View Full Version : DIY Cichlid Caves - BBQ Lava Rocks ?
02-03-2006, 01:08 PM
Hi - after 2 years I'm getting back into cichlids. I'm rebuilding my 55-gal. I found this plan for a DIY background with built-in caves.
I have looked for "small black lava rocks" like he used, which he said he got from a building supply store. I've looked at Home Depot, Ace Hardware - the only thing I could find similar was lava rocks for a BBQ.
Does anyone know if these are the same thing ? Would these be natural rocks ? Are are "lava rocks" for BBQ's man-made and subsequently no good for this application ?
02-03-2006, 01:19 PM
I'm not sure if those BBQ rocks would be the same, but have you tried to find what you're lookin for at a landscaping business? I know they have the lava rocks, probably pretty cheap too.
I think if you boil them they will work.
the only concern would checmicals added to them. they are still basically lava rocks. I have seen some that were colored with dye. and that would be the main concern. but I would boil non colored ones too just to be on the safe side. and give them two boilings with different water.
02-04-2006, 11:40 PM
I bet it would say on the bag if there were any chemicals in them. Health hazards because of breathing in burnt chemicals makes sense.
should, but i'd still boil them to be on the safe side.
02-05-2006, 01:12 PM
Yep, for sure. Those rocks could have different bugs or bacteria and you wouldn't want any of that in your tank. What I meant was, it would say on the bag if they had chemicals added to the rocks, if so, then I wouldn't use them. Even if I boiled them.
02-07-2006, 01:05 PM
I am also making this same project. I bought the BBQ lava rocks, I think they are just regular lava rocks but now youve got me wondering too. Boiling sounds like a good idea.
02-08-2006, 11:17 PM
I make aquarium rocks with built-in caves, tunnels and grottos. I even have a volcano that you can place over your air stone and showcase air bubbles erupting from the top. Each rock is an exact replica of a real rock. They are dye stained (aquarium-safe) and look incredibly life-like. Take a look at my website for ideas.
02-08-2006, 11:26 PM
I just went for teh landscapig bag which was a tad bigger and cheaper than the grill bag...
All I did was rinse, no boiling.
02-09-2006, 12:54 AM
When I used lava rock in my (former) big mbuna tank, I used the stuff that was packaged for landscaping as well. I put it in a bucket and used a sledgehammer like a mortar to crush it up to make a finer lava rock substrate.
I got mine at Home Depot. It was lava rock packaged for landscaping. In Chicago, it was a seasonal item - they only carried it in spring and summer. Here in paradise (California) they carry it all year long. It's a big ol' bag that costs about $3. Just be aware that they may not stock it at your store all year long, but they should have it.
I just rinsed it as well, albeit a bit longer since I did break it up after buying it.
02-13-2006, 07:22 AM
Finished mine and put it in the tank. My fish seemed to be getting sick so I pulled it out and did a big water change. Just a warning, I used the Bar-B-Q lava rocks boiled them well but maybe they should not be used. It is also possible that the silicone made them sick (I used GE 100% silicone ) or even stress from furnature change (not likely though). only 3 of my 16 are sick but I am not willing to chance the others so I will not know for sure if it was the background but warning to others Don't use Bar-B-Q lava rock * just in case. (landscaping material is not readily available here in the winter to I will wait for spring to rebuild if I do.
02-13-2006, 08:04 AM
Check the other thread in health area.
02-14-2006, 11:03 AM
Hi ,I'm new to this board and have just started up a tank again after having a go at salt water for awhile,too expensive for me.I would also agree that the tub would have introduced some harmfull elements to your project.I have built the same thing and used GE 100% silicone for window and door but I used the lava rocks from the garden center.Also from what I have heard about the BBQ lave rocks is that they may have added chemicals in them even if not stated on the bag.I would think that if your fish recover to use the garden rocks to be safe.Good luck.This was supposed to go in the health section in case anyone was confused about the tub comment I made.
12-14-2007, 04:36 PM
I know this is an old thread. My 2 cents. Lava Rocks interesting... Well I don't know if bacteria would be a problem because they are made of hot lava that cools quickly. So it kills all that. Whatever else might be on them would die after sitting out for a week or so. As long as you aren't getting them from under water (the ocean) there shouldn't be any bacteria... Right?
12-15-2007, 12:36 AM
The lava was likely formed a long time before so the heat of the magma does not come into play. ;)
12-16-2007, 11:01 AM
is there a problem with using rocks and dead coral found in the ocean for aquascaping in freshwater tanks? i've had some in my tank for a few months now with no problems, but if anyone else has better info about this i would like to know so i dont make a future mistake.
12-17-2007, 11:56 AM
I was at the Mason Mart this weekend picking up about 400lbs of lava rock (big stuff .33 /lb). Some for my aquarium and some for a massive fire pit in the backyard. The guy there said they are exactly the same. BBQ lava rock and lava rock are identical. Nothing special about the BBQ lava rock.
12-17-2007, 12:09 PM
I am goin to add about 138 lbs of lava rock. That is like 8 or 9 huge rocks. I was wondering can I drill holes in lava rock with a masonry bit? I was somewhat disappointed that there are no holes going through the rock.
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