Lava Rock As Aquarium Substrate [Detailed Discussion]

It can be very confusing if you set a lava rock in an aquarium. You might be thinking it can be bad for fish.

So, is it good to add lava rock as aquarium substrate?

Well, adding lava rock can be the best way to decorate your aquarium. It reduces nitrate levels in the aquarium. It gives caves to fish in your aquarium. Lava rock also contains plants. However, it has some cons like changing the water pH. Also, the placing of lava rock can damage the aquarium. 

You might be still very confused about that matter. Don’t worry, I have prepared the whole article to clear your head. Tag along with me till the detailed discussion. 

Lava Rock As Aquarium Substrate

lava rock in fish tank

Fresh Lava Gravel is a highly permeable substrate that can be used in freshwater aquariums. The lava has been filtered to reduce excess particles. Which can be used as a fish tank substrate system in its entirety.

Volcano Red and Volcano Black are the two natural colors of natural lava gravel. Because this is a naturally produced product. Expect some variability in the color of the potting medium granules.

The organic material is screened for better workability. But the shape and size of the granules vary.

It’s hanging from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch on average. The uneven surface of the lava globules helps keep the surface bed from tamping over time in the aquarium.

This encourages healthy aquatic plant rooting and provides a stable colonization site. That provides beneficial microbes and bacteria that filter water.

Why Should I Incorporate Lava Rock Into My Aquarium? – 4 Reasons Explained

You might be thinking, can I put lava rock in my aquarium? Volcanic rock aquarium substrate is ideal for creating a natural appearance in freshwater planted aquariums.

It is also extremely porous, allowing good bacteria and biofilm to recolonize on a large footprint.

And, for the most part, it will have no effect on the water’s chemical reactions in your aquarium. Adding lava rocks will not only improve the appearance of your aquarium.

But it will also provide a healthier environment for your fish. Prior to adding lava rocks. Some advantages of incorporating lava rocks into your aquarium are listed below.

Reason 1: Reduces Nitrate Levels

Crushed lava rock as an aquarium substrate is an excellent choice for keeping the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in your aquarium healthy.

Lava rocks have gaps and stomata that contain beneficial bacteria known as denitrifying bacteria.

These bacteria can aid in the maintenance of healthy nitrogen loops in your aquarium.

These microbes help break down nitrate to produce oxygen and nitrogen, allowing your fish to grow in a relatively clean, healthy ecosystem.

Reason 2: Give Caves

If you have small fish, you are aware of how much they enjoy caves. They use them instead of resting places. And having some in your water tank is a good idea.

Because lava rocks are extremely porous, they can serve as caves for your fish. Because these rocks are so gentle. You won’t have to worry about them shattering your aquarium glass.

Large stones are even better because they only add to the number of cave options. The greatest feature about lava rocks acting as grottoes is that their shape and color do not change once formed.

Reason 3: Contains Plants

Plants, in addition to fish, can be found in your fish tank. Lava rocks will aid in the retention of your plants, allowing them to provide fresh air for your fish.

Lava rocks can be used to secure your plants.

Reason 4: Improves Water Clarity

One of the most important reasons for Using lava rock as an aquarium substrate is that it might help clean the water in your fish tank.

You can easily lead to a greater understanding of your water by using lava rocks because they include elements that can make your water clearer.

Can Lava Rock Harm An Aquarium?

When placing rocks in aquariums, a common error that aquarium owners make is to pile the lava rocks against the glass.

Your glass reef simply isn’t strong enough to support the mass of the lava rocks. Which can easily cause it to crack and even break.

Lava rock can sometimes harden water. Lava rock includes a variety of mineral deposits, including hematite. Which may affect the pH of your water, making it more difficult.

Algae blooms can be more resistant to treatment in hard water. Lava rock and pH have a relation there, sometimes it can be harmful to particular fish.

As a result, lava rock can harm the aquarium. However, if properly prepared and installed, it can be extremely beneficial to your aquarium.

How to Make Lava Rock for an Aquarium?

lava rocks drying process

Preparing lava rocks for fish tank use is a simple and straightforward process. It’s the same as washing your substance before putting it in your fish tank. All you need is a bucket, a Scrabble, soap, or cleaning supplies.

Here are some simple steps to cleaning your lava rock.

Step 1: Put The Lava Rock In A Bucket

Find a bucket that is the same size as your lava rock. You don’t need a large bucket; a 5-liter bowl will suffice. The lava rock must then be placed in the bucket. And allow it to sock the water.

Step 2: Scrab The Rock

The majority of lava rocks will emit a reddish-colored vapor into the water. Scrub the rock until the radish color has disappeared. You can clean it thoroughly with a scrub brush. 

However, you must also be gentle when scrubbing. Here I’ve gathered some high-quality scrub brushes for you to try out.

  • SLSON Aquarium Algae Scraper

These are high-quality items. While washing, they will use a gentle touch.

Step 3: Turn On The Hot Water

Then soak your lava rock in hot water. Run hot water loops in the rocks. Until the water is free of dirt and reddish coloring.

Step 4: Allow It to Dry

Allow your lava rocks to dry a day or two in the sun prior to actually packing them into your filter. Alternatively, you could put them in your tank.

Step 5: Add It to The Aquarium

After preparing the lava rock, put it in the aquarium. Some lava rock has sharp edges that can scratch the aquarium. If your aquarium is made of glass.

It may be damaged as well. To avoid this, fill an aquarium with sand and place the lava rock in it. The mass of the volcanic rock will be distributed as a result of this. Also, avoid scratches.

And the art of decorating your aquarium is done with this step. And now your little fishes have found some sew caves to travel.


Are Lava Rocks Poisonous?

Yes, lava rock is poisonous. Researchers can now add melanoma to the list of hazards caused by some volcanoes, in addition to lava, ash, and toxic gases. Because it is a natural product. It doesn’t generate toxic chemicals into the ground and does not cause delamination.

Is Lava Rock Capable Of Filtering Water?

Yes, lava rock can be used to filter water. The water is filtered to an extent that is almost unparalleled by other filter systems. As it goes through the lava rock. It offers a large contact area for the colonization and expansion of helpful bacteria.

Do Aquarium Plants Require A Specific Substrate?

No, aquarium plants don’t require a specific substrate. Live aquatic plants can be planted in any substrate, including soil, sand, and gravel. With or without a substrate, you can maintain live aquatic plants in your tank. However, it is advantageous to place live aquarium plants on dirt substrate.

Bottom Line

Thank you for tagging with me till the end. Hope now you are clear about lava rock as an aquarium substrate.

Decorating your aquarium is always easy. But you have to make sure the environment and pH are good for your fish.

Best of luck.

Howard Parker

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