How to Prepare Lava Rocks for an Aquarium?

If you’re looking for new ideas to decorate your living room, an aquarium is a great addition. Not only are fish low maintenance pets, but aquariums are also a good way to add personality to your home.

If you want your aquarium to actually look good, you will have to maintain it regularly. Negligence can cause your aquarium to smell and your fish to die. This is why regularly maintaining your aquarium is essential.

There are various ways to maintain your aquarium, including adding some lava rocks.

Adding lava rocks will not only amplify the look of your aquarium, but your fish will also have a better environment to live in. Before adding lava rocks, you need to prepare them.

Read more to learn about how to prepare lava rocks and how to add them to your aquarium safely.

How to Prepare Lava Rocks for an Aquarium

You can’t just buy lava rocks and put them in your tank immediately. Before adding lava rocks, always make sure you clean them and remove any bacteria that could harm the animals and plants in your aquarium.

Make certain your lava rocks are clean before you keep them in the water. Here are a few easy ways to make sure your rocks are clean.

You will simply need running water, a bucket and a soft-bristled brush to clean your rocks. Try not to use a household cleaner since they may have substances that could be dangerous for your fish.

Wash the Lava Rocks

Take your lava rocks and put them in the empty bucket. Fill the bucket with water till it’s full. After you’re done, scrub the rocks thoroughly with the brush.

After a little while, your water will change color because of the lava rocks. No need to panic, though – this only means that your rocks are getting cleaner.

Just pour the colored water down the drain and get a fresh bucket of water. Simply do it again till the water changes color again. You can even rub two lava rocks together to easily get rid of any sharp edges that may be harmful to your fish.

The next step involves drying your lava rocks. Just leave them under the sun for a few years and your rocks will dry up.

Boil the Lava Rocks

After removing all the dirt and grime from your rocks, the next best step is to disinfect them so they don’t carry any diseases that might harm the plants or fish in your aquarium. You can easily sterilize the lava rocks by boiling them as boiling rocks is one of the most effective ways to disinfect rocks.

Boiling rocks will help you remove all the dangerous bacteria that might still be attached to your lava rocks. While boiling your rocks, make sure to be very careful since lava rocks can explode if boiled for a long time at high temperatures.

Make sure your pot is filled completely with water so the rocks are completely submerged. Also, make certain that your boiling pot has a lid to ensure your safety.

Choose a big pot to boil your rocks and don’t boil them longer than 30 minutes. If you boil them for a longer period, your lava rocks might just crumble or break.

Do not add the lava rocks immediately to the aquarium after you’re done boiling them. First, use a towel or a soft cloth to wipe all the water. After you’re done, cool your lava rocks for at least an hour before adding them to your fish tank.

Use a Bleaching Solution

Bleaching your lava rocks is not as effective as boiling them, but you can use this method if you’re certain that your lava rocks will not crumble or break. This method is more suitable if your rocks are really big and boiling them will not cause them to explode.

Bleaching your lava rocks isn’t hard. All you need to do is leave them in a bleaching solution for 24 hours. Keep in mind that the ratio of the bleaching agent to water is 1:10.

After you’re done, don’t put your lava rocks directly into the aquarium because they might still have bleach on them. Wash them with water thoroughly and then keep them in your fish tank.

How to Prepare Your Aquarium for Lava Rocks

After you have prepared lava rocks for your aquarium, you have to make some minor arrangements to your aquarium before adding them.

A good idea is to make sure the surface of your tank is flat before adding the lava rocks. This means that the weight of your rocks will be divided equally across the whole tank and it will easily support them.

Another tip is to use Styrofoam sheets. If your aquarium is made of glass, make certain to use Styrofoam sheets before adding the lava rocks.

If your aquarium is made of acrylic and you want to prevent it from scratches, simply add clean sand to form a layer and then add the large lava rocks. This way, the weight of your rocks will be equally distributed and you will prevent scratches on your aquarium.

Benefits of Adding Lava Rocks to Your Aquarium

Below are some benefits of adding lava rocks to your aquarium.

Lowers Nitrate Levels

If you want the plants and fish in your aquarium to live in a healthy environment, lava rocks are a great idea. Lava rocks are covered by holes and pores that have beneficial bacteria, which is called denitrifying bacteria.

These bacteria can help in keeping normal nitrogen cycles in your aquarium. These bacteria help break nitrate to form oxygen and nitrogen and help your fish grow in a cleaner and much healthier environment.

Provides Caves

If you have small fish, you would know how much they love caves. They use them as resting places so it’s a good idea to have some in your fish tank. Since lava rocks are very porous, they can act as caves for your fish. These rocks are very light, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking your aquarium glass.

Large rocks are even better since they will only provide more cave options. The best part about lava rocks acting as caves is that the shape or the color of the caves doesn’t change once they are formed.

Holds Plants

Besides fish, plants are also found in your aquarium. Lava rocks will help you hold your plants so they can provide clean air for your fish. You can use lava rocks to tie down your plants.

Ensures Better Water Clarity

One of the best reasons why you should get lava rocks for your aquarium is that they will help clean water in your fish tank.

By using lava rocks, you can easily improve the clarity of your water because they contain elements that can cause your water to be clearer.

How Do You Add Lava Rocks to An Aquarium Safely?

Just dumping lava rocks in our aquarium is not the best idea. There is a proper way to do it, and below I cover a few things you need to keep in mind when adding lava rocks to your aquarium.

Don’t pile the lava rocks against the glass

A common mistake that aquarium owners might make when they are putting rocks in their tanks is piling the lava rocks against the glass.

Your glass aquarium is simply not strong enough to hold the weight of the lava rocks, which can easily cause the glass to crack or even break if.

If you want to keep your surface safe from any cracks or scratches, make sure to keep the rocks away from the glass, which will protect your glass even if the rocks fall.

Glue the Lava Rocks Together

Another way to add your rocks to the tank safely is by gluing them together. This will ensure the safety of your glass no matter how big your lava rocks are.

You can use silicone to glue them together. Since silicone does not have any side effects, it will not harm your rocks or the inhabitants occupying space in your fish tank.

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Lava Rocks

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind before buying lava rocks for your aquarium:

Try to avoid purchasing lava rocks with too many pointy edges because they can be dangerous for your fish. If your aquarium mostly has small fish, they can easily be injured by the sharp edges while they are trying to make caves.

The size of the rock does not matter— but the shape does. Make sure to stay away from rocks with pointed edges if you don’t want your fish to get hurt.

Another tip is to buy the lava rocks with less durst. Picking lava rocks with less durst will help you save time and water when you’re cleaning them. It will also help you later when you’re washing your tank.

Rocks with high durst can leave grime and debris at the bottom of your aquarium, which will only prolong your cleaning process. In short, a lava rock with less durst will form less debris and save you a lot of water and time in the long run.

Lava rocks have several benefits – not only do they look good in your aquarium, but they also improve the water clarity. If you just got lava rocks and need help cleaning them or setting them up in your aquarium, read the steps mentioned above.

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