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My new 80 gallon

This is a discussion on My new 80 gallon within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by outpost Thank you. I bought some quickqrete gravel from HD for my tank. It say that you can use it for ...

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Old 06-24-2010, 10:40 AM   #11
 
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Thank you. I bought some quickqrete gravel from HD for my tank. It say that you can use it for fish ponds. I think that it might be non-inert. I checked the pH of the source water and then I checked the pH of the tank water with the gravel in it and it was higher. I did add a de-chlorinator to the tank water. Do you think that could effect it?
No, the water conditioners do not affect water chemistry, or so they say, and I've never heard of any that do.

I would say the gravel contains calcareous material, probably limestone; I would not put it in a planted tank, it could over time really raise the hardness and pH. Gravel made for a pond, as with many of the sands intended for swimming pools, usually contain calcareous material because it is generally better to have mineral in the water (and resulting higher pH) for health reasons. The indoor aquarium with soft water fish and plants is a very different thing.

The best source for aquarium gravel is a fish store that sells in bulk; this is way cheaper than buying the bags. You may have to hunt around for such a store, and the gravel types may be limited. You want a dark gravel, black/grey/natural sort of thing.

Another source is a landscape or stone supply, they have various types of gravels and with some searching you might find one. I found some dark birdseye gravel at such a place and it is perfect; you can see it in my present 90g flooded Amazon tank. It cost me 75 cents for a 2 gallon pail, so the whole tank was less than $5. And it is inert, I tested it in a fishless tank for two months with water changes, the pH and hardness never varied.

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Old 06-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #12
 
Thank you Byron. So it wouldn't be ok to use pool filter sand? I've seen guys with planted tanks on TFK with it. I'm pretty sure we do not have any places that sell gravel in bulk. I will aak my landscape friend though and see what I can find.
Would you have any suggestions as far as low tech plants to keep in my tank. I will be ordering from sweet aquatics.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:42 AM   #13
 
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Thank you Byron. So it wouldn't be ok to use pool filter sand? I've seen guys with planted tanks on TFK with it. I'm pretty sure we do not have any places that sell gravel in bulk. I will aak my landscape friend though and see what I can find.
Would you have any suggestions as far as low tech plants to keep in my tank. I will be ordering from sweet aquatics.
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Pool filter sand usually has stuff in it, to keep kids healthy in the pool after all. Home Depot carry "play sand" which should be inert. I got some dark grey playsand last year from HD, finally used it in my 10g "experimental tank" in the window. Takes a lot of work to wash, but looks nice. Of course, with sand there are issues, like compaction. This is less of a problem with small-grain gravel. I am not meaning to sound conceited, but after 20 years experience I am trying sand for the first time because I think I have the "knowledge" to manage the problems, or avoid them (hopefully). I do not recommend sand to someone new to fish or planted tanks. I can remember the sort of issues I faced with my first tanks, and making that even more difficult is not something I recommend. One can easily become discouraged and give up, either plants (a shame) or fish (even moreso).

For plants, I would tend to avoid stem plants in general, with some exceptions. Reason is, these grow fast and need regular trimming. They also have slightly higher light requirements, and some will readily disintegrate; lower leaves frequently die off regularly. On the other hand, substrate-rooted plants (swords, crypts, vallisneria, sagittaria, aponogeton...) tend to stay as you plant them. Then there are the plants with rhizome roots that are attached to wood or rock and not planted in the substrate, like Anubias and Java Fern. Easy plants, low light, no fuss. And Java Moss will establish itself on rock and wood and look nice. Lastly, floating plants, the easiest to maintain usually. True floating plants like Ceratopteris; plus some of the stem plants are nice floating. I like Brazilian Pennywort for this; it is also one of the easiest stem plants as it tolerates less light, but still grows fast and needs regular attention.

Have a look at our plant profiles, the selection is still limited I admit, but you will get some ideas, and all have photos.

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Old 06-24-2010, 12:57 PM   #14
 
So the people who have pool filter sand in their tanks will be having chemistry problems/
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:59 PM   #15
 
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So the people who have pool filter sand in their tanks will be having chemistry problems/
That depends what they want, and what is in the sand. And it is not really chemistry problems, depending upon what one means; calcareous sand or gravel will raise pH and hardness, which may be what they want. This is fine in a rift lake cichlid or even livebearer tank where you want hard, basic/alkaline water. But it is not ideal in planted aquaria containing soft water fish where you want to keep the softenss down and the pH acidic as much as you can.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:51 PM   #16
 
would there be a way to tell on the bag of PFS if it is calcareous or not?
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:56 PM   #17
 
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would there be a way to tell on the bag of PFS if it is calcareous or not?
If it says the type of rock it is made from, but most don't.

The "acid" test sort of works with rocks if the acid is strong enough. A couple drops of acid on rock or stone, and if it fizzes there is calcium present. Vinegar is sometimes suggested, but it is a weak acid, the regent #2 in the nitrate test kit contains a strong acid that works. Not sure if this works with sand.

But the best way is to put some in a container of water and monitor the pH over several days. I did this with my gravel from the landscape place. Left the gravel in an empty tank with water, changed it weekly, and monitored the pH--it remained exactly the same over several weeks. Obviously you have to buy some to test it, another advantage of bulk gravels/sand, you can take home a small amount.
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