Substrate insanity!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate insanity!!

I am looking for some serious help on searching for a new gravel for my 55 gallon fish only tank. I want to find a natural looking gravel that is not coated with anything (apparently from what I have read is that the coated gravel is not a good option).

I assume that the natural stones leech something into the aquarium (such as various minerals depending on the rocks) which would seem bad. This points me back towards the coated kind seing that the coating prevents the minerals from leeching correct?

Is it possible that someone can give me the pro's and cons of each option.

Also if i was planning on going with a planted tank I was looking at fluorite but the biggest question I have is if this stuff will eventually break down into mushyness! How long does this stuff hold up? If it holds up for an extended period i will go with that and a few easy plants to start.

Does anyone have any experience also with turface mvp. Does it hold up for long periods of time or break down to mushyness like some others?

Thank you for all the help with so many options its insanity and i want to make the most informed decision i can for my freshwater angels.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 10:40 AM
fluorite will not break down, its not soft. Ive also used both coated and noncoated and now i mix them and have never had any problems or heard of any problems from using coated gravel. As long as you buy good gravel for aquarium use it should be ok. any kind of sotne would leech minerals into your tank through erosion but that amount is so miniscule that you probably wont ever notice. If you use rocks from your backyard and not buy aquarium gravel, those will bring nastys into your tank. For using stones in your backyard you need to do a good scrub down and test it for gasses with something... i forget, but if it fizzes its no good, if it dont fix, its fine. No boiling rocks, may explode. Lastly, flourite hold its nutrients and gives it out fairly slowly, ive had mine for over a year and never changed it and my plants are fine. I started dosing flourish for the trace minerals though. root tabs also work, once flourite gives up all its nutrients its just normal gravel. Its also light weight so its prone to gravel vac accidental removal.

No idea what turface mvp is.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 10:57 AM
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Have not done it yet myself, but I have read of many people using pea gravel from stores such as Lowe's without problems.
It has a nice natural look to it. You would have to was it well and do the vinegar test just to be safe.

I have flourite in a couple tanks, not breaking down yet, but have only had it a few months. Like SinCrisis said, its not easy to gravel vac without suckings some up.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks that helps alot. I will have to go out and do a rock hunt to test what will work and make my angels happy.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by abunari View Post
Thanks that helps alot. I will have to go out and do a rock hunt to test what will work and make my angels happy.
With angels I would forget the rocks and use bogwood, more natural to them. And they are more settled with plants. Re the gravel, the regular aquarium gravel [comes in natural (buff/brown mix) and sometimes darker (grey/black)] are safe, they are quartz and will not leech anything into the water. The dolomite and crush coral gravels will leech calcium and raise pH and hardness, they are meant for livebearers (if you have acidic water and need to harden it for livebearers), rift lake cichlids and marine tanks. Coated gravels have ben know to break down, i have had this occur as have others. Personally I would not use a coated gravel in my fish tank, not worth the risk; it may take years...but who knows? Rocks that are calcareus (like limestone) do raise hardness and pH. Any from outside should be used with extreme caution, they may have absorbed pesticides, oils, chemicals and scrubbing will not resolve this.

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]
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm bogwood ill have to look around for that! thank you again.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 08:50 PM
bogwood leeches tannins into your water, will turn your water a light teaish color. Will also affect your ph a very teeny bit, but angel fish like a little lower ph and the darker water so it works out.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-11-2009, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Hey everyone could you please take a look at these stones. I found a landcape place near me that sells various types and sizes and want to get your opinion on if they are ok..of course i have to go and test them first though. i am going to test them using my nitrite testing liquid which contains hydrochloric acid. one last question though should i test them before and after being washed? i did this with some turface and it fizzed before but not after i rinsed it thouroughly. i cant find anywhere on the site as to what exactly the mineral of the rocks are though (quartz for example).

Here is a link to the location Resources - Pebble Junction, Inc.
the brown river jacks small size looks perfect and has nice colors to it i think.

love to know what you guys think
thank you!
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-11-2009, 10:47 AM
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Don't take my word for it, but if it is truly river rock it would be fine to use.
Looks very nice! Did you get a price on it?
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-11-2009, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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3-5 dollars for about 50lbs! ill make sure and ask if its river rock and if there is any limestone in it.
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