Home Ruby Can You Put Ruby in a Fish Tank?

Can You Put Ruby in a Fish Tank?

by Madonna

Aquariums are more than just containers for keeping fish; they are carefully balanced ecosystems where every element, from the water chemistry to the decoration, can affect the health and wellbeing of the aquatic life within. Among the various types of decorations available, natural stones are particularly popular. They not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also can have functional benefits such as providing hiding places for fish or influencing the water’s pH levels. One type of stone that often captures the imagination is the ruby. Known for its stunning red hue and status as a precious gemstone, the idea of adding ruby stones to a fish tank is intriguing but requires careful consideration.

What is Ruby?

Ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum, characterized primarily by its red color, which is caused by the presence of chromium. It is one of the hardest natural gemstones, with a Mohs hardness rating of 9, making it highly resistant to scratches. This durability, combined with its striking appearance, makes ruby a prized gemstone in jewelry and a potentially attractive addition to an aquarium.


Chemical Composition and Properties

Rubies are composed of aluminum oxide (Al₂O₃) with trace amounts of chromium (Cr), which gives them their distinctive red color. Their hardness makes them highly resistant to weathering and physical abrasion. This is an important consideration for aquariums, where the durability of decorations can impact the long-term stability of the tank environment.


Sources and Varieties

Rubies are found in several parts of the world, including Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, and parts of Africa. The quality and color of rubies can vary significantly depending on their source, with Burmese rubies being particularly renowned for their deep red hue.


Compatibility with Aquatic Environments

Before adding any material to an aquarium, it is crucial to understand its potential effects on the water chemistry and the health of the aquatic organisms. Here, we explore whether ruby stones are chemically inert and safe for fish tanks.

Water Chemistry

The primary concern when introducing any new material to an aquarium is its impact on the water chemistry. Ruby, being a form of corundum, is largely inert and does not dissolve in water. This means that it should not significantly alter the pH, hardness, or other chemical properties of the water.

However, one must consider the trace amounts of chromium present in rubies. Chromium can exist in several oxidation states, with some forms being toxic to aquatic life. Specifically, hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is known to be highly toxic, while trivalent chromium (Cr(III)) is generally less harmful. Natural rubies predominantly contain trivalent chromium, which poses less risk, but it is still essential to ensure that the stone does not release harmful substances into the water over time.

Physical Impact

The physical properties of ruby, including its hardness and lack of porosity, suggest that it would not degrade or leach substances into the water. Its smooth surface reduces the risk of harming fish that may come into contact with it. Additionally, rubies do not break down easily, ensuring that they do not contribute to particulate matter in the water.

Biological Considerations

Fish and other aquatic organisms are sensitive to their environments, and any new addition can potentially cause stress or behavioral changes. Introducing a non-native material like ruby should be done with caution. It is essential to observe the behavior of the fish and other tank inhabitants after introducing the ruby to ensure they are not adversely affected.

Practical Considerations for Adding Ruby to a Fish Tank

If you decide to add ruby stones to your fish tank, there are several practical considerations to ensure the health and safety of your aquatic environment.

Sourcing and Authenticity

Ensure that the rubies you plan to use are genuine and not synthetic or treated with chemicals that could leach into the water. Some commercially available rubies are treated with lead glass or other substances to enhance their appearance, which could be harmful in an aquarium setting.

Size and Placement

Consider the size of the ruby stones. Larger stones are preferable as they are less likely to be ingested by fish and are easier to clean. Place the stones in a location where they will not obstruct swimming paths or become entangled in aquatic plants.

Cleaning and Preparation

Before adding ruby stones to the tank, they should be thoroughly cleaned to remove any dirt, dust, or contaminants. Soak the stones in distilled water and scrub them gently with a soft brush. Avoid using any detergents or chemicals that could leave residues harmful to the fish.

Monitoring and Maintenance

After introducing ruby stones to the aquarium, monitor the water parameters regularly to ensure there are no adverse changes. Check for any signs of stress or illness in the fish, such as changes in behavior, appetite, or appearance. Regular water changes and maintenance will help keep the environment stable.

Potential Benefits of Ruby in an Aquarium

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, ruby stones could offer several potential benefits when placed in an aquarium.

Visual Enhancement

The vibrant red color of ruby can add a striking visual contrast to the green plants and blue water of an aquarium. This can create a unique and visually appealing underwater landscape.

Psychological Stimulation

Decorations and varied environments can provide mental stimulation for fish, reducing stress and promoting natural behaviors. Ruby stones, with their unique color and texture, can contribute to a more enriching habitat.

Status Symbol and Conversation Starter

Having genuine ruby stones in an aquarium can be a unique selling point and conversation starter for hobbyists and visitors alike. It adds an element of luxury and uniqueness to the aquarium.

Potential Risks and Mitigation Strategies

While ruby stones can be a beautiful addition to a fish tank, there are potential risks that need to be addressed.

Toxicity Concerns

As previously mentioned, the primary risk is the potential leaching of harmful substances, such as chromium. To mitigate this risk, it is essential to source high-quality, untreated natural rubies. Regular water testing can help detect any changes in water chemistry early on.

Physical Harm

Although rubies are hard and smooth, there is still a minor risk of physical harm to fish, especially if the stones have sharp edges. Carefully inspect and smooth any rough edges before placing the stones in the tank.

Stress and Behavioral Changes

Introducing any new element to an aquarium can cause temporary stress to the fish. Introduce the ruby stones gradually and monitor the fish closely for any signs of distress. Providing plenty of hiding places and ensuring a stable environment can help minimize stress.

Case Studies and Anecdotal Evidence

There is limited scientific research specifically on the use of ruby stones in aquariums. However, anecdotal evidence from aquarium enthusiasts suggests that when properly prepared and monitored, ruby stones can be safely used in fish tanks without causing harm to the fish or significantly altering water chemistry.

Enthusiast Experiences

Several aquarium hobbyists have reported successfully using small ruby stones in their tanks, particularly in setups with larger, more robust fish species. These hobbyists noted the visual appeal and did not observe any negative impacts on water quality or fish health.

Comparative Analysis

Comparing ruby stones to other commonly used aquarium decorations, such as quartz or slate, can provide additional insights. Like ruby, quartz is chemically inert and does not alter water chemistry. Slate, on the other hand, can slightly alter the pH of the water. The experiences with these materials suggest that inert stones like ruby are generally safe when properly managed.

Ethical and Environmental Considerations

Using gemstones in aquariums raises ethical and environmental questions, particularly concerning the sourcing and impact of gemstone mining.

Ethical Sourcing

Ensure that the rubies used are ethically sourced, meaning they are mined and traded in ways that do not exploit workers or harm local communities. Look for certifications from organizations that monitor and promote ethical mining practices.

Environmental Impact

Consider the environmental footprint of gemstone mining. Mining can have significant ecological impacts, including habitat destruction and pollution. Opt for sustainably sourced stones or consider using synthetic rubies created through environmentally friendly processes.


Adding ruby stones to a fish tank is a fascinating idea that combines the beauty of gemstones with the serene environment of an aquarium. While there are potential benefits in terms of aesthetics and enrichment, it is crucial to carefully consider the practical, biological, and ethical implications.


You May Also Like


Giacoloredstones is a colored gem portal. The main columns are Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Amethyst, Garnet, Turquoise, Knowledges, News, etc.【Contact us: [email protected]

© 2023 Copyright