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jcinnb 12-24-2010 09:59 AM

Prospecting for Small Substrate Gravel
Checked out a local gravel guy this week looking for some small gravel for substrate. His bin was empty, but saw a lot of small stuff in the corners and on the ground.

Made a small sieve for about $2.00 and went back yesterday. About 35 degrees and gale force winds on the sound, but as they say, there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. The screen was 1/4 inch, the smallest I could find.

Since things were slow, the owner helped me. Here we have scraped some gravel out of a corner.

As you can see, the bin is pretty empty, but lots of small gravel that fell through the cracks, earlier.

Next we load the sieve.

Then we sift a little. Forgive my non-technical terms if there are prospectors out there!

Everything went much better than expected. After about a hour I had two buckets of these:

The gravel looks a little bigger than it is, even with 1/4 mesh, a lot of small stuff would not go through due to rough edges.

I pre-drilled small holes in the bottom of my bucket so I just turned the hose on the bucket, and let it drain out the bottom. Took about 15 minutes to get really clear water coming out of holes, but by them I was COLD. Will rinse several more times.

Anyway, I got just about 2 cubic feet of small gravel for about $2.00 (price of sieve)---and four or five really cool rocks from his rock bins. I think the owner was intrigued about this use of gravel, he even brought his front loader over and dumped some gravel for me to check. I thanked him and told him I would bring him a picture when the tank was done. He was very excited to hear that.

Maybe some of you can try this. Would not recommend it in the heat of summer, but not bad for a chilly December day.


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