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Re: blasting sand/gravel as substrate

> Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 08:21:38 -0500
> From: TurnerB&J <turner at chestertel_com>
> Subject: blasting sand/gravel as substrate
> When I was in Texas, an aquarium store sold blasting sand/rock that was
> about 2mm in diameter and it worked great with its course surface, which
> provided a lot of surface area. I am now in sc and thought about getting
> some from local gravel company and mixing it with some laterite and sera
> substrate additive. Big savings on cost at about 100lbs for 6 bucks.
> Thoughts?

That Texas sand-blasting sand has a very good reputation. Mostly granite, I
suspect. Unfortunately, sand and gravel are too cheap to ship very far, so
each area has its own gravel properties, related to what is easy to mine and
will make good concrete or blast paint/rust well.

If your area has a lot of limestone, the gravel may tend to harden your
water very slowly. That usually isn't any problem for plants, but may make
regulating a CO2 controller annoying or do unpleasant things to some fish.

The only test I usually do on ordinary gravel is to put some in a clear
pyrex measuring cup and cover it with pool acid (using proper protective
gear, of course). If I can see tiny streams of bubbles or any "fizzing" in
bright sunlight, I assume that it will be an unstable material and use it
where it doesn't matter. [Dispose of the acid carefully, by dribbling it
into a drain with lots of water flushing. If the amount is tiny (e.g., 1/2
cup or so), it can be flushed down the toilet without setting off city
alarms or hurting your septic system.]

BTW, around here, the "Aquarium Gravel" made by RMC Lonestar ("Lapis
Lustre") is only about $8/100lbs at the rock/gravel places vs about $200 at
the LFS. Loaded with tiny shell chips, it can make SF water really
squirrely! :-) It is pretty enough to be worth treating with acid, if you
have to.


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