Add rocks to your aquarium? Why not? I know many people have the same thought with me as rocks will make our aquarium look more beautiful, aquascape and colorful, which definitely attracts the viewer’s eyes. Furthermore, it also helps beneficial bacteria grow, interest fish to explore and provide a base for the growth of coral. However, I guess many people may ask why we have to spend a lot of money on products from an aquarium store while we can find some rock on our own.
The answer is everything would deserve if it is good for the aquarium ecosystem and your fish. A rock from outdoor still has some problems and issues no matter how carefully you wash it. To choose the good fish aquarium rocks, you need to know some important rules. If not, a wrong rock can lead to a catastrophic result for your aquarium.
In this article will discuss about:
- Difference between aquarium rocks and the outdoor rocks
- My favorite brands for the best aquarium rocks
- How to choose the safest aquarium rocks
- Prepare the rocks before being placed in an aquarium
Difference Between Aquarium Rocks And The Outdoor Rocks
The biggest differences between aquarium rocks and the outdoor rocks are its cost, quality, and safety. The aquarium rocks are the store-bought rocks that are somewhat well prepared and processed for the safe aquarium environment while the outdoor rocks are the ones you find on your own from outdoors such as beaches, lakes, ocean, dry wash beds, river, or banks of streams. It is understandable why the aquarium rocks or store-bought rocks can cost quite a bit.
Of course, it is alright if you feel using your own outdoor rocks is a good way of saving money. But let’s face the truth. Although the rocks collected outdoors have its own pleasures, it’s quality and safety are somewhat worse than ones of aquarium rocks as they often come with some risks. The wrong rocks you collect from outdoors can change the pH and hardness of the water, which harms your fish consequently. Furthermore, the collected outdoor rocks may have contaminants that harm fish and affect the aquarium water.
As you can see, the outdoor rocks are attractive and inexpensive but you have to test your rocks carefully to ensure its safety and quality. In my opinion, if you aren’t an expert at examining the rock composition, it is best to purchase the aquarium rocks from a pet shop for safety.
Here is the list of the best aquarium rocks that make your tanks more beautiful.
|Saim Floating Artificial Stone Rock||10 x 6.5cm/3.9” x 2.6”||Freshwater and saltwater aquariums|
|Carib Sea ACS00372 3 case South Sea Base Rock||1 x 1 x 1 inches||Marine reef tank, African cichlid tank|
|Panacea 70033 River Rock||5.7 x 5.4 x 5.3 inches||Any aquariums|
|Natural Slate Stone 3 to 5 inch Rocks||Any aquariums|
|Saim Aquarium Stone Ornament Decorative Rock||6.2″/16cm x 5.5″/14cm x 3″/7cm(L*W*H)||Any aquariums|
|Universal Rocks||47.5 x 6.5 x 19 inches||Any aquariums|
|Pisces 17 lb Seiryu Rock||5.5 x 11.8 x 5.5 inches||Any aquariums|
|Worldwide Imports AWW0855 Atlantic Coral Rock||Marine Reef Tanks|
|4LBS – Ohko Dragon Stone Rock||Aquariums with the tropical fish, plant, and shrimp|
1. Saim Floating Artificial Stone Rock
Buy it now
The Saim floating artificial aquarium rocks with green moss really kept me interested in. Attached with a fishing line, this rock can float easily without causing cracking in my glass aquarium and I can adjust the length of the fishing line to change the height it floats.
The Saim freshwater aquarium rocks really make my aquarium look more beautiful and landscape, which gives great visual effects to the viewers. More interestingly, you can use this rock for both freshwater and saltwater aquarium with a super cheap price (less than $10). So the beautiful design and affordable cost are the reason why I would like to recommend these cheap aquarium rocks.
2. Carib Sea ACS00372 3 case South Sea Base Rock
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Carib Sea is a well-known brand with many good products and items; therefore, I purchased these white aquarium rocks for my 20-gallon freshwater aquarium. Over time, it starts looking natural and beautiful in my tank and I finally felt satisfied with the purchase.
The lightweight porous rock features the white color and many holes on the surface; therefore, I found it perfectly fit my aquarium. For anyone who has the coralline algae in the tank, I would like to recommend this model to you as when the white color is combined with the green of the corals, your aquarium will look more beautiful and more landscape. Furthermore, it is cleaned; therefore, I don’t need to put too much on the cleaning process.
You may find the cost is a little more pricy but for the good quality, I really think this purchase is definitely a wise investment for all marine reef tanks. It is also suitable for the tanks with African cichlids, the fish with aggressive nature and digging behavior. Moreover, I guarantee that it will save money in the long run as over 3 years of being used in my tank with corals and reefs, the aquarium rocks for cichlids are still stable and look good.
3. Panacea 70033 River Rock
Buy it now
I really like the natural outdoor rocks from the river or stream and I collected some for my tank in the past until my fish died because of them. Finding the Panacea black aquarium rocks in a pet shop, I was surprised at how it looks exactly like natural beautiful river rocks. But unlike the outdoor river rocks, this one is designed, processed and prepared to ensure the safety for your aquarium ecosystem and your fish. It is a reason why I would like to give this brand a try.
