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Best method for cleaning aquarium rocks

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by qingwen, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. qingwen

    qingwen New Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Hi all,

    I'm new here.
    Planning to start my planted tank soon. Just got some rocks from a landscaping/ aquarium place and want to get it ready for my tank. It's a little dirty with soil and lime deposits(I think).

    I have surfed the net, and there are many methods or rather, opinions. From boiling to soaking in vinegar and scrubbing..

    I have tried soaking in vinegar and there seems to be little bubbles coming out. Hope that it's because they are covered in lime.

    I'm not sure about which way and why, hope that someone can guide me here.

    Thanks in advance!

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 16, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Melbourne Australia
    I would give them a very good soaking to loosen all the surface junk first, then give them a good hosing down

    If you can get hold of a pressure hose or a steam cleaner all the better.

    If only small rocks give them a long slow boiling.

    They still might require a stiff brushing as well.

  3. abhradip1986

    abhradip1986 Aspiring Aquascaper

    Feb 23, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Bangalore, India
    Please refrain the use of the rocks which bubbles/fizzes! they have high lime/carbonate/sulphur content. carbonate can increase the water hardness, but sulphur will be poisonous for flora and fauna both!
  4. qingwen

    qingwen New Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Likes Received:
    hi all,

    i soaked them overnight in vinegar as i noticed that they might have some lime deposits on the rocks.
    after which i brushed all the dirt, soil, sand, lime algae off
    then i went to boil them, followed by soaking them in tap water for 24 hours before drying and using them to scape.

    hope that everything will be alright! removed most of the dirt, but seems like my rocks are getting smaller too!
  5. hamza

    hamza Aspiring Aquascaper

    Jan 10, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I use hydrochloric acid(mild solution used for cleaning) and stiff brush for cleaning rocks.

    I place rocks in large tub, pour the HCl directly over all the rocks and it starts corroding all the calcium and muddy deposits, then after some fizzing I submerge the rocks in the very same tub with water (adding some more HCl to it) and letting it stay overnight. This dissolves/loosens up every bit of material that may alter the water parameters leaving just the inert rock.
    Next day I drain the water completely. I brush and rinse the rocks thoroughly to ensure no deposits/acid remain on he rocks.

    But be very careful, this is not good for every kind of rock. I have found that it bleaches out some kinds of rocks white and might discolor others as well, especially rocks with iron contents(like scoria/laterite rocks, etc).

    To be on safe side, experiment on a small piece of rock, if it works perfectly then do it for the hole lot.

    For rocks sensitive to acid I just use stiff wire brush along with a dense wired plastic brush.

    Note-Please keep in mind that that this is to be done outdoors using all safety precautions for HCl; acid proof gloves, breathing mask,etc. Its fumes are highly dangerous for your lungs, keep distance and avoid any spills.

    Locally I get the acid in soft plastic bottles, I punch the lid with a nail and pour small quantity of acid at a time over a surface through this hole.
  6. mihaim

    mihaim New Member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Somewhere in Transylvania
    I only scrub the rocks, I don't care about lime deposits & carbonates because I don't use a PH controller nor do I scape my tanks with very soft water loving plants or breed soft water fish.
    If they are covered in algae I let them dry for a couple of days before cleaning them.
  7. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Leeds, England.
    I use a pressure washer myself... George farmer I understand used to/uses an electric toothbrush.
  8. Aquadream

    Aquadream Aspiring Aquascaper

    Apr 6, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Hammer and chisel or a stiff metal wire brush. Ok I'm pulling your legs guys..:)
    Easy Carbo is the best way to clean rocks if they are part of any scape and can not be removed. In one of my scapes I use to apply double dose directly on the rocks surface sqeezing the Easy Carbo with a long glass pipette. After 3 days the rocks become brand new.
    Only when Easy Carbo is applied the filters must be stopped for about 5 minutes so the current wouldn't blow the Easy Carbo away before it has achieved any effect on the algae.
  9. Cento

    Cento New Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Toronto, Canada
    Here in Canada (eh?) we have a product available that is more durable and comes with several more attachments (various sizes and stiffnesses) than the dental type of electric brush...
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk HD1343329850.924656.jpg

    Although its meant for automotive detailing (rims, tires, dash, etc) it works wonders in the aquarium hobby... And it's completely submersible. :)

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    mihaim likes this.

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