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Within the fish keeping hobby, aquascaping refers to the tasteful decoration of the tank and its habitat, which may involve lighting, backgrounds, plants, ornaments, driftwood, and rocks. However, there’s more than just aesthetics to consider when formulating an aquascaping plan. For example, plants are a major improvement to both freshwater and saltwater tanks because they create a more natural ecosystem. In the case of rocks that are larger than the substrate, they can serve purposes that are more important than simply adding style to your tank. Rocks can provide hiding and resting places for some of your species, and they can also serve as rooting objects for aquatic plants.
In the world of aquarists, there’s a perennial debate about the merits of artificial rocks versus their natural counterparts. Let’s look at some of the elements of this debate so you can choose on your own.
Synthetic Rocks from Reputable Suppliers
When it comes to any kind of aquarium supplies, you should always obtain them from established brands that truly care about fish keepers and the ecosystems they support at home. You should only get fake aquarium rocks that are manufactured or distributed by names you can trust because you’ll know the materials used and the fabrication process are safe for your tank. In addition to opting for trusted brand names, you should also make sure to purchase your fake rocks from a reliable aquarium supplier like Aquatic Warehouse.
In most cases, fake rocks are lighter than natural ones, and this is by design. Let’s say you pick up a colorful fragment of basalt rock from a nearby river for your freshwater aquarium, and you decide to place against one side of the tank. If it contains too much iron ore, it will be heavier and could pose a risk to the structural integrity of the tank. Adding too much unevenly distributed weight to your aquarium could lead to separation of the seams joining the glass panes.
Coral Reef Pieces
In the Americas, we’re blessed to have large and healthy coral reefs in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the tropical coastlines, but we also want to keep them that way. Picking up coral fragments that wash up on the beach is fine, but extracting them from reefs is an ecological crime. Some aquarium shops have real coral pieces for sale, but they have to guarantee the rock was in a healthy, well cared-for aquarium and a not a problem in the making for you!
The Biological Risks of Some Natural Rocks
As previously mentioned, fake rocks like Real Reef Rock (a synthetic, beautiful manmade purple rock) that are sold at a reputable aquarium store are safe for tanks and easy to clean. Some rocks such as limestone may have high concentrations of calcium that could be released into the water, thus making them unsafe for freshwater species. Coral pieces need to be thoroughly disinfected because they may be harboring unhealthy bacteria and dead or dying sponge colonies. If this is the case, you’ll notice they’ll lose coloring a few weeks after being introduced to the tank, which may result in algae growth.
Fake rocks aren’t the only aquarium supplies that need to be made with quality. You need to obtain only the best aquarium monitors, LED lighting, filtration systems, and more, and you can get everything you need at Aquatic Warehouse. Stop by our store in Kearny Mesa, or give one of our friendly aquarium experts a call today at 858-467-9297.