Last Updated on January 13, 2022 by Fabiola L.
Lava stones are a great accessory to your aquarium. Click to learn how to prepare lava rock for aquariums without any hassle.
There are many kinds of aquarium hardscape available, but lava rocks are the most famous. Adding lava rocks will not only enhance the look of your aquarium but will also provide your aquatic pets with a better living environment.
The most important thing is not to put them in the aquarium immediately after purchase as this could endanger both animals and plants. Before adding lava rocks, you must first prepare them. Wondering how?
Keep reading to learn how to prepare lava rock for aquarium and how to add it safely.
What Is Lava Rock?
Lava rock (other names: volcanic or igneous rock) is a type of rock that has been melted by extreme geothermal, such as a volcanic eruption. After melting, it cools into a porous form of rock. Did you know that lava rock is the most abundant source of bedrock on the planet?
This is because the Earth itself was formed by the repeated eruptions of volcanoes, which ultimately resulted in the creation of the Earth’s crust. Lava stone is, therefore, a plentiful source of hardscaping material for aquariums as well as in terrariums.
Is lava rock good for aquariums? Keep reading to find out what its (dis) advantages are.
Benefits Of Using Lava Rock In Aquarium
Natural hardscaping looks pretty good, especially in a planted aquarium. Real rock and wood features in your aquarium help emulate the natural and relaxing environment, which ultimately results in happier and healthier animals.
Provides Shelter For Your Aquatic Pets
Many different species of fish and invertebrates do not like to be exposed, especially when it comes to prey animals. Therefore, the use of Lava rocks is an ideal solution as it acts as a shelter and also helps them to set up individual territories by providing a visual marker.
Harbors Beneficial Bacteria
Due to its porosity, lava rock can be a safe haven for colonies of beneficial bacteria. With large colonies of beneficial bacteria, the quality of the water increases, and aquariums are also able to contain more fish.
Most types of lava rocks are naturally pH neutral. This is a very important feature because it means that its use will not change the pH of aquarium water in one way or another.
Drawbacks of Using Lava Rock in Aquariums
Sharpness And Abrasiveness
Some types of Lava rocks have a sharp and abrasive surface. Unfortunately, this is not good for fish that move fast or have long fins because they can hurt them badly.
Lava rocks tend to trap and retain excess food particles, fish waste, and other dirt found in the aquarium. Such retention can result in reduced water quality if the rocks are not cleaned from time to time or at least rinsed with dechlorinated water.
If you do not handle them carefully, Lava rocks can scratch the glass of the aquarium with its abrasive surface. They can even crack it if bumped into its glass sides.
How To Prepare Lava Rock For Aquarium?
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s not advisable to just buy lava rocks and put them in a tank right away. They first need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove any bacteria that could harm the animals and plants in your aquarium.
For the health of your aquatic world, it would be best to avoid using household cleaners as they may contain substances that could be dangerous and fatal.
Well, let’s get to the point. These are the best ways to clean lava rocks before fish tank use.
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Washing The Lava Rocks
Take your lava rocks and put them in an empty bucket which you will then fill with water to the top. Then take a soft-bristled brush and scrub the stones thoroughly.
After a while, you will notice that the water in the bucket has changed color. You don’t need to panic, it is just a sign that you are doing well; the rocks are getting cleaner. Feel free to pour the colored water down the drain and refill the bucket with clean and fresh water.
It would be advisable to repeat the process until the water stops changing color. Also, you can even rub two lava rocks together to easily get rid of sharp edges. This way you can prevent injuries to your aquatic pets.
Once you are done washing, it is time to dry. Just leave them to air-dry, that will be quite enough.
Boiling The Lava Rocks
The next step is disinfection. Only then will you be sure that they will not carry any diseases that could harm the plants or fish in your aquarium. The easiest form of lava rock disinfection is boiling.
It is important to remember that you must be extremely careful during this process as lava rocks can explode if cooked for a long time at high temperatures. Choose a large pot (with the right lid) to cook the rocks, and never cook them for more than 30 minutes.
When finished, wipe off all the water with a towel or soft cloth and allow them to cool for at least an hour before adding them to the aquarium.
Using A Bleaching Solution On Lava Rocks
Bleaching your lava rocks isn’t hard, but it’s not as effective as boiling. However, this is a method that is guaranteed not to break or shatter rocks, especially if they are very large.
All you need to do is make a solution in the ratio of bleach to water – 1:10, and leave your rocks in there for 24 hours. Once you take them out, don’t put them in the aquarium right away, as they might still have bleach on them. Therefore, wash them thoroughly first and then place them in the aquarium.
To Wrap Things Up
Lava rocks are essential when it comes to providing a conducive environment to your aquatic world. Buying the highest quality will help you ensure a long and healthy life for your aquarium pets and plants.
By following these three rules for cleaning lava rock in a fish tank, you will be able to very quickly and effortlessly ensure the best for your aquarium.
Do you have any ideas on how to prepare lava rock for the aquarium? Let us know in the comments below.
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