The result is great. A bag has the majority of rocks with around 1.5″ and some bigger rocks with between 2.5″ to 3″. All rocks have nice polish, natural looking and aren’t overly shiny. After a period of time being in my tank, these rocks work perfectly and my fish still survives. Furthermore, I also found more other purposes of these black aquarium rocks as they can be used for my rock gardens and my planters.
A bag of Panacea River Rock costs you around $15 but it only has several rocks. So I wish the marker can slow down the price a little bit. If you don’t mind spending more than one dollar on one rock, it would be your ideal purchase for your aquarium.
If you buy this item, the only notice is that you should not put it in a fireplace because the heat can result in cracking or even explosion.
4. Natural Slate Stone 3 to 5 inch Rocks
Buy it now
The natural aquarium rocks from Small World Slate & Stone brand with a flat shape and beautiful grey color are a pretty good deal. They are totally natural therefore in a bag, besides the rocks with darker grey colors, you can easily find some rocks with brown and white colors mixed. Furthermore, it comes with a good variety of shapes with some roughly circular and flat, around 3 to 5’’ in diameter. That creates a beautiful and natural looking for your aquarium.
Look totally natural but it is safer and better in quality than the outdoor rocks you collected randomly as the manufacturer has removed the toxins, harmful bacteria, elements and residues from the rocks through careful processing steps. Therefore, I think the cost of more than 20$ for that product is reasonable and logical.
I got plenty of these flat aquarium rocks in my house. I used it for my walkways, ground cover, archways, and even my planters.
5. Saim Aquarium Stone Ornament Decorative Rock
Buy it now
Another product of Saim brand I have a chance to try out and test its quality is Saim plastic aquarium rocks. Despite being made of resin plastic material, these rocks look amazingly natural and realistic, which gives my aquarium a natural aquatic feeling and makes my aquarium become more beautiful and gorgeous.
Furthermore, because of plastic material, this products has a less expensive cost than other artificial rocks in the market. The plastic material is non-toxic; therefore, there is no need to worry about its safety for the aquarium ecosystem when you introduce the rocks to your tanks.
6. Universal Rocks
Buy it now
The Universal Rocks are ideal for someone who likes the amazing background in their aquarium. Its design is also perfect for all kinds of aquariums. Using the rock background, some hobbyists may worry that the fish can knock over or damage any decorations. No one wants a catastrophic result. But putting the Universal large aquarium rocks that are stacked well inside your tank, you won’t need to worry at all.
Furthermore, because it is flexible and changeable, it is easy for me to reduce its space and sizes in my tank by bending or cutting its size as much as needed to make it fit in the tank. Even if I don’t cut it, the largest spots take only 5-6 inches and it has only two spots like that. Therefore, it doesn’t take too much space in your tank.
It is understandable why this product is much more expensive than other ones I have tried out but for the best quality, it is worth every your penny. Sturdy and long-lasting. So I think the cost of about $140 isn’t too high that you can not afford if you really like the amazingly beautiful rock background which secures safely and strongly inside your tank and makes your aquarium look more natural and deep.
7. Pisces 17 lb Seiryu Rock
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It is a really fantastic product with many rocks in a bag and a great variety of shapes and sizes; therefore I am extremely happy with the rocks I bought. The cost of about more than $30 for a bag of rocks seems affordable, in my opinions especially when there are many bonuses about these rocks.
For example, we can create a rock work inside the tank by gluing rocks together in the way we want (Of course, you have to find the glue safe for your aquarium and your fish). Moreover, this product is totally safe as the maker claimed. Furthermore, the beautiful gray color makes my aquarium look gorgeous when I just need to glue rocks together, put them inside the tank on the top of the substrate and add some plants to complete. Someone complains it changes the pH of aquarium water but after using it for a long period of time, I didn’t find any issue and a problem like that in this product.
So, don’t listen to the negative reviews if you didn’t try. I have to say that these amazing big aquarium rocks are just what I looking for when I want to decorate my aquarium. Its affordable price, good quality, and great quantities are its good points for you to consider the purchase.
8. Worldwide Imports AWW0855 Atlantic Coral Rock
Buy it now
To avoid the pests in your tank, go with dry live rock. You may hear that from any expert hobbyist. And so I am; therefore, I purchased the Worldwide Imports Atlantic Coral Rock.
Talking about the price and quantity of this purchase, I was satisfied as other dry rocks in my trying list are either too expensive or have too little rocks in the bag. Picking these rocks made me feel glad because I have tons of rocks in a bag with all sizes and shapes. That will enable you to aquascape or create the rock work as much as you can by putting the rocks together.
Because they are porous, the set up is easy. You can also place corals or build reefs to complete. You can do it well without any glue or putty.
Someone may complain that its cost is somewhat pricy. However, let’s face it. You hardly find something come with safe quality, great quality and natural looking shapes with a super cheap cost. Furthermore, the Worldwide Imports aquarium rocks are true rocks from the Atlantic Ocean as you can see some browning on some rocks.
9. 4LBS – Ohko Dragon Stone Rock
Buy it now
I bought the 4 lbs of Ohko Dragon Stone Rock and received a bag with about less than ten rocks. So with the cost of more than $20 for one bag, it seems not quite affordable for anyone. But for the quality and its beautiful brown color, it is worth a try.
The rocks come with a good variety of size and shapes; therefore, you can put the rocks together before placing them inside the tank. Furthermore, I bought them because they don’t affect the water chemistry.
The rocks are sturdy but some of them are brittle, which is the only drawback I found about the Ohko Dragon brand. Moreover, because they are dirty when you open the package, you need to wash them before introducing them to the tank. Be careful because some of them can break apart.
Overall, it is still a good investment for hobbyists who are the beginners of aquascaping because putting these rocks together is easy.
How To Choose The Safest Aquarium Rocks
To have not only a beautiful tank but also a good aquarium ecosystem and healthy fish, knowing how to choose the safest aquarium rocks is important if you want to add rocks to your aquarium. Even though you bought a store-bought rock from a reliable pet shop, it doesn’t mean it is totally safe if you don’t test carefully. Continue reading to know how I choose the safest rocks for my aquarium no matter whether I purchase store-bought rocks or collects outdoor rocks.
1. Rocks To Avoid And Rocks To Use
There are many types of rocks but not all these types can be compatible with the aquarium environment. This is because an aquarium of fish and plant is a micro-ecosystem that isn’t able to dilute some minerals or toxins. Therefore, if you want to pick rock for your aquarium, you need to know some certain rocks you can use safely.
|Safe Rocks For Aquariums||Unsafe Rocks For Aquariums|
|Sandstone||Crushed coral or shells (can be used in freshwater tanks but is suitable for African cichlid tanks with desirable hardness and higher Ph)|
Moreover, you should also avoid any rocks or stones with sharp edges because it can harm your fish and lead to injuries.
2. Test The Composition Of Rocks
The second step to make sure that you chose the safest aquarium rocks is to the possibility they contain calcium because calcium is a principal danger that affects the pH of your aquarium water.
First, make sure that you wash the rocks or stones carefully to get rid of the contaminants or loose grit after you bring the rocks to home.
For the test, you just need to put a few drops of vinegar on the aquarium rock and then wait for the reaction. If the vinegar foams or fizzes, this rock cannot be used because this reaction shows the stone contains calcium.
Another way of testing the safety of the rocks is to place the washed stones or rocks in a bucket filled with water. Leave it for a week and see the result. If you see a significant change, the rocks are likely to harm your fish and the ecosystem of your aquarium.
3. Buy The Products From The Reliable Brands
Buying the products from reliable brands also makes us feel secure rather than pouring money on the disreputable product. For the safe aquarium rocks, I prefer brands such as Carib Sea, Worldwide Imports, Universal Rocks, Panacea, etc.
All the products and brands I introduced above are from the must-try reliable brands and I guarantee for their quality.
Prepare The Rocks Before Being Placed Inside An Aquarium
Once you choose the safe rocks for your aquarium, the next thing you have to do is to prepare them well before being placed inside the aquarium. If not well prepared, the rocks still remain some toxin, elements, and calcium that alter the pH of aquarium water. pH changes could be stressful as they can harm the beneficial bacterial colonies, affect the fish’s health and increase waste in the aquarium environment. It is a reason why we should not only take care of our selections but also prepare rocks well before we introduce them to our aquarium.
Follow these steps for preparing the rocks:
- Clean the rocks and scrub them with a soft brush in running water
- Boil the rocks to kill all bacteria living outside and inside for 20-30 minutes
- Move and place them on some paper towels
- Leave it until the rocks cool down and dry
- Place the rocks safely and wisely inside the tank (you should avoid cramming them in any area of the tank)
- Secure the rocks in place with non-toxic silicone glue to prevent falling or cracking the glass
Besides the method of boiling the rocks, you can submerge the washed rocks and stones in a bleach solution as another way to get rid of harmful bacteria and impurities from the rocks. You just need a large container. Make sure the bleach solution submerges fully the rocks with a ratio of 10 : 1 (water to bleach). Leave it for 24 hours and then remove and rinse the rocks with running water. This bleaching method might not be as effective as the boiling but it is suitable for the porous rocks that can easily break apart with the boiling method.
When you want to choose the best aquarium rocks for your tank, there are a lot of things to consider. Some people like the natural rocks while others prefer man-made ones. Some fall in love with the large aquarium rocks while not few people want to buy the smaller ones. No matter what is your needs, you can still find the aquarium rocks that make you satisfied in the list of the must-try products I have included above. Let’s think of your ideal aquarium and shop for the right aquarium rock now.