Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been silently browsing and researching for weeks, and I'm finally close to setting up my cichlid tank!! So excited. But finding the things I want for it are proving difficult. Specifically at the moment, I'm working on getting rocks for my tank. I plan on having several demasonais, some labs, kenyis, socolofis, and something white in a 55 gallon tank.

So I've tried Home Depot and Lowes, and their selection seems to be all factory made. I've tried the landscaping places, and their rocks are either too big or I'm worried they're the wrong type. I've heard most of the rocks with red in it are that way due to iron rusting, which is bad for a tank, right? There's one other place that's promising but I managed to get there one hour after they closed today ><

I guess the question is - if I go to a landscaping place, which types of rocks are safe for the aquarium? (concerned about metal content, not limestone issues)

The other option I thought about was just pouring my own little slab of concrete, then shattering it when it dried and use that. Has anyone done that before? And if so, how should I pour it? I'll probably be getting some concrete anyways to make my background.

Any other suggestions? I'm looking for CHEAP.
Thanks! (yay first post!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
Using concrete will result in a PH spike for a while after introducing it into the water since the materials will leech out and raise the dissolved solids making the PH jump. You would have to soak and continue changing the water for a few weeks at least.

Why not take a ride to a local stream and grab some rocks? Or any farmers in your area? They usually are happy to get rid of most rock for free.

Other posts in here show that most rock types are perfectly fine for Africans since the most they will do is buffer the water more and slightly raise you PH which is what they prefer anyhow. The only problems you may encounter as far as that is if you have soft water, then you would have to see where you water would settle out as far as PH with the rocks added in the water. Say your water is at 7.0PH out of the tap and with rocks it raises to 7.5 then you will be ok, but if it only raised a PH of 6.5 to say 6.8 then you would still need to buffer it up to an acceptable range.

Only rock I have heard of staying away from was Fools Gold. Others are obviously sharper or rougher than others but that is a personal choice there. I just use round river rock or field stone.

Hope this helps and I am sure more people will chime in with other thoughts and/or opinions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So red rocks and whatever should be fine? And I would go to a local stream.... but I'm in Florida... We don't have rocks, we have dirt and sand lol. Found some at a local park... but I don't think they would appreciate me stealing their retaining wall.

And yes, I already knew I'd need to rinse/soak the concrete stuff. Figured I'd borrow a spare tub in my parent's house while they're out of town... ^_^
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
Yes I have several red rocks in my setup with Mbuna and have had no ill effects at all since they been put in about 8 months ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh, that reminds me of one other idea I had - use the bags of medium sized red lava rocks (the size they suggest works well as mulch) and glue several pieces together to make larger rocks, which I can then stack together. Anyone tried anything similar?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,502 Posts
The landscape supply companies usually know whether a particular rock contains metal or not. Look for rocks the size of your fist up to the size of your head. Beginners often discount the large ones, I know I did.

River rock is sold in large sizes and is rounded and safe. Cobbles and fieldstone sold for mortar-free rock walls can be popular with aquarists.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,998 Posts
Not to worry too much about the red color. Some may be due to iron content but much is also due to red clay and totally safe. Been to Georgia? I feel broken concrete would not be good. It breaks with sharp edges as well as the PH questions. Need to look for more rock supply places.
I'm sure there are places where the masonry builders get rock for walls and patios, etc. Might try a Google search for rock. There has to be some hiding out soemwhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone!

I found another landscaping company nearby that was much more individual friendly - rocks sold by the pound instead of pallet. Got my rocks! A little disappointed with lack of color when wet, so I might add more later though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Concrete that has been out in the weather for a couple of years is generally perfectly safe, the concrete leaches for a while, but it eventually cures to a point where it will no longer really effect PH if it is exposed to moisture and the weather. I have made backgrounds and custom rocks (like the homemade DIY base rock reef guys make sometimes) out of concrete in the past and had no issues.

If you want to take or make some fresh concrete rocks, and have a body of water nearby, you can just throw them into a mesh bag and toss them in for a month or so, then retrieve them and treat them like any other found rock. Generally once the stuff has an established biofilm on it it will quit leeching. If you are worried leave them overnight in a bucket of water and test the PH and dissolved solids for a change.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top