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How to choose stones for the aquarium: a guide for beginners

As a rule, in the domestic common aquariums live fish that originate from reservoirs, in which there are stones and rocks. If you keep cichlids that live in lakes with a rocky landscape, a mandatory requirement for such aquariums – the presence of stones and structures from them in the form of grottoes and caves.

Stones and aquarium soil should be completely inert with respect to the chemical composition of water. The exception is when an aquarist intentionally uses a rock that changes the hydrochemical composition of the water in an aquarium.

They must be free from minerals that may be toxic to the inhabitants of the aquarium.

In addition, I recommend to stop using stones with sharp edges and angles, as fish may cause injury. This is especially true if very active fish live in an aquarium, which in a state of effect can rush around the pond.

If the stones you plan to use as a substrate for spawning, they should be smooth.

In pet stores you can not find the appropriate types of stones, as a rule, we offer either slate or limestone. You must understand that not all types of stones that lie on the shelves of pet shops, are suitable for home aquarium.

Better buy aquarium decorations in trusted stores, such as the Aqua Stone Shop. Ideally, every aquarist should have an idea about the rocks that can be used in aquarism.

This will give the opportunity to choose their own decorative elements.

In the literature on geology can be found images of rocks with a description of the composition. Therefore, finding the right information is not difficult, the main thing is to know where to look. However, to avoid undesirable moments, it is better to abandon the use of rocks with a high content of calcium, magnesium and manganese salts.

One of the best options for decorating an aquarium is to use stones from the beach that have been polished for years with water.

Suitable breeds for use in aquarism

Gneiss is a solid metamorphic rock, striped in appearance. As a rule, stones come across are white, gray-green and gray.

The structure of the rock is fine-grained and neutral with respect to aquarium water. This is a very good stone for use in aquariums of any type.

Granite It is a solid volcanic rock interspersed with white, gray and black. Granite is used in the decoration of buildings.

There is a variety of orange granite. It is neutral to aquarium water, therefore, it is ideal for a home aquarium.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, which includes calcium carbonate. Some varieties of limestone may contain magnesium.

Limestone can be fine-grained, coarse-grained and crumbly. It is usually gray or white with inclusions of fossils.

Limestone contributes to increasing the rigidity and pH of the water in the aquarium.

Lime Tuff is a fragile limestone, which is ideal for aquariums that inhabit fish from alkaline reservoirs and rocky bottom landscape. Tuff is considered a lightweight porous material, from which you can build impressive structures that will rest on the back wall of the aquarium without overloading the latter.

For spawning, calcareous tuff is absolutely useless, as it is highly porous and rough.

Slate rock It is considered very hard and has a gray layered structure. It splits easily enough into plates or sheets with flat edges. In some shales there is an intrusion of other minerals, which appear as colored veins on the lateral faces of the stone.

For aquarium, this breed is unsuitable.

Sandstone is a sedimentary rock from sand, which can affect the hydrochemical parameters of water depending on the composition of the sand. Some types of sandstone can increase the hardness or pH of the water in an aquarium.

There are brittle and soft sandstone, which are also not suitable for use in aquariums.

How to choose stones for the aquarium

  • It is not recommended to look for stones near the quarries and mines in which mineral or metal ores are mined. If there is a quarry nearby where stones are mined used in the construction and manufacture of statues, then this is clearly a good sign, since in such a rock there is a uniform structure without any inclusions that can be toxic to aquarium inhabitants. However, this does not mean that they do not affect the pH or water hardness;
  • You can not use stones with metallic inclusions or rust stains, as well as the rock, which has inclusions in the form of colored crystals. If the streaks or crystals are transparent in appearance, then it is most likely quartz that is harmless;
  • Bone stones, except for tufa, are also not suitable for a tropical aquarium with a lot of vegetation. Exception – banks with alkaline water;
  • Grayish-white matte stones are most likely limestone, which will increase the water hardness in the aquarium;
  • The color of the stones should be uniform;
  • Do not place brightly colored stones in an aquarium unless you are sure that they are safe for living creatures.

And lastly I would like to note a few important points. Do not refuse to decorate the aquarium with stones just because they are difficult to get.

If you find safe and interesting stones, they will not collapse and will please the eye as much as a neglected aquarium will stand. If you are not confident in your abilities in terms of choosing a natural stone for an aquarium, contact a pet shop specialist or familiar to an experienced aquarist.

Any stones should be thoroughly rinsed before being placed in an aquarium without the use of detergents and cleaning products. It is enough to take a brush and clean the lichen, moss and dirt under running water.

Stones obtained in natural waters need to be cleaned, washed and calcined in an oven at a temperature of 200 – 250 degrees for half an hour, so that all hidden microorganisms would die.

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