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Clay Pots And Water Quality


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  • Regular Member

I've seen lots of pictures of people with clay planting pots in their fish tanks. I was thinking about doing something like this myself, but before I do, has anyone ever had a clay pot adversely affect their water quality? I mean, how do we know they're not leaching junk that will hurt our fish? pH? Alkalinity? Chemicals we don't test for? It seems like the clay could effect lots of things in the long term, even if it didn't cause any short term harm. Anyone out there consider themselves experts in clay pots? I searched the forum, but wasn't able to find very much on the subject.

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  • Regular Member

I don't consider myself an expert, but I've kept these pots in my goldfish tank and not noticed any problems. None of my perams were affected, so I don't think they have any impact on pH, kH or gH. I've also had one in my newt tank for over a year now, and given how sensitive amphibians are to chemicals, I'm thinking nothing is coming out because they are as healthy as ever.

However, you're right, they're not made for tanks so maybe there could be something leaching out that we're not testing for. One thing I did think of though, is if they are being made for people to grow plants in, including things we can potentially eat, then maybe there are certain standards saying that you can't put chemicals in the clay?

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I have had one in my 75 gallon since the day I set it up around 3 years ago. Even when I replaced the tank I moved it too. Never seemed to effect my water.

I keep wood in it for the BN's and that lowers the PH so I added shells to it to bring it back up. I have finally got it balanced just right. lol

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good thoughts you guys. :) thanks for your help. i guess i just needed a little reassurance before i went ahead. And good points, both of you.

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One thing I forgot to mention (but I'm sure you probably don't need me to tell you) is just make sure the pots aren't sealed or painted. Some of them have a glaze over the inside. I usually just pick mine up at wally world for $1 each :)

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yeah, i did a little searching on the web for more info, but it was mostly unproductive. what i found was that many clay items do have additives, but these are usually just minerals that change the texture, strength, or durability of the final product. it's the glazes and paints that are the baddies, but if I go for plain old terra cotta, i should be avoiding all these. there was one thing i noted, though, in my search. terra cotta pots are very porous, and gardeners can sometimes have serious trouble with bacteria colonizing all those pores and infecting their plants. i'm sure it could happen to goldfish, too. i'll just have to remember to remove and clean the pots if my fish get any infections.

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there was one thing i noted, though, in my search. terra cotta pots are very porous, and gardeners can sometimes have serious trouble with bacteria colonizing all those pores and infecting their plants. i'm sure it could happen to goldfish, too. i'll just have to remember to remove and clean the pots if my fish get any infections.

That could actually be a good thing! If beneficial bacteria (denitrifying) colonize the pot, it will really help with water quality. What I'd worry about is if the water is sitting in the pot, but that wouldn't typically happen since they have holes in the bottom and most people have them upright or on their sides.

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  • Regular Member

As long as the pot is new and clean, it should not be a problem. However, I would NEVER put a used pot in the tank. As was mentioned, terra cotta is very porous, and you have no idea what a used pot might have absorbed and will now leach out into your water.

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