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Locally collected stone

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Reginald James, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Reginald James

    Reginald James Junior Poster

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    I recently collected stone from the Folsom lake region in northern California. It looks to me like granite with streaks of quartz and iron (red oxidation looking color in some areas)

    My question is about about potential heavy metals leaching from the stone. I looked up a geological report from the area and read that some areas have granite with high levels of iron and magnesium. Should I be concerned? Is there any way to test it if this is harmful to plants and fish?

    Here is the survey I was browsing.

    http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/500/files/Geology.pdf
     
  2. Reginald James

    Reginald James Junior Poster

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    There are also some high nickle High cobalt geology in the area that are toxic to plants. I'm hoping I haven't chosen this lot...

    The rocks have been in the tank for less than a week and so far nothing has died. My Downoi has gotten very dark green and seems stunted. Not sure is that is related or not but I started thinking about the rock additions while trying to figure out the Downoi issue.

    Any advice or help would be appreciated.
     
    #2 Reginald James, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2011
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Kinda Depends

    Hi,

    Part of the answer on rock depends on what you are trying to do. The two never-ever(s)::gw
    Never-ever


    1. collect rocks from (old or current) mining areas, downstream from, or in washes from those areas.
    2. Iron pyrite, fool’s gold, never-ever, no matter where it comes from use Iron pyrite.


    A couple of general rules, these can vary depending on purpose, your experience and comfort level.



    1. We do not want anything that fizzes when vinegar is applied.
    2. Many “soft” rocks are a bad idea anything you can scratch with your fingernail, a coin or easily scratches with a pocketknife.
    3. Avoid anything you can break with your hand until you gain experience.


    The advantage we have is that with the above exceptions you are fairly safe as most of the metals that would normally be a problem for us are very strongly bound (sequestered).


    Make sure you are legally allowed and/or have proper permissions to collect, whatever you are collecting.:rolleyes:


    Clean the rocks thoroughly, knock off anything you can and wash, boiling for 20-minutes if possible is great.:D


    I will read the report you provided. :cool:


    Biollante

     
  4. Reginald James

    Reginald James Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the response.

    The stone did indeed pass the vinegar test. I didn't see any pyrite or real gold for that matter. The stone is definitely good old fashion granite. Hard, heavy and a somber grey color. I "acquired" the stone outside of the park recreation area. It was piled up along side a trail that followed a small stream.

    I guess I'll monitor the tank for changes and if hell starts breaking loose, I'll rip that stone out with fierceness. I wAs worried about those said heavy metals, hopefully they stay sequestered and don't start wreaking havoc if they are present.

    Now to figure out why my Downoi is dark green and not growing... Compacted soil? Other plants out competing for resources? Nutrient deficiency? The quest continues...
     
    #4 Reginald James, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2011
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    It Is Good Things Work The Way They Work...

    Hi,

    Thankfully, the thing that makes stone, stone also protects us from metal poisoning.:)


    Raising the hardness of the water is the generally accepted reason for avoiding rock that doesn’t pass the “fizz test” that really is not as important as it might also be releasing other stuff that was trapped as the rock was forming.;)



    The iron pyrite (fool’s gold) can be found in many different rocks and is dangerous because it lowers the pH significantly, while it encourages certain biological activities that further reduce pH, and cause the rock (and perhaps others) to dissolve releasing metals that would otherwise remain bound.:gw


    I recommend you start another thread for the Pogostemon helferi, remember to give tank information and a good description, photos help.:cool:


    Biollante

     
  6. RukoTheWonderDog

    RukoTheWonderDog Junior Poster

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    Just thought I might add my own experience-

    I've collected many different kinds of rock here in western NY including granite and quartz that had streaks of iron containing compounds. These have been placed in nearly all of my aquariums including African cichlid, Asian, and SA/CA cichlid tanks. I never encountered an issue with any kind of heavy metal poisoning or otherwise strange behavior, breeding patterns, or illness. The 'rusty' rocks have never been the majority of the rocks in the tank as I find the rust unsightly, but some choice cobbles often had a few spots of rust.

    I collected these rocks as they are an alternative to most other rocks here, which are mostly comprised of slate, shale, and limestone.

    As Biollante pointed out, iron pyrite is a big no-no and as such I carefully inspected all rocks and discarded any that were even questionable.
     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Without testing, there's no way of really knowing 100% for sure. When it comes to heavy metals, what we can test for directly is pretty limited. If you can't test for it directly, you have to accept the risk... and a confirmed unknown for diagnosing later. Most of us get by just fine with this idea, since we can generally narrow things down until hardscape rarely becomes a danger.

    An easy indirect way of testing, if you're so inclined, is to test on sensitive life. Scrub the rocks, soak rocks in a bucket, test life (some kind of shrimp would be good for heavy metals) on the residual water for one 50% (or equivalent if changes will be
     
  8. Reginald James

    Reginald James Junior Poster

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    Thanks all.

    I have some ghost shrimp in the tank that were put in as feeders but have taken residence in the nooks and crannies of the tank. They haven't keeled over so I'm guessing things are fine. I like the shrimp death test though and will use that if I ever question my hardscapes in the future.

    This planted tank thing has become an obsession, so much to learn... I think my girlfriend is starting to get jealous of all the time and energy I'm putting into this tank.
     
  9. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    #9 Matt F., Nov 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2011
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