Darrel
 
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