Jump to content

Lava Rock


Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member

I successfully used slate, some slightly tumbled quartz stone and even some "fake" driftwood. The plants did not care. I just wound fishing line around them to tie them down and away they went - growing happily until the fish shredded them.

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I have bought it on line in the past. I have seen pieces - big and small at the local pet stores and Pet Sm a rt type stores. Pieces of FAKE wood that are made for reptile tanks are also OK - the ceramic or resin that make these up do not have to be coated with the antibacterial agent they coat on real wood - so you can buy them "clean" and use them in the water. Just read the tag carefully.

I even have fake "stones" that someone gave me. I filled them with sand and wax, sealed them up and tied plants on them. You may be able to find some neat fake "stones" too. Or any real stones - just not the really rough of the lava. :)

(DO not EVER use real wood made for reptiles in a fish tank- I know you do not want to use real wood - but I felt it was worthwhile stating that for others!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

On lava rock, does anyone use it succesfully as filter media? I was told by a koi breeder/dealer who has hundreds of fish, that he removed all the lava rock from his pond filters and cleared up myriad health problems. Has anyone used it in aquarium filters withour problems? i am thinking about putting some in my wet/dry sump area. Seems like wasted filter space with no media once the water passes the bioballs.

Thanks,

CometKeeper

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
On lava rock, does anyone use it succesfully as filter media? I was told by a koi breeder/dealer who has hundreds of fish, that he removed all the lava rock from his pond filters and cleared up myriad health problems. Has anyone used it in aquarium filters withour problems? i am thinking about putting some in my wet/dry sump area. Seems like wasted filter space with no media once the water passes the bioballs.

Thanks,

CometKeeper

Seems with pond keeper there is a love hate relationship on lava rock..they either love it or hate it. I have used it..the biggest problem is taking the time to get it clean. I finally put mine in 2 laundry bags so I could take them all the way out and really get them washed off. Those bags are heavy when the lava rock is really soaking wet. And this was only a small 20 gallon rubbermaid tub made into a filter. That said this filter worked GREAT! I had it on a quarantine tank of about 400-500 gallons. I didn't have problems with it causing problems. I would guess the dealer had problems because of not getting the stuff really clean. It IS often recommended to use in a trickle tower for a filter on a pond, but those work differently than submersed media.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Lava rock is a very useful biological media to use as a platform for your beneficial bacteria because it is sooooo porous. Because there are so many air bubbles in it, the water can flow through and have contact with lots of surfaces. Each of those surfaces can hold beneficial bacteria - allowing even a tiny piece of lava to have many square inches of area that the BB can successfully colonate. Something like a smooth glass marble only has the outside surface area of the sphere -much less.

One of the big problems with lava rock is that it is fragile - and crumbles into a red, messy dust - clouding the water and disintigrating when moved.

REcently (past 10 years or so) natural lava rock is being replaced by man-made media that imitates the lava rocks porous makeup without many of the pitfalls of the actual lava rock. First came "sintered glass" - a ceramic that was "exploded" much like a rice-krispie giving it the same airbubbled surface that makes for surface area. Sintered glass is much stronger and lacks the dirty red dust. It is, though, still sharp.

In the past 2 years or so, a new product has arrived on the scene - meant to address the sharpness - ceramic bio-spheres. These are sintered glass that has been rolled into a sphere - smooth and yet still very porous. These are fantastic for platforms for beneficial bacteria - as well as being easy to use. They are about 1/4 inch in diameter - making it possible to pack them into clamshells as well as pour them into media trays. I also stuff bags full of them in the back of filters. They will not slice the bags up for there are no sharp edges.

I would suggest that if you can afford them, the sintered glass or sintered glass bio-balls are the way to go for a sump. Keeping them in a larger net bag will allow you to remove them and rinse the larger waste from them on a regular basis.

That said, there is one more pitfall that goes with any filter - ones that contain sponges or hard media. It collects waste. Every filter and every piece of filter media should be regularly rinsed and cleaned. It is not an uncommon thing to have someone report that their tank is "ill" and they can find no reason for it. I find, when investigating, that they have a cannister that has not be cleaned for months! Opening the cannister is an amazing exersise in disgust - the amount of crud that resides in there can be dumbfounding! Once the filter is properly cleaned, the tank is healthy again. The same goes for the bottom of your HOB filter boxes. Every month or two, take the box off the tank and clean it. Dump the crud that is in the bottom and rinse the whole thing clean. RInse your biomedia every week when you clean the filter - doing it in used fish water to avoid harm to the BB living there. Keeping all those pores open and clean will keep the media working well for you. Letting it get gummed up with waste will kill the bacteria and stop the media from functioning at peak ability.

So - yes! Lava rock is a great media for the hydrogen cycle. It is cheap. It is sharp and disintigrates easily. Man-made lava rock (sintered glass and sintered glass bio-balls and ceramic cylindars) are a great improvement and work well. They can be cleaned, do not disintigrate easily and can be boiled to disinfect them when needed. Cleaning your sump, cannister and filter box on a regular basis will go a long way towards keeping your tank healthy. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Thanks, Daryl! I think I'll look for the ceramic biospheres. Awhile back, I used a Seachem bag full of the little matrix rings [used in Aquaclears] in the sump, but this media also produced a lot of "dust" in the sump over time. I got rid of it for that reason, so will likely avoid the lava rock. This particular sump filter has a large, foam polishing block after the bioballs. In the drip tray above the bioballs, there is also filter media. Actually, the pre-filter that preceeds the drip tray also has foam sponges over the uptakes. So, it should take a long time for debris to clog the ceramic biospheres.

D, is there a particular brand of ceramic biospheres that you have found is better than others? In my Rena Filstar canisters, I am also using Seachem Matrix. I wonder if the biospheres would be even better there than the Matrix?

Thanks, again.

Johnny

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
Thanks, Daryl! I think I'll look for the ceramic biospheres. Awhile back, I used a Seachem bag full of the little matrix rings [used in Aquaclears] in the sump, but this media also produced a lot of "dust" in the sump over time. I got rid of it for that reason, so will likely avoid the lava rock. This particular sump filter has a large, foam polishing block after the bioballs. In the drip tray above the bioballs, there is also filter media. Actually, the pre-filter that preceeds the drip tray also has foam sponges over the uptakes. So, it should take a long time for debris to clog the ceramic biospheres.

D, is there a particular brand of ceramic biospheres that you have found is better than others? In my Rena Filstar canisters, I am also using Seachem Matrix. I wonder if the biospheres would be even better there than the Matrix?

Thanks, again.

Johnny

Bump Bump. I am having trouble finding ceramic biospheres when I google.

Thanks,

J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

check hydroponic suppliers. The ones I'm familiar with do float at first.

I've not had a problem with lava rock disintegrating, at least not a lot :rolleyes: But since I'm using it for a pond filter I do use the larger size chunks, 2-5" and not the smaller pieces I often see used as ground cover that are maybe 1" kind round stuff. I could see where that would be a bigger problem.

I do have a few pieces of lava rock that are smoother and I have some anubias coming that I may try one of those. Will check it over for sharper edges, but I remember looking at them and thinking they were weird because of the smoothness of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...