Cheap Aquarium Gravel?
Hey guys I was wondering what can I use as cheap aquarium gravel? That won't harm my fish or water parameters? And how I would clean the gravel if you have any suggestions? Trying to find a way to set up a 29g for my angelfish or if I can find a larger tank... or possibly set it up for my baby fish. And I need it to be as cheap as possible... Also how long would it take to make the gravel fish-safe?
If you're talking terms of any substrate and not just gravel, sand is the cheapest. Where I live, 50 pounds is 5 dollars. I don't think you can get cheaper than that.
Sand would work....but most gravel tends to be in expensive...atleast at my LFS....you're only gonna need about 1.5 pounds of gravel per gallon to put a good covering on the floor plan for a 29G tank.....ift's a taller tank, you could get away with 30 pounds.....
is gravel expensive near you or something?
PETCO Shallow Creek Mix Aquarium Gravel at PETCO
you'd need less than two of these....thats roughly $20
Oh, ok cool. Well I meant substrate, ya... same thing I think. Gravel isn't that expensive I guess 5 pounds of the black gravel was 4$ though.
I'd just like the cheapest possible setup for this tank. ;P I'll look around tonight maybe for gravel. Might go to walmart/pet store.
An inexpensive source for gravel is a landscape or stone supplier. I picked up some dark "birdseye" gravel for 75 cents for a 3-g pail. It would cost less than $7 to provide enough for my 90g aquarium, and it is identical to the gravel in the current 90g setup if you check the photos; I actually have some mixed in. Some fish stoes also sell regular gravel in bulk, though not this cheaply.
You have to ensure it is inert quartz-type gravel. Calcareous materials will raise the pH and hardness which you don't want in planted tanks. When I bought a single pail of the birdseye, i put it in a spare tank with water and left it for several weeks and tested the pH; no change in 2 months.
One caution on sand, it will compact more easily than gravel, and that can cause issues. I'm not saying sand isn't an option and won't work, it is and it will. It takes a bit more careful handling. And for someone starting out with a planted tank, I would recommend small-grain gravel, grain size 2mm or so, as the overall best substrate. As you've mentioned angelfish, something like the dark gravel in my 90g would be ideal and allow the fish to feel secure.
It must be inert. Some types of sand are, some aren't. The top 3 cheap substrates I have heard of are
1) 3M Colorquartz: $30 for 50 lbs. Comes in all colors including but not limited to blue, plum, white, brown, tan and black. Inert, and the sand (S-Grade) comes in smooth, round grains. They also have a T-Grade similar to fine gravel. Best of all the quartz is extremely dense and therefore heavier, making it harder to be come sucked up in your siphon or filter.
2) Pool Filter Sand: Dirt cheap, maybe $5/bag. Inert, usually a whitish yellow. You can cap some Shultz Aquatic Soil (or any other inert soil) with it and away you go!
3) Turface: Good planted tank substrate, resists compacting (it's used for baseball fields) and holds nutrients well.
Another thought, you probably want something dark. This depends upon the fish. Forest fish (all tetras, rasbora, danio, angels, gourami, dwarf cichlids, etc) should always have a dark substrate. They are less stressed, and thus their colouration will be considerably more intense. I have personal experience of this, plus what one reads from those who know and from explorers. In sand, the Turface is dark. And play sand from Home Depot is a dark grey (it is in Canada $6-7 a bag, forgotten the weight). Or the dark gravels like I mentioned earlier. B.
Ok thanks! :) I'll check lowes if I manage to get another fish tank. xD
Didn't know that about the angels and stuff... they have a bright green substrate (I was 11 or 12 when I set up that tank D:)
You can also buy pea gravel from Home Depot for something like $3 for a 50lb bag. Depending on the source it might not be completely inert so you'd want to see what kind of gravel it is, exactly.
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