Best place to get gravel?
Where can I get gravel from? I like black gravel, and I'm noticing if I get it at petsmart, petco or pet warehouse, I am going to spend alot of money. I have a 125gal and all these stores sell black gravel for $16 per 20lbs.
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It looks like Petco currently has it on sale for $11.24 online. They say you get free shipping on orders of $49 or more, but that much gravel would be heavy. The free shipping might not apply.
Some fish stores (not the chain stores though) sell bulk gravel and sand, and that is less expensive than the commercially-bagged gravels. You can also buy in bulk from landscape or quarry supply stores, as long as you know what you are getting. Calcareous gravel and sand will raise hardness, which may be OK for livebearers or rift lake cichlids, but not for soft water setups. I've never found black fine gravels at these places locally, but I have been told it does exist.
You're lucky I'm really cheap.. I've done a lot of research on 'alternative' black gravels...
First, try to call everywhere you can (pool supply stores, hardware stores, etc) to try to find this-
in S-grade black. It's pretty dusty, so wash it well in warm water, but it's magnificient after it's cleaned.
T-Grade is a little larger (but smaller than most aquarium gravels)
It's $7-20 for 50Ib bag
This link might be able to help you-
3M.com Redirect Page
If no such luck, then call sports supply stores and look for 'Soil Master Select' or 'Turface'
Both also require rinsing, but have the advantage of being decent for planted tanks (if you decide to go that route) They're available in a few colors.. There might be a black, but I know there's a very natural-looking dark gray.
"SMS' in Charcoal-
Wait, aw... it's been discontinued. Might still find it somewhere.
Turface Gray- also discontinued.
Price varies wildly depending on the store.... Still way cheap though.
Finally, as a last resort option...
If you don't want any soft-bellied fishes, contact asphalt and contruction companies to find 'Black Beauty'. It's an aggregate used in sandblasting, but is totally inert.. It's not as course as you'd think, but definately too rough for cories or loaches, and should not be used with cichlids that sift sand.
It definately has a 'sparkle' from the quartz... but here's a pic. I'd reccomend 'fine' or 'extra fine' grades
It's about $8 per 50 pounds.. other than the fish restrictions, it's completely safe for other species (as far as I know.) I've seen it in Discus show tanks and it's pretty amazing.
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I actually have not used them, but not for lack of trying. I have several very close friends that have used them.
In that case, don't go with the black beauty... but the others will be fine as long as you wash them well. They're all totally inert.
(The SMS and Turface can sometimes affect kh and, as a result, ph... If you soak it in tap water for a few hours, rinse, and then use it, it works like a charm.)
The SMS and Turface are 'fancy' versions of this product-
only smoothed out and colored.
Oil Dri is SUPER cheap- Roughly $3 for (equivilent of) 50 pounds. I have it in nearly all my tanks right now, but it's not black.
If you don't mind a variable medium gray, then try it. It's sold in the automotive section of wal-mart. I've heard it's safe for cories, but I've never tried it. Not sure if I'd risk it or not. I can't find any pictures of it, but for $3, go buy some and look at it for yourself. and post a picture for me. :lol:
If you want a planted tank, then instead of soaking the Oil-Dri (or Turface, or SMS..) in water, Mix up some fertiliser water in a pitcher- fertiliser brand doesn't matter to be honest- I use miracle grow now.
Make it strong- I use about 3 tbsp of miracle grow in 1 gallon of water.
Then pour that onto the DRY, BRAND NEW, turface/oil-dri/SMS. Let it sit for a little while (I usually let it sit for an hour or two.)
Then add enough water to the oil-dri to cover it, and let it sit as long as you want. (I let it sit for 24 hours)
Then rinse it extremely well, and use it in your tank.
I cant seem to find black anywhere. Everything is either quartz or granite and they are all earthy tones. Yes cheap, but no the look I'm going for.
Then colorquartz is your best bet... If you can't find it, I guess tahitian moon sand is the next choice at $1/pound.
Heres what I got. I actually talked to this place in town called thr Stone garden, cool name. Well, they have black river rock that are about the size of an inch, and they sell it 66cents per pound. I figured I'm going along the lines of cheaper pebble substrate and then laying those rocks on top. I'm thinking that should work just fine. What do you all think?
The gentleman there also mentioned a co-workers has the same setup for his fish tank and he said it is so much easier to clean than any other substrate he has ever had.
Larger gravels are notorious at collecting detritus which can harm water quality. Have you considered play sand (super cheap) or another cheap substrate with an inch or so of Tahitian moon sand on top?
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