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Rusted Rock

We're in the process of redesigning our 180 gal (6' x 2' x 2') after
recently stripping it down to treat a persistent bout of dactylogyrus
(egg-laying gill flukes).  The only good thing about having to start
again is that we have the opportunity to redo what I now consider to be
a lame first design.

In keeping with our original Amazon stream biotope theme, we've decided
to aquascape it to look as much like a stream bed as possible.  I
picture the end result to feature roughly 60% plants (mostly a variety
of Echinodorus), 25% mopani driftwood and fist-sized to football-sized
smooth black river rock, 15% flourite, flourite-sized gravel and various
loonie and slightly larger-sized smooth black river rock.  Thanks to the
recent discussion on terracing, we'll be attempting various terraced
levels to create more visual interest to the overall layout.

A recent trip to a local quarry lead to us to bringing home some of the
smooth black river rock (our guess is that it's basalt) we'd hoped we'd
find (plus, in the small quantities we need for an aquarium, we got the
stuff free).  The only problem with some of the rock is that it is
stained, in some places, with rust.

My plan is to soak these rocks for a week then test the water for iron
to determine iron content, but first have a few questions that I hope
the learned folks on the list can answer.  Is the rust going to be a
problem for the fish?  Will the rust and the iron from which the rust
comes be of any use to the plants?  Should rusted rock be used in an
aquarium at all?

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful answers.

Beverly Wladyka
Edmonton AB Canada