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Readers Respond: Using Outdoor Rocks

Responses: 32


Did you ever see a rock by the side of the road that you wanted to put in your aquarium? Perhaps you even stopped and took a look, then decided you didn't want to risk it. Some outdoor rocks and gravel are safe for aquarium use, while others are not. Have you used rocks from the great outdoors? Share your story with the us. Are they safe?

5 Gallon testing

Killed three fish with tap water and a new tank. Snails are hardy so I'll be testing putting a mossy rock in there with zero washing. Creek water in back should be clear - mountain run off.
—Guest Experimenter

outdoor rocks safe?

I soak them in fresh water for 1 day, dry them out for 1 day, fresh water for another day then scrub them without any soap. No corals for a freshwater tank. Coral breaks down in freshwater, it will have a negative impact on your water chemistry (there may be laws prohibiting harvesting coral or live rock in your area).

how to clean stuff before you put them i

I am a tried and true 62 yr old aquarium enthusast and fish breeder. When I was in college eons ago my girlfreind at the time told me to soak gravel/rock in Kosher salt solution and scrub with new vegetable brush that has never seen soap of any kind. Anti Bacterial soap may clean hands well but fish have no tolerance of POLLUTION and that is what SOAP or WINDEX is. I have heard of folks cleaning their glass aquariums ,even outside, it loosing fish. Scrap inside of aquariums if you must but do it with algae scraper or fresh out of the box teflon scrubber,but never steel wool(particle are left behind and kill fish) and soap pads.....well you get the picture. Use Kosher sale in bucket of gravel ,place bucket in kitchen sink and stir,stir with your fingers and hands until you smell no oder and sure salt is washed out. Iodized salt is POISON to fish and salt in general is poisonous to some fish(coryodoras in particular!


I have used pebbles for my cold water fish the seem fine i just soaked them in hot water and scrubbed them wiv anti bac hand wash then rinsed them of 2-3times then just put them in my tank and its alllll gravy :))
—Guest mish

Can I put petrified wood

Can I put petrified wood with hot glue on it in my fish tank???
—Guest Pat

Moss rock is safe for aquarium

Hi, Some one can tell me the moss rock is safe for my fresh water tank
—Guest Sean


Can I wash off rocks from my river and put them in my freshwater tank?
—Guest Austin

Outside rocks in our fish tanks?

Yes you definitely can use them. Before you wash your rocks, put some vinegar on them. If they bubble, DON'T use them. Otherwise, after they are washed boil them 5-10 minutes let cool and create your wonderful wall of rocks. COOL HA...
—Guest Shells


i let my outdoor rocks sit in the bucket of hot water for four days if you want to use sea salt rock heres how: 1.find good rocks/shells make sure of no sharp or dangous edges 2.rinse in HOT water by hand for 30 mins 3.put in a cup of HOT water whatch the debree dust and slat go out 4.change the water by swishing it and emtying it a few times 5.leave for 5 days then rinse and put in your tank
—Guest fish chick

Clean rock from outside?

Could i just get a clean looking rock from outside and boil it or rinse it and then put it in my freshwater tank with goldfish??
—Guest Jake

Not rocks but shells

My kid every year picks up new shells when we visit the beech as she likes to put them in our tank. I basically rinse them off thouroughly with only water and then take a container full of water out of my tank and sit the shells in the container, sealing the lid for two weeks before replaceing the old shells with them. Really interested in introducing rocks to my tank, be it LR or not. But don't know how it would affect my tank. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
—Guest Geomac


can you use rocks from outside for your tanks. yes or no. thank you
—Guest tim

Will outdoor rocks kill your fish

As long as you just don't use any salt rock or rocks from the ocean you should be fine. I have never had a single problem with my fish. If you do use ocean rocks I recommend you getting them inspected by any petstore such as petco or petsmart. But I can't promise anything
—Guest Mark

lake rocks and shells

umm i went to a lake recently and found some cool rock and clam shells im afraid to put it in my fresh water tank it only 5 gallons but im looking to see if i should put them inn or not cause there covered in moss and mud does any one have a suggestion
—Guest deasia

lake water rocks

okay so i pulled rocks from the lake with sea weed and moss all over them, and i use them in my aquarium. they give the aquarium a cool look and my fish love them. they eat the moss and algae however so i keep a few extra mossy and sea weed rocks in clear containers in a window so thw continue to grow so i donr have to frequently go to the lake. it wasnt until yesterday i found that there are actually living small microscopic snails, fish, and even sucker fishes sort of like ploclastimus'. so im gonna let them grow with the rock plants and realease all of it in the tank. however, yes rocks from the lake with lots of life and plants on them work amazingly!
—Guest wannabe marine biologist

Are they safe?

Using Outdoor Rocks

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