Top Fin Colored Gravel - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 02:09 AM
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Planted tanks depending on what type of plants , do much better with substrates designed for that purpose. That is not to say that with proper lighting, and fertilizer that plants can't be grown in aquariums without this specialty substrate. co2 also plays large part in what types of plants can be grown. As for rocks Slate, quartz, flagstone, and some smooth river rocks that have been cleaned well are popular with many. I would avoid most pourous rock. One method used for testing whether rock is safe for your tank is with vinegar. Pour some over the rock, if it start's to fizz or bubble I'ts probably not wanted. Some rock can alter your ph values as well and is best suited for tanks with fish that are more comfortable with higher ph. Hope some of this helps. :D

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #12 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 10:42 AM
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I feel for you. I've had similar issues with colored gravel. The brand I had trouble with before was Estes. The dye did not visibly color the water in my case, but the stones killed my fish! I spent months trying to adjust the parameters in my 20 gallon tank and they would never stay stable. After doing a few of my own experiments, I nixed the colored gravel and everything was fine. Imagine that?!!!

In my case, it seemed that the epoxy coating was leaching something into the water detrimental to the fish. After a while, pieces of the paint actually flaked off. I know gravel is colored in different ways - sometimes paint, sometimes dye, who knows what else. I've had trouble with painted decorations sold from pet stores too! I don't use them anymore. After having several beloved and unusual algae eater die after nibbling the algae on the painted decorations, I gave up. Now my tanks are almost completely natural, with live plants (a few fake ones, but no paint), driftwood, pea gravel and healthy water! Yay....finally. :D

"One fish, two fish, blue fish."
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post #13 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 12:21 PM
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I too, like Geegafish, had detrimental results from dye-leeching gravel. The brand that failed for me was Petco. All of my fish in the tank died from it. I have, however, used TopFin gravel before and had no problem with it.

However now I am using Eco-Complete (great for growing live plants). And as others have stated here, I also use non-coated pea gravel from Home Depot. If you go that route, make sure to rinse the gravel thoroughly if you don't want cloudy/dirty tank water.

Fancying the fish world!
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post #14 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 01:10 PM
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If you can afford the extra expense, then I would also highly recommend eco-complete for planted tanks if you're planning on keeping live plants.

When I started out in the hobby I opted for artifical decorations such as caves - but have found that a much more natural effect can be achieved using a mixture of live plants, a dark substrate, slate, bogwood and rocks.

If you can't afford eco complete, then a fine gravel from somewhere such as Home Depot is a good alternative - mixed with some plant fertilisers or API or Seachem Root Tabs.
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post #15 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the feedback, guys. I think I will opt for a more natural setting, with natural rocks and such, tough I'm a little I'm kind of clueless as to what to get and where to get it from. I will visit the local Home Depot and take a look at the rocks, gravel available there. I guess I'll also have to find another local fish store fro different options.

Which eco-complete gravel type do you recommend for live plants (and frogs and fish) in my 10 gallon tank?
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post #16 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 10:31 PM
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Eco-Complete is a brand of gravel specifically designed for aquatic plant growth, and has some great reviews. It -is- a little on the expensive side, being around $25 for a 20 lb. bag. The 20 lb. bag should be more than enough for a 10 gallon though. There is also Fluorite from the brand Seachem, and it is slightly less expensive. Try looking for a locally owned fish store in your area (internet, phone book). They are more likely to have these substrates and also other things, such as driftwood, than a commercial store like Petsmart or Petco would. Although, I do believe I've seen some pieces of driftwood at Petsmart next to their packages of gravel.

Fancying the fish world!
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post #17 of 24 Old 06-05-2008, 12:32 PM
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I believe if you cannot find what you want locally that Dr.'s Foster & Smith carry it online or via catalog order. Good luck!

"One fish, two fish, blue fish."
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post #18 of 24 Old 06-05-2008, 02:32 PM
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Pea gravel is a great choice and it works really well. Mostly if not completely inert so it shouldn't effect your tnak chemistry and can be found in many colors.

I actually found a bag of what was called industrial gravel/sand. I had to sift it to get the sizes I wanted in the tnak but for $4 it was well worth it for a 50# bag. Could probably do the same thing with play sand if you can find it.

As for the gravel you have, I would definately take it back and insist on my money back. That is rediculaous to have the dye come off like that.
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post #19 of 24 Old 06-05-2008, 03:24 PM
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Eco-complete is a brand name of substrate designed for planted tanks. Some people use just plain Eco-complete while others mix it with other types of gravel. It's really up to you - having pure Eco-complete will be even better for your plants but might not be the look you want.

It shouldn't be too difficult to find rocks for your aquarium. I couldn't find loose rocks at Home Depot, but they do sell large slate flagstones that you could easily break up and use. I avoided this because I thought they were a bit expensive and wanted to avoid the sharp edges you'd get by breaking the rocks. Most landscaping stores or garden centers will have a bigger selection of rocks. Usually slate or shale is easy enough to find and is great for stacking up to make networks of caves. Round river rocks (also available in 50 lb bags of baseball-sized rocks from Home Depot for very little money) can also look good scattered around your aquarium. In general, I would just try to avoid a few types of rocks: anything close to a roadway that might have oil or other nasty stuff on/in it, rocks that look rust-stained as these can have high metal contents and be bad for your fish, and any rock soft enough for you to break easily or scratch with your fingernail. These types of rocks can often raise your pH. River rocks, slates, shales, granite, gneiss all work. Just give 'em a good scrub (I use an old toothbrush and a garden hose) then pour some boiling water over them to kill any critters.

I would recommend getting your live plants from a LFS or another aquarist, as it's difficult to know if the plant you're getting from anywhere else is truly aquatic.

Driftwood can be a real pain to find so despite its expense, it's usually most readily available at a LFS.
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post #20 of 24 Old 06-06-2008, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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I found the Pea Gravel. It's really a great deal at $4. But, I didn't buy it because I want to take a look at the Eco-Complete. It's so sad, I have the tank there.. with no plants or fish in it. I googled some local fish stores and I'm going to try going this weekend so I can finally move on.

I decided to go all "natural" and just go with the wood and stones. However, I've yet to find those. I did see stones at the same place I saw the pea gravel at, but it is quite a but more expensive than the pea gravel.

As for plants, I'm no expert. Not sure how to tell an "aquatic" pkant form a non-aquatic one. From my simple understanding, an aquatic plant is just a plant that lives in water. The ones I saw at PetSmart looked green and healthy. I want to find moss for the tank, though, which I don't think I saw there.

I'll update you guys when I've got something.
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