[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Forthcoming results on subrtrate tests

For those of you/us seeking a more economical source of substrates than is
currently offered by your LFS:

I have purchased a couple of bags of "Quickrete All-purpose Sand" from the
local Home Depot to test its usage as a substrate. First, this disclaimer:
Substrates are heavy and costly to ship. I have not contacted the
manufacturer, but I think it's safe to assume that this product is mined
relatively close to the point of retail, so this test may  only be valid for
New England (USA) and, perhaps, only central New England at that. This stuff
cost me $2.69 (US) for a 50 lb. bag. By sifting through a screen (an old lid
for a reptile tank I got from a roadside aquarium gimme) I was able to
obtain about 20 lbs of legitmate gravel and 30 lbs of sand (which I'll use
for the driveway when it snows). Not a bad return for a very attractive
gravel...at $.05 (US) per pound on the gravel after sifting.

I'm not a geologist, but the gravel appears to be mostly granite/quartzite,
with a lesser amount of sandstone and a minute amount of mica. This seems a
reasonable observation, given the distribution of both granite and sandstone
in central Connecticut (thanks, glaciers!). I have taken initial
measurements of Gh, Kh, and Ph, and in a week or so I'll know if this is
indeed a neutral substrate.

Aesthetically (not to revive the Amamo debate), this is a very attractive
substrate. It's a a pleasant and natural mix of whites, blacks and dark
tans. Obviously this is subjective, but I think it's much more natural in
appearance than the Flourite variants, apologies to Seachem and Dr. Morin.

I've lived a few places on the eastern US coast and somewhat inland, so my
caveats would be as follows: If you live around the Niagara escarpment (I
grew up around Rochester, NY) then test carefully because you've probably
got a lot of limestone in the Quickrete around there. If you live in the US
Southeast where sand is plentiful and rocks are rare (i.e., the SC/GA
Lowcountry--and FL) then your Quickrete will probably be very heavy on the
sand and low on the gravel...and I'm betting the sand will  be heavy in
calcium/seashell remnants.

In short, without conclusive testing results (which I'll have in a week or
two), depending on your geographic location and your geolocical makeup, you
may have a very, very cheap source for an attractive and indigenous subtrate
very close to your front door...If you live in the US northeast and have a
friend in the snowplowing and/or masonry industry it could be as close to
FREE as you could possibly hope!

Finally, despite my results, if you try this approach, test, TEST, TEST!!!!
Just because Connecticut is built on pink granite  and red sandstone doesn't
mean that Alabama, California or Singapore are....find a source, sift and

--- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---