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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I picked up a small plastic bag of rocks in Lowes plant section. The bag is labeled "Countryside River Rocks" (it's a 5lb bag). The rocks are mostly reddish, white, and greenish, and about 1/3" to 3/4" in size, and intended for decorative use in planters I assume. When I opened the bag the rocks felt as if the had a waxy coating on them. I'm sticking them in the oven to see if anything burns off of them.

Has anyone else tried these rocks, or run into anything similar?
 

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I work during the spring season at Lowes, so know exactly what you are referring to...they are very shiny...if you give them a 10% bleach bath and rinse, they should be fine. Despite what many people believe, once the plants get to Lowes, they are never sprayed with ANY chemicals, or even fertilized. The plants are lucky if they get watered!! Whatever they may have gotten in the growing stage is another matter..but people should look elsewhere for those bugs and such...
 

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I would have to respect another opinion...we eat apples and all sorts of fruits with a parafin coating--Americans won't buy fruit unless it is "pretty." A pot of boiled water run over top of the rocks should be sufficient to remove the coating...and would be interested in any opinion to the contrary...hey, I sure don't have a wealth of experience in darts!~!
 

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Stop! Turn off the oven. Never bake rocks as there is a chance they could explode!

If anything i'd just wash the rocks by hand with warm water, a little liquid dish soap, and a toothbrush.

Aquarium gravel is often coated with some kind of epoxy. It could be something similar, but I am not sure why it would be waxy.
 

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who said cook the rocks???...turn off the oven!!! I just said pour hot water over them...I agree about cooking ANY rocks about them exploding...but hot water to remove paraffin is a lot different...and the 10% bleach and rinse should totally solve any lingering concerns..
 

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Just go to the building supplies department and you can find small and large size gravel for $3 for a 50 pound bag.

:)



EDIT: You should *NOT* be putting rocks in your oven. It is EXTREMELY dangerous. Although the chance of occurrance is minute, there could be air bubbles trapped within the rock. Heating them will pressure these bubbles and if one happens to be situated along a structural weakpoint, it can cause the rock to explode.

Very rare, but very dangerous.
 

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who said cook the rocks???...turn off the oven!!! I just said pour hot water over them...I agree about cooking ANY rocks about them exploding...but hot water to remove paraffin is a lot different...and the 10% bleach and rinse should totally solve any lingering concerns..
LOL, when I checked this thread there were 0 replies, so I started typing on my iphone to respond to the OP, and by the time I hit 'submit', everybody else had posted a bunch of replies. So my post about the oven was re: the OP.

Added note regarding rocks exploding due to air bubbles trapped in the rock, another cause is if there is moisture in the rock, and the water is heated to where it becomes expanding gas. Either way, it's not worth the risk. Same thing with throwing rocks into a campfire, etc. Be careful everybody!
 

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EL--Your warning is well taken--however, and this I believe is the difference--this OP is looking for DECORATIVE rocks...and if treated appropriately they will be safe to put in a vivarium... Gravel is just that--gravel--and perhaps has more problems than a thin coating of paraffin!
 

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@Judy: what problems does gravel have? I'm not aware of any :x

What is "decorative rock"?

perhaps my reference to gravel was poor, but if you go to a "building supply store" you can usually find ALL kinds of rocks for extremely cheap

Off the top of my head, I bought 42 pounds of slate rock and ~20 pounds of large river rock (perhaps thats more what the OP was looking for?) for less than $10.
 

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Strange, I have bought the small packs of rocks from HomeDepot and they did not have any kind of wax on them. I soaked them and rinsed heavily but they didnt have anything on them.
 

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@Judy: what problems does gravel have? I'm not aware of any :x

What is "decorative rock"?

perhaps my reference to gravel was poor, but if you go to a "building supply store" you can usually find ALL kinds of rocks for extremely cheap

Off the top of my head, I bought 42 pounds of slate rock and ~20 pounds of large river rock (perhaps thats more what the OP was looking for?) for less than $10.
I got the impression that the OP was looking for a small sized, small quantity that was colorful for a vivarium. The rock referred to is generally found in the garden supply area of Lowes or HD and comes in little nylon sacks..different sizes and colors...Michaels, a craft shop, also sells those items... To me, gravel and the types of stones that you describe, are better suited for outdoor use..but I do not have that sort of imput so gave my best opinion about the use of decorative "pebbles" in an enclosed vivarium with critters...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would have to respect another opinion...we eat apples and all sorts of fruits with a parafin coating--Americans won't buy fruit unless it is "pretty." A pot of boiled water run over top of the rocks should be sufficient to remove the coating...and would be interested in any opinion to the contrary...hey, I sure don't have a wealth of experience in darts!~!
I appreciate the help, but even cooking them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 mins didn't melt off all the wax. The rock is porous just enough to make it nearly impossible to remove all the wax. Fine for decorating houseplants, though - wax is no problem there.

As far as using them in a tank, short-term the wax is probably harmless, but eventually it may start to chip or flake off because of moisture entering the rocks, etc. I can't risk having my frogs bowels plugged up buy an errant piece of wax that a fruit-fly was sitting on.

I've picked up rocks from the yard and used them in my viv after baking them for 30 or 45 mins at 400 degrees (heat slowly, or they can crack!), so I'm not terribly picky about my rock sources - I just don't want them coated with anything. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Stop! Turn off the oven. Never bake rocks as there is a chance they could explode!

If anything i'd just wash the rocks by hand with warm water, a little liquid dish soap, and a toothbrush.

Aquarium gravel is often coated with some kind of epoxy. It could be something similar, but I am not sure why it would be waxy.
They sure can pop if you heat them too fast! I don't bake them to clean them.. it's to help sterilize. A sterilizing bleach bath will work as well (the ratio of bleach to water can be found in the forums).

I think the wax was to accentuate the color of the rocks (brought out the colors just like wetting a rock would). In any event it's definitely paraffin, or something very similar. It has a waxy feel, and smells like a burning candle when heated.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I got the impression that the OP was looking for a small sized, small quantity that was colorful for a vivarium. The rock referred to is generally found in the garden supply area of Lowes or HD and comes in little nylon sacks..different sizes and colors...Michaels, a craft shop, also sells those items... To me, gravel and the types of stones that you describe, are better suited for outdoor use..but I do not have that sort of imput so gave my best opinion about the use of decorative "pebbles" in an enclosed vivarium with critters...
Oh so close. :) The rocks in question are in a clear plastic bag that's square-shaped (or very close). Mostly reddish, greenish, and white rocks. Nice looking.

I was hoping they were just tumbled to polish them and make them shiny. No such luck.
 

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Find an old pot, put some warm water and the rocks in there... slowly ramp up the heat. I believe the wax will slough off and float to the surface, let it cool, skim it off...
 
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