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Don't Contaminate Your Aquarium

This page contains Customer Comments and our Replies about how to avoid contaminating your aquarium with poisons and toxins. Click here for more advice about how to Avoid Contamination.

Cichlid Stones - Ceramic Aquarium Caves.

Customer Comments

Dear Folks @" 
I love your site!  I've spent hours bouncing around it, and have learned a lot, while trying to decide what fish to put in my new 55-gal tank.  You offer varieties not commonly seen in our local pet stores ... thanks, not only for that, but for all the good information!
Since my tank is new (2 weeks), I've been gathering data at every opportunity.  But, so far, I haven't found anything to tell me how to determine if a ceramic-type object is safe for fish, or not (other than buying it from a pet store).
Ceramic Aquarium Ornaments.
I will attach a picture of the "ceramic fish" I'm questioning.  It is hollow, rests on the bottom of the aquarium, and it is full of water. I wonder about stagnation inside the fish-shaped ceramic, and about a breakdown of the material, since it is not a glossy glaze inside & out.
What are the criteria for determining if a ceramic piece is safe ... if it has been thoroughly fired with its finishing glaze?  I read about you recommending a broken flower put for Ghost Shrimp ... that, to me, seems porous and subject to breakdown.  I'm confused.  Can you please help me by providing me with a simple guideline for ceramic compatibility with fish? ...  
Thanks, again,
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Reply. Hello Bonnie, thank you for your email and for your compliments. We're glad you're making good use of From reading your comments I can tell that you've been bouncing around from page to page.

I agree with your concern about your beautiful ceramic ornament. Just above your comments on this page is a discussion of Mary's problem with her fish. Click here to go to the beginning of that discussion.

I couldn't tell from your email, if you bought the ceramic ornament at a pet store, and if it was labeled for use in aquariums. If so, it's most likely OK to use it in your aquarium. If not, you should remove it from your aquarium.

Exactly which ceramic ornaments are safe for aquariums? It's best to buy ornaments that are specifically labeled for use in aquariums.

I have some beautiful ornaments, that are not labeled for use in aquariums, so I put them outside my aquariums and fish bowls. Click here to see an example of some nice ceramic ornaments beside a fish bowl.

You said that you read elsewhere on this web site that we recommend using the brown unglazed terra cotta pots and pieces of these pots. These pots are not labeled for use in aquariums.

We and many other aquarists have used these pots for many years without problems. But I would no longer recommend these pots for use in aquariums. Use only items specifically labeled for use in aquariums.

The ad below links to this advertiser.
Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here to hear a Special Interview on Pet Fish Talk about the EcoBio-Block Family of Products, which are very effective at keeping aquarium water clear.

Customer Comments


Hello! First let me say that I have your site on my "favorites"! It's awesome!
Something that I can contribute is the fact that even though you state ?not to use bleach?, I find that it is an effective and safe way to sterilize my ?picks of the creek?, when done correctly.
I live in Philadelphia. I'm not sure if you ever visited, but it's not the cleanest of cities. Some parts have nice parts though, with creeks running through. I go often with my backpack and gather nice river rocks and gravel. I then fill a two-gallon bucket with hot water and about five tablespoons of bleach. I let it sit for about five minutes or so and rinse well. Then I refill with more hot water and add about two tablespoons of the water conditioner you mentioned. I let that sit for a few hours and then rinse again.
I never had a problem doing this and just thought you'd like to know. I'm pretty experienced though and learned this from my father, a die-hard fish fanatic, his basement looks like a fish store, so saving with aquarium decorations is always a plus.
Well thank you again for an excellent site!
Christine from Philly
Philadelphia PA
P.S. Make sure that the bleach must not be scented or "flavored" as I call it. I have never tried that and only use plain bleach. THANKS AGAIN!!


Reply. Hello Christine. Thank you for your comments. First, I would not take rocks or gravel directly from a creek and put them in my aquariums. But all the rocks and gravel, that we see in aquariums and fish bowls, originally came from somewhere. So someone made a decision that they are safe for fish. Perhaps some or all of these rocks and gravel were treated with chemicals.

You have the advantage of being shown how to use bleach by your father, who is very experienced and has tested the things that he showed you how to do.

Dangerous Chemicals
The State of California sent us a warning, saying that over 50% of injuries caused by chemicals involve bleach. Our facility was built by us in 1976, since that time we've written up five accidents and three involved bleach.

Two members of our crew got a tiny drop of bleach in their eye, which was rinsed out promptly with lots of water. But the injuries were still very painful for a few hours. We felt very fortunate that their accidents left no permanent damage to their eyes.

Important, you should always wear eye protection and gloves when using bleach, acids, and other strong chemicals.

The third accident involved mixing bleach with hydrochloric acid and produced a toxic gas that made one of our crew sick for a few hours. Fortunately this accident left no permanent damage either. We now have a rule in our facility to:

Important, never Mix Chemicals unless the mixture has been tested and you have been given approval to mix those specific chemicals.
Thanks again for your important email, Christine.
Click here to read another Customer Comments and our Replies about Avoiding Contamination.
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