Filtration question

Discussion in 'Filtration, & Other Equipment' started by southern186, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. southern186

    southern186 Astrea Snail

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    This may be a dumb question.. but was wondering if lava rock can be used for an alternative filtration media in sump? Has anyone done this?[​IMG]


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  2. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    I have always heard this rock was not compatible with saltwater tanks, so I never looked into it any further. If you do an internet search, the range of opinions varies from "not acceptable" to "would not risk it". The issue appears to be with metal toxicity.

    A porous limestone would be a better alternative if you were specifically going for that look. Again, you have to know the source of the rock to determine if it is reef safe or not. Calcium carbonate rocks are great. Calcium carbonate contaminated with metal salts can lead to problems.
     
  3. southern186

    southern186 Astrea Snail

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    Yea I was just wondering as it's cheep and would probably work in the sump area for extra filtration instead of buying extra live rock but it makes since it would have a lot of unknown minerals


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  4. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Some lava rock contains metals, so while it might be OK for a fish only I wouldn't try it in a reef.
     
  5. southern186

    southern186 Astrea Snail

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    Ok I'll stay away from it then thanks


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  6. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Administrator LARC Supporter

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    It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has tried it.
     
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  7. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    All great responses so I have nothing to add along the lines of do or dont

    What I will say is there is no such thing as a dumb question.
    this was actually a great question as many has thought the same thing and think of all the lava rock in the ocean off of Hawaii.
    The easiest way to explain this is the difference between unlimited amounts of water in the ocean VS our extremely limited volume of water in our tanks.

    Any contamination in the rock from metals to other elements that would likely crash an aquarium would be at higher concentrations in small volumes of water.
    In areas where the lava rock is fresh or a couple years old under the water surface there arent any corals or other living critters in the area on the rock.
    Older areas house life. The process for this to take place would involve certain critters that can tolerate or use such elements leaching from the rock would settle first. Once processed or used up other life forms start to colonize the area and so on.
    Its a rather interesting process and there are some documentaries on this exact subject I've seen on the discovery channel years back.

    Dry rock rubble or larger dry rock will take a few weeks to become live in your sump. Over time it will become great for what you want to use it for and will continue to mature well over time with all sorts of life in and on the rock.
     
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