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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, new to the forum and in the process of creating my first tank

I've gotten most supplies easily enough, but I've gotten stuck on non-plant decor, especially a cave

Everything in my budget either is too sharp, or has holes just a tad too tiny. I read that bettas will try to jam themselves in tight spaces so most holes look to be a no-no

I heard that mugs are safe to put in so I happily went to the thrift store hoping to find something that's glazed like a mug

Edit: I did not understand that the glaze itself could be a problem, especially on items that aren't meant to be used with food

You may see where this is going

After much searching I found a handbell and an unused lighthouse candle holder

The bell I was hoping to place on its side. It has a standard looking white glaze, and either stamped or decaled blue patterns. It looks like the glaze you might find on a fancy plate.

The lighthouse is molded and hollow with an entrance cut out for a tea light candle. It looks like the perfect size for a cave. The glaze is white, blue, and brown and (rather sloppily) hand painted

Is there any way to make sure these are safe? Lead paint testers are extremely expensive and not worth it

If they're no good, how can I get my hands on appropriate but cost effective decor? I'm in Canada and items for a niche market are frightingly expensive right now. But thrift store and vintage items are abundant and cheap in town ^^'
 

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Anything microwave safe and food grade is safe. Fired ceramics, terracotta and homemade caves made of river rocks and aquarium sealant are cheap. Be sure to boil any river rocks you pick up for five minutes to kill off bacteria.
I would shy from painted items. Especially cheap stuff. The paint is sure to be toxic. Some sand paper can do wonders on stuff thats too sharp too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Anything microwave safe and food grade is safe. Fired ceramics, terracotta and homemade caves made of river rocks and aquarium sealant are cheap. Be sure to boil any river rocks you pick up for five minutes to kill off bacteria.
I would shy from painted items. Especially cheap stuff. The paint is sure to be toxic. Some sand paper can do wonders on stuff thats too sharp too.
Thanks for your response

I've heard that rocks can be a concern because of calcium etc. Should I test for that?
 

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Be sure not to use anything with metallic parts, some mugs have gold/silver decals on the outside, and they are most likely not fish safe.

Yes, test using vinegar for calcium in rocks. Also, rocks can explode(rarely) or leach noxious fumes by boiling. I suggest a vinegar mix soak for fifteen minutes minimum and then rinsing them thoroughly(rinse until you feel safe, then rinse again), letting them dry, and rinsing again. Don't use rocks with fool's gold, so be careful not to choose gold sparkles rocks. Normal crystals are great though.
I often collect rocks to use for my tanks, and haven't had a problems using this method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Be sure not to use anything with metallic parts, some mugs have gold/silver decals on the outside, and they are most likely not fish safe.

Yes, test using vinegar for calcium in rocks. Also, rocks can explode(rarely) or leach noxious fumes by boiling. I suggest a vinegar mix soak for fifteen minutes minimum and then rinsing them thoroughly(rinse until you feel safe, then rinse again), letting them dry, and rinsing again. Don't use rocks with fool's gold, so be careful not to choose gold sparkles rocks. Normal crystals are great though.
I often collect rocks to use for my tanks, and haven't had a problems using this method.
Well, I certainly don't want exploding rocks :O

Thanks for the additional technique and choosing ideas, especially the part about fool's gold. Glad you've had success!
 
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