mixing gravel sizes - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
mixing gravel sizes

Hello All,
I'm fairly new to fish keeping and it seems the more I learn the more I spend in modifications to my setup. I currently have the standard petstore pea sized gravel in my 46 g tank with a school of catfish and a pair of kribensis as bottom dwellers. I'd like to get some smaller gravel for them since I've read they digg it :) I'm thinking the caribsea peace river gravel, which is 1 to 2mm on average.

What do you think about mixing that in with my current gravel or at least some of it?

All opinions are appreciated,
Mark
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 01:52 PM
Although you can mix gravel sizes, I'm not a fan of pea sized gravel as it allows too many nooks and cranny's for food particles to fall down into, out of reach for the stock. I don't know how well mixing in a smaller gravel will reduce. Just me, but I think I would opt for a smaller gravel and replace the pea sized stuff altogether.

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post #3 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
I don't know fish, but I do know something about granular materials from my trade. The air space in the gravel should actually be lass with a mix of grain sizes because the smaller pieces fill in the voids.

http://www.co.portage.wi.us/groundwa...rstnd/soil.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Although you can mix gravel sizes, I'm not a fan of pea sized gravel as it allows too many nooks and cranny's for food particles to fall down into, out of reach for the stock. I don't know how well mixing in a smaller gravel will reduce. Just me, but I think I would opt for a smaller gravel and replace the pea sized stuff altogether.

Last edited by curiousburke; 07-23-2011 at 02:17 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 03:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousburke View Post
I don't know fish, but I do know something about granular materials from my trade. The air space in the gravel should actually be lass with a mix of grain sizes because the smaller pieces fill in the voids.

Soil Properties that affect Groundwater
Challenge is maintaining a uniform mix - like gravel and sand, you think of it uniform, but it often finds it's own place so that the small particles don't always fill in the voids.
Try it and see how it works - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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post #5 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
Do you think the Cories and Kribs would still enjoy digging in it if it had the larger grains, or will they really only dig in the fine stuff?
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 06:04 PM
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the small particles will work thier way to the bottom eventually, so it'll be hard to maintain the mixture. It might be possible to maintain 2 areas in the tank with different gravel types using some type of divider; this could look unattractive unless you cleverly hide the divider
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 06:55 PM
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From my experience, the gravels will mix and the smallest grains fall to the bottom and the larger will remain on top. I notice this even with my same-sized gravels and Flourite which has some very small sand-like particles and some 1-2 mm sized particles; the smaller are at the bottom, always. You can clearly see this along the front glass.

We sometimes forget that in a healthy balanced aquarim, water is constantly flowing down through the substrate and back up again, heated in the substrate by the bacterial processes occurring there. This convection or thermal flow is I suspect why the substrate shifts. As it is not static, the otherwise-logical mix of small/larger grains does not occur. And of course, there are plant roots burrowing through, and perhaps Malaysian Livebearing snails; both of these cause substrate shifting, which is why they are so useful.

I would replace the pea gravel with either fine gravel (1-2 mm grains) or coarse sand. As someone mentioned, two types of substrate mixed usually does not look "natural" but like two things mixed.

If the catfish are Corydoras, fine gravel works well, or sand. Except for the dwarf species which seem to do better over sand, which probably is not surprising.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 07-23-2011 at 06:58 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
okay, sounds like replacing is the way to go.

Does anyone have experience with the caribsea gravels. They have 1-2mm peace river in a wet biologically active package and in a dry clean form. If I can get the wet cheaper, is there any disadvantage. For example, could it upset the balance with the bacterial in my canister filter?
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-24-2011, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousburke View Post
okay, sounds like replacing is the way to go.

Does anyone have experience with the caribsea gravels. They have 1-2mm peace river in a wet biologically active package and in a dry clean form. If I can get the wet cheaper, is there any disadvantage. For example, could it upset the balance with the bacterial in my canister filter?
I should think the dry would be cheaper with respect to shipping costs for it would be lighter than the wet which would be heavier, possibly due to more water.
So long as the canister's bio-media is preserved (kept wet during substrate change)you shouldn't have any issues.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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