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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this has been asked before but... I collected a bunch of rocks from around my house, the creek, etc.

I scrubbed each one with HOT HOT water and then soaked them for a day in the tub. Then I changed the water and added bleach.

The pump running is an old Emperor 280, I realize that the pad is now junk but it was junk anyway, it has done a good job of removing the sand, etc I missed.

Couple questions:

1) How long should I soak them in the bleach water? (I have time)

2) Once they are soaked good enough, how should I get rid of the bleach?

My plan is to drain the water, rinse the heck out of them and soak them in a couple dechloranator water changes, is that good enough?

Should I drain the water and let them dry out?
 

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I'd wash them with running water under the sink to get rid of the bleach, and then put them somewhere to dry out until you are ready to put them in the tank. That should be plenty good enough.

Frankly, IMHO bleaching rocks is overkill already. The rocks in my 240G were scrubbed with a dry brush and added straight to the tank. Some of them still had moss on them. It either died or the fish ate it. Nobody suffered any ill effects. I sometimes wonder who bleached the rocks before they went into Lake Tanganyika :D


None of those rocks were washed, boiled, or bleached.


5 years later the fish are still alive
 

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Nah, just throw them in . I run stop signs all the time and I've never been killed so that proves It is safe.
 

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PfunMo said:
Nah, just throw them in . I run stop signs all the time and I've never been killed so that proves It is safe.
Very funny. You probably know the joke about the guy who stood in the middle of the town square for three days waving his arms wildly. Eventually one of the locals went up to him and asked: 'Excuse me. What are you doing?' He responded: 'Oh, I am keeping the wild elephants away'. The local answered: 'But there have never been any elephants around here'. And the guy returned: 'See, it's working!' :lol:

Somehow that joke reminds me of an aquarist keeping 'harmful critters' at bay with a big bottle full of bleach in hand :D

Kidding aside, there are obviously different schools of thinking on this issue. One extreme says you have to keep a tank as sterile as possible by killing as many microorganism, bacteria and algae as you can. The other says that the more gunk you have in the tank, the more natural (and better) it will be. As so often in life, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I would not use rocks from a creek that looks polluted and has a good chance of having diseased fish in there. I also would not pick up rocks from beside a railway line, since the engines tend to loose oil, and the tracks are regularly sprayed with heavy pesticides. In each of these cases I would simply not use the rocks, rather than rely on bleach and/or a pressure washer to get them clean.

I pick up rocks from creeks or forests where common sense says they probably have no harmful chemicals on them. I am careful in selecting my rocks, and I don't want to contaminate them with bleach and detergents after I picked them up. In addition, I see no reason to nuke the bacteria and microorganisms on those rocks, because the chance that they have beneficial effects in my experience is a lot larger than that they are harmful. That's why I simply remove loose dirt from the rock, and use them as is.

This is just my opinion, and I am fully aware that other members of these forums think completely different about this. Some treat every rock as if it came from a dumping site for chemical waste, and they have had good success with that approach. I don't think there is any one right way to do things in this hobby. Everybody is entitled to develop their own approach, and part of the reason CF exists is to give people a chance to talk with others about their experiences.

Nevertheless, I would strongly caution you not to run stop signs. Regardless of the results of your experiment, it is no only unsafe, it is also illegal :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone, my take on it is this...

I'm setting up a new tank and I live in an area where agriculture is prevalent. This means that most likely all rocks were exposed to pesticide at some point.

For this reason I would like my rocks as sterile as possible. The ones that you buy from the fish store are not seeded with beneficial bacteria...

So my plan is this, get them as clean as possible, then re-seed them with bacteria that I know is good.

I'm planning on cycling my filters in a tub, to give it a shot. While I am cycling I'll throw in my rocks to "seed" them before they go in the thank.

I agree that if you could find rocks from a pristine area that would be best but in reality no area is pristine anymore.

In response to the rocks in the lake, I think that we all know that we are dealing with two different bodies of water, a tank as 75 gallons to dilute "bad" stuff, the lake has billions of gallons of water.
 

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My question is: What on a rock would bleach kill that boiling water wouldn't?
Seems to me boiling water would be enough and you wouldn't have to even worry about the "is bleach ok to use?" argument.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
SandBagger said:
My question is: What on a rock would bleach kill that boiling water wouldn't?
Seems to me boiling water would be enough and you wouldn't have to even worry about the "is bleach ok to use?" argument.
I understand your argument here, but who has a 55 gallon pot? :) It would have taken me much longer to boil each rock seperately then to throw them in a tub with some bleach.
 
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