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There are many decorations available to increase the beauty of your Aquarium. Some can also be very useful for other functions.
There are many types of rock available from aquarium stores including slate, granite, etc. that are inert. Inert meaning that they will not discolor or change the composition of your water. I would not recommend collecting your own unless you know what you are collecting. Adding rocks with Limestone, as an example can alter the water chemistry by having the calcium leach out, hardening your water. One way to check and see if your rock is safe is to drop a little vinegar on it. If the vinegar bubbles then the rock is not safe to use in the aquarium.
Be sure to scrub and rinse the rock before using them.
For versatility, wood is hard to beat in the aquarium. It can be used to anchor plants such as Java Fern and for some fish such as the Bristle Nose Catfish it forms a basic part of their diet.
Driftwood Wood that can be found floating or supported in water. Drift wood can be found in saltwater or freshwater and over time becomes water logged. Freshwater drift wood (depending on the type of wood) can alter pH (normally lowering it) by releasing tannic acids. Beach drift wood can release salts, etc. Drift wood should be boiled if possible prior to introduction to the aquarium.
Bogs are areas of wet mucky soil and dark tannin stained lakes. The vegetation in a bog is particularly fragile and hard to restore. Soils are mucky or have an accumulation of peat. A true bog, by definition, is not connected to the ground water table; it receives water only through precipitation. Because of this isolation from the ground water, bogs are nutrient and oxygen poor. In addition, the soils and water of a bog have a low pH, or in other words, are highly acidic. Trees are generally found around the edges of the bog and were drowned as the bog expanded out of its basin onto the surrounding mineral soil. The lack of oxygen in water logged peat prevents the natural process of decay and ensures the tree trunks and stumps are preserved for years in the accumulating peat. These trees and stumps are bog wood. Bog wood has very high levels of tannic acid and can lower pH dramatically even more than drift wood. Many tropical fish come from areas where the water is rich in tannic acid and the use of bog wood could be beneficial for them. Bog wood should be boiled for a long period of time to leach out these tannic acids to avoid major alterations in the pH.
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