How to Prepare Lava Rocks For An Aquarium

Lauren Kiekbusch
How to Prepare Lava Rocks for an Aquarium

Aquarium owners around the world have been fascinated with various decorating their fish tanks. It could be algae, plants, sand, wood, or anything necessary. But choosing the right decoration is very important.

Because you have to be able to clean it regularly, or you may already know, how your aquarium smells. 

Lava Rocks are one of the most beautiful decorations you can add to your fish tank. With a proper preparation process, they can be used to enhance your fish tank’s decorative look.

Lava rocks are mostly aquarium safe and useful for cichlid maintenance. In addition to the good decoration of fish tanks, porous bacteria also produce beneficial bacteria which help to filtrate. 

The healthy bacteria which develop on lava rocks remove nitrates from your tank and improve the quality of your water. Please read more about lava rock planning. We can not only give you but also many other details about the Lava Rocks.

Also worth reading;

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  3. Cabomba Aquarium Plant: How to Grow With Proper Care

What Is Lava Rock?

Lava is the molten lava that an explosion expelled from a volcano. The resulting rock is also called lava after solidification and cooling. In certain planets, like Earth, and some of their satellites, molten rock is made.

Geothermal energy is the cause of the heat that fuses the rock within the earth. The lava normally comes at temperatures from 700 and 1.200 °C (1,292 to 2,192 °F as first erupted by a volcanic wind).

A decent collection of lava rocks is generally available for most of your needs. Shopping in a pet shop can consider whether you require tiny rocks, such as for aquariums or terrariums. The finer lava rocks can be sold in a pet store.

How Appropriate Are Lava Rocks For Aquarium

Before preparing a process or even buying some, you have to be very specific about how good or bad, or how safe it is for your tank. 

Lava rocks are safe for aquariums and are extremely useful for cichlids. In addition to good fish tank décor, porous bacteria develop that help with filtration.

They are great to provide your aquarium with the optimal living environment, and they have beneficial denitrifying bacteria. Through reproducing and then extracting nitrates, these bacteria will improve the water quality. 

For your fish tank substratum, you can use red lava rocks, just ensure that you fully purify them before putting them in your aquarium. Ideally, scrub with a brush any waste on the surface of the rocks and then run through hot water to clear water without any reddish residue.

how to prepare lava rock for aquarium

How Long Does Lava Rock Last?

Lava rocks are molten rocks, typically used as a ‘raw’ artwork in landscaping. ‘Their widespread use is fair – they are highly durable and permanent, and they provide all the same advantages every 6-12 months without needing to be replaced.

As a matter of your aquarium, you can use them longer. Just remember to clean them timely. 

Kinds Of Lava Rock 

How would it be felt, when searching for lava rock in your local market, you are talking like a  “Dr. Lava rock”? Just Kidding. What we are trying to say is, it would not be a bad idea to know the kinds of lava rock. Every kind has its decorative look. 

Lava rocks are commonly categorized as igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic in three classes. Magma in the Earth’s mantle shapes hideous rocks.

Generally speaking, they do not have fossils, they do not react with chemicals, they typically contain transparent layers, may be made of assorted rocks, and often they have gaps or bubbles that look glassy.

Volcanologists look for these ignorant rocks, to figure out more about the origin of these rocks and their formation during the volcanic eruption. This could also help you to provide information to the customers if you are a pet shop owner.

Preparation of Lava Rocks For An Aquarium

We have given you some basic information about the Lava Rocks above. Now, let’s get straight down with the preparation of lava rocks for your aquarium. 

1. Preparing your Fish Tank

If you have decided to decorate your fish tank with lava rocks, then you better prepare the tank first. The size of the tank will be dependent on how much or how many rocks you want to have. Just to be clear, you should not make it very populated. 

Lava rocks are not very heavy, but not so light as well. So you have to make sure that the surface of your fish tank is flat. Of course, you can use gravel as sand or small rocks, or Zeolites. These will distribute the weight equally. 

Not only that, if you own an acrylic fish tank, these layers will make sure that there are no scratches on the surface of the tank. Styrofoam sheets are not a bad idea also. But they might get seen and they could look awful if algae grow on them. 

2. Preparation Of Lava Rocks

Now, if you have purchased your lava rocks, it’s time to clean them up and prepare them properly for your fish tank. It is a very essential and important part of the work because you don’t want any toxicity coming out from the rocks and harming your fish. Let’s get started;

1. Water Wash

After bringing the Lava Rocks home, put the rocks in a bucket, and put them under running water. For how long? Well until you see no sand-like dirt coming out from the small holes in the rock. Run this process several times. 

After you are certain that no dust is coming out, simply take a brush, don’t forget to wear hand gloves, as they are sharp, as start rubbing. You don’t need any sope-like substance here at this point.

But if you feel necessary, you could use some. But we will advise you not to, as they may have chemicals that might harm your fish. 

Now, let them dry by simply putting them under the sun. For how long? Well, it will take several years to dry before you can use them. (Jokes apart). Just keep them in check till they dry. 

2. Disinfect the Rocks

After they dry out, you may want to put them directly in the fish tank water. Of course a great idea. Later on, you may see your aquarium fish floating on the surface of your fish tank water. Why? We of course for toxicity and infections. These are lava rocks, remember? Let’s disinfect your Lava rocks;

3. Bleach Them

This is the easiest way, and without cracking or scrambling, you could disinfect rocks. The perfect option for those concerned with big lava rocks is also this. It’s a challenging job to disinfect the lava rocks. 

Well, a bleach solution is required. In a ratio of 1:10 or higher, combine the bleaching solutions. Leave them for 24 hours now. Don’t bring the lava rocks into the tank right after you have washed them, for they may still have chlorine. To clear any signs of blanking agents before adding rocks to your aquarium, use the treated water.

4. Boil them

It is more effective to boil rocks than to bleach them. And it is not possible to leave any chemical with any substance. Whilst boiling for porous rocks, such as lava rocks, is not strongly recommended, it is better if you choose to clean the rocks carefully. 

Boiling the lava rocks is an extremely sensitive process. When boiling the rocks, you have to be conscious and concentrated because extreme boiling will lead to exploding and hurting the rocks. 

You should have the rocks in a filled pot. Notice that the rocks should not boil for longer than 25 minutes otherwise, the rocks will erupt. Excessive boiling will lead to combustion, disintegration, or failure, so be careful. 

After you have done boiling, cool them down. Remember do not put the hot rocks directly under cold water. This may break the rock. If you wish to wash them one more time, first cold them down then wash them. And before you put them in the tank, don’t forget to dry them. 

Benefits Of Lava Rocks In The Aquarium

You seem to have an understanding of how lava rocks should be prepared for an aquarium. Before making the first lava rocks for the aquarium there are a few more things that you may like to remember.

1. Shelter For Fish

The rocks are typically used by fish as a place of refuge and rest. Lava rocks are extremely porous and can make sure that your fish will build safer caves. The caves are the safest habitat and refuge for fishing.

Lava rocks are also perfect for developing the ideal breathing climate for nitrifying beneficial bacteria. These bacteria are essential to the breakdown of and expulsion of excess nitrates from the water column in all fish cistern ecosystems. 

You will not have to think about the damaged aquarium because it is light. The lava rocks specially designed for the aquarium will create an outstanding cave for your fish and improve the aquarium’s elegance and appeal.

2. Great For Holding Plants

The plant is one of the key elements for optimizing and preserving your aquarium, as it provides a conducive atmosphere and cleanses the air for your fish. By preserving the seeds, the rock will support you.

Lava rocks are coated in holes and pores with protective microbes, known as denitrification bacteria. These bacteria can help sustain natural aquarium nitrogen cycles. 

You can need to bear in mind that direct contact with lava rock will lead to overheating for your plants, as heat is enticing. You may want to look at the substance weed barrier below the coating of the lava rocks as well as it is going to need to be removed before the lava rocks are.

3. Enhances Water Clarity

Lava rock is extremely porous, allowing the water of the aquarium to spread through the walls. When the water flows through the rocks, beneficial nitrifying bacteria absorb all the water oxygen in the rock for an anaerobic environment.

If you have bought high-quality lava rocks for fish ponds, this would not only remove your aquarium water but also shed some particles that lead to improved visibility. The best choice for those who require pure water is lava rocks for aquariums. 

Water is pumped by the biofilter surface and shrinks down to the bottom of the lava rock, where it is deposited. The persistent water source at the surface keeps the active bacteria from drying out in biofilm and guarantees a steady pH value in the filter.

3. Reduce Nitrates

Denitrification bacteria absorb the nitrate and generate oxygen and nitrogen within this anaerobic atmosphere within the rock.

We all know how bad news is for fish and shrimp in the aquarium but the Lava Rock is the natural and safest way to extract nitrate.

Things To Consider Before Buying Lava Rocks

There’s no particular location you can buy your stones from. In any of the trustworthy online stores or some other convenience store in your town or area, you can buy them. You just don’t go to the shop and randomly choose lava rocks for your aquarium. There are many factors you have to keep in mind. 

1. Size

The scale of the rocks that fit your aquarium should always be looked at. For the aquarium, the scale of the rocks must be perfect. So, depending on the size of the aquarium, buy rocks.

2. Look out for Sharp Rocks

The sharp edge of rocks will severely harm your fish and could cause the death of those tenants in your aquarium. It is important to prevent sharp boundaries if you have small residents in your aquarium as they could damage them.

To escape these conditions, try purchasing lava rocks for aquariums with shorter borders or with no sharp borders.

3. Comparatively Clean

When you scrub them, it will spare you lots of time. You must always pick the quality with less stiffness because it enables your aquarium too quickly and saves you a great deal of time when washing. In the long term, you get so many incentives if you buy the cheapest quality.


One of the best activities a person can have is to decorate the fish tank. Lava rocks are one of the best decorations you can buy. Lava rocks have many advantages – they not only look fantastic in your tank, their water quality even increases.

Read the steps above if you have lava rock and need help in washing it or in your aquarium. Finally, lava rocks are important for an aquarium to show that the fish have a favorable climate. Be sure that you have the highest product and that the results are satisfactory.

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