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I am going to the river today to get some river rocks for my aquarium. Should I put some bleach in the water when I scrub them to kill anything that may be on them? I would let them dry out for a couple of days before putting them in the tank.
 

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With my river rocks I hosed the rocks off, scrubbed them (to get any dirt that the hosing didn't reach), soaked in a bleach solution (about 1:20 parts bleach to water) for about an hour, rinsed thoroughly several times and then soaked in water with a heavy dose of dechlorinator for a few hours. After that I left the rocks to sit and dry for an extended period of time.

I would definitely do the dechlorinated water step if you're bleaching.

Obviously when scrubbing you don't want to use a brush that's been in contact with soap. I'd buy a new one for the purpose.

HTH
 

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Just depends on how cautious (some might say paranoid) you are.

Some people just rinse the rocks off and throw them in the tank.

Others boil them.

I pretty much do what zimmy does - spray off the gunk, soak in bleach, then soak in fresh water plus a hefty dose of dechlor, then into the tank.
 

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I've been using found rocks in my tanks for 40 years and have never ever done anything but but wash them off and a little scrubbing in plain old water..never had a problem..boiling..scares the **** out of me I've read where some rocks explode in boiling water, bleach your never really sure if you get it all out..wash em and throw em in!!! :thumb:
 

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Bleach or risk snails. I introduced snails to my tanks years ago by just scrubbing that I still have to this day. Dechlor will guarantee that you get all the chlorine out. Don't fear it, bleach it.
 

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You regulars know that I bleach it all. For killing snails a few hours may not be quite long enough, though. Depends on the snail and size and luck. If you think about a snail shell, it is a pretty neat little gizmo that does a good job. That little trap door may let the snail live through things that would normally kill him. It takes a while for bleach to react with the tissue that holds that trapdoor so that it can get inside and kill the snail. Government recommendations for disinfecting water say 24 hour contact time so that is what I go for. It takes a day but when I'm setting up a tank there are other things that I can do.

The last time I got caught not bleaching was when I got some free plants. I chucked them in the tank and now I'm working on getting the fish out of that tank so I can kill the snails. Anybody that tells you a few snails don't hurt just has not had a full blown snail outbreak.


These guys are overrunning the tank. There is no where in the tank where there are not snails. And they are eating even these free plants. Plants with holes in the leaves are NOT what I want.


Even feeding is not fun as the snails come out and float around upside down sucking flakes off the water surface. Now I'm tearing down a 55 that I started to plant just because I was not cautious. A half cup of bleach and a quick dip might have killed the eggs! Now I'm paying the price for my folly.
 

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It also depends on where you stay and how healthy your river is how intense your cleaning regimen needs to be.
 

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The part about where you are collecting is always true but not something we can always tell by just looking. There are so many things that have potential to ruin your tank that we can't see. I just read in the local paper about a person who had found a tiller in the creek that was letting oil leak into the water. The creek is generally considered a nice clean little creek but if you happened to collect rocks from just downstream you might be in big trouble in your tank. That is just the part we can see. The ones I can't see worry me more. Snail eggs are a big one but there are all kinds of disease causing things that I can't even imagine. We know that some things mutate and transfer from animals to birds to humans. It is not hard to imagine some that do the same with transering to fish. That leaves rocks open to contamination from anything that happens to pass by. Raccoons,squirrels,snakes , turtles are just a few, not to mention the human waste that may float by. I just feel much better knowing a cup of bleach does so much to clear the questions about whether the rock is safe.

If you expect a clean plate when you go out to eat, is it out of reason to give your fish a clean rock as well? Either one is about the same level of risk.
 

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i bleach everything that goes into my tanks and can withstand bleach. This means pretty much anything that is hard. The good reason for bleaching river rocks is that aside from killing any noxious critters, it will kill algae and even some chemicals, as well as make it easier to remove these organics. I use enough bleach to make the water feel slippery. Nnce the rocks are rinsed you can use some vinegar (or dechlor) in the rinse water to dechlorinate, or let them dry out. Bleach does not persist when dried out.
I have to agree with the reasoning presented by PfunMo. It really takes very little effort to disinfect your tanks, substrate and equipment. Bleach is a very important part of fish keeping for me.
 

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Bill mentioned an item that hits home with me when I think about it. Having watched pest control folks, I know they tend to spray pretty liberally when they are in back rooms and such where they cando a quick runby. That often leaves them spraying things if it look like it would not hurt. Things like tanks, pumps and boxes of equipment that goes in tanks might be some of the stuff they would spray. They'll spray your tools if they are laying in the floor! :(

Bleach will react with sprays and neutralize them. It might never happen to you or it might the next tank you buy. You can't live far enough out in the woods to avoid all types of potential pollution.
 

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depending on the type of fish you have, the snails might be a nice snack. My 56g had snails until I put one of my electric yellows in there. He appreciated it.
 

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Rocks, driftwood unless they have alot of dirt and mug I rinse them in the river. I never experienced getting anything from the river so deadly it would wipe out my tank. Also the rocks and driftwood in the river have alot of benefical bacteria on them.
 

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I bought a used tank and with came some real rocks I don't know if they are creek rocks or bought from a pet store ( which is likely creek rocks) I also don't know how long they were dry. How would I tell if there are any heavy metals or any bad things for my Lake Malawi fish?
 

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ls5292 said:
I bought a used tank and with came some real rocks I don't know if they are creek rocks or bought from a pet store ( which is likely creek rocks) I also don't know how long they were dry. How would I tell if there are any heavy metals or any bad things for my Lake Malawi fish?
You can do the 'fizz' test, lots of info on the forum about it.
In a nutshell pour some white vinegar on the rock, if it 'fizzes' DO NOT place in your tank.

btw - I've never tried it, but I have chlorinated, boiled, and scrubbed rocks.
 

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I've always just rinsed off the dirt and thrown them in the tank with no problems. One of the perks of living in a desert environment.
 

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theoryguru said:
ls5292 said:
I bought a used tank and with came some real rocks I don't know if they are creek rocks or bought from a pet store ( which is likely creek rocks) I also don't know how long they were dry. How would I tell if there are any heavy metals or any bad things for my Lake Malawi fish?
You can do the 'fizz' test, lots of info on the forum about it.
In a nutshell pour some white vinegar on the rock, if it 'fizzes' DO NOT place in your tank.

btw - I've never tried it, but I have chlorinated, boiled, and scrubbed rocks.
The fizz test doesn't work for african tanks- it just indicates the presence of limestone.
 

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lindseystar said:
Snails are bad? Umm...because I just put 2 in my tank today. :-/
It depends on what snails. Nerites are good because they don't reproduce in freshwater, but with all others you run the risk of snail infestation.
 

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metricliman said:
lindseystar said:
Snails are bad? Umm...because I just put 2 in my tank today. :-/
It depends on what snails. Nerites are good because they don't reproduce in freshwater, but with all others you run the risk of snail infestation.
I have no idea what they are, they were in some java moss that I bought...I figured if they help my sucker fish clean they couldn't be all that bad....they are very small and black shells with black bodies. When the sun comes out, I could try and post a picture.
 

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I would take one out, just in case they haven't repopulated yet.
 
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