Aquascaping and Varieties of River Rocks & Forum
This article is devoted to river rocks in fish tanks; Especially to safety and tips. If you came here searching for online suppliers of aquarium river rocks, then simply click this link! In addition you're welcome to visit our Aquarium Rocks FAQ with Forum article!
Many keepers who prefer the natural look to their aquariums will scout around looking for décor that gives their aquariums a special feel and replicates the natural surroundings of the fish. Biotopes are becoming more popular than ever, keepers are drifting away from aquariums with comical ornaments and fake plants etc., replicating a certain area of the world is much more pleasing to them. Of course you cannot guarantee that adding rocks for décor will be exactly the same rocks that are found in that part of the world but the overall effect is the same. For many years Malawi keepers would use Ocean Rock or Tuffa Rock in their set ups, this too has now fallen out of favour for more natural river pebbles.
There are many types of river rocks to choose from so shopping around can be beneficial, don’t purchase the first rocks you see, you may spot other varieties at a later date that suit your aquarium more. River rocks are also great for the aquascaping, they tend not to be too large and can be moved around easily, if added to the tank correctly, they will create caves, nooks and crannies for the fish to use as hiding places and potential spawning sites. Often the fish have created territories in the aquarium, when adding new fish, especially with the Malawi, to prevent territorial fights the décor is often moved around. Using river rocks makes this task a lot easier, they can be arranged to suit and basically the fish love them.
Young fish can often be seen playing in the rocks, older fish can use them to hide from other fish but always make sure that the rocks are arranged so that the fish can swim easily between them, fish can get trapped if they enter a space that is not easy to get out of. One of the greatest advantages of using river rocks is that the river’s water current will have worn the rocks smooth, there are no jagged edges for the fish to injure themselves on.
Where can I purchase river rock from?
At one time river rocks were only available from the larger garden centres, they can be found in large crates and you would help yourself to the pieces of rock selecting the size that you require. Recently a lot of online aquatic stores have begun to advertise these, they are sold in lots of 25 kilograms at most places although some firms will sell them by the single kilogram. Purchasing the rocks online is fine and convenient, the only disadvantage of buying them this way is that you cannot guarantee which size of rock you will receive and following on from that, how many pieces you receive inside your bag. Due to the weight of the bags there will be a substantial delivery charge, always be aware of this when ordering although some firms will do discounted delivery if you order your rock in bulk quantities.
Varieties of River Rock
As mentioned above there are many types of River Rock which can be found in many sizes and colourations. They are generally inert so should not affect the pH of the water in the aquarium but some are not so always test them by dropping distilled vinegar on them. If nay fizzing occurs then they are not inert. River rocks are sometimes called cobbles or pebbles, the are the same thing, the difference between a pebble and a cobble is the size. Pebbles tend to be smaller than the cobbles and often aquarium keepers will mix the two together for a more natural effect. You can see rocks advertised as polished, always check these out and find out what they have been polished with, it could be toxic to the aquarium water. These are more generally used for home décor, try to get the natural river rocks with no extra polishing. I have seen jet black river rocks, these look fantastic against a white sandy substrate whereas a mixed colouration of river rocks are more suitable to a substrate of ordinary aquarium gravel. You can but pink, white, green and blue coloured varieties, the choice is yours, try to picture in your head which is the best for the finished look that you are trying to achieve.
Aquascaping with River Rocks
Care should always be taken when handling river rocks around the aquarium, one slip and they can crack the glass, I have always used pieces of polystyrene placed below the rock to protect the bottom tank glass as pressure can be applied from the rock especially id there is a corner protruding and all the weight of the rocks is centred on this. Always wash the rocks carefully before placing them in the tank, they will have dust on them when first purchased or even a coating on green algae depending on how they have been stored. Arrange the rocks in the aquarium to how you want them and then take a few paces back and have another look, if they appear alright then fine but often you can walk away and they look totally different from a distance. Try not to form even patterns with the rock, in nature they are not placed in neat piles, add some randomly but don’t forget you are also trying to create caves and ledges in the rocks. Make sure that the rocks are stable, you do not want them falling onto the fish or to the bottom of the tank, one tip I use is to secure the bottom rocks with some aquatic sealant or aquatic milliput to secure them, this make the aquascaping a lot easier.
Try to create piles of rock that have swimming spaces around them, the fish will thank you for this as they all need room to move, there is no point cramming the aquarium full of rock and the fish are trapped in one corner. To finish off the natural look, scatter a few of the smaller rocks on the substrate, even these could be potential spawning sites depending on the species of fish that you keep